Techtree Contest #17 - Poll

Choose the best entry!

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Level 27
May 18, 2018




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Contestants were to create a Techtree themed around Swarm. Interpretations were encouraged to get creative and think outside the box.


  • Trying to manipulate the poll in any form is not allowed.
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  • Harassment towards others to influence the result will lead to punishment.
  • A neutral recommendation to take part at the poll isn't problematic, though.
  • Voting for yourself is not allowed, and will lead to a malus of 5%.
  • Participating in the poll will not prevent disqualification.
  • Judges are not allowed to vote.
You are very welcome to make a short statement about what you like the most, so contestants get a bit of public feedback!


  • 1st place: 750 experience points
  • 2nd place: 600 experience points
  • 3rd place: 450 experience points
  • Entry: 150 experience points
  • Judge: 50 experience points per entrant
The three winners will receive an award icon representing the winning entry.​




How well the various elements of the Faction (including aesthetics, gameplay & design) fit together in a thematic manner such that they feel like they are representative of the given Faction, as well as that of the chosen Contest Theme. Well-fitting & polished aesthetics which complement a cohesive theme will be graded well; poorly-considered or lacking thematic elements will result in a poor score./25

How well the various elements of the Faction work together to achieve the tactical synergy & gameplay style the Faction has, as well as how efficiently each element performs its particular function. Strategic systems that endow an identity to the Faction, comprehensive & well-though-out roles which complement a cohesive Faction will be graded well; ill-considered, insufficient or over-compensating roles will lose points./30

How original the design of the Faction is in terms of innovative ideas, clever implementations, or creative concepts. Innovation and creativity will be rewarded; extensive re-use of existing elements in vanilla factions & poor originality will result in a poor score./45

  • Judgement: 70%
  • Poll: 30%
FinalScore = (30*Reached_Votes/POSSIBLE_VOTES) + (70*Average_Judge_Score/POSSIBLE_SCORE)


The poll shall conclude on 14th of May 2021.

Assigned Staff: @Heinvers & @Riki

Contest | Results


  • Techtree 17 Entries.rar
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So I did some unofficial judging to help me determine which entry I would vote for, so I figured I might as well post it here. Beyond my vote in the polls, this is just for fun.

ThemeAesthetically, this faction is very focused on the Faceless. Players have the option to choose from different Old Gods to worship, which modifies certain aspects of the faction, adding to replayability. Some choices will make you less swarm-dependent whereas others will make you more so. Visually, everything is cohesive, and the way this faction plays is different enough from vanilla that it matches the idea of a Faceless faction being weird.

Interestingly, while the early units of the faction need to be amassed to be effective, this trend does carry over indirectly with the caster units (particularly with the Nightmare) that benefits an quantity over quality army. Tier 3, however, seems to deviate from that philosophy. A tad disappointing, since it could have been highly complementary to swarm-type armies.
GameplayWith the Heralds of Oblivion, everything is flipped on its head, which is a bold move and very fitting of the Faceless. You start the game with three heroes and a Mastermind - essentially a base manager type of unit - and all of those can attack. Your Mastermind can additionally summon a Creeper that can also attack. With such an opener, you’re not rushing, you’re just informing the enemy they’ve already lost. I understand there isn’t a balance score, but this is a bit much.

The GG NO RE powermove of this faction aside, your heroes are the ones doing the gold-mining. While your gold mines will automine +5 gold every 3ish seconds, if you really want money, you’ll have to effectively remove your heroes from the equation. This creates a very interesting choice - do you swarm the enemy with cheap units without your heroes (since they’re busy mining), or do you maybe split the difference and try to give your heroes some experience? The swarming potential of this faction is strongest at the start where you can easily overwhelm the enemy if you move fast enough and hit them with proxy Rifts and build a Maw or two in their base.

When it comes to base management, you have few buildings to worry about. Your Mastermind, of which you can only have one, will be able to build Rifts. When a Rift is complete, your Mastermind will then be able to either tell the Rift to train a specific unit, or research a specific tech. Rifts have rally points, so it’s a simple matter of the Mastermind telling a Rift to start baking and eventually a mutant - or three - will pop out. Since the range of the Mastermind’s commands is global, you can tell any Rift, anywhere, what to cook. This works well enough, although it would have been better to have some sort of automated production. The execution on the Mastermind is good enough but could have been done better. However, this treads in the domain of custom UI, which for many are lands not meant to be tread (FDFs are scary).

Since you can only have 3 Harbingers (your heroes), there can only ever be three units mining gold at any time. The passive income you get from the gold mine is quite low so getting more mines is more trouble than they’re worth. Lumber-harvesting is also hard-capped, with only one Creeper available per Mastermind. Economically, this faction has no growth potential, which makes teching up quite difficult.

On a side note, Dark Summoning Projectile as a training effect was really not the best choice, unless you had used a version without this god-awful looping sound. No, you are not losing points because of this. Yes, you should still feel bad.
CreativityA really interesting take on the Faceless. This faction does everything differently while managing to stay within the bounds of Warcraft 3 melee gameplay. Making heroes your economic foundation is an interesting way to optionally take them out of the combat equation, although I question whether that’s a good thing or not given the nature of Warcraft 3 melee maps. It certainly adds tactical choice to the game. The particular subversive way this faction plays is certainly what I would classify as pretty creative, even more so as it’s done in a way that respects the theme.40/45
ConclusionTo me, this faction has the strongest potential to really go crazy with the concept of swarming your enemy. It feels like it would have been better with more options with the macromanagement of the base and to sort of let things play out Supreme Commander-style. With the knowledge that hindsight is 20/20, I would have given greater importance to the economic side of things (and the ability to grow it) and left the Rifts to auto-summon units so that you could eventually, but slowly, build up your army. I would have removed the heroes and made the Mastermind some sort of base manager that can boost some aspect of the economy, or boost unit-production speed, etc. An added interface would probably replace unit production so that the Mastermind is free to do other things. More than one Mastermind would be trainable. Heroes would return to their traditional roles so they would be able to assist ever-increasing attack waves.

That being said, this was quite well done.
Total score: 80/100

ThemeRight off the bat this faction has very strong visual cohesion. A rag-tag alliance of kobolds and ratfolk, thematically this faction lends itself very easily to the idea of a swarm, as rats are known to do. This seemingly also borrows from the Warhammer Fantasy notion of the Skavens that have a completely ruthless society that doesn’t shy away from collateral damage; after all, there’s always more where that came from. Tier 1 units are easily amassable and come with a side-serving of Giant Rats that can be summoned in a few different ways, from a specialist rat-wrangler hero to items. Later units make use of those disposable rats almost like a third resource, although it would have been better to see this mechanic explored even more.

The flavour text in the tooltips also add to the charm of this faction.
GameplayA standard opening with a number of Tier 1 units that are cheap but quite weak, becoming stronger in larger numbers. The War Rat can eat corpses with Indiscriminate Appetite to gain attack speed but their fragility makes it difficult for them to stay alive long enough to benefit from it. The Direbow, a tier 1 ranged unit, fares a lot better in comparison and maintains usefulness throughout the entire game due to their Raze passive which makes them effective against structures.

At tier 2 some of the weirder units of the faction become available, mostly at the Forge. The Stink Gun will absolutely obliterate groups of enemy units, but their approach is very indiscriminate so unless you handle them with care, they’ll tear through your own forces - not a great choice for when you’re the one with the weak units with low hit points. The Parmesan Pitcher, on the other hand, is the complete opposite, with its Calcium-Rich Wedges upgrades giving it the power to heal your units with its splash damage. It’s almost as though both of these units are meant to be used together but the Stink Gun is so destructive I find it does more harm than good, unless you can maneuver it to deal some opening damage and then retire that unit for the rest of the current engagement. There could be a pretty devastating combo there if there were any Goblin Zeppelins to recruit on that map but alas. The Stink Gun feels like one of those niche units that can be very useful in some situations, although I suspect a good micromanager could position them in a way that would make them very effective.

Speaking of Zeppelin, the Kobold Cannon with the Vengeance Factor upgrade will have a chance of spawning a new unit - something that synergises well with a playstyle that uses overwhelming numbers.

The caster units of this faction don’t really do much to help the swarm. However, it does seem like it’s more the swarm that helps the stronger units since some units like the Skullrat and Underhulk both make use of corpses to stay in the fight longer. Perhaps there is a reason for the Stink Gun after all, but even more so the Kobol Cannon since a surviving kobold will leave behind a corpse, with the Giant Rats summonable via items or the Rat Catcher hero. The synergy here is very well thought out and cleverly implemented.

Last, but not least, the food structure of the Ratfolk, called Entrances, will provide your army with rapid travel between them. They’re extremely effective at mobilising your forces, and should they take damage, will spawn a number of feral rodents that look suspiciously like furbolgs. This synergises perfectly with the worker’s ability to Salvage structures, inflicting damage to regain a portion of the resources used to construct it.
CreativityIt’s not very obvious at first, but the Ratfolk embody quite a bit of creative thinking on the author’s part. The base concept of the faction is standard but when one also considers the theme of a ‘swarm’, especially mechanically, there’s quite a bit there that works hand in hand to make the whole machine function. Cheap units with low hit points will nibble away at the enemy defenses whereas the more threatening Skullrats and Underhulks will gobble up their corpses and bolster themselves. Those same cheap units can otherwise be kept alive with a healthy serving of cheese, sustaining the swarm. There are many strategies to consider here.

Visually, the faction looks great and while rats seem a somewhat evident choice for a ‘swarmy’ faction, the execution is done well. I would have prefered to see more use of dead rats as corpses, and perhaps a couple of more things that could be done to bolster a swarm, but as it stands, this is still pretty well fleshed out.
ConclusionNowadays it can be a bit difficult to imagine an anthropomorphised rat faction that isn’t the Skaven from Warhammer Fantasy, but the Ratfolk manage to be just that. In lieu of spooky green magic, cheese is their warpstone of choice, and so having the option to bombard your enemy with cheese wheels that heals you instead is a pretty fun idea. The whole way this faction is put together feels very cohesive, from it’s low-ranking cannon fodder to a zeppelin that fires kobols that the enemy, this faction respects its theme all the while doing it in a clever way.Total Score: 92/100

ThemeWhen combining the concept of mana with large armies the first thing that comes to mind is plenty of summoning. It’s an interesting theme to make a swarm faction from, but unfortunately, the approach taken is a bit more standard than I would have liked. Nevertheless, it manages to have cheap but weak units that find strength in numbers.

As far as the faction respecting its own internal theme, the overall concept is there, especially where the colour scheme is concerned, but in other places the various visual elements seem somewhat disjointed. The town hall is a magical natural spring but then comes a slew of man-made structures, only for the Mana Well to be another natural-looking structure. It’s not necessary that everything has to match one-to-one but when I try to look for an identifiable follow through to the design choices, I can’t find it. This is, however, a minor point. A more pertinent point would be the fact that all the units and some buildings use mana but I’ve not been able to understand why, beyond the fact that units can freely take mana here and there, or even how this mechanic serves the theme.
GameplayAll Manapure units have a mana bar, and they all have one ability that uses mana. A lot of those abilities are locked behind research, which means that initially some units will only serve as a mana bank of sorts. Since most early units don’t have a spender ability, most of it is going to be useful for your heroes to regain mana. The footman equivalent of this faction not only starts with a 15% chance to stun-on-hit passive (has siege damage for some reason), but the ability to turn into a wolf, losing the Bash, but gaining mana regeneration. It’s actual mana spender (Discharge) comes only after doing research that’s available at Tier 2, so during Tier 1, they’re mostly useful as mana batteries. Their combat potential is greatly overshadowed by the manaspawn, however. A full squad of those, that are cheaper than the Thunder Hunter (which costs 80 lumber, phew), will literally shred an Orc Burrow in several hits. They are the Manapure’s cheapest units, and so, so strong.

Another issue is the gold-mining, which is done through your town hall. This would be fine if your town hall wasn’t also a builder where every order interrupts the process, costing you precious resources if you’re not paying attention. Mana Wells, which produce food, are also able to build structures so ultimately you should be doing that exclusively through them to avoid losing gold… until you need to upgrade your town hall to the next tier, in which case you’re no longer mining again, after which you need to manually re-enable the gold mining process. It’s tedium that any faction could do well without.

It is also interesting to note that the only real effective way to expand is by building a shop and purchasing an Ivory Well item. This will allow a hero to construct a Mana Well just like Ivory Towers allow humans to construct Scout Towers quickly. Requiring a shop to exist to expand is a curious choice.

With Tier 2 comes the Thunder Knight, Manadigger and the Overloader. The Manadigger is an interesting little fellow which unfortunately misses the mark a bit. It has the ability to regenerate mana on attack, but only against structures, which takes away it’s potential to be a mana bank or tank given the Overloader’s ability to heal a target based on their available mana. The Thunder Knight is a pretty standard tank with a variation of a mana shield, again a situation where the Manadigger could have been useful. This isn’t too much of a problem since the wolf-form Thunder Hunter can still regenerate mana, meaning the Manadigger can be more useful when attacking enemy bases - except they have piercing attacks instead of Siege, making them quite bad at their role. Even the ability they unlock eventually - a mana-based repair, is a defensive ability as the faction doesn’t have any mechanical unit. There’s a potential there for some sort of proxy Mana Well / Manatower push but that is such a niche option that it makes the digger a unit that fails to synergise with anything else.

At Tier 3 the Faceless Gatherer is a melee siege unit that will gain mana when damaged, making it synergise quite well with the Overloader. The Spelleater, yet another melee unit, has a custom Mana Burn and can learn Devour Magic. It overlaps a bit with the Manaspawn, which has Feedback. A number of flying units also become available like the Librarian, a flying tiger-sphinx, that can debuff your enemies.

The idea of passing the mana around your units being what it is, while inherently synergistic, can get pretty overwhelming to use. The level of micromanagement required to exploit this fully becomes a bit too much in the middle of battle, making the whole exercise moot. This is a feature that would have benefited greatly from some sort of automation.
CreativityThe fundamental idea behind the Manapure is pretty interesting but I lament its execution. The concept of a mana-hungry faction could have meshed well with a swarm-like faction, with mana being used to summon temporary units, or perhaps some sort of terraforming system where the environment itself attacks you with magical flora and fauna. What was made instead was something that added an extra layer of complexity, seemingly for the sake of it.

In terms of looks, there is a definite effort to make things gel together but the end result falls a little short of real cohesion. There is a certain amount of overlap in unit roles here and there, with a whopping five melee units, of which only one is a siege unit.
ConclusionA good premise, and while execution could have been better with some automation on the mana-management end, the application of mana-dependency as a faction concept could have been explored in a much more interesting way. I picture a purple spring with flower buds blossoming around it, unleashing waves of mana-addled creatures to do your bidding, perhaps not directly controlled but able to be directed. Every food structure adds to your swarming power and different buildings provide different bonuses. Some units are mana-imbued Ancients - grown by your central structure - that support or sustain the lesser creatures spawned from the flower buds. Those that stray too far from the source of mana perish quickly, some lose potent abilities. You pay little attention to what lives and dies - there’s always more to replenish the ranks.

This is all easier said than done, I suppose. Still, it would have been cool.
Total Score: 56/100

ThemeOne of two Faceless factions submitted for this contest, this one follows the lore of Warcraft more closely, specifically the Old Gods. This faction presents itself as structure-less where you start with a slew of units and two Overlords. If one of your Overlords dies you will instantly be defeated. I believe it was only meant for you to have one of them since one of the Overlords starts stuck in the Gold Mine, and cannot move unless you use a tunneler to move it. Regardless, the choice of units looks cohesive enough for them to appear a faction as a whole. Their harvesting mechanics are also appropriately ‘Faceless’, with the Scarab Digger able to mine gold by quite literally burrowing next to a Gold Mine. Corrupters can turn trees around them into ashen, lifeless things that will generate lumber over time as they decay.

In terms of how they match with the contest theme, beyond starting with quite a few units, the Tunneler can spawn spiderlings every so often to swarm the enemy. Beyond that there doesn’t seem much else to do. The screenshot on the map’s page does show other units but I was not able to access them. This map definitely needed more time to cook.
GameplaySimilarly to the Heralds of Oblivion, the rush potential of that faction is great. The ability to instantly turn into a siege unit that deals around 100 damage per hit from the get-go is, shall we say, a bit broken. Pretending this faction doesn’t have this issue… its approach to progression is more or less an exercise in trial and error. For example, the only reason I found out how to mine gold is because I accidentally came across the Scarab Digger’s tooltip in the editor.

Piercing the mysteries of Old Gods economics aside, this faction functions by evolving stronger units from either the Corrupter or the Scarab Digger, your two ‘worker’ units. The problem there is that there’s no way (that I know of) to produce more of them, so whatever army you’re going to have will be limited by your initial starting number. This also means that transforming your workers will inevitably cripple your economy.

The most interesting unit in the entire line-up, for me, is the Tunneler. With upgrades it can spawn Spiderlings periodically, spawn two Nerubian ‘Monolites’ that are essentially Nerubian Towers from the Scourge, and spawn a shop with expensive but powerful items. This makes them really effective at applying constant pressure to the enemy.

The Faceless One Destroyer is a melee siege unit that can inflict a lot of hurt on things with Fortified armour. It can also evolve in the N’raqi Commander, a hero unit, and the Herald of the Old Ones, a powerful ranged attacker with Chaos damage. An upgrade allows the Herald to use a number of powerful spells.

As far as the other units seen in the screenshot, they will remain a mystery. Gameplay with the Corrupters (the faction) is a bit haphazard but serviceable. However, it suffers considerably from not being able to reinforce your army.
CreativityThis faction definitely has some good ideas going for it. I would have preferred to see more done with burrowing but given the limited unit roster the issue is probably more down to a matter of having run out of time or reached technical hurdles. Looking at the fact that this faction doesn’t really have a base, I was expecting something more along the lines of a mobile ‘factory’ spawning weak units as it lumbered across the terrain, perhaps by spending its own health to create new units.22/45
ConclusionThe idea here is good, but this faction suffers quite a bit from poor execution and the fact that it’s in quite a rough state. It’s a valiant attempt at making something unconventional, although, in general, I would caution against making nomadic factions in the context of warcraft 3 melee gameplay. More work is needed, but it’s a good start.Total Score: 38/100
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Arena Moderator
Level 42
Jul 29, 2008
So I did some unofficial judging to help me determine which entry I would vote for, so I figured I might as well post it here. Beyond my vote in the polls, this is just for fun.
You say that... But this is what we used to do! It was expected that people would not only try the entries but post some sort of explanation/review/etc about their thought-process & reasoning.

So good on ya. : )
Level 11
Dec 16, 2018
Hey, some notes here. My initial map had 2 several bugs, that completely affected the game. Both of them were, somehow, related with a lack of checking for the finished techtree (big story, I had an issue with my wc3 that stopped me from opening the map with the Custom Game option, instead of opening it directly from WE, where you can't choose handicap or initial techtree).
The first one of them eliminated the corrupted land, and added an extra Overlord at the position of the goldmine. This was generated for using UN as base techtree, I didn't realized the extra structure (the special goldmine) and the blight zone would affect the triggers related with the starting units.
The second one was even worse, as it completely stopped you from creating the basic units (corrupter and amalgamation), which were meant to be created by the Overlord. This happened for the big amount of items the overlord was able to sell, that didn't allowed the option for this 2 units to appear on the actions window.
I solved both of them a few days ago, as, even if it goes into a points malus (not sure if it actually does) it would be worse not solving them. Right now, you must choose Orcs at 90%, and the pool of sold items for the Overlord is highly reduced. Everything should work as pretended now, so you should be able to play all units on the techtree.
Sorry for the inconvenience and the late update.
@Spellbound thanks for remembering me to clarify this. Now the techtree should be completely playable
Level 11
Dec 16, 2018
the malus would be pretty considerable if you did update the map now, but if your main concern is quality instead of points, then updating should be an easy choice. I'll see about trying it out again, but no promises :)
It is, that's why when I founded out that bug I solved it as fast as possible. Didn't had that much time to think about it. Anyway, I didn't updated it now, that was some days ago, I think the past week (maybe a little bit later, I don't remember the exact day).
Thanks, of course there is no obligation, so take your time, or don't do it if you really don't want to
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