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Riot’s triple-site Valorant maps are unique, but Haven needs fixed

Riot's decision to jazz up the traditional FPS game map design in Valorant was brave, and while I'm all of larger maps, Haven could do with some shortcuts.

A white woman with a black bob, gas mask and a skin-tight black and green suit crouches behind a crate with a glowing bomb as people shoot at her

I won’t sugarcoat it; I am not a fan of Valorant map Haven. Initially, I thought it was because it had three sites, but then Riot rolled out Lotus. The triple-point layout still contributes to why Haven matchups make me groan, but there’s another reason why Lotus is less annoying its FPS counterpart; in fact, it can even verge on being a fun – but only every now and then.

Like Haven, Valorant’s lost city, Lotus, is large and split into three bomb points. But, compared to Haven, this ancient location is well-balanced for both sides. The numerous shortcuts and zip lines weaving each plant site together are why Lotus has succeeded as a triple-site map. So clearly, triple points can work in Valorant, but not without crucial design details.

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Lotus proves Valorant’s triple-site layout is just fine

Those who enjoy playing Haven and consistently win games typically fall into one of three categories: they either spawn on the attack first, play with a full stack of five, or have exceptional mental resilience. If you don’t have one of these three, good luck losing your mind on a 3-9 defender side switch.

In Valorant, the game isn’t over after the switch, but if your team only snags three Ws defending on Haven, it will be an uphill battle to make a comeback in the second half. Unfortunately, that’s mostly the case, as winning the majority on Haven’s defense is no walk in the park. Haven is a heavy attacker-sided map, and this imbalance has less to do with its three sites and more with the layout. Lotus slightly favors the defenders, but its shortcuts mitigate the imbalance that typically comes with triple-site maps.

If you have played solo ranked on Haven, you’re probably aware of the go-to strat. One go fake A – rest go C. You’d think that a repeated strategy like that would lose efficacy at one point, but it works like a charm every single time, such is the layout of Haven. Rotating all the way from A to C and vice versa is a nightmare unless you’re running on Brimmy’s Stimmy.

Lotus, conversely, offers shortcuts in breakable doors and zip lines besides the usual routes toward the other site. These help offset some of the challenges of larger map sizes, which can negatively impact defenders. For this reason, Lotus is ten times better than Haven, proving that Riot’s unique idea of a triple site isn’t the real issue.

A black woman wearing a purple hood floats in the air with her legs crossed as golden stars circle around her head while a tanned man with a gun watches from the side

Haven is imbalanced, but it’s not a lost cause

Despite the imbalance, Haven is one of the most popular Valorant maps. Players can often exploit the imbalance and win more rounds in attack, leading to an easy win. For this reason, professional players love it. They have the luxury of picking the first side, something that’s unavailable in casual ranked.

But Haven can also be a favourite in ranked with a few tweaks. In one of the next map rotations, Riot could pull the plug on Haven and revamp it to add shortcuts. For example, the route between A to C is too long, sometimes resulting in repetitive fakes that never work in favour of defenders. Haven needs a zip line between two of the three sites to aid manoeuvrability. Bind-like teleporters would be ideal, but that’s probably a long shot.

Visually, Haven is easily my favourite Valorant map. From perfectly designed bomb sites with just the right amount of choke corners to entrances that enable controllers to shine, Haven is a design masterpiece. However, it might not be the best map for fast-paced ranked games, particularly if you are at a lower level of play. Winning on Haven requires a well-thought-out strategy, a proper team, and pace. Realistically, these things are scarce at ranks below Diamond.

Still, Haven could be a great map after an overhaul that changes how each site ties to another. But until Riot does that, low-rankers should arm themselves with the best agents on the Valorant tier list and one of the best Valorant crosshairs if they want to snatch the dub on Haven.