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Pill_

The need for new maps into the competitive pool

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Posted (edited)

In my eyes, the main thing Reflex offers over any other AFPS is the promise of new maps, because new maps allow the new players to catch up. If you want evidence for that theory, look no further than The Catalyst. It might be hard to imagine these days, but back when THCT7 was released, it was the go-to map for up-and-coming players. Almost everybody who rapes you on T7 these days used the map as their opportunity to get good.

Without new maps, the influx of new players into the higher tiers becomes near non-existent. The only ones who can pull it off are the people who are extremely dedicated and willing to spend a frankly unhealthy amount of hours on the game. When that happens, the game has started dying. Most new players will give up and the experienced players will get bored and both will go on and look for different challenges. We're already at this point in Reflex. Everybody who's part of the 'top,' has been part of it for well over a year. If we want the game to sustain itself, we need to give hungry players a viable way to climb the ladder and in my eyes there's no better way than new maps. We need to stimulate map making and playtesting as much as possible.

Right now, we're at arguably the worst possible time for map makers. The vast majority of games is played through Quick Play with its set map pool. There's no logical road to getting your map into said pool and when it somehow does get in, people are guaranteed to shit all over it because it hasn't been tested enough. Why make a map when nobody will ever play it? We need to create a viable method to get a map into the competitive pool and an easy way to gather feedback.  Personally I believe that every season at least one map should be swapped out for a new one, but how do you go about selecting which new map?

I've come up with two ideas so far:

  1. A map testing quick play queue. Map makers can submit their maps and players who are so inclined can test and rate these maps. Maybe add some rewards you can only get from the test queue to give players an extra incentive.
  2. When the regular quick play queue gives you a game, every once in awhile it asks if you'd be ok with testing a new map without any consequences to your rating. If both players agree, you go over to the new map, else you just go to the regular pick drop screen.

 

Let me end this post with a small reminder. Way back when Reflex was still in closed alpha the defining feature was the map editor. That's what people got most hyped about, the prospect of new maps. Right now the editor is just a cool gimmick gathering dust.

Edited by Pill_

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Designing even a decent duel map is one of those things, you don't know how hard it is until you try it.

Whatever the case may be, it's pretty disheartening putting 200 hours into creating a duel map, for people to dismiss it instantly & pretty much never play it.

IMO there needs to be some kind of a massive knowledge dump on HOW to actually DESIGN a proper duel map.

Also guys, if someone asks you for feedback THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY. Just saying "map is shit" is no help atall.

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Posted (edited)

Great post, @Pill_. Spot on regarding there not being any means to elevate new/developing maps.

I would happily throw $100 donation toward a new map tournament. Just FYI. :D

20 minutes ago, Joe said:

Whatever the case may be, it's pretty disheartening putting 200 hours into creating a duel map, for people to dismiss it instantly & pretty much never play it.

Yep. This. I know that feel. 

Also, regarding map making, it always seemed really daunting to me to make a map. I dabbled in GTK Radiant for some CPM maps and read all the guides, always thinking about what type of duel map I would make. But it never seemed to go anywhere. Reflex's in-game map editor really is one of the greatest features of the game -- it makes it not only a lot more approachable, you've got the ability to instantly playtest a map which is invaluable. 

In my experience, it seems to me that making a race map is really a very great way to get into map making. This teaches you how to use the map editor, the racing community is always playing new maps (which makes one feel good that they can see people playing/enjoying their map), and also it's kinda hard to screw up a race map. You have to be pretty deliberate to make a race map that's either not possible or not fun (basically, the movement system is so fun by itself, it makes almost any map fun to race around on).

Edited by lolograde
Joe, AwesomeAndy, Greed and 4 others like this

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Great post @Pill_, you're spot on. With the release date now announced, I think this would be a good time for an official map making competition to be honest, just like the one for the 2v2 map. It could be held over the first competitive season and the winner could be introduced for season two. Both of your suggested methods seem viable; the second one is most attractive to me I think. Maps will always be available through the Workshop so people could test them in ad hoc games as well.

Let's get some positive exposure for the map editor. I'd like to hear from the devs about this as this is a critical point for the health of the game I think.

Greed, /fragile, lolograde and 1 other like this

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100% agree. Fuck it, throw a few new/less played maps straight into comp duel. The variety alone is worth it for well made and good looking maps. Implement a system that dictates only 1 of the 3 vote options is an experimental map. With our veto system the complainers literally never have to play those maps. Giving new players plenty of options WILL keep people playing longer.

Side note, I would be happy to help by casting a new map cup. If anyone decides to step up contact me!

furyaxsfigkjhn, Grybzt and Jaguar like this

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I agree, I also think there should be a map rotation once every few months, where one or two (already tested) new maps replace a current map or two. This would help create a road for getting a new map into quick play, and it can prevent the game getting stale.

furyaxsfigkjhn likes this

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I totally agree with you pill, and while I can see the counterpoint of "reflex dun have gud maps lul" and maps need to be properly tested and balanced etc, playing The Catalyst / Pocket Infinity / Furnace forever gets pretty stale... Atleast for me. Tho I know many people would prefer to grind those maps to perfection, the balance "upsets" on new maps is a refreshing change IMO. And if you are a good player shouldn't learning maps be a skill in itself, or easy enough to not be a problem? 

I dunno, I respect peoples wishes to not get fucked over in MM by untested maps, but do people really need 2 years to perfect their playing on one map? And while Sanctum is a "controversial" map just added to the pool, it seems pretty love/hate (like most maps apart from the golden 3) and people have learned it, noobs have a map that's not been played 50.000 times by vets to see improvements in their play.

Also people need to whine less about maps in general, apart from the top 10 players not many people can really abuse maps to a degree that it's broken. 

 

sorry for rambly rant - I'm all for new maps and tired (but with the upmost respect that the maps are good) of the golden 3..

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Posted (edited)

A good way to not discourage mappers would maybe be to not endorse publicly mappers or maps that only focus on artwork. As a competitive player, there is nothing more infuriating than seing the devs adding maps officially to the map pool just because it has pretty meshes and the mapper has apparently spent alot of time on it. Sanctum was never play tested for a long period, was never in any tournament but it got added straight away just because it was a promeus map and looked "good".
 

If I was a serious mapper that wanted to produce a good 1v1 map, I'd be pretty pissed about maps being arbitrarily added in the mm map pool and could just take the easy route on by working on art rather than proposing very solid gameplay in my map. 

Map making is not about the facade, if your map looks good but plays badly, it'll maybe be added in the match making pool if you make it shiny enough so the devs notice, it won't be however in any serious tournament or competition.
 

If your map is good, it'll get played, if it isn't it won't, it's as simple as that, people still wonder why The Catalyst is the most played map in match making (check the replays), very simple explanation, it's the most balanced map currently in the game, people might not agree with that statement but it's the objective truth.

 

Nobody is forcing people to play The Catalyst more than 421, certainely not the 10 people that make up the "top players".

Shoving new maps down our throat in the mm competitive pool without a vetting process is not the right way to get them approved and is counter productive for the mapper. 

 

Also, I do agree that new maps can make it easier for some players to catch up, you'll have to invest alot of time anyways if you want to get to the top, regardless of the maps currently being played, it's not like it makes a difference, don't be delluded into thinking that new maps will magically make you catch up faster or even get to the top, it takes alot more than new maps being played.

 

tldr : don't add maps just because they look pretty or because it's made by this mapper.  Work on gameplay, not art. Don't shove maps down our throats.

Edited by Ramagan
Kyto, Username, w96k and 8 others like this

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What happened to

If I remember clearly enough there was web-site with list of maps and some criteria like armours, spawns, weapons placement, tricks, movement flow ect.

w96k likes this

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I think we should always have 1 new map in the pool. If it gets voted and played, people should have to leave a short feedback comment and rate multiple criterias.

Sharqosity likes this

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Don't think i completely agree here. New maps? Uhm... sure. AS LONG AS THEY ARE GOOD. Rama made some good points. New maps for the sake of adding new maps is stupid, as proven by 421 and Sanctum.

Adding new maps to "even out the field" seems odd to me as well. I'd much rather give the people putting in hours after hours an edge rather then "randomizing" results just for the sake of it and so people can feel good about themselves. In the end getting good in something requires dedication. Don't take that away from people. And also....ideally thanks to MM it shouldn't matter how much experience someone has on a map.

In the end one factor that's somewhat "big" in a competitive activity is: consistency. Don't take that way.

It's not like new maps will bring in more players anyways.

 

Regards

 

(tbh i think the only people that care about new maps are veterans....)

Furioness and seekax like this

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Bring probably not, but keep, rather possible.
I personally don't mind having a consistent mappool with sparse modifications to it, however I know there is much to understand and appreciate after the exploration phase is over. I get the argument that without some novelty, randos will just quit the game due to lack of stimulants, but, as proven by certain unnamed games, you don't need thousands of players to keep playing a game and enjoy it. There will also always be some outcasts that will want to try and push forward, eventually posing a challenge and sticking around. Just see past the esports bullshit.

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On 3/3/2017 at 0:17 AM, Ramagan said:

If your map is good, it'll get played, if it isn't it won't, it's as simple as that,

im sure theres plenty good maps that havent gotten the playtime/testing they deserve to perfect them. simply expecting a map to go from concept to final without a significant play testing phase isnt very realistic. catalyst underwent some pretty significant layout and item placement changes before it go to its 'perfectly balanced' form (a ridiculously contentious assertion that im not going to argue with here...). providing an avenue for this playtesting to happen for a pool of promising layouts is a good idea and will lead to more great maps like the catalyst in reflex.

pill is also correct in stating that a map knowledge advantage can certainly help you defeat higher skill players, its not the be all end all and the advantage generally fades after a few games, but its certainly something that happens. it is also a bit of a double edged sword though, as more skilled players will resent being beaten by what they deem to be their own lack of knowledge or experience on a map and might become demotivated to continue playing.

still definately worth doing though.

ketku, Jaguar, Joe and 2 others like this

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Hey folks. I'm bumping this thread because 1) I recently made this post about potential new duel maps that need playtesting:

and 2) @Ramagan just mentioned this thread in his post game interview in the dp5 cup (woo!) and how @Pill_'s idea of a second map pool for playtesting maps is agood one, which I agree with. During the cup just now I suggested some kind of incentive to get players to playtest new maps such as awarding competitive points (capped in some way) and/or cosmetic items. I think an incentive needs to be in place, and the system needs to be official and integrated into the game. Playtesting maps would of course be unranked. How else could people be rewarded for taking the time to playtest the maps. Maybe voting for maps could be tied to steam accounts, or some sort of ingame feedback to go to the mapmakers, but hopefully players would simply go to the forums and leave feedback after playing the maps for a while. In theory...

So yeah, bumping this thread, because new maps breathe new life into the game, make it easier for new players to 'catch up' as it levels the playing field a bit, etc.
 

Greed and w96k like this

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howdy rowdies, GREAT TOPIC! @Pill_

now, i wanna take the chance to call for a collaborating and productive spirit for map making in reflex!

we (the map artists) are effectively a part of the developer team! we do this for the game and the players! :thumbsup:

creating maps is not working without the players to do the testing and giving profound and comprehensive feedback.

this process is very complicated and time consuming, though. map artists are biased from the first room and won't be able to judge objectively.

players aren't objective either, because some like red armor spots like on Aerowalk or Quickfire, others hate them.

same for overall concepts, nice angles or bad angles, easy trickjumps or hard ones and even item distribution and balance.

giving useful feedback is pretty demanding and many players have problems in expressing their opinion or do it without playing the map for a few times.

to sort all this into a long lasting quality map project, "bigger" game titles usually have a producer (among others) for handling the mapping resources.

for reflex, it is (mostly) mappers helping mappers in my experience. but i believe that the responsibility for quality control on new maps is in the hands of those

with the most ingame experience.

|    in 2002, Uncle Ben said:

|    Remember...with great power comes great responsibility!

therefor i think it is a must that the top 10% of the players (or some representing committee) goes through new map uploads and supports potential candidates.

this support is best done by sharing opinions and theory about the concept of a map, playtesting, discussing and reviewing the map until it is ready for an artpass.

yeh, actually hard work! :)

yet and still, players from all skill levels should approach the map architects and share their opinion so we get most of all the human resources.

there is already a whole lot of great maps with great design that would work for MM pools from my perspective. reviewing and adjusting those (if needed) might reveal some forgotten jewels!

maps are probably the most controversial subject in this game and there won't be a map that suits everyone!

but with all this potential we can definitely exceed existing and upcoming arena fps competitors in terms of quality, diversity and longevity!

cheers

LoNeZiLLa, lolograde, king and 2 others like this

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