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2020 Map update - Afterthoughts

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With the map update, part of the mission was to freshen up the map pool to break repetitive play cycles, and get away from maps where the meta was heavily established.

Since release, it has been interesting to see metas attempt to formulate on each map, often influenced by factory balance.

  • Mechadansonia - Started off heavily favouring gunships, now SErankGodde's spider on the middle cliff is a strategy that seemingly can't be beaten by any other. A disappointing outcome - as the map already feels stale. At least it demonstrated examples of things not to do with regards to metal placement theory.
  • Prestige - Initially thought to be an amph map, spiders dominate here too with the ability to abuse the walls with recluse - often being able to shoot at turrets with impunity. Map doesn't feel stale if you're playing against experimental players, but is close to becoming it thanks again to spiders.
  • Desert Rumble - Quite flexible, slightly favouring jumpbots, but a good variety of strategies are applicable on this map. The mixture of raiding, direct combat, expansion, radar shadow and strategic resource locations give the map a lot more lasting variety than the previous two.
  • Scaryland - Seemingly unsettled, meta-wise. This map is yet to present a clearly favoured factory. The small gaps in the claws give bot factories just enough of an edge movement-wise against vehicles to allow for a lot of strategic discovery. Happy with how this map is going.
  • Sparkles Reef - Initially gimped by mono-archer, the map served as another catalyst for sea re-balance. The boat changes may have turned the tides against Amphbots. With sea maps, it's hard to really avoid repetition being that there's only 3 viable starting factories.
  • Jurassic Sands - Suffers a little from mobility meta, with glaives and daggers making the most of the map a little too easily. It's not necessarily conclusive, but I have to admit I feel the map fails to be factory omni-viable. Amphbots do well on the map thanks to their regen in the overly available water and current good RPS status. Map doesn't seem completely solved, but I think that's more down to it being suitable for heavy rock-paper-scissors situations.

If I've learned anything, it's that amph regen really needs to be kept in check, spiders dominate maps not carefully designed to curb their strengths, and that hovers will almost always be a better choice than rovers on these maps. I've also come to the conclusion that it's not so much the maps that I fall out of love with, more that it's specific players who will strive to always play the perceived power meta for a map. I'm adamant that this trend highlights where aspects of balance / RPS problems are too overwhelming. It's for that reason that my future maps will be more like Desert Rumble and Scaryland - with much higher replayability before it's "go spiders or lose". The maps have to be better than that.

Does anyone else have observations or thoughts about the maps worth sharing?
+6 / -0
9 days ago
Desert Rumble this map came to the rush of the fencers
+0 / -0
9 days ago
I think that ZK maps in general have a too high metal spot density.
+0 / -0
9 days ago
I like most of the maps for small teams rather than 1v1
+0 / -0
Adansonia was one of my favorite maps for its simplicity. Mechadansonia felt like a breakup. The ramps near the mid only pull the play closer to the mid hills which are a pain to fight on. I much rather have a relatively "boring" fight in the mid plains with raid possibilities along both flanks.

The sand is too bright with bloom shader and makes it impossible to see, they grey seems a bit too boring. I think the industrial worn down style is great, but it needs some very strong colorful accents to work best. E.g. some strong yellow stripes as accents around cliffs or maybe some other markings.

Why are there reclaimable features? Reclaim always forces more complicated openings to get it at the right time. I prefer to have more freedom in the opening.
+4 / -0

9 days ago
Desert Rumble this map came to the rush of the fencers

I rushed fencers on DR the first time i played that map. I spammed dart on the second attempt (opponent made mass duck; well, Dart still murders Duck in sufficient quantities).

It was as powerful as everywhere else, but also required the opponent to play into your hands to really work (e.g. forward plop, commander moves into the path of your fast-moving-thing-breaking).
+0 / -0