• Alex Mauisnake Ellenberg

Flash the Cache

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

By Alexander "Mauisnake" Ellenberg:

The previous version of Cache was adored by North Americans and the French. It was avoided by the Danes and CIS players. Time will tell which region will be the first to become specialists on the pugger’s playground. Regardless of how the meta will develop in the top tier competitive scene, the creators of de_cache, Volcano and FMPONE, joined me after the ESL One NY de_cache showmatch to share their joint philosophy on the map’s rehaul.

FMPONE teased the Cache redesign with a single Twitter banner, a stained glass portrait of a female figure, perhaps Mother Nature, overlooking the aptly named ‘Tree Room.’

The Tree Room became the Sistine Chapel... sort of.

This Mother Nature proved to be the central motif in the map’s reimagining. The new de_cache prominently features various shades of green. Forest green vines are strewn across previously barren warehouses such as mid main, the doors of A-main have been painted in a shamrock coat, and even the alternating checkers at the B-bombsite gently lend patches of olive, FMPONE said he wanted to “go with something with a little more flourish.”

Despite the drastic visual overhaul, Volcano made sure to mention that the duo was less brazen regarding structural changes to the map. He knows that “there’s a lot of people that loved that we wanted to be very careful with any changes we introduced. We had to handle that very deliberately.”

In terms of gameplay changes, the two points of emphasis were the A-bombsite and Middle. The final meta of de_cache mostly boiled down to middle control being taken by Terrorists and CTs having to win or lose the round fighting for that position or finding another way to obtain space to play around the T’s take. The most prominent answer to the Terrorists’ middle control is the window to which Volcano said “might help CTs have a little bit more flexibility in their setups there.”

The window was shown off by Liquid's nitr0 in the showmatch at ESL NY.

Additionally, there are more opportunities for support utility during mid fights as Volcano revealed, “recontesting mid as a CT might now be more possible, especially since the CT playing back checkers can flash over and help the mid guys out since there’s a skylight in the checkers ceiling there.”

The A-bombsite was another focal point in the gameplay’s redesign. The red crate that defined the entire site has been replaced by a slightly more curved armored vehicle. There are now more angles for either side to peek at each other from, making the fight at CT-truck more interactive. Volcano said that these changes may “benefit some more passive play and some different setups that the CTs can try...with a few different utility options.” The retaking potential for CTs is a point of emphasis for him, “the building directly next to the bombsite is lower so you can get a molotov...from truck into quad.” kennyS was the benefactor of a newly added piece of cover at A in the ESL One NY showmatch. clip Volcano even went as far to say that these newly implemented retake options may be strong enough to posit a potential meta change, “I would be curious to see if teams start preferring to push B-main for control knowing they could use the retake options at A.”

As for players that head towards B in defaults, there’s surprisingly little to worry about. FMPONE assured us that the new Cache will not be an entirely new experience at every turn and corner, “the gameplay in B is really quite similar to what it was before - and that was a deliberate choice because we made a lot of changes at Mid, a lot of changes at A and the thought of then doing a lot of changes at B would be maybe pushing it a little bit much.”

However, viewers of the showmatch may have noticed wallbang possibilities in B-main itself.

More wallbangs, more colour.

Volcano revealed that these are options during fights, “in terms of the wallbangs on the map, right now in the version that was played today, there’s a lot of wallbangs that are possible that weren’t possible.” FMPONE followed up by saying, “between keeping them and removing them, we may reduce the strength of the wallbang” so that it does not end up “a little bit more [like] 1.6” which had some notoriously thin walls.

In addition to all of the gameplay tweaks and aesthetic choices, I made sure to ask the creators if they, like many map developers over the years, managed to slip in a couple Easter eggs. When questioned, FMPONE responded “there’s quite a few - my dog, Bruce shows up so he’s a good boy.” They did assure me though that the map was not quite complete yet and “there’s some discussion about potentially adding Sal’s cats in there so stay tuned for that.”