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Night Stream

Submitted by INSEKT
This bundle is marked as approved. It works and satisfies the submission rules.
Night Stream
v1.5

Story & general info

[​IMG] The mysterious Night Stream located in the elven forest has been finally found. Learn all its secrets before your opponent does.

***

Small map with resources lower than usually, which aims for shorter, more intense matchups rather than longer ones. I decided to use Ashenvale to avoid boring Lordaeron Summer tileset. At the same time I tried to keep balance similar to LS maps (no Ashenvale Mercenary Camp, irritating creeps like Satyr Soulstealer with his Mana Burn etc.).

From gameplay side I tried to mix as much as I can of Golden Rules (middle tavern, expansion closer to maninbase than enemy base, balanced creeps with reasonable creeping routes, balanced neutral buildings, dense trees in bases etc.) with some unusual solutions. Solutions that are optional to use rather than must-have. For more details please read below.


Map specification

[​IMG] Players 2
[​IMG] Creep Camps 6 green, 12 orange, 2 red
[​IMG] Taverns 1
[​IMG] Goblin Merchant 2
[​IMG] Goblin Laboratory 2
[​IMG] Mercenary Camp 2
[​IMG] Portal 2
[​IMG] Gold Mines 6 (2 x 12500, 4 x 10000)

  1. Playable area is 100% symetrical. That means both players have exactly the same distance to every object on the map, same free space near mainbase and expansions, same amount of trees, same placing of critters and pathing blockers etc.
    Fair positions

    [​IMG]
  2. Mix of open areas and choke points. Players can force fights in different places based on their race, tactic and preferences.
  3. Creeps. I used themed Ashenvale units, but rejected unbalanced, irritating ones. Almost every green or orange camp has only one ability, that can cause trouble (poison, ensnare etc.) to avoid combos like ensnare+sleep from Ashenvale trolls (vs. Blademaster for example). This rule does not apply to red camps. Red is red, red is bad.
    Potential creeping routes

    [​IMG]
  4. Mercenary Camps from Lordaeron Summer for balance purposes.
Map details and explanations

As I said before, I tried to achieve mix of classic gameplay with solutions, which must can bring new possibilities to beat opponent. Here are some explanations why I created things in this way or another, plus a bit of theorycrafting:
  1. Two different expansions to choose. Every player has access to two expansions, which are placed in similar distance from main, but are strictly different. I pick Human player as an example, because he will be first to use them. Player can go to Wolf exp, which is relatively much easier to creep, but harder to defend due to wide open area. If he takes the risk and go to Lizard exp, battle will be much harder, Militia will be hurt, but as a reward he will get high-ground expansion easier to protect thanks to narrow entrances. He will also get better items. Other pros and cons: Wolf exp has more wood resources, while Lizard exp has possibility to scout from the cliff shopping enemy.
    There is one more factor - harassing enemy hero. He must guess which exp to attack (or send scout). He can go and harass Wolf exp, harass even more Lizard exp (because of hurt Militia), or he can just pick wrong one, so Human player will be safe before enemy arrive to second exp.
  2. Main base has two smaller entrances instead of wide one. There is still possibility to wall your base in classic way, but player can try to wall these entrances instead.
  3. Lack of trees in mainbase. Player can deal with this by collecting trees in front of his base, from expansion or use Goblin Laboratory located nearby.
  4. Portals. Things like boats or portals can be hard to balance if used as must-have option (as only one way to get to the island for example), so I use them as neutral/optional way to travel over the map only. In this map player can use portals to jump beetwen enemy expansions avoiding his mainbase, quickly loot items from both red camps, or completely ignore portals and stick to middle of the map without punishment.
  5. High ground at the back of mainbase. I imagine situation during late game, where enemy drops siege machines from Zeppelin and attacks walled base from high ground, defending narrow entrance from counterattack :) Not very usable area during early game, maybe to hide building from enemy scouts? Camp located here will not attack choping workers until they cut all trees (which take some time), then player can be surprised. Camp drops strongest items in the map, so every player is able to get one.
Pros and cons for every race
  • Humans can choose from two expansions, both closer to mainbase than enemy base. Choosing one easier to defend can be risky, especially when enemy hero come to harass (this decision can lead to lose). If player have a problem with wood, there is a Goblin Lab nearby. Portals can help quickly go back and defend expansion if player is at the other side of the map without Scroll of Town Portal.
  • Orcs should be pleased with creeping. Camps are composed from more low lvl creeps instead of less and stronger. They have maximum one crowd control ability, and drops two items most of the time. There is no Ashenvale Mercenary Camp, so Blademaster can not be punished with Satyr's Curse. If I notice that Orcs are managing poorly, I will consider replacing Portals with Healing Fountains.
  • Undead players will not met any undead creeps on the map, so steal Coil can be always used. There is critter near every green camp for good start.
  • Night Elves can freely build Ancient of War near every close to base orange creeps, especially the one guarding Mercenary Camp for fast merc hiring. There are also always trees to heal. Many choke points can be used to block enemies with Shadow Meld, so enemies got easy access to Goblin Lab to react. As compensation NE got plenty of areas with few trees for scouting wisps.
Full map view

[​IMG]

[​IMG]

Details

[​IMG]
[​IMG]
[​IMG]
[​IMG]

Change Log
[2020-08-19]
- Uploaded

[2020-08-22]
- Increased ramps width
- Rays of Moonlight now exists only over the river instead as global weather effect
- Adjusted position of few doodads
- Changed dragons drop to permament items only instead of charged/permament 50%/50%

[2020-08-28]
- Revisited trees positioning and replaced many doodads to avoid all weak spots and untouchable gaps for Wisps
- Replaced few orange creeps to achieve melee+ranged composition at every camp
- Increased ramps width even more

[2020-09-08]
- Doodads and units positions adjusting
- Visual polishment
- Removed dead trees doodads near mainbases because of visible blight in the fog bug

[2020-09-11]
- Changed one green camp to orange; three green camps for each player is enough
- Replaced one full furbolg camp with satyrs; there was too much furbolgs on the map ;)

[2020-10-18]
- Removed twin-ramp near Tavern, replaced with wide one
- Other ramps are also much wider now (2 yellow squares or more in playable area; narrow are only ramps at Goblin Lab)
- Removed red camp behind mainbase; filled empty space with trees (high ground is still there)
- Removed some trees at the edges for smoother units movement
- Murloc green camp moved to area near Tavern for better creeping route by tavern heroes
- Red furbolg camp swapped with orange troll camp; furbolgs cannot be lured to portals anymore
- Revamped Goblin Merchant area (no aggro, new creeps)
- Other camps and neutral buildings positioning adjusted (some strong abilities removed, aggro problems fixed)
Contents

Night Stream (Map)

Reviews
mafe
Approved based on the reviews of the recent melee mapping contest: Hive Cup 2020: Melee Mapping Contest #6 - Results While the judges were critical, and I agree that the gameplay is not compatible with what most players will expect, I also think that...
  1. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    I tested it with a friend, but we are noobs :p so I will appreciate any feedback.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  2. Zucth

    Zucth

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    The map look very pretty in my eyes, so much effort you put in environment detail not to lied. I love 80% of the map design. I didn't look into any item drop or units since I'm also a newbie xD.
    I have one or two argue here, from the way I point in the picture it is a bit weird and uhh idk but it feel like the map design that you can only decide to raid only one side of the map, if you raid one gm and want to go to another one like someone who love to play annoying, you have to use portal or went back to where you from to the river there's no place for pass between each above water route. it also hard to defend if you rush to your right base and enemy take control of portal. I feel a bit annoy to run around the circle back to your base and go the left one, if we follow from start they can camp the support in the other side of the portal as well or Idk but we this we will cause a chaos tbh, when the attacker take short range than you to raid and the defender have the longer way to do it but safer.

    second one is about the portal itself, if you remove it the game will be even harder to move around since there's only one mid pass from two side. Good things is that we can have a very mid control game(with that dangerous cliff near tavern) to prevent enemy from using it(if enemy attack defender can went back up and do creepjack). But yeah since it have design like this I feel a bit don't know. Let other who do better than me talk about this walk route instead, xD sry for taking your time.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  3. mafe

    mafe

    Map Reviewer

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    Some incomplete notes and suggestions for improvement:
    1. Most areas of the map seem to have a lack of space to maneuver (especially melee-heavy) armies. Chokepoints are too narrow. Especially if you use ramps, you should acitively try to make them as wide as possible. If you display the grid in the editor, a width of 1.5 yellow cells should be the bare minimum for any ramp. This also applies to main bases and expansions in particular, where building placement will inevitably get in the way of units trying to move around.
    2. Global weather effects are usually considered to be distracting. Just use local effects in a small number of locations instead.
    3. At least one creep at each expansion must be not on camp stance and/or lvl 7+. Otherwise you can just build there before killing the creeps and expand in easymode by putting towers up before killing the creeps.
    4. Mercs bought at the eastern merc camp can become stuck. The same applies to shredders and sappers at the southern lab.
    5. Mixing permanent/charged item drops is not a good idea imho. It just unnecessairly increases the importance of itemluck.
    6. For competitive maps, there should not be any gaps between trees (or doodads in general). Pace trees exclusively by using the size 2 circular tool, so that new trees overlap perfectly with exisiting trees.
     
  4. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    1. I increased important narrowest ramps width to something near 1,5 yellow cells. Only ramps strictly near Tavern are narrow, but there are another two paths nearby (second ramp and river-path), so caught players can react.
    2. Good idea. I was thinking about rays only over the river, but then I totally forgot about it :p Thanks for reminding me.
    3. Strongest creeps changed to normal stance.
    4. Yeah, southern Lab can block units, I moved some doodads, now its fine. But I tested purchasing all types of mercenaries from both Merc Camps and no one was stuck. When you met this situation? Anyway I moved doodads a bit.
    5. OK, dragons now drops charged-items only.
    6. Yup, few gaps are created intentionally, but most of the time trees looks like there is a spot, while it is usually blocked by something else (rocks for example). If you found dead spots, I would appreciate example screenshots.

    Map updated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  5. Zucth

    Zucth

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    The creep that guard the goldmines must not set as blue.
     
  6. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    I said I changed it already.
     
  7. mafe

    mafe

    Map Reviewer

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    1. It's better now, but it's still only the minimum ;)
    2+3+5. Good.
    4. TBH I only checked the pathing in the editor, not ingame, and from the editor it seemed possible (although unlikely) that a merc could have been stuck on the left side of the merc camp. Normally mercs spawn along the southern edge of the merc camp, but if this already blocked by other units, they may spawn on a side (although again, it seems more likely that they will spawn on the right side than on the left in this case).
    6. Yes there seem to be much fewer "safe wisp" trees now (but they are not entirely removed).
     
  8. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    1. Okay, I made them wide as much as I could without destroying terraining nearby. It should be enough now.
    [​IMG]
    4. Tested it ingame by hiring all creeps at once and no one was stuck, so it was this "although unlikely" situation I think ;) Anyway spacing near neutral buildings is increased a bit more.
    6. Looking for these spots was pointless job, so I decided to delete and revisit trees placing all over the map. It took me few hours, but there should be no more gaps for Wisps, where melee units cannot reach them.
     
  9. WolfFarkas

    WolfFarkas

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    upload_2020-8-31_23-29-2.png

    fast opinions.

    the creep in the corner, remove,dead ends are bad, is no good to go to a place and then go back,is not fluid play.
    for a 86x86 waygates, IMO are pointless and can make some unpredictible creeping situations,
    consider there are no 1v1 ladder maps with waygates.

    I want to point 2 things wich I like.
    1) merc. positions.
    2) those mines, it remebers me concealed hills, so I like the concept.
     
  10. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    Red camps in corners had two ways leading to them before, but I filled one with trees due to lack of this resource near mainbases. If you delete these trees from bot and top of the map, you will notice second path. Still trying to find right solutions, which could solve both problems without rejecting this high-ground at the back of the base.

    I know there are no maps in 1v1 ladder with Portals, but I think that is because mapmakers usually use them as a tool that help get to closed location (cut off island for example), and not as a way to quickly switch sides of the map. My idea was to create another (but not forced-to-use) method to travel from one expansion to another, avoiding enemy mainbase and center paths, yet in the same time portals cannot be used to quickly travel from one mainbase to another. I do not think we saw this before.

    As I said before, if this would not work, I considered replacing Portals with Fountains of Life, but I am not sure about balance, because there would be all types of neutral buildings on the map. From the other side, these fountains would be far away from mainbases, so maybe they could not be so impactful. Any opinions on this?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  11. WolfFarkas

    WolfFarkas

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    I really like fountains, but I am currently avoiding them after Ruins of Aszhara did a ladder version with no fountains.

    secret valley is on ladder, with fountains, but not mercs. as you said the number of neutral buildings, I would go with health fountains instead of portals just in case.

    I will try something with fountains and waygates, but not now.

    instead of portals you could put the red creeps in the corners.?
     
  12. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    Ye, this will be the final solution I think, if Portals will not work as intended.

    I switched back high ground at the back of the mainbases to previous version.
     
  13. Nudl9

    Nudl9

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    I think the map can be improved by just trimming the fat and aiming for visual cohesion.
    Also wider ramps.

    Other then that looks ok.
    Fights around the shops could be fun.
     

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  14. INSEKT

    INSEKT

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    Okay, I decided to remove twin-ramps near Tavern for both players, replaced with wide one. This area has much more space for units now.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All other ramps over the map are wider too.
    I also removed red camps behind mainbase and filled empty space with trees. High ground is still there for possible late game plays.
    At the end I trimmed few trees here and here for smoother unit movement + some minor changes with unit and neutral buildings positioning.
     
  15. mafe

    mafe

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    Approved based on the reviews of the recent melee mapping contest: Hive Cup 2020: Melee Mapping Contest #6 - Results

    While the judges were critical, and I agree that the gameplay is not compatible with what most players will expect, I also think that the are no outright (gameplay-related) bugs that I could find.

    Given that gameplay is somewhat subjective and the basics/terrain are ok: Map approved.