Mordhau

My take on what exactly is wrong with current maps

104 70
  • 7
  • 14 May '19
 urm

I felt like a more organized analysis of current map design was missing from the forums, so here it is. If you are not particularly interested in the topic, it is probably too long for your liking. Please, feel free to discuss in the comments, I would love to see a more detailed discussion of Mordhau gamemodes.

The main issue is that the Frontline gamemode is symmetric, while the maps aren't. It is inherently difficult, even impossible, to balance asymmetric maps for all skill levels and team sizes.
That is already understood by the competitive community, as they play scrims alternating the sides.
However it is an issue on public servers, where people expect to have equal chance of victory on both sides, which leads to frustration. Differentiating teams further, making matches consist of two rounds, with a team swap in between them, and having a victory condition based on both rounds is necessary. This will become mandatory for gameplay purposes if there will be an official frontline competitive/ranked mode anyway.

Such a gamemode change would also incentivize pushing the objectives more aggressively, as that usually renders larger score/token differences, while currently the most reliable way to win (especially so for Red team) is to capture the middle point and hold it, using defender advantage to have better k/d and gain score difference this way.

Another major issue is that the objectives are simply too small for the current player numbers (48/64 servers). There is rarely a reason to contest anything that's not the main point. On many maps the only threat outside of it are archers and mounted crossbows, which are not nearly strong enough to make tactics such as wide flanking mandatory. All this leads to a huge deathbowl on the point, or people giving up on playing the objective and tdming at random parts of the map.

One of the possible solutions to this problem is changing the gamemode to have multiple objectives active more of the time, such as with the current rescue/destruction objectives.
Otherwise we already have mechanics that could help with control points being an issue: horses, siege weapons and ranged weapons (bows, crossbow and mounted crossbow).

Horses allow to cut off enemy reinforcements, and make archers/mounted crossbows/siege more important by being vulnerable to them. However I feel like the current amount of horses (2-3 per team depending on map at most) doesn't make them a consistent enough factor. Especially with the respawn timer, a low skill player taking a horse leaves your horse with no access to it, meaning you can't rely on them as a necessary tool for one of the teams. I would suggest adding more stables-like locations on the map, factual control over which will allow a team to have more horses, thus adding a reason to fight over a part of the map that isn't the currently contested control point.

Catapult is overall good design, as it makes it less effective to just stack on the point, and is the most efficient tool to destroy fortifications, making other ranged options and horses more relevant. It can often become an objective on its own, making the enemy team flank to capture or destroy it. However currently if it is present on the map, it is only available for one of the teams, giving them a huge edge, furthering the asymmetric map design issue.

Ballista is very different. I would argue, the way it is currently placed on maps makes the gameplay strictly worse. It is usually too close to its team spawn, making it borderline impossible to flank and destroy, thus just adding a non-interactible advantage to that team, and nothing else. However some Blue ballistas, especially so on Camp and Grad, have firing angles that barely benefit its owners, if at all. At the same time, it is possible for the other team to sneak to the ballista and use it against their spawn. While this creates reasonably interesting gameplay for Red Camp Ballista, because it is actually useful for Red othrewise, it is simply an annoyance in case of Blue Camp and Blue Grad ballistas.
At the same time, even if the firing angles would be better, the only thing it would accomplish is making it harder to push certain objectives, which is already hard or impossible to do on larger servers, unless the match is extremely one-sided.
A better solution, if not a realistic one in terms of historical map design, would be to place Ballistas in a somewhat neutral part of the map, watching over one of the control points, making it a relevant flanking objective.

Archery promotes flanking somewhat, but at its current power level it can't solve the gamemode issues on its own, neither it should be buffed to such a degree for gameplay reasons. I think mounted crossbow is a better candidate for a buff, as currently it is not really threatening enough to be a mini-objective for the enemy team to counter. And I think there is a lot of room for it to be buffed, as it has extremely effective counters such as fire bombs, the catapult and crossbow archers, which are currently not even used against it most of the time, as it is simply overkill. It being stronger would also somewhat help with the shield spam in frontline, until it is (or if is not) going to be solved in some other way.
Edit: Mounted crossbow has been buffed since then, and I think all its capacity of being a secondary objective is being used atm. However it is probably not the way to solve things for competitive play, as current community bans its usage due to projectiles being unparriable.

Currently, the most balanced frontline map is Moutain Peak, simply because it is the least asymmetric. At the same time, it is a bit too simplistic, and I don't feel like it works that great for 64 or even 48 people Frontline. Making it somewhat wider and adding secondary objectives is just as necessary, if it is going to stay a frontline map. Otherwise I can see a smaller scale control point oriented competitive gamemode similar to TF2's 5CP being interesting, and Mountain Peak could be a good start for that.

Edit: I forgot to write about spawns. There are two problems with them. First is that forwards spawns are not forward enough to make winning by pushing the objective possible in all but the most unbalanced matches. The other is that most of them are completely open for the enemy team to walk into and spawncamp. The latter is especially problematic on separated spawns, such Blue second point on Mountain Peak, where you are spawned randomly one one of the two sides of the map, which can lead to one of them being overwhelmed and camped for quite a long amount of time. I think it is important to have only one spawn per team per point, both to avoid camping and to make it easier for the other team to avoid running into it. Especially so with current open spawns, where you can find yourself with players literally spawning behind you, which forces you to remember every single spawn spot in the game if you wish to avoid that.

104 70
  • 16 May '19
 urm

bump, I guess

104 70
  • 18 May '19
 urm

Another topic I didn't mention is ammo box placement.
Currently it causes both balance and gameplay flow issues.
On Taiga, there are simply not enough ammo boxes, which means that playing archer or engineer is extremely annoying. Pretty much the only ammo boxes that are actually useful are the one near the Camp control point and one in a room on the wall closer to the second Red point. All the others are so far away from the action, that it is usually not worth running to them and back, making it easier to simply die and respawn.
On Camp, it feels like ammo boxes favor Red over Blue. Especially so when Blue is holding the River against Red, Red has access to a reasonably safe resupply location right next to it, while Blue either has to push out to it, or fall back all the way across the river.

777 1031
  • 2
  • 18 May '19
 smellycathawk

There are a lot of problems.

Also can we actually customize our team colours at some point seeing as how that is what we are wearing the vast majority of the time??

104 70
  • 18 May '19
 urm

@smellycathawk said:
There are a lot of problems.

Also can we actually customize our team colours at some point seeing as how that is what we are wearing the vast majority of the time??

I don't see what this has to do with map balance, also everyone and their mother have already spammed both the forums and reddit with this suggestion

777 1031
  • 18 May '19
 smellycathawk

@urm said:

@smellycathawk said:
There are a lot of problems.

Also can we actually customize our team colours at some point seeing as how that is what we are wearing the vast majority of the time??

I don't see what this has to do with map balance, also everyone and their mother have already spammed both the forums and reddit with this suggestion

Have they said anything about it?

Ballista and cata should be in useful places but on neutral ground, so there is another point worth fighting over aside from the circles.
In chiv stoneshill cata was equal distance from either spawn and useful for either side to use/keep from the enemy. And the importance of controlling this point varies throughout the game, remaining relevant from the first objective until you get into the castle. Mordhau should learn something from this...

Happy now?

1 0
  • 18 May '19
 Bait

Solid points, I havent played enough to counter any of them. So I agree!

104 70
  • 9 Jun '19
 urm

I'm not even sure how to comment the new map, because it's just like old ones, but even worse in every aspect :(

42 35
  • 9 Jun '19
 DonKanaille

An easy fix I would actualyl quite enjoy is if they kept the asymetric map design and simply changed the obejctive of the maps to assymetric as well.

The team with the advantage has to "attack" and gets to use some of the advantages given to them, the other team has to "defend" and wins by simply holding their ground until time or tickets run out. If the attacker cannot complete their goals by the end of the round, defenders win.

There, dont even really need map changes and you get more focus on completing the objectives as well.

In general I´m also not a huge fan of main obejctives being all captured by King of the Hill battles, where you simply have to outnumber the enemy to take over. I liked the more varied objectives of Chivalry "kill peasants, rescue slaves, burn farms, slaughter royal family" as it allowed for a handful of skilled players to have a real impact on the match when they broke through or sneaked around enemy lines and did work on the objectives. In Mordhau breaking through the enemy line wont really do anything for you, you cannot take the objective without most of your team supporting and the next enemy spawn wave will just roll over you.

One important reason why this is is that in Mordhau, the paths from spawn are usually directly behind the objective you´re holding, so the enemy reinforcements will always be coming through. In Chivalry, spawns were usually to the side of the main battle, so the defenderds had to leave the spawn and then go backwards to engage an attacker on the objective, giving the attackers some opportunity to do work and the rest of the attacking team a window to push up.

As you probably see, I´m a huge fan of Chivalry team objective map design. The more of that Mordhau can incorporate, the happier I will be, as in my eyes, this is currently the game´s biggest shortcoming.

80 117
  • 9 Jun '19
 PinkerStinklage

secondary objectives/capture points is a must. like you mentioned, people hardly go to the point anyway due to it being so cramped, and end up just fighting at random chokes. give them something to do out there that actually helps.

104 70
  • 9 Jun '19
 urm

@PinkerStinklage said:
secondary objectives/capture points is a must. like you mentioned, people hardly go to the point anyway due to it being so cramped, and end up just fighting at random chokes. give them something to do out there that actually helps.

yeah, the new map actually has a lot of horses, two ballistae and a mortar, but they are located in such away they can't be contested by one the other team. so they are just a source of random deaths instead of providing secondary objectives.

Knight 697 1611
  • 9 Jun '19
 das

what do you think about this:

So long as one enemy player is standing on a control point, you cannot spawn there even if the point is fully captured and he is outnumbered.

So long as one enemy player is standing on a control point that is under their team's control, you cannot convert the point to your team's control even if he is outnumbered. This means that so long as one red stays defending the red point before it is neutralized, the rest of the reds can continue working on objectives and backcapping. If the point was first neutralized, it follows the rules of the first paragraph: the red can be outnumbered and the blues capping the point, but they won't be able to finish the cap. If red steps out to let blues finish the cap and back in, the blues cannot spawn there so long as he sits there.

42 35
  • 9 Jun '19
 DonKanaille

Sorry das, I´m just not a fan of the "capture points by outnumbering" mechanig in general. I would be happiest if that went away, or at least if they added new team objective maps without those.