I love Starcraft 2. In general, I think Blizzard has done a great job with the game, especially the multi-player mode and competitive matchmaking. But one part of the game which could use a lot of work is the system for playing and improving custom maps.
After being bitten by the Starcraft bug, I kept thinking of ways to modify or perhaps improve on the standard melee maps that are used in competive “ladder” matches. I watched a Day9 video commentary where he analyzed a nonstandard map. So I tried my hand at creating a custom map. I really enjoyed the process, and I think I came up with a pretty good first pass at a map.
It has been almost impossible to get people to play my map, or give me feedback. The UI for trying new maps in Starcraft itself is primitive, and there isn’t a place I can browse through maps and find ones which look interesting. It feels like Starcraft needs something like the Firefox Addons site, where people could browse and rate the maps.. The only remaining way to get feedback is to ask individual friends to play the map, either against me or against somebody else. This is difficult, because my friends usually have different schedules than I, and also have very different skill levels: playing against them would not be an even match.
I am therefore going to use my blog as an alternative way of soliciting feedback. If you play Starcraft (and I know many of my readers do!), please try out my maps and give me feedback on them. I now have three maps available:
- Deserted Battleground (1v1)
- Choose between three “natural” expansions from your starting position. One is more vulnerable but advances toward your opponent, and it’s easier to defend against airborne harassment. One in the back corner is far from your opponent. One is protected by cliffs, but very vulnerable to harassment. Xel’naga towers provide vision of the middle of the field, but side-paths can make for surprise attacks if not carefully scouted.
- City Scout (1v1 or 4-player melee)
- Your starting base has two ramps, and one is very close to an opponents starting position. Attacking the backdoor entrance involves very long distances, but good scouting is essential. Control of the center of the map makes for expansion
- Butterfly Island (1v1 or 4-player melee)
- A backdoor ramp on your main base is again vulnerable to harassment by speedy units (hellions/speedlings). Resources are scattered around the center of the map and there are several possible locations to plant a base and do mining.
I’d like feedback on the following areas at least:
- Balance: Although the maps are generally mirror-images for balance, it is possible that certain features of the map may favor one race or another. Are there specific features which you think are unbalanced.
- Play: are there any features of the map which you love or hate? I use backdoor entrances more than the standard Blizzard maps, and occasionally some unusual mineral/geyser placement.
- Visual appeal: Do you like the general appearance of the map? Are there things you would improve?
Feel free to leave me comments here at my blog, in email, or by sending messages in-game. My Starcraft handle is Odysseus/749.
In order to play the maps,you must create a game in the Multi-Player section of Starcraft. This is true even if you just want to play the maps against the AI, because you cannot search for maps in the “Play Against AI” panel. You can then use the search function to find the maps by name. If you’re a bronze/silver-level player, I’d love to play games against you: please invite me/add me as a Starcraft buddy.