Ranked maps discussion thread (Currently Season 4)

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by wpmarshall, April 24, 2019.

  1. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Lula's video

    Please discuss and give feedback.

  2. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,878
    Likes Received:
    3,621
    Meh: 0-2
    Mediocre: 3-5
    Good: 6-7 (Good: 6-7)
    Great: 8-9
    Legendary : 10

    First impressions:
    • Centax returning: 6 . That's ok I guess. I never had any big problems with the map but it wasn't a personal favorite. Offers clear expansion routes and favors t2 rush and bot rush.
    • Disparity returning: 8 , one of the better large maps ever created. Doesn't allow for as much air spam as some other large maps do. Doesn't make naval worse than it needs to be. Both of the spawns work well, and have their own unique win conditions (usually naval presence)
    • Ardennes returning: 10 █. one of my favorite maps from season 2 and it's an objectively good map with fun metal clusters and not much potential to snowball. Well designed for macro play.
    • Aquilarous returning: 1 . Is this a late April fools joke? Introduces nasty naval choke points and terrain around the base can unreliably block torpedo shots. And, the metal rings on both sides are unfun but at least they don't snowball. It's almost never a good idea to focus on that large ring beyond the first base choke point because it's so spread out. This map lowers the skillcap.
    • Echo new: 5 . Good map layout, but why is the metal so scattered? This will make fabber snipes very powerful when they are trying to build proxy factories (which is definitely the strategy on this map). Looks like unlucky fabber snipes will be rewarded heavily and snowball the early game.
    • Exeunt new: 3 . Has some pretty CSG layouts but the metal is yet again, highly scattered. Going to be the same snowball playstyle as echo.
    • Bailiff new: 6 . Good lava map, looks like the CSGs wont be a huge issue here and the metal seems more fun to play with. The clusters are still weak and there appears to be some nasty choke points.
    • Basilica new: 4 . Metal scattered and naval looks like it's going to lock down the choke points heavily. And orbital? Good luck going orbital with that highly scattered, low metal count. By the time you set up a teleporter on one of the moons you'll have lost all of the map control on the main planet. Vague expansion routes.
    • A-Sat new: 4 . All the free metal is in your spawn it looks like. The rest is highly scattered and requires fabbers to stay alive to build proxy factories. "Expect to see raiding"? There's no metal to raid! Doesn't look like a fun bot rush map. Absolutely non-existent expansion routes.
    • District new: 6.5 . Good. Why are there so many CSGs and ramps? The center "death star" csgs are great, but the rest make unit engagements a chore. The metal distribution is better than other maps, but it's pretty clear that the map creator likes 2-pair clusters too much.
    • Maginot new: 8 . Great. I like the spawn protection and it looks like macro play is going to be important based on metal distribution. Would be nice to see more metal on the ramps.
    • Hyde new: 7 . Good. The layout of the map itself is pretty and the CSGs look great but they create multiple choke points. The metal layout is better than other maps but I still see single metal spots that are scattered.
    • Kelvin new: 7 . Looks like it will play similarly to canyon, with the addition of naval. The choke points are clearly a crucial part of the map's playstyle which is fine, but this will make T2 stronger and turtling stronger. Why are there so many CSGs in the center though?
    • Rotunda new: 8 . Appears to get the lava map style correct, with decent-sized land chokes (ones that don't make the game unfun). The metal clusters and expansion patterns seem good. Could use some more dense clusters. Macro is going to be important, but wont need to be perfect.
    • Hopper new: 7 . Looks like naval is going to be overpowered, but since a lot of the metal is on the land there will be a solid mix of naval and ground play. Leviathans will be the win condition, but will require a solid land presence to build up the economy necessary to handle t2 naval. Could use more dense metal clusters in the water, for enhanced naval play (no T2 rush).
    • Backbone new: 4 . Most of the map's metal is inside your base and introduces nasty naval choke points. I like the island metal. This map will be a mix of sub spam, t2 rush, and torpedo spam. Will most likely reward drifters and hover units. Orbital is going to be completely useless, as the map is too small and there is not enough metal to boost yourself into space without loosing your choke point defenses.
    Conclusions:

    Most of the maps favor fabber sniping and don't have clear expansion routes. There is a clear lack of metal clusters on all of the maps except for Ardennes, one of the returning legendary maps. The map creator(s) clearly knows how to make pretty planets with CSG but doesn't entirely consider the effect on unit engagements (especially choke points and pathfinding).

    I am disappointed to see singe, niflehel, and the new bulkhead gone, without a trace of their design in the new maps.
    New Map average: (5+3+6+4+4+6.5+8+7+7+8+7+4)/12 = █ 5.792 █
    Old Map Average: It would be unfair to rank the old maps since i've played on them already, but I would guess somewhere around 8 .

    I will update this post at the end of the season, or when I feel like i've played the new ones enough... if I remember.

    Same day edit: Upgraded A-Sat from 2 to 4 because I missed a few metal clusters
    Last edited: April 24, 2019
  3. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    139
    It's great to see some of the best maps from this season passing on! I Having said that:

    Similarly to last season, I see an overlying trend with a majority of the maps that will cause a common play style.

    1) Overall, really hit or miss, similarly to last season. The misses have few metal clusters and low density in common.

    2) Initial expansions are far from spawn: very susceptible to drop snipes, and hard to defend via reactive unit placement => will promote defensive playstyle, turret spam and fabber trains, similarly to what we now see on maps like Niflhel (probably misspelled that)

    3) The Hybrid naval maps all look too snowbally in regards to T2 naval rolling over the spawn base come out

    4) I like the orbital maps. But only if a Jig power production removal is featured in this patch.


    A bunch of Ubers are compiling feedback right now, so we will have that sometime soon (hopefully)
    Killerkiwijuice likes this.
  4. xankar

    xankar Post Master General

    Messages:
    751
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    I agree with a lot of what kiwi said. A bit dissapointed that we're seeing a few of the weaker maps from last season return, but that's kinda down to subjective opinion.

    Personally, The Ardennes is the only returning map that I truly enjoyed from the previous season and am again a bit dissapointed that maps in that style have not seen a larger focus this season.

    Additionally, it's very dissapointing to see such a large naval presence in this map pool. I don't agree with having PA's weakest aspect be pushed so heavily.

    Lastly, I feel as if lately there's been more of an emphasis on padding out maps with flashy CSGs to make them look complex and/or interesting. I don't agree with this design philosphy. It just seems to me that a lot of these maps were designed with the idea that "oh, if I add this CSG here then players will play like this or be forced to expand here" or things a long that line without really establishing whether or not the aforementioned is something that can be reasonably expected.

    Honestly, I really don't like CSGs in PA. For me, they're definitely more of a "less is more" deal. I don't like how they interact with and, more often than not, screw with pathfinding. I don't like the arbitrary inclusion of arguably needless complexity to a map. With that said, I do accept that they can introduce reasonably unique gameplay approaches. However, I don't feel that many of these maps make effective use of CSGs to that end.

    Thank you for your work though, Marshall. I may not be a big fan of the current lineup, but that just has to do with my tastes.
  5. lulamae

    lulamae Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    304
    How about if you give it a couple of weeks to see how they actually play out first?

    re: "vague or non-existent expansion routes"
    1. I seem to recall a complaint on one map that the initial expansion was *too* defined - it was the only one :)
    2. If the expansion route is undefined then your opponent has to work harder to track you down, yes?

    And a more general comment to everyone, remember that any drawbacks/difficulties you perceive cut both ways. That is, it also affects your opponent. So the question becomes, how are you going to take advantage of that?
    nimzodragonlord likes this.
  6. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    139
    After a certain number of games a good player can at the very least know how they will play a given map. It's not a stretch to say that most ubers can see the obvious optimal play styles, often from a more neutral PoV than the map maker, hence why marshii asked for feedback here.

    If there are any amendments to be done it's now, or in a month and a half when a portion of the prize pool has already been given, so it better be now.

    Re expansions: a good map presents both players with a choice tree as to how they can play it to win. The more opening branches, the better. If there is only one map specific dominant opening, be it turtle only on map A and mass raid on map B, that game will likely be more boring to play and come down to micro execution
  7. w33dkingca

    w33dkingca Active Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    59
    Id say we will have to play them to truly find out if they work well.
    Rotunda looks to be my most promising, the initial view of the expansions, routes to bases and the metal around centre with its confined access looks to be a good one to me.
  8. Clopse

    Clopse Post Master General

    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    2,861
    We should focus more on gameplay than to suit some players styles. CSG's for me add nothing to the gameplay. Only add pathing issues and a level of uncertainty for no reason.

    Some players (me included) enjoy the naval maps. Some prefer macro, micro, air dominated games. This seems like a large mix of all of the above. If you don't like a map, you only play it 5 games out of 80.
    w33dkingca, wpmarshall and cdrkf like this.
  9. nimzodragonlord

    nimzodragonlord Member

    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    54
    Or every time Marshall stops by my stream... Seems I lack the stamina to go the distance. :mad:

    Otherwise, I’d say that my first impression of the maps is that the scattered metal placement generally doesn’t make for good games unless there’s high metal density. Singe from last season initially had this problem, and once Marshall consolidated the expansions, it turned into a great map!
    NikolaMX likes this.
  10. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,878
    Likes Received:
    3,621
    Naval maps can be good. Like pacific. Micro sucks (well maybe it doesn't suck, but it's not too interesting) in PA. This isn't SC2, it should be minimized to an acceptable level where it's game changing in 1/10000 games. A mix is fine, but when you mix scattered metal maps in, the skillcap lowers and fabber trains are given huge value. When those fabbers are sniped because you looked away for 0.1 seconds, you lose. It makes expansion super risky. And sure, you may have a low chance of playing a map you don't like but that's enough of a chance to make me not want to take that chance.
  11. Clopse

    Clopse Post Master General

    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    2,861
    Well we are not going to agree here. You think micro sucks. I like micro. Fabber trains ideally shouldnt get sniped. Being greedy is the reason they get sniped, not .1 of a second.
    w33dkingca likes this.
  12. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    139
  13. bthirteen

    bthirteen Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    36
    I really hope that season rewards are increased to 10k at least for any motivation to play on 90% of this maps
  14. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,878
    Likes Received:
    3,621
    Just to make it clear, my post about the maps was highly critical about how the maps will play competitively. Each map has a unique CSG layout and all of them have potential to become at least 8+ on my scale (except for backbone, I don't like those choke points for naval), simply by removing some unnecessary CSGs (like those weird ice pillars on Kelvin's equator, for example) and changing the metal distribution.

    Take Echo as an example. I made this quick change in photoshop that would increase the points from a 5 to a 7.5 - 8 for me. Clearly it's designed for lane play, so I kept that idea in mind. I don't think the before state is too bad actually, but this is what I think makes it better.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: April 25, 2019
  15. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    139
    Map specific bugs and feedback:

    Bugs:
    The moons on basilica collide upon spawn
    stuart98 likes this.
  16. lulamae

    lulamae Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    304
    Curious - on my test file, they spawn 180 degrees apart on the orbit and travel counter-clockwise.
  17. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Updated map version will hopefully be out ASAP. This never came up in testing...
  18. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Do you guys not have phones? :cool::oops:
  19. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,878
    Likes Received:
    3,621
    Backbone is stuck inside the gas giant:
    [​IMG]
    I have to zoom into model range to play
  20. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

    Messages:
    1,855
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    MAP DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

    Feedback from last season

    During last season, the feedback we heard first and foremost was:
    • Maps all played the same
    • Expos are all clusters
    • Aquilaris is difficult to spell
    I addressed this by:
    1. Looking for seeds which have interesting play 'themes'
    2. Spreading out the metal a bit
    ASAT
    I tried to make a map in the feel of the PA Alpha moons with the craters that are not pathable with metal both in clusters and spread out so you have little cover as Lula mentioned in the video. I did give a little bit of vertical cover at the poles to lower the skill floor for non-Uber players so they have some 'avenues' they can visualise for defence. I also thought PAG would like this because it's closest to a simple moon you're going to get in ranked.​
    BACKBONE
    I tried to do the opposite of Aquilaris - going from having a large naval map with some minor land play and some air metal to a map with a greater ability to use hover units with chokepoints designed to be locked down by naval and then circumvented by said hover units. The Gas giant should help decide this in stalemate situations.​
    Hopper
    Here I attempted to adapt some aspects of Forge > Large mex spawn to a large mex expo to a central skirmish area. But I was really looking for a continents map because I recalled a map from Taxman Tourney in Beta with Lava continents in a 2v2. That and consolidating the Meso design into proper land-based continents. I didn't want to the continents to be too far away, nor did I want it to be easily blocked by a single route to it. Hence its large size and the short walk across if commanders needed to migrate. The naval lanes are there more as a support to push towards your opponent during the tug of war. Overall the idea was - Reach a stalemate on first island with defences (particularly in lower tier play) and then that stalemate is decided by expansion to the other continent.​
    Bailiff
    Hopper actually went through 2 iterations, one slightly smaller in radius. I liked the idea of continents and found the seed to be good and so used the smaller radius (which didn't give wide enough naval canals) and turned it into a Lava biome which has its differences. I toyed with having land paths to the other continent from close to spawn (the small spit of land towards the poles as a bridge) but for now have settled on a land based access from the equator. We'll see how that plays and can revert if need be. ​
    Basilica
    I thought - "What if we have a temple covering half of the planet with features within it, and a backside that is semi-open and varied as a backup route". Well that's Basilica. Initially this had a gas giant rather than 2 moons, but testing gave "Maybe give the gas to naval maps and see how that plays" and "Exeunt's moons would work better here". ​
    District
    I heard you liked 2 spawn maps. I wanted to try a different flavour of 2 spawns, inspired by StarCraft 2's Metropolis map, I wanted to make a map where whichever spawn configuration you had, the map play would merge and rotate flexibly to that config, and I feel I achieved this with my CSG placement. ​
    Echo
    I wanted to make a map with central arenas as points of contention with circumferential routes to upset your opponent's moves. Other than that I tried to make a unique aesthetic with the metal planet CSG and I achieved this. It took a while to get the size right for pathing to work however.​
    Exeunt
    Metal planet polar spawns are close so how about low yield direct paths or swinging wide around your pole to grab the metal as you go further around. All the time having to defend from the south approach. This initially had the 2 moons, but feedback was that you'd not get space or time for orbital with the map layout.​
    Hyde
    I wanted to have a frantic area in the middle which was low yield but also have backdoor opportunities and to encourage expansion to the other side of the planet which it would seem Lost Temple failed to do. So I've got the strange layout between the bases to look interesting but designed to be very easily defensible, but most of the game will be decided by metal control from the bridge back-door or the wide expos, like the 4 mex in the craters. Fun fact - initially the bridge was accessible from the other side, but not any more.​
    Kelvin
    I wanted a snaking path between the bases and many lanes to approach which have difference features. a couple of lanes are naval, a couple more are narrow bridges, one is snaked directly between, another is open with cracks and the final one is peppered with LOS blockers for unit shooting and I wanted to see how that plays out - hopefully as an artillery advantaged lane.​
    Maginot
    Duat has a special place, but so does radial symmetry. A simple map. Also wanted a mountain biome because I like the look of it.​
    Rotunda
    A different sort of arena between the bases where the metal is spread out with LOS blockers and not clustered while initial expansions can be consolidated. Another long backdoor route but also gives the opportunity for locusts and drifters to cut shortcuts across the lava.
    CSG Overload
    There's something to be said for 'too much CSG' but being visually impaired, I am a firm believer in readability. I add small mountains around the side of cliffs to make them pop out, I use contrast.
    But I also use a fair number of CSGs because I feel that this is the way you get the play 'THEMES' as I mentioned in my bullets. Without them you'd have little in the way of verticality of choke variety and you'd have to spend extraordinary amounts of time searching for the perfect map seed. Don't forget that seeds also alter phenotypes depending on radius.
    I also place CSGs with lower skilled players and new players from sales in mind - the maps are visually stimulating and thus I feel are likely to help retain players.
    joe113, Quitch, lulamae and 4 others like this.

Share This Page