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Oely001

Map Design - General Thoughts

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Hi,

 

with this thread I want to discuss some general topics about map design. It's not about graphics, it's about how map design interacts with game mechanics and gameplay as a whole. The reason for this thread is quite simple: most maps in WoWs are... bad. So bad that they influence gameplay in a negative way. And I think this bad map design is not accidental. I hope some of the devs read this and join the discussion.

 

I will start from a very general approach and then go into the details. So be prepared, there's some text ahead...

 


Tactics in a F2P game

 

All military tactics are about reaching one goal: Concentrate superior firepower at the main point of action. To achieve this you need:

  •  Intelligence.
  •  Initiative.
  •  Proper coordination of your forces.

 

In WoWs there is another aspect which comes from the fact that there are two victory conditions: 1. Killing all enemies. 2. Winning by points. Both conditions interact - at least at high level gameplay - in that way that you can try to trade HP for winning points. This interaction can be quite complex on a tactical level.

 

The aspect of coordination is the most delicate one in a F2P game, where teams consist of players of different levels and who normally don't know each other. In general, good map design should balance tactical complexity with easy access for inexperienced players. What does this mean? Tactical complexity means there are different goals which conflict to each other, for example you have to sacrifice map control (intelligence + initiative) to get a certain cap. Easy access means that new players intuitively make the right tactical decisions and don't run into "traps" only experienced players recognice. While tactical complexity is quite appealing in competetive gameplay, it has disastrous effects in random gameplay: The lack of either intelligence, initiative, or coordination - or of all three - makes tactics simply nonexistent in battle; the game degenerates to a simple shooter lottery. I think everybody who played at least some battles in WoWs knows what I am talking about. As you cannot force players to do something specific, map design should at least make good tactical behaviour more obvious.

 

Coming back to the first paragraph, what is "good tactical behaviour" in WoWs then?

  • Concentrate your firepower on a small part of the enemy force. Numerical superiority is highly self-energizing: More firepower on less targets, less counter-fire. That doesn't mean massing your ships at one spot but at least not to spread out the team over the whole map.
  • Dictate the enemy the terms of battle. Initiative is highly rewarding, as long as gameplay does not favour defense over offense too much. If it was so, the game would be utterly boring.
  • Keep pressure on the enemy up to retain initiative. Ships have limited speed, they should not give away their influence on the battle by sailing into the off.
  • Play your ship to its strengths, try to mitigate its weaknesses.
  • Use your ship's strengths to mitigate the weaknesses of your teammates' ships. This is often called "teamplay".
  • Play the objectives; this often refers to caps and earning points.

 


What is good map design?

 

Good map design includes:

  • Maps must be fair; no side should have a decisive advantage.
  • Maps should offer multiple tactical ways; otherwise the map becomes boring.
  • Maps should give both sides enough space to maneuver. The map should not be reduced too much by inaccessable parts, "death zones", etc.
  • Maps - as a whole - should not favour certain ships or ship classes. This would interfer with ship balancing.
  • Maps should encourage players to make good tactical choices; see above.

 

The means of map design are:

  • Islands. In WoWs islands are simply blockers: depending on their shape, islands block movement, (ship-to-ship) vision, shells, and torpedos. To use other words, islands nullify certain game mechanics. Side note: islands do not block radar and hydro.
  • Caps; they are part of the second victory condition, which is winning by points.
  • Positioning of spawns.

 

Islands are of course the most important part, although the game works even without them (map "Ocean"). Their effects are:

  • Blocking movement: With small islands this effect is quite trivial, but it becomes problematic with bigger landmasses: They generate "inside, no out" situations (see map "Sleeping Giant", A-cap) or "outside, no in" situations (see map "Okinawa", A-cap), both not much to be desired. In addition, bottlenecks tend to favour the defender too much as they can be closed effectively with very few ships. Generally, blocking movement should better be created by the enemy himself and some small islands he can use for cover. Map designers should take a very careful look when deliberately using Islands to gain this effect.
  • Blocking (ship-to-ship) vision: Generally speaking, this effect favours ships with bad concealment and penalizes ships with good concealment. Concealment consists of two parts (standard value; bloom when using weaponry), this eventually has to be taken into account; same with ship classes. Standard concealment is some very important value for ship balancing, so islands should in general not interfer with it too much, except for cruisers which often have too bad concealment for their intended role (supporting destroyers). Suppressing the gun bloom is problematic with battleships, so placing islands where they can be used that way from battleships only should be avoided. As a rule, map designers should use islands more to give players opportinities to break contact (chains of small islands) instead of blocking vision on the approach (large landmasses).
  • Blocking shells: In WoWs you have three ways to avoid hits: Dodge shells; be invisible; use islands for cover. Islands should only supplement the other two ways but not make them superflous. That means: no fortifications. However, some ships rely on this third way, which are mostly cruisers. As a consequence, islands for this purpose should be used at places where cruisers can use them effectively, even if they have limited weapons range. Parking behind an island and not beeing able to shoot at something makes a ship pretty useless.
  • Blocking torpedos: This may be a sidenote, but very flat islands which only block torpedos can be fancy at some places.

 

Caps are the other main tool in map design. Caps refer to the second victory condition (points), and the general question how much emphasis is put on this second victory condition. In Standard Mode it becomes a simple defend-only condition, which favours passive gameplay massively; this topic will not be discussed here. In domination mode the question is: Do I place caps at the tactical least favourable places to make the second victory condition as much separated from the first one (sink all enemies) as possible? Or do I place caps where ships should go anyway, just to give players some sort of guidance and reward? While most maps in WoWs currently seem to prefer the first way, I would strongly recommend the second way, at least in Random Mode (see above). Caps are mainly a necessity to make both teams move (that may be different in competetive gamplay). For destroyers caps are of course of much higher interest, maybe even more important than fighting enemy ships. Destroyers are fast, fragile, and very valuable; the team which loses its DDs first often loses the battle. Therefore caps should not be designed like "DD traps".

 

Last but not least positioning of spawns: Spawns can determine tactics; this should be avoided. Scattered spawns encourage team scattering; that should also be avoided. Diagonal arrangement of spawns seems to work better than a vertical arrangement.

 


Status Quo

 

What is wrong with current map design? My answer is: It contradicts to fundamental parts of good tactics:

  • It encourages team scattering: Scattered spawns; caps at the very sides; landmasses which split the map into parts without a (realistic) possibility to move from one part to the other.
  • It encourages camping: Too much cover at back sides; many bottlenecks.
  • It offers inexperienced players many opportunities to move into positions where they are useless: Misplaced caps; "death zones" in map center (= all run to the sides); cover in least usable locations.
  • It does not improve class balance: Not enough cover for cruisers; too much cover for battleships; bad island design around caps.
  • It does not reward teamplay but enforces class Separation: Separate "playgrounds" for battleships, cruisers, and destroyers; lack of cover for cruisers at important positions.

 

Just go through this text again, you will find a reason in almost every paragraph.

 

It already has become a lot of text. I would like to discuss this theoretical stuff on current maps to make it more understandable.

 

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WG maps are working as intended. They are not supposed to be perfect but work to funnel ships into risky micro-theatres where the outcome is the ships will see tedious, pressuring action and some will get sunk due to the risky placement of rocks and caps. This is intended: WG wants the bloodbath to happen and to push ships together into meatgrinders, not create a map where ships strategically place themselves in optimal positions akin to chess pieces on a chessboard. The frustration and pressure is meant to "entertain" players and make them want to buy better ships or cough up money.

 

A lot of your arguments are thus superficial and are actually what WG purposefully intends instead of mistakenly bad design. They do want to encourage jumpscares and cheap tactless "hide-and-seek around the rock" thrills after all.

 

What I had in mind was rather WoWs maps are un-immersive and too obviously engineered. But without requiring major philosophy change in WG's map design, examples of more creative ideas could be shallows and sandbanks where only DDs and lighter draft ships could effectively cross.

 

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2 hours ago, Oely001 said:

Status Quo

  • It encourages team scattering: Scattered spawns; caps at the very sides; landmasses which split the map into parts without a (realistic) possibility to move from one part to the other.

 

An interesting read, however some input specifically for this point:

 

Some players (me included) simply love small scale engagements. Why? Because it reduces variables thus allowing for a more "controlled" style of play. And if you are a good player it allows you to outplay your enemy much easier. For example it is simpler to execute a successful push in a German secondaries BB in a 3 vs 3 than in a 9 vs 9 situation.

 

Therefore the first question any map and mode needs to answer is if it is aiming to achieve small or large scale engagements (e.g. old 4 cap domination vs. Epicentre). If large scale engagements are the way to go than scattered spawn might indeed mislead some players. If however small scale engagements are key to victory then scattered spawn is not that bad at all. 

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Yes, maybe frustration is some vital part of Wargaming's business model; in that case their maps are highly effective.

 

Small scale engagements come with a price: You can win your fight but lose the battle. Which is highly frustrating.

 

@KarmaQU_EU: I'm not totally convinced. Many maps enforce camping, and camping is mostly the opposite of what you describe. Many players - especially the bad to average ones - cry about the game being too static. Good tactics would not make the game more static, I think it would make it more dynamic.

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Unfortunately, the worst aspects of WoWS' map design are mostly concentrated in the high tier maps. IMHO the best maps in the game are ones with lots of little firing angles into the bigger "lanes" such as North and Estuary. Others like New Dawn and Ring are fun for the same reasons, brought about by having just the right amount of island density.

 

Therein lies what I personally think is the biggest contributor to the flaws of high tier maps: islands are either concentrated too close together with too much height, or not there at all, thus creating aforementioned Death Zones and archipelagos of safety that force stalemates until one team messes up, after which follows a total landslide.

 

Here is a list of all the maps with their names as a convenience for anyone who wants to add something to this thread, I needed to have the page open while writing this to have any idea what the maps were called :Smile_great:

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I agree with the general sentiment and also with the fact the worst map design is at high tier. I think making maps more closed up with choke points just as all ships get longer ranged, more accurate and more sluggish is a recipe for passive play as nobody wants to take risks. It might be "tactical" if you're really good at the game but it's also incredibly static.

 

As for spreading out, I actually like this especially as a cruiser main in a BB meta. I think the inherent problems of balancing across ship types can be solved by giving each space to fulfil their role. The difference between playing a cruiser at T6/7 and T9/10 is that in the former case you can get places most BBs can't quickly reach, or if they choose to they can't effectively cover anywhere else; while in the latter BBs are both fast enough to get where you are and the maps are open enough for you to get clobbered from unexpected angles.

 

This is why Two Brothers is one of my favourite maps. Just enough islands to cover approaches and tactical manoeuvres but not enough to block retreat options, and a forced fleet split that defines the flow of the battle and means each side can have a manageable engagement without overwhelming crossfire.

 

I think we're largely agreed on island placement. A smaller number of medium sized islands is generally better, with enough gaps between to move and shoot freely. Death trap zones or "shooting galleries" are very dumb in my opinion. My other pet hate is stalemate caps, either those so big DDs can sit unspotted on opposite sides or ones with a big island in the middle. It just brings the flow of the game crashing to a halt. I think the island design needs to create decision points upon meeting the enemy but the options should be "engage/push" or "retreat/kite" not "stop and do nothing". It's too easy to do the latter on many high tier maps.

 

On spawns, if anything I would prefer a tightly grouped spawn but widely spread caps. That actually means your game plan isn't decided by your spawn position but fast ships can run off and use their speed for the good of the team and engage in fair skirmishes without being slapped by their bigger counter-class. I think that creates tactical trade-offs and more logical use of light forces that are balanced around speed and stealth.

 

I think smashing all ships together into a single big brawl is not desirable but I also agree with the above that this is what WG actually wants to do to make sure the game provides easy, flashy and mindless entertainment. So in some sense yes, elements of the "bad" map design are deliberate. I do think though Naval combat should be about vying for position, holding or contesting sea lanes. There needs to be more forced choice between going where you need to be and shooting what you want to shoot, not being able to do both by standing still. And for moving to gain an advantageous tactical position to matter more than holding position and waiting for enemy mistakes. This isn't wholly a map design issue though (removing bow tanking would solve most of the problem overnight but that's not a discussion for this thread).

 

I don't know how to make all that as intuitive to new players as it needs to be while being interesting and rewarding to veterans. I think what we need is more obvious instant objectives. Contesting a cap is un-intuitive because it only gives points slowly, only if fully taken, and it's very hard to make a tactical judgement on whether it's acceptable to let the enemy take a cap in exchange for e.g. a kill or two because the cap gives points potentially forever with no extra effort required.

 

Some ideas I've just had on caps to make them more intuitive and exciting:

 

- having more caps, but that can only be capped once each then they're gone and give a large but flat point score (e.g. 200); odd number and team who takes the most wins

 

- cap zones that don't need to get "capped" but rather just give you points if you're in them, per ship in the area, but stop as soon as you leave; instant obvious reward, no excuses like "but it's DD job to cap"

 

- defense points e.g. first ship from north team that spends more than 30 seconds south of row G gets 100 team points and vice-versa

 

- destroy or resupply objectives; what happened to forts?!

 

- a mix of domination and standard caps e.g. 4-cap diamond maps can have normal domination caps on the sides but the "base" cap for each team is still instant win/loss

 

Of course... WG probably think all that is too complex for the player base...

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44 minutes ago, VC381 said:

- cap zones that don't need to get "capped" but rather just give you points if you're in them, per ship in the area, but stop as soon as you leave; instant obvious reward, no excuses like "but it's DD job to cap"

 

That would be an interesting modification of Epicenter Mode. I think Epicenter is not a bad concept but needs suitable maps.

 

 

About team scattering: I don't want to have 12 vs. 12 ships within a 10 km frontline. It's more about spreading the team around two caps instead of three ones. What a team of decent players already does now.

 

Yes, many "flaws" of actual map design may be intentional, but some of them are counterproductive in any way I can think of, class separation for example. A map like "Mountain Range" where ship classes are supposed to go to their separate "playgrounds", is simply... stupid. How should a battleship push forward in open water if no DD or CA is covering it from torpedo threat? And why should any reasonable DD/CA driver go there to support his BB when he can be killed within seconds after being accidentically spotted?

 

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Yup, mountain range is an awful map for the reasons you state and the separate playground idea is dumb. I think island cover generally needs to be a bit more even across the map.

 

I see what you mean, I don't really like the maps with 3 or 4 caps across the middle. Diamond maps are nice but then I think the caps can be a bit further apart so they aren't so easily mutually covered. I think the way maps like that develop a clockwise or anticlockwise flow is also more intuitive for newbies and makes them less likely to put themselves in a useless place.

 

I still think you can get some nice gameplay mileage out of splitting the fleet in two though, and maps that support that. I like A cap on Fault Line for example, it's often a clean cruiser-DD contest because the BBs don't have line of fire and aren't fast enough to get there in time. C cap on that map though is horribly designed and B is just a deathtrap, so overall that's my least liked mid tier map.

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From T7 on the maps are getting really BAD. T7 maps are 50/50 very good ones and very bad ones...

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Let's take "Sleeping Giant", as it is the latest map in the game. The issues with this map are:

A) "Inside, no out" situation; destroyer deathtrap.

B) Death zone in map center; no cover for cruisers.

C) Battleship hiding places; too far back for cruisers.

D) Large landmasses block movement (1/5 of map width); encourages team scattering (western flank is highly separated).

E) Islands within caps affect DD-vs-DD interaction (spotting advance is nullified).

F) No cover for cruisers; enforces class separation (islands in cap are usable for destroyers only).

 

map-giant.jpg

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Oh yes, when I saw that map I didn't even need to play it to know it would be my number 1 most hated map. Awful design.

 

If they want to keep the general layout of the map, these are the changes I would like:

 

- move outer caps one square away from the centre

- make D islands smaller (partly solves problem A too)

- move C islands closer to caps (solves B)

- remove E islands except on the east, on that cap move them apart instead (solves F)

 

Do you agree @Oely001

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18 hours ago, VC381 said:

Do you agree @Oely001

 

That's how I would change this map (as I have described, I'm not a particular fan of caps widely spread over the map). The changes are not that big but significant in my opinion.

 

 

map-giant-oldnew.jpg

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I like sleeping giant map like it is, and i dont find A like a death trap for my dd when i go there, actually  i feel protected :)

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Mostly in line with my thinking, I would definitely prefer to play your version of the map than the current one :Smile_honoring:

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Sleeping Giant is a mess, but so is the cw version of mountain range. 

 

I think we need to seperate the discussion into random gameplay and competitive gameplay. 

 

I for one love islands of ice in both modes, but the problem arises when your typical cruiser and  bb idiot form a two man team to go die at A. The map is fine, but random lacks the coordination to play it well. 

 

Then there are crap shoots like Okinawa. A Z-52 might have a chance to cap A there, but only if the enemy has no ship that can come around the corner, pop radar and just ruin your day. Cruisers lack cover, bbs tend to get into wild cross fires due to the diagonal split of the map. 

 

Ocean: yay for dds and some bbs, hell for everyone else. 

 

North is good, though I hate the free caps they added (might have also been northern lights).

 

Hot Spot is great, although I feel A offers too much cover for dds and can lead to a cap blocking sitting strike.

 

Land of Fire is okay, the amount of cover at C is just tolerable. 

 

Trap is quite nice, I like it. 

 

Maps like Shatter and The Atlantic are horrible afaic. Way too large islands to shoot and bad arrangement of those which leads to a lot of unpredictable peek-a-boo situations. 

 

As I stated before: Sea of Fortune was the best cw map to exist so far because it offered a lot of valid options and tactics. No free caps, different rroutes to those etc.. It provided a great balance for all classes. 

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6 minutes ago, dCK_Ad_Hominem said:

I think we need to seperate the discussion into random gameplay and competitive gameplay. 

 

Yes, defenitely. However, Wargaming has shown some competence with changing maps only by relocating caps. Maps for competetive use only might be... strange.

 

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Quote


Status Quo

  •  

 

What is wrong with current map design? My answer is: It contradicts to fundamental parts of good tactics:

  • It encourages team scattering: Scattered spawns; caps at the very sides; landmasses which split the map into parts without a (realistic) possibility to move from one part to the other.
  • It encourages camping: Too much cover at back sides; many bottlenecks.
  • It offers inexperienced players many opportunities to move into positions where they are useless: Misplaced caps; "death zones" in map center (= all run to the sides); cover in least usable locations.
  • It does not improve class balance: Not enough cover for cruisers; too much cover for battleships; bad island design around caps.
  • It does not reward teamplay but enforces class Separation: Separate "playgrounds" for battleships, cruisers, and destroyers; lack of cover for cruisers at important positions.

 

  •  

The other side is lemming train, is it not? Caps at the other side (like in a line, I presume that is what you're referring to?) provides good gameplay I think in that each new game on this same map is more likely to be more different due to the usually 2 caps the teams decide (or 'decide') on capping at the start of the battle. So when team 1 goes for A and B and team 2 goes for C and D, the game will be totally different from when both teams decide to go for A and B. It also gives the opportunity for adventurers and risk takers to try and consider if they can take a cap uncontested, which imo adds diversity to gameplay and especially more to a particular type of player which I believe is a good thing for the game as a whole. 

And also having all maps with diamond shaped cap positionings will actually make the game more boring to play.

So frankly, I don't see the scattering effect of map design as a flaw.

 

How does it encourage camping? And how is this map design negatively influencing gameplay? The latter question is important as I believe some people will camp no matter how a map is designed, so changing map design might not even provoke a change in camping behavior.

 

It offers inexperienced players the opportunity to make mistakes and make them feel useless, which is I think a valuable part of the learning experience and it also adds to map playability diversity. In itself I don't see this as a flaw. Removing these opportunities is in my opinion a map design flaw, as this makes it too easy to over-engineer maps to force players to play in more particular gaming styles, kinda like WoT has done to its maps. Removing these possibilities will only make maps more boring and more similar to each other, which is actually a bad thing as this makes the map more boring.

 

"It does not improve class balance: Not enough cover for cruisers; too much cover for battleships; bad island design around caps."

Could you please clarify what you mean with this? How can for instance cover be insufficient for a cruiser but at the same time be too much for a BB?

 

To add a bit of my own input, I think that removing the positioning aspect of WoWS will be a grave mistake, it will make WoWS more a brawling game. I think that planning ahead and thinking in advance what cover to use and what escape routes to maybe have to use is too important to remove for the sake of improving map design in  ways that are in my opinion questionable when it comes to the effectiveness of these suggested map design changes on gameplay quality. A couple maps with caps that are a bit more isolated provide more diverse gaming experiences and a cap that is a bit more isolated by islands can provide a bit more tactical diversity, as it is easier to secure a flank.

 

To me, diversity is very important.

 

I think that doing what you suggest here is partially actually creating map design flaws instead of fixing these. If one wants brawling maps, go play WoT.

 

Btw, I also believe that having maps that are designed in a bit more random or natural way will also be a good thing. Having maps that are way different is a good thing. Even particular maps that somewhat favor one class and the next map slightly favors another class is a good thing. It makes one try to think more creatively when things get more challenging.

 

edit:

Quote

Islands within caps affect DD-vs-DD interaction (spotting advance is nullified).

Frankly, I think having some caps with some islands within a cap is actually good map design. It adds to diversity and adds extra challenges to cap contestion.

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On 25-4-2018 at 12:54 AM, Zapata82 said:

From T7 on the maps are getting really BAD. T7 maps are 50/50 very good ones and very bad ones...

Could you perhaps make a list of which maps you perceive as really good and which ones as really bad? I'd be interested in learning what you mean by this. Somehow I like the lower tier maps a bit more overall, they seem to be more unique.

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On 23-4-2018 at 9:17 PM, FishDogFoodShack said:

Unfortunately, the worst aspects of WoWS' map design are mostly concentrated in the high tier maps. IMHO the best maps in the game are ones with lots of little firing angles into the bigger "lanes" such as North and Estuary. Others like New Dawn and Ring are fun for the same reasons, brought about by having just the right amount of island density.

 

Therein lies what I personally think is the biggest contributor to the flaws of high tier maps: islands are either concentrated too close together with too much height, or not there at all, thus creating aforementioned Death Zones and archipelagos of safety that force stalemates until one team messes up, after which follows a total landslide.

 

Here is a list of all the maps with their names as a convenience for anyone who wants to add something to this thread, I needed to have the page open while writing this to have any idea what the maps were called :Smile_great:

North

160px-North.png

 

Estuary

160px-Estuary.png

 

New Dawn

160px-New_Dawn.png

 

Ring

160px-Ring.png

 

These are some of my more favorite maps as well :Smile_great:

 

Some others I like are maps like Strait

160px-Strait.png

 

Big Race

160px-Big_Race.png

 

Solomon Islands

160px-Solomon_Islands.png

 

Shards

160px-Shards.png

 

Haven

160px-Haven.png

 

Fault Line

160px-Fault_Line.png

 

and interesting maps include maps like 2 Brothers (the center channel is legendary, come on), Trap, Warrior's Path (mostly due to the cap placement), Shatter and Okinawa (though basically because of the northeastern cap and how the islands are layed out, the rest of the map is utterly uninteresting).

 

Hotspot is definitely one of the maps where I can play any class, I tend to like it but I have some issues with spawn placement.

Land of Fire I don't like when playing cruiser, especially from south spawn. The islands are too high to shoot over and the map is a bit too open for cruisers in my opinion.

Trident has a few islands low enough for shooting over with at least Atlanta, but generally speaking I prefer spawning in north spawn due to having at least 1 good low enough island. I don't like this map much when playing cruiser.

 

And I think Ocean should stay as a map in rotation no matter what.

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19 minutes ago, NothingButTheRain said:
 

How can cover be insufficient for a cruiser but at the same time be too much for a BB?

Because the classes benefit from cover of different density and distance from the cap. If a cruiser has to go past the island line to get to the range it needs to be at to be useful, it then has zero cover when it gets spotted and likely has retreat blocked too. But a BB could use cover at that kind of range to remain unspotted until it decides to go for that now coverless cruiser.

 

Do you consider it good map design when there are areas you have to enter if you want to win, but where you can be easily shot from multiple directions with no way out?

 

I agree with not wanting a brawl, but actually we already have maps that funnel and encourage just that. That's really what I want to see changed. I am also with you that some opportunity for splitting caters for fast ships or sneaky players to do something individual. That I'm happy with. If anything though the trade-off of not being with your team is generally not worth it. The maps are designed so if you go solo a distant cap the game's lost by the time you do it and come back.

 

Just for the record (I know that question wasn't aimed directly at me).

 

Best maps:

- Estuary

- Trident

- Two Brothers

 

Worst maps:

- Sleeping giant

- Shatter

- Mountain range

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@NothingButTheRain: Thank you for your long reply. I will try to explain what I meant with some phrases.

 

One major point is: what is the purpose of caps? Are they to create a second victory condition (and adding a lot of tactical depth), or are they simply to make the teams move? I say the second reason is by far the more important one, and for this even one single cap is enough.

 

There is something between "team scattering" and "lemming train". Maps like "Two Brothers" show that two viable alternatives to go per team is already enough to get diversity. Do you get more diversity if your team goes to one cap and the other team to another cap? This game is about fighting other ships, not about running over the map and seizing empty caps.

 

"Team scattering" is when ships separate so much that they cannot help each other anymore. One central concept of WoWs is that there are separate ship classes which complement one another, and team scattering conflicts with this very central concept. One major problem with class balance is that Wargaming tries to make ships - especially battleships - more independened because team scattering is already so prevalent. This lead into BB dominance. If minimum group size is about 3-4 ships, then four caps on the map are too much, even three are dangerous (imagine your team only has two destroyers). Do you get more diversity if a part of the team trys to contest a cap without DD support? In fact they often will not contest the cap at all; what you get is lottery about where the enemy DDs go.

 

And that is where we get camping. The lack of support make ships camp. Lack of support comes from team scattering (see above) and class separation (mostly from lack of cover cruisers can utilize). And most inexperienced players have problems to stay alive; they will avoid big open areas where they cannot escape into cover. So placing islands has tremendous effect on player behavior. Look at "Shards": Players tend to run to the most useless places (behind islands around A and C) because they desperately look for cover.

 

Learning experience is important, but you must not make steps too big. As I said, many new players have difficulty with staying alive, because they lack map awarness and they don't know damage mechanics. If you increase difficulty too fast, people will do the best they can and start camping and hiding. And with this their learning experience stops. In WoWs gameplay changes drastically between tiers VI and VIII, and wide open maps are one part of this change. And every new player has big difficulty to adapt to this hightier gameplay. It's not about making the art of positioning useless but about making it a bit easier. This is not about brawling, not at all.

 

Creating more natural maps: That sounds nice, but it doesn't work. You can start with a natural design, but you must "engineer" the map so it works properly. I do not need maps that favour one team or one ship class, because this replaces skill with luck. Do you want maps where you know the battle result before the battle starts? Do you want maps where you know from the very beginning that your influence on the result will probably be small to nonexistent? This is neither creative nor challenging.

 

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Actually, "Shards" is a good example that sometimes less is more. Map designers should consider impact of every island they place on the map.

 

map-shards-oldnew.jpg

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On 23/4/2018 at 7:16 PM, KarmaQU_EU said:

WG maps are working as intended. They are not supposed to be perfect but work to funnel ships into risky micro-theatres where the outcome is the ships will see tedious, pressuring action and some will get sunk due to the risky placement of rocks and caps. This is intended: WG wants the bloodbath to happen and to push ships together into meatgrinders, not create a map where ships strategically place themselves in optimal positions akin to chess pieces on a chessboard. The frustration and pressure is meant to "entertain" players and make them want to buy better ships or cough up money.

 

A lot of your arguments are thus superficial and are actually what WG purposefully intends instead of mistakenly bad design. They do want to encourage jumpscares and cheap tactless "hide-and-seek around the rock" thrills after all.

 

What I had in mind was rather WoWs maps are un-immersive and too obviously engineered. But without requiring major philosophy change in WG's map design, examples of more creative ideas could be shallows and sandbanks where only DDs and lighter draft ships could effectively cross.

 

^This

Want to add that bad game features/mechanics requires maps designed to hide those defects.

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On 25.4.2018 at 12:58 PM, Oely001 said:

Let's take "Sleeping Giant", as it is the latest map in the game. The issues with this map are:

A) "Inside, no out" situation; destroyer deathtrap.

B) Death zone in map center; no cover for cruisers.

C) Battleship hiding places; too far back for cruisers.

D) Large landmasses block movement (1/5 of map width); encourages team scattering (western flank is highly separated).

E) Islands within caps affect DD-vs-DD interaction (spotting advance is nullified).

F) No cover for cruisers; enforces class separation (islands in cap are usable for destroyers only).

 

map-giant.jpg

If I may I would like to simple give another point of view. As reference, right atm I am a warlead of HAMI, a clan which gets to Hurricane and plays amongst Top 10 each season. Since this is a huge topic, I don't want to tell what I am expecting of map, or how I would improve it. I did never ask myself the question, or to compare desings. All I did was just to analyse a given map. And there, as for random plays, as for competitive, I completely disagree with you about this map. There are ofc issues with other maps, Okinawa is my worst pick (even worse than Ocean!) but this one is competely fine. And by given you my arguments I would just state the point, how hard it is to discuss such things, given that even doing all the hard work you did, you still might be wrong about it.

Let's focus on random gaming only, since that is what matters more for the playerbase. So if I am a random scrub, my interest would be to have the ability to play my ship to it's strenght. Basically I don't want to be punished by the map itself. I will do only T10 ships on the south side to represent the line if it's fine for you.
-Des Moines/ Worcester.Great island Cover between B&C. You can radar both caps. Also left side of A cap has some cover. Great!
-Zao great sneaking/kiting options in the open at 1/10 line. Just imagine the new incoming 12km torps!
-Hindenburg. You can smap HE from south of C island. You can stay mid and have cover from north. You can push 1-2 line and be completely safe from BC side. Many options, easy adaptable on the gameflow. 
-Moskva. All you need are good 'corridor' shooting positions. Left, right side of A cap; south of C has islands that can cover your side. You can push covered C Cap, maybe B cap (protected from C side). 10 line, 1 line. Radar is really useful, you got cover.
-Henry, need space and big maps. C cap has it all. Or just slip through 1 line to their backs (same thing for khabarovsk)
-Minotaur. A cap is just perfect for you. Noone can get it unnoticed, you got torps and you are mostly safe from long range sniping. Also many islands in C. 
Cruisers are fine. DDs:
shima needs space and option to torp bbs. You can do it through B, 1-2 line. 10 line. 
Z needs to have solo fights and use it's radar. A cap, B cap and C cap. C cap has islands, B cap is hard to contest, and A cap is usually just a solo fight.
Gearing/Yueyang, something in between all of them. You got in general options to fast switch flanks (A->B->C), you cannot be surprised by a ship, and you can contest C even if you are radared! While B is just a tricky cap, and A is safe from the outside.

BBs- many options, Crossflaking is there, Islands to camp from (sometimes you need it even as BB) are there, there is place for stationary ships and Republique (later one should push 2 line)

And finally Strategy- I see more than 1 possible. What most of us will face is many, many ships going C. Becsue it is safe, has cover and seemingly C has more impact. So you focus like 8 guys to C, rest eiutehr defend/contest B or try to go/flank A. That is what you usually see in randoms. Stalemate fight in C and some action on the other flank. I also like, to spice up things, to go C though the middle as Des Moines. Ask for smoke, pop radar, punish dds trying to cap it without a good teammate like I am, and running off to C through the gaps. Most of the times BBs cannot even shot me since noone positions himself to prevent my move, in which case I may call it abuse of strategical skills, which the map has the ability to provide you. But also there might be a 2nd tactic. Send only 4-5 ships to C, to stall them, give them the cap if needed, and just kite/defend their push there. While on the other side with superior force  you win BC (since B is jsut a matter of force rather than positioning), and then their C force is isolated, because of these islands. And you can guaranteee to keep the A cap as long as you keep supporting it (don't let a cruiser get into it by leaving the entrance). Also dds should not sit there forever fyi, but get out the first moment it is safe to move. And even if I would tell north side to go for BC, and south side to go for AB, simply because it is randoms and not competitive, I cannot be sure later one wins. Actually the former one should be easier to do. And jsut by that, it is a strategical risk for me as an experienced player to decide, should I go A or C at the start in a ship that can do both sides (e.g. Zao). And therefore the map is perfect as it is, each ship has a role, each player is not handicapped, and there are many 'right' solutions how to play it. 

I sadly cannot do such analysis for every map, but this should show you a different view to your perspective. Btw I don't like at your suggestion for the mpa that C is a death trap then. Noone can cap it as long as radars are there. Just a hell for dds.  

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9 hours ago, DataDemon said:

What most of us will face is many, many ships going C. Becsue it is safe, has cover and seemingly C has more impact. So you focus like 8 guys to C, rest eiutehr defend/contest B or try to go/flank A. That is what you usually see in randoms. Stalemate fight in C and some action on the other flank.

 

You see the discussion from a high-level perspective. Good players can adapt to most maps. My issue is more about the average player. Map design does not change the playerbase, but it has a lot of influence how people play. And if gameplay on one map is most often like "lemming train into the off", then the map has bad design. Period. Because there are maps on which this happens a lot less often.

 

About Radar and island cover at C: I never became a DD pro, but I consider hiding behind an island to survive Radar not a desireable gameplay. Your perspective might be too much influenced from clanbattles. For me Radar is/should be more some item to keep a cap open than to kill a DD. Islands close to the cap give DDs the opportunity to run into cover, while islands inside a cap is most often a "run fast, sit and hide" play.

 

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