The Valorant community has been quite prickly about the early arrival of Icebox.
Icebox arrived earlier than expected, dropping with the start of Act 3. While the news was met with excitement from Valorant players who wanted new locales and some possible teases of future Valorant updates, Icebox has started to frustrate many players.
Icebox is a bit different from previous maps, which were all quite simple and straightforward. The tactical FPS’ level design lead, Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo, explained that Icebox was designed to “emphasize skirmishes” and “sharp aim.” While this has definitely been achieved, the overwhelming amount of buildings and shipping containers has made close combat almost required, with little room to plant the spike.
There is also an overwhelming number of angles an enemy can hold while defending, but attackers also have an advantage thanks to the short lanes. This makes it much easier to sneak into a base, something that happens with Icebox more than other maps. This has left players with both the offensive and defensive experience of playing Icebox.
The sheer number of props has also made a lot of agents’ abilities less effective. Instead of using abilities to control the movement of the enemy team, Riot developers claim Icebox is supposed to make players feel like an enemy agent might jump out of any given corner. It’s a more suspenseful and sneaky map, with a greater focus on gunplay and a lot more to keep an eye on.
While the map’s complexity is definitely welcome among some Valorant players, especially ones coming from Counter-Strike, it can be hard to take in such an immense map and practice useful strategies because players can’t outright pick Icebox to play on.
When Overwatch introduces a new map, the map is available in Arcade Mode for people to continuously test out. In CSGO, players can queue for a single map.
While Valorant won’t be putting Icebox into the competitive map pool until October 27, it’s available in all other game modes. This has led to a lot of issues with toxicity outside of Icebox as well.
According to one Reddit user, players are purposefully throwing matches until they finally land a game on Icebox. Sometimes entire teams will surrender just to leave a map, hoping the next match will finally be on Icebox. This has led many players to ask the developers why Icebox didn’t have its own playlist, at least temporarily.
“This is something that we wanted to do, but we don’t quite have the tech set up and clean now,” a Riot developer responded. “It’s one of the downsides of launching the map early, some of our ‘map launch’ tech isn’t quite set up. We’re trying this version of launching Icebox, but are definitely taking notes for future map releases in terms of how to make this a better experience for you all.”
Some Valorant players noted that they would have rather waited the three months for an Icebox playlist to be an option.
Even though Valorant fans haven’t been able to play the map as often as they’d like, it seems like it’s overall been a fun experience for the community. The addition of the ziplines has made for a lot of fun and the more complex map has led to new strategies that make new agents viable.