The next Valorant act kicks off on September 8th, and it's bringing a new map with it. Fracture is a H-shaped battlefield where the defending team will start out in the middle, with the aim of protecting a site on each side. From the sounds of things, attackers will be able to choose which side they head in from too, which sounds rather stressful and a bit confusing.
Fracture doesn't quite have the same pretty aesthetic as the last map Breeze, though they're clearly trying to do away with some of those boring browns and greys with an overgrown jungley area.
Developers Riot Games say this is the first map with "interactive objects" (though they don't say what any of those are), and it's also the first map set in "the mirror verse", an alternate dimension that evil (?) doppelganger Valorant characters come from.
The map's main gimmick is that the defending spawn is in the centre, with A and B sites on either side. Without playing it, it's weird to think about how it's going to work. Surely this gives defenders minimal safe areas to work in while enemies hound you from all sides? Though, it seems the devs want to experiment with how players use those safe zones.
"The idea for the map came from a simple question: 'What if?' Specifically, what if attackers started on both sides of the map, pinching defenders?" Says level designer Joe Lansford. "We really wanted to ask players to rethink some fundamental assumptions and give them unique problems to solve. For example, for whom is the neutral space really for?"
Lansford adds that the map is somewhat inspired by the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Lord Of The Rings, which makes more sense in his words: "As the orcs are breaking down the gates, Aragorn and Théoden (and the remaining squadzinho) ride out to meet them. 'Now for wrath, now for ruin and the red dawn!' Gandalf and the Riders of Rohan storm down the mountain from the other side. When you’re on defence and both A and B players push out to flip the tables and pinch attackers instead, it always reminds me of this moment."
So, the attackers (or... orcs) are at a disadvantage once they take a site, because the defenders (Gandalf and co.) can flank and surround a site to take it back. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but all of Valos maps so far are just attackers on one side, defenders on the other, so it's nice to see them experimenting with something this different.
Fracture and Valorant Episode 3 Act 2 arrive on September 8th in patch 3.05. As always, there'll be a new battle pass to buy with new gun skins, charms and other cosmetics to boot.