- Nov 9, 2006
Melee Map - Do's and Dont's
This thread will be more of an ongoing project to document things i find good and bad about melee maps. It's pretty loosely written and i try to state areas that i feel are more subjective. This is to help other melee map creators not to fall into certain traps and give inspiration in some areas as well. It will cover common things as well as more subtle details i want people to notice.
I'll use some of the maps in the current ladder pool. Some of these maps are made by people from Hive so it may seem like harsh critisism, but they are played competitively on Bnet so i feel like they deserve every right to be reviewed under scrutiny.
This map is currently in the WC3 ladder pool as of 20.04.19.
It's a map i really hate because it's missing a lot of quality of life changes, that i'm not sure if the author or blizzard is to blame for.
This is something you should do with every single creep camp in your map. Drop 12 knights on the map and make them run past the camp. Because of their speed you can test it quickly, because of their collision size the pathfinding is extrapolated and extra bad. If the path they're walking is diagonal the pathfinding will be even worse because of how it's calculated and executed.
When making AOW spots make sure there is clean access to trees. Give enough buildable ground so there is room for error when you try to build AOW. Ladder players are already stressed out, so make things easy for them. As you can see build it requires precision, when you ideally want to just throw these AOWS down fast. Give more buildable pathing here. Theres also a problem with not having equal opportunities. Since this is a chokepoint, trying to scout with a wisp would be invaluable here.
When making a map you really want to avoid 1x1 (16) paths. Especially when it comes to trees and doodads. Since it creates an unequal opportunity to flee away from units that can't pass. However in this picture it's actually ok and could create for some interesting situations where a player tries to save his units by placing them behind the hut. Since the hut can be destroyed it's fair. I'd rather call it an interesting quirk. Don't add a ton of quirks to your map though.
After you've placed all the doodads on the map, check pathing on the map. Don't leave dead space hanging in crowded doodad areas like this. Now this usually won't do any harm since only casters, footman can be dropped in 1x1 tiles. It can be abused with sentry wards though, making the wards inaccessible to get rid of with melee units. Your map should be consistent with what is displayed visually, a mass of rocks - in the players mind units aren't supposed to fit there, so why can they? Use pathing blockers to fill the empty gaps. Too many maps in the ladder pool are lazy about it. Lets settle for quality please.
Heres an example of something that can happen ingame if you don't fill these spots.
The picture was taken from a reddit thread:
Keep in mind this is a Blizzard map on ladder, the quality of these maps are absurdly bad.
Heres another aggro related problem. When you send your units across the map you should be expected that they won't aggro, but on this map they do. In fact this is why the map is so awful to play on. DK runs into 2 camps that will aggro on his way. The gold mine should be set to camp or further back. The Goblin Lab. camp should be placed further back and be more closed off. There are exceptions to the rule which i'll get into later.
This is one thing that grinds my gears ingame. Single small tiles of rocks that obstruct pathing. It can be hard to tell where you can build ingame. These decision makings should be made in miliseconds. If something obscurs that decision, such as a single tile, bone doodads, etc then this will frustrate the player. So if you want an area to remain unbuildable make it abundantly clear to the player. I'll first show you how not to do it and then how to do it.
This is like a small quality of life thing. Whenever your map allows it, mechanically or aestethically, please add a tree by the Tavern. Overall tavern hero players have to do less clicks. And the less actions required to do a job the better!
While you're at it, add a buildable spot for humans to build a farm. It's the small things in life!
The Howling Pass
This is my own map, but i have some ideas worth sharing.
This is one of the things i like to do with my maps. Streamline everything when you can. If somebody asks me where the AOW spots are in my map i tell them to look for the flowers. The flowers usually stand out by color are therefore great for indicating something through visuals only.
For example heres an AOW spot:
Heres a more subtle approach. The info the flowers give is less important, so i didn't use as such strong color. Since if anybody wants to creep this red camp they probably don't care that much about aggro range:
Here i use terrain only, in the form of rough dirt to show whats buildable or not. As you can see i've left a large area blank with dirt and i've use rough dirt where the buildable pathing meets the water. Ingame you probably won't even notice, until you actually want to build there and then it helps a lot.
The Concealed Hill
If the map concept wasn't obvious enough, the concept of the map is actually that the hill is not defined and actually hidden. Now i personally believe this is a flawed concept from the begining and i'll explain why. Entering high ground with no vision is one of the deadliest things you can do. The enemy gains both reaction time advantage and uphill advantage - where the low ground player has 25% miss chance attacking someonone higher. Not to mention the high ground player might have hidden extra surprises where the low player cannot see.
So obviously knowing where the hill starts and stops is important. But the cliff is hidden and not defined so you don't. The only way to find out is to actually open the editor or look at the subtle signs in the doodads. To make matters worse the cliff has a variating shape, it's not just straight.
So my advice is, be transparent with the game mechanics. Don't obscure the hill edges or any other important visual cues that indicate that there is a hill. Players need to understand on an intuitive level that they're entering a dangerous area.
I really really don't like this map and i'll try and explain why. This is more of an opinion piece so take this with a grain of salt.
When making a map you should really ask yourself. Is this map too open or too closed. I like to think a map should have a variating of both spread around the map. But lets look at this map, it's just really open. Nothing is closed off.
There are 2 main traits with this map and that is that it's very small, fast to rush and have large spaces which makes mobility units very strong since they have space to move. Generally having lots of space means freedom and freedom of movement. That in turn means more possibilities and more possibilities i consider more fun.
The detriment to a map that is exclusively open is that there aren't any strategic vantage points. There are no chokepoints where you can defend with your 10 archers against a 100 man army of footman. You can't flank either since visibility is very open. Information is given too easily with vision. So it's like playing with your cards folded for your opponent to see. I feel like a map should be planned around having fun fights in certain areas. On this map the fights can occur anywhere and they play almost identical. So to make maps fun i feel its essentiel to have the terrain impact how fights occur, through tree formations, high advantage or formations of doodads.
On this particular map this is sort of a non-issue, but it has the potential to become an issue. If the peasants start chopping the wood and you let them run for some time by themselves they will eventually aggro the nearby camp. I feel like this is minor detail that should be fixed on all maps.
Heres a way you can fix it. When all the trees are chopped the workers will meet a wall of obstacles that prevent further blocking. The player will suddenly notice a bunch of idle workers and redirect them to work on a different place to farm wood. More clicks required, but at least the player didn't lose peasants to aggro.
By: Blizzard Entertainment
This map is actually pretty good and plays out in way separate from most maps. I haven't found much fault with it really.
This is not an error specific to this map, but a lot of maps. Particulary bad ones. When you make a creep camp, give the player two if not more escape routes. Otherwise players simply won't do the creep camp because it's too risky. If they do it and get attacked while doing it there are three outcomes: TP, they fight back or GG. It makes for very anti-climatic games, which in turn means less fun.
This is an abstract concept, but when you design a map, try to add seemingly meaningless pockets. Players will probably ignore it 99% of all games. However its packed with potential if you look at it from a creative perspective. That 1% of the time when it's actually used, it will be so worth it.
Heres some ideas:
-You can hide mortars there and launch at the gold mine.
-You can hide your units there in the treeline away from sight.
These areas are also great excuses to make the map prettier without obstructing gameplay.