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Posted 2022-09-30, 16:22
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Why Mirage is so popular?

John Dow
John Dow
Author CyberSport.io
8 min read
De_mirage is a legendary map without which it isn't easy to imagine Counter-Strike today. An amateur created it for just one series of tournaments, and it immediately won the hearts of players and even attracted the attention of Valve, but first things first.
Why Mirage is so popular?

Story of map's creating 

Swedish developer Michael "BubkeZ" Hall is known not only for de_mirage but also for de_thrill, one of the maps of Operation Hydra. He became active in CS1.6 in 2002 and had previously played for the national Swedish Quake 2 team. With the new game, BubkeZ found a new hobby: creating maps. He developed de_hotsand, de_ccargo, and the anarki series of aim maps. 

 

The history of de_mirage goes back to 2004. At that time, the CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League) was the most prominent organizer of Counter-Strike tournaments. Bubkez wanted his work to be noticed, so he wrote to a CPL staff member asking if they needed new maps for their tournaments. He received an affirmative reply but with the condition that they would be high-quality, attractive, and balanced. 

 

Thus, the development of de_mirage began in September 2004. For two months, Michael spent all his time trying to create the perfect map and focused not on the visuals but the map's structure. At the time of release, the map was called de_cpl_strike and was only played in CPL tournaments, it even had a banner with the league logo. 

de_strike

Why Mirage is so popular?

But de_strike (as it was called then) quickly caught on with the players and began to be actively played by regular players on the servers, making BubkeZ an authority in the community. He started receiving offers from other tournament operators. The developer wasn't against his map appearing in all championships, but the problem was that he was tied entirely to the CPL. Around 2010, he received a good offer from Dreamhack, which he refused at first because of the copyright that belonged to the CPL. 

 

But then he realized that he had made many improvements to his map over the years and decided it was time to create a new version. With the previous experience, he made a new version of the map. The textures were improved, the map was restructured, and the most crucial change was the addition of an exit for the terrorists on the B-site through the apartments. Previously without this element, it was easy for the defense to hold B, but now both are more balanced, which adds interest to the game. 

 

But this time, Michael decided not to brand the map as some tournament operator. He called it "de_mirage" and made the release. The name "mirage" was chosen quickly enough, the developer wanted to make it in a desert-sand theme, and the word Mirage fitted perfectly here. 

Classic Mirage

The map had become an absolute classic by the time CS:GO was released. A few days after the new part of Counter-Strike called Global Offensive was released, an amateur version of de_mirage, adapted for the latest version of the game, appeared in the workshop, and it immediately went the first place in downloads. 

 

At that time, Valve was actively developing CS, so they could not pass by this phenomenon. In 2013, they contacted Michael and offered to sell him the rights to the map, to which he agreed. The amount of that deal was never disclosed even by insiders, but BubkeZ himself said it's good money for a student but not significant if you're an adult, working man. Since then, de_mirage has appeared in the map pool, and the Valve employees engage its development. 

 

Adding de_mirage to Valve's official map pool forever changed the CS:GO pro-scene. Pro-teams have immediately started practicing this map for the same reasons regular players love it: simplicity and dynamism. The map immediately ranked in the top 3 in terms of frequency of appearances on HLTV; in 2015, it was slightly behind de_cache in the fight for first place, and finally, in 2016, it became the most frequently played map among on a pro-scene. 

Naturally, the map bore players at some point, and many began complaining about it. But if you look at the complaints about de_mirage, the most popular of them is that the map is boring. The popularity of de_mirage began to wane in the online era when the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020, it was still the most popular map in LAN tournaments then, but it began to appear much less frequently online. Many pro players said that they were bored with playing de_mirage. 

 

The debate on whether de_mirage should be changed is still going on. Some say that the map is already outdated due to its structure and that it should be changed to diversify the game, while others say it is a legendary map and should not be touched. But opinions agree that everyone is really bored with the map.
 

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