StarCraft® II

iCCup: "Dear Blizzard: We need to talk about maps..."

Posts: 24
Originally written by iCCupDiamond on the US forums:

Hello!

For those of you that may not know me, let me do a little introduction. My name is iCCup.Diamond and I am the CEO of iCCup TV. iCCup TV is the largest Non-Korean E-Sports live streaming networks in the world. We have a staff of over 20 members and output over 50 hours of casting minimum a week., almost exclusively in Starcraft II. Our events are of the highest quality, and we work hand in hand with some of the greatest minds in the SCII on a day to day basis. We have a wealth of experience in everything from pioneering new rules to running the first ever Starcraft II league with the ITL.

That being said, Starcraft II is the best game I have ever played, and I LOVE being a strong part of the E-Sports community. Starcraft II is remarkably balanced for being such a new game, and I think you guys did great on everything but one thing.

MAPS

While Blizzard has always been a step above and beyond every single other game publisher there is one area you have lacked in. Map making. Now I cannot blame you for this. When you release a game, the maps are bound to end up being sub par in the long run. You don't know all the variables of play and how people will abuse the map features.

For those that do not know, one of the very main things that made Starcraft Brood War have such a long life cycle was the maps made for it not from Blizzard (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Maps). In Brood War they were made by KESPA. And there was A LOT of them (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Category:Maps). It allowed the game to remain fresh and was one of the things that brought ME in when I first started following the competitive scene. I was amazed by all these cool and unique maps. I had been staring at maps like Lost Temple for the better part of 8 years at that point, and if games were still played on these maps I would have been NO WHERE near as interested in BW as an E-Sport.

However with Starcraft II the situation has slightly changed. Starcraft II was born as an E-Sport from day one. Within hours of the beta going live people were already figuring out the best build orders at the time, or cool micro tricks (such as when Louder created Sentries force fielding their own ramps to buy extra time). This game has been pushed to every single limit besides one since March, maps.

Blizzard maps are very creative, but it is obvious they were designed when the game designers had no idea how games would play out when mass distributed to all the players across the world. They just don't hold up anymore. They are GREAT for newer players, but to push Starcraft II forward as an E-Sport it is time to start catering a little bit towards the competitive scene and a little less towards the casual scene.

The E-Sport side of Starcraft II has already grown to the proportions that it needs your attention. I realize that in a recent interview you have said that Patch 1.2 will be the "E-Sports patch" but I have a feeling that is mainly entailing ladder seasons and chat channels. As great as both those things are, the current map pool threatens to stifle the growth of Starcraft II.

Why?

The maps promote a dangerous and risky style, and have positional imbalances that favor spawning at certain locations. They punish expanding, a core part of the Starcraft experience.

For example in ZvZ on Scrap Station the player that spawns on the right needs an extra creep tumor for their creep to reach his ramp for Spine Crawlers and for mobility, this also extends to Xel'Naga Caverns (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=155163#1) . They start the game essentially behind by spawning on the right.

For Protoss, on Steppes of War the bottom base is much harder to attack with Colsi then the top base due to a difference with the cliff structure (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=155101#1). This is most evident in the PvP match up where the mid to late game entails mass Colsi vs. mass Colsi. One player gets an advantage for free.

Blistering Sands highly favors certain match ups like PvZ, and always punishes expanding.

Delta Quadrant has too many possible exposed attack paths for Reapers, and Protoss can warp units right into the opponents main base. Also the cliff above the in base expansion can be abused with more then Reapers. Tank and Thor drops become death to a Zerg player in most situations.

Lost Temple's cliffs over the natural expansions make Tank or Thor drops almost unstoppable. It's a damn good map, but at this point the cliff has become a highlight flaw in the map.

Metalopolis is a great map but at this point is OLD. I've been playing that map for like 7 months now, it's just so blah...

Continued below.
(5000 char limit >_>)
Edited by Dauntless on 07/10/2010 15:39 BST
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Posts: 24
Jungle Basin and Shakuras Plateau are both too new for me to pass judgment although I don't think these will work out well based on certain map features.

Am I saying pull these maps out on the street, burn them, and destroy all record of their existence? NO. They are VERY good for new players.

But the problem is these are the same maps the professionals ladder on. Most tournaments will only run ladder maps. That being said these maps are not fair for the professionals to play on. They CAN and HAVE abused every single thing mentioned above. A LOT, in high profile games.

We need a map system for the professionals and in general the higher level players. We needs something different that promotes fair play (as Baishok has admitted previously is not what you are offering currently with the current map pool). I will quote two of the best players in the worlds opinions on the subject of the current map pool:

IdrA: "tournaments should definitely be moving to custom maps as soon as possible. thorough testing or not they'll be better than the blizz maps, which certainly haven't been tested with balance and game quality in mind. "

Liquid`TLO (asked about the custom map scene in Korea): "Hmmm, not have heard about. I only know that the Koreans here are in agreement with the fact that many of the current maps are quite horrible. I'm pretty sure some people are already working on new maps somewhere though. We'll just have to be patient and wait for good maps!"

There you have two of the very best and brightest minds in Starcraft both talking about there being problems with the current maps. It's not a problem for a couple bronze league players somewhere, these are two of the people that made it into the GSL, a tournament Blizzard had a great hand in making possible and was one of the largest E-Sports tournaments of all time and had over 2,000 players qualify for one of 64 spots in the main tournament. Of those 2,000 people IdrA made it in the Top 32 and TLO made it in the Top 16.

That being said PLEASE consider rotating some of the community made maps into the higher leagues of play through introducing them as ladder maps. Even if they are diamond level and above, adding just a COUPLE of these maps would be gigantic.

We at iCCup TV have hosted hundreds of games on these maps and no major glaring problems like the above maps have been documented. Our average game length has actually gone DOWN on these macro maps, and the players enjoy them. On top of that the FANS want them. I did a poll about if iCCup events should go to all custom maps (on TL), and received a 94% approval rating into rotating out most Blizzard maps from over 1500 votes. The voice is there, the fans want to see something new.

There are already several growing map making communities including our own iCCup Map making team. Look at their work, it is SO good.

We love your game Blizzard, we want to see it grow into the biggest E-Sport ever, but it's things like this that will only stunt the growth of this sport.

Sincerely,

iCCup.Diamond

Source: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/801781456

Couldn't find this thread on the EU forums already, so I took the liberty to create it.
The more people who reads this, the better=)
Edited by Dauntless on 07/10/2010 15:39 BST
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Posts: 418
Not this junk again, Blizzard desigens their maps for ALL the players of the game not just the tiny % that make up the gosu community.

Blizzard know how to make great maps, they have been doing it for years, this just displays some of the arrogance that some members of the gosu community have and it won't change a thing.

Darkheart
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Posts: 24
I'm glad the iCCup guys are trying to enlighten Blizzard. I really hope they get through!

If you haven't tried their maps, you can do a quick search for "iCCup" on bnet, and they're all listed there. My favorite, so far, is Starchild.
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Posts: 24
Did you even read the text, Darkheart?

If you did, you'd know that many the official maps doesn't suffice for the pro's, and even diamond players. There are obvious map imbalances that requires fixing. And to continually refresh the experience and fun factor of the game; SC2 needs new maps! All the time!
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Posts: 42
oh nice, I've already thought about copying that stuff over here...

Not this junk again, Blizzard desigens their maps for ALL the players of the game not just the tiny % that make up the gosu community.

Blizzard know how to make great maps, they have been doing it for years, this just displays some of the arrogance that some members of the gosu community have and it won't change a thing.

Darkheart


There's nothing "gosu" about the maps, they're just more balanced than the Blizzard ones...

Just look at the examples, they clearly that the official maps aren't that great afterall. They may look nice, no question, but they have flaws that can place one player in a favoured position just by lucky spawns (and I'm not talking about crossmap/close positions here).
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Posts: 418
I have read it, and very similar stuff before, I know the gosu's don't like the maps and they want ones that would better suit them and more importantly that they can control. Well sorry but it's Blizzard's game and they have designed a system that does what they want and for the VAST majority of players (some 4 million) it works very well.

Sorry but that's the way it is, and I'm fine with that because I trust Blizzard a lot more than I trust the gosu community.

As for trying to "enlighten" Blizzard, LOL, how condescending. When you have released the biggest PC game for years, enlighten others you may. See, you've got me Yoda'ing now.

Darkheart
Edited by Darkheart on 07/10/2010 15:52 BST
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Posts: 6,531
Good post, true in what he said, hope blizz reads it. Thumbs up for ICCup

@Darkheart, he said the maps are good but for normal play. The ideea is put some pro maps in the game. When u will advance in league, u will see that all the points discuised in that post, can be applied, and WILL be applied to u also, like the "bugs" in Lost Temple. And u will just get angry and say "Race X is OP" when they could have a good map advantage over u.

Problem is u shouldn't put normal play together with competitive play. Competitive play is something totally different from anything u saw. U have to take in consideration every pixel on the screen and profit from it. Competitive orientated maps are required for such competitions like ICCup, and also for pro-training but they already have that at custom games. :)
Edited by Rebound on 07/10/2010 15:56 BST
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Posts: 42
I have read it, and very similar stuff before, I know the gosu's don't like the maps and they want ones that would better suit them and more importantly that they can control. Well sorry but it's Blizzard's game and they have designed a system that does what they want and for the VAST majority of players (some 4 million) it works very well.

Sorry but that's the way it is, and I'm fine with that because I trust Blizzard a lot more than I trust the gosu community.

As for trying to "enlighten" Blizzard, LOL, how condescending. When you have released the biggest PC game for years, enlighten others you may. See, you've got me Yoda'ing now.

Darkheart


Somebody's pretty close minded there... "gosu community" lol.

Just because "the vast majority" doesn't recognize the doesn't mean they are inexistent and don't matter...

All the points "that gosu guy" makes are valid and if you don't get that you're just outright ignorant, not to say stupid.



edit: Thing is, just as Blizzard said they want the game to be accessible for as many players as possible they talked about something along the lines of "delivering the greatest e-sports RTS in history" and the current maps just don't fit into that.
Edited by raiz on 07/10/2010 16:01 BST
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Posts: 24
@Darkheart: Honestly speaking; you're being very naive now, if you think StarCraft II and Blizzard can't be improved upon.

A map can be fun and balanced for both casuals and pros. It's not either or.
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Posts: 6,531
Put it like this, When u get a patch, like 1.1 or the future 1.2. It's not u, or your wining over forums that u want nearfs and changes to the game, that make thoes patch notes. It's the advice and statistics taken from ICCup, Gosu, etc. members/competitors thatn define the patch u get.

Patches are made listening to ppl who play this game day in and out on a competitive level. So they are right, u are wrong ;) the only thing u can be right about, wil most likely be common view points.

So the next time u get a patch, Don't think of it as Blizzards patch, but as ICCup and Gosu's patches.

Starcraft 1 became what it became, by letting custom made content in it. IF they didn't allow that, Starcraft 1 would be as good as RedAlert as an E-Sport game
Edited by Rebound on 07/10/2010 16:05 BST
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Posts: 418
Lots of personal attacks on me (why not have a bash at my stats or my division?), not one cogent argument to back up why you want ICCUP and not Blizzard to choose which maps we play on.

Blizzard are releasing new maps, as they see fit, for their game. I'm sure they do a lot of testing an take a lot of care over the maps they release. Simply saying "I know better and you are a noob" is not enough. Fortunatly, posting here will change nothing whatsoever.

The guy quoted has a huge personal interest in having things the way HE wants them, it's hardly impartial. Also everything you think you know about Starcraft 2, they know more, why, because the wrote the game and they have all the information and you do not.

Darkheart
Edited by Darkheart on 07/10/2010 16:10 BST
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Posts: 6,531
Read above darkheart ;)
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Posts: 811
If you like it press the LIKE-BUTTON ! edit:(the OP's post ofc)

That being said I would like to say that I totally agree with iCCup. Almost all of the maps favor a race/spawning place. Sure, bronze players don't take note of that small little things and there are very few players in diamond, but it should be taken into consideration that diamond players play more often and actually care about their stats.
I also would like to point out that it's not like some gosus want some gosu map for themselves. Everyone would profit from new maps. Imo metalopolis is the best of all 1v1 maps, you did a really good job on that one, but as iCCup already pointed it out, those maps are getting old.
One thing I really liked about SC BW is there were plenty of new maps every single week. I'm missing this in SC2, it's boring, always the same maps. Ahh it's map A so I can do X or Y again. Ahh it's map B so I must do Z again *puke*.
Also something iCCup didn't mention: The SC2 maps are so unbelievebly small! I really would like to see some bigger maps asap.
Edited by decaf on 07/10/2010 16:10 BST
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Posts: 303
Absoulutely and completely agreed. iCCup maps are just freaking awesome and I´m enjoying every single second playing on it.
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Posts: 42
Lots of personal attacks on me (why not have a bash at my stats or my division?), not one cogent argument to back up why you want ICCUP and not Blizzard to choose which maps we play on.

Darkheart


Read the OP, that's where all the arguments are.


And we don't want iCCup to choose maps we play on, he just gave them a feedback on their maps and points out some problems with them.

He doesn't even say "HERP DERP PUT OUR MAPS IN THERE YOURS ARE RUBBISH".

He asks them to "consider rotating some of the community made maps (he doesn't even say iCCup maps) into the higher leagues of play"...
And if Blizzard found a way to somehow do that the lower ranked players wouldn't even notice it.
They don't want to change the whole game for everybody, they just want to improve the competitive/e-sports Blizzard stressed as an important part of SC2 in pretty much any interview or statement.
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Posts: 442
I agree.

Besides Metalopolis, LT and Xel'naga Caverns, rest of the maps are really horrible. I hope we can get bigger and ICCUP style maps soon enough.
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Posts: 5
Full ack with the OP. iCCup are so great, I love how much they do for the community and e-sports. Much love for you guys :)
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