Mordhau

77 Hours in - Frontlines Map Balance Feedback

41 55
  • 1
  • 16 May '19
 cain

So, I've been playing since launch, and now with 77 solid hours under my belt and nearing level 30 on my account, I feel pretty confident in talking about my opinions on the maps in the game, specifically their balance in regards to Frontlines mode.

Overall, appearance wise the maps look and feel great. Even though there are only 4 maps to pick from, there's a lot of variety in how they look and how they play. Out of the four, though, 2 of them feel very unbalanced in favour of the red team (Camp and Taiga) while one feels slightly biased towards blue team (Grad) and only one feels like it's got good balance for both sides (Mountain Peak). I'll go into detail about each and what issues I have with them, balance wise.

Taiga:
To me, this is the most unbalanced map in Mordhau when it comes to Frontlines mode, heavily favouring the red team over the blue. I've played this map a lot, and I think I've only seen the blue team win about 2 or 3 times, total. The layout simply doesn't allow the blue team to get to the mid point quickly or efficiently enough. Some bullet points for this map:

  • Middle point is way too close to the red team spawn point, and also far too easy to access. Blue team are forced across two narrow bridges over a river, while the red team have a straight run down a hill behind good cover.
  • Blue spawn points when spawning at the Cave Entrance are far too far back in the mines. This makes keeping a steady offensive on the middle point almost impossible (especially compared to the red team's spawn points) and makes it difficult to defend the supplies at the cave entrance.
  • The dynamic objectives feel very unbalanced: Red team have a bunch of very easy to destroy supply wagons followed by a really fast minecart with plenty of angles for attack on both points, while blue team have two very beefy barricades to destroy which are constantly defended by red players who swarm over them, followed by needing to push up through a single choke point to burn the red camp.
  • The layout of the fort in the middle point seems to vastly favour the red team, with the majority of its sniper towers and defensive points pointed directly at the blue's spawn. Meanwhile, visual range on the red spawn area from the fort is limited, making it hard to dig in.

Camp:
While not as bad as Taiga in terms of being unbalanced, this map still seems weighted in favour of the red team over the blue. It's hard to exactly say why (except for the first dynamic objective for the blue team, blowing up siege towers, being far too difficult.) but there are a few points worth mentioning.

  • It could just be my imagination, but it seems to take longer to attack the middle point from the blue spawn than it does to reach it from the red spawn. I haven't timed it in game, but the fact that red team seems to capture the middle point before blue far more often than not is evidence of this.
  • Red team have access to a ballista and a catapult that overlook a wide range on the battlefield, giving them a lot more firepower to cover an attack and also to defend with. The blue team, meanwhile, don't have any sort of on-map offensive options that allow for the same versatility.
  • The first dynamic objective for the blue team - destroying the siege towers with powder kegs - is far too punishing compared to the red team's dynamic objective. Carrying the powder kegs slows your movement to a crawl, removes your ability to attack or defend, and if you take any sort of damage you drop the powder keg and it breaks instantly. Trying to destroy all the towers - especially the one furthest away from the point that encroaches on the red spawn area - is a massive task and basically requires an entire squad to move up with coordination. And even then, it's very easy for the red team to stop the blue keg carriers with a single hit. Meanwhile, the red team just need to push a cart up to the next point by standing near it, fully able to attack and defend and moving at full speed the whole time.

Grad:
The only map that feels slightly skewed in favour of blue team, but even then, it's fairly minor, and this map overall feels quite balanced. The main difference seems to again be the dynamic objectives at the middle point - Blue team have a lot of very small, easy to access objectives that can be completed fairly quickly (freeing peasants) meanwhile the red team have to break two very tough barricades that are very close to the blue team spawn points. While they're not as difficult to attack as the ones on Taiga, they're still a much tougher dynamic objective than freeing peasants.

  • Red spawn area, especially around the farm feels far too exposed compared to the blue team's smithy point. Attacking the farm is easy, attacking the smithy is not.
  • The underground tunnels areas rely too heavily on ladders, which leave players exposed, and as a result these areas seem to go mostly ignored when it comes to attacking the blue castle.
  • The final dynamic objectives for Grad are again pretty mismatched: Blue team have a pretty tough NPC who can actively defend himself while red team just have a bunch of easy to attack carts. It's not as egregious as the first dynamic objective, but still worth mentioning.

Mountain Peak:
As I mentioned, this map feels like the most balanced for Frontlines mode out of the 4, and I think I know why: It only has 4 points, while all the other maps have 5. The lack of a middle point means that both teams tend to stay on fairly equal footing for most of the match, and actually pushing forward to capture an enemy point feels more like an aggressive tug-of-war rather than a kind of "kind-of-the-hill" style match. In addition, the two dynamic objectives - Burning tents and pushing the siege ram - both feel quite fair to both play as and against. All in all, not much to say about this map, feels like the most well rounded of the lot.

There, hopefully that wasn't too long in terms of feedback, just my thoughts on the current maps and their balance for Frontlines mode.

26 31
  • 16 May '19
 Cro

My stats are similar to yours but my impressions are a little different. I mainly play red.

Taiga: I agree. The blue spawns are downright annoying and I've ever only seen the blue team win once by completing the objectives. Otherwise it drags out forever or red wins relatively quick.

Camp: favors red a lot until blue takes the burned huts (whatever that's called) from red at which point I don't think I've ever seen red recover.

Grad: seems balanced to me. Red often wins by completing the objectives. Blue often wins by spawn camping red.

Mountain Peak: favors blue. Blue will win just by not losing their own objective. They don't even have to be aggressive.
The most fun map to me and where I've seen the closest matches.

67 40
  • 16 May '19
 Kuro1n

@Cro said:
My stats are similar to yours but my impressions are a little different. I mainly play red.

Taiga: I agree. The blue spawns are downright annoying and I've ever only seen the blue team win once by completing the objectives. Otherwise it drags out forever or red wins relatively quick.

Camp: favors red a lot until blue takes the burned huts (whatever that's called) from red at which point I don't think I've ever seen red recover.

Grad: seems balanced to me. Red often wins by completing the objectives. Blue often wins by spawn camping red.

Mountain Peak: favors blue. Blue will win just by not losing their own objective. They don't even have to be aggressive.
The most fun map to me and where I've seen the closest matches.

Counter point on camp, have you ever seen Blue win once they lose whatever is after the river? I've been on red and retaken the huts several times (although never won after that due to too few points left).

Mountain peak favors blue slightly, the chokes for red means getting out of their spawn to retake the point further down is difficult, furthermore newbies keep going to defend the cart instead of retaking the point outside since they don't seem to understand they can't keep defending that thing forever.

Knight 61 42
  • 16 May '19
 Optimates

Agree mostly on all points here. One thing I'd really like to see changed is the positioning of some the ballistas. Not sure what the idea was there, especially the blue team's ballista on camp, red get an actually useful ballista whereas blues literally does nothing unless you're about to lose. Oh no sorry, unless someone on red wants to spawn camp you. Nice.

26 31
  • 1
  • 16 May '19
 Cro

@Kuro1n said:

@Cro said:
My stats are similar to yours but my impressions are a little different. I mainly play red.

Taiga: I agree. The blue spawns are downright annoying and I've ever only seen the blue team win once by completing the objectives. Otherwise it drags out forever or red wins relatively quick.

Camp: favors red a lot until blue takes the burned huts (whatever that's called) from red at which point I don't think I've ever seen red recover.

Grad: seems balanced to me. Red often wins by completing the objectives. Blue often wins by spawn camping red.

Mountain Peak: favors blue. Blue will win just by not losing their own objective. They don't even have to be aggressive.
The most fun map to me and where I've seen the closest matches.

Counter point on camp, have you ever seen Blue win once they lose whatever is after the river? I've been on red and retaken the huts several times (although never won after that due to too few points left).

Mountain peak favors blue slightly, the chokes for red means getting out of their spawn to retake the point further down is difficult, furthermore newbies keep going to defend the cart instead of retaking the point outside since they don't seem to understand they can't keep defending that thing forever.

Like I said camp favors red quite a bit. What you are saying is 100% accurate in my experience.

I really wish they would change the text on mountain peak to read "retake the point" instead of "stop the cart" (or at least both).

26 31
  • 16 May '19
 Cro

@Optimates said:
Agree mostly on all points here. One thing I'd really like to see changed is the positioning of some the ballistas. Not sure what the idea was there, especially the blue team's ballista on camp, red get an actually useful ballista whereas blues literally does nothing unless you're about to lose. Oh no sorry, unless someone on red wants to spawn camp you. Nice.

Red siege equipment is indeed more useful on all maps. Especially the catapult on camp seems a bit unfair. It tks a lot but still...

I would prefer it if catapults would be mostly useful against barricades.

Knight 928 2545
  • 16 May '19
 Pred

Taiga is just so bad it's actually funny.

It's a cakewalk for Red, while Blue have to go to objective getting split on chokepoints that are constantly shot at and firebombed...

BUT

...if Blue get a hold of camp, it's actually much better for them to defend themselves there forever rather than push to the next objective, because getting overrun on the next objective (which is right at Red spawn) means they will also lose Camp.

I was on Blue yesterday and pretty much the only reason we won was that two retards on Red kept firepotting the camp entrances, which ended up blocking Red from establishing any foothold in Camp, while also preventing Blue from overextending and getting rolled over outside. So Blue just spent 20 minutes in camp finishing off a random Red dude, who survived going through the entrance and won lmao.

41 55
  • 16 May '19
 cain

@Pred said:
Taiga is just so bad it's actually funny.

It's a cakewalk for Red, while Blue have to go to objective getting split on chokepoints that are constantly shot at and firebombed...

BUT

...if Blue get a hold of camp, it's actually much better for them to defend themselves there forever rather than push to the next objective, because getting overrun on the next objective (which is right at Red spawn) means they will also lose Camp.

I was on Blue yesterday and pretty much the only reason we won was that two retards on Red kept firepotting the camp entrances, which ended up blocking Red from establishing any foothold in Camp, while also preventing Blue from overextending and getting rolled over outside. So Blue just spent 20 minutes in camp finishing off a random Red dude, who survived going through the entrance and won lmao.

Regarding Camp, I actually see stalemates fighting over mid point far more often than I ever see the secondary objectives being pushed. Even though red have it easier, with a simple cart to push up to the stables, the dominant strategy seems to just be to fortify the river and hold it for as long as possible, bombarding it with catapults and firebombs. And in that case, red have the upper hand as it seems to be much easier for them to both reach and hold the river capture point than it does for blue.

Taiga is just a mess, though. I don't think anybody's in argument that it's so heavily skewed against blue that it's kind of ridiculous. In all my games on that map, I think the blue team has only ever gotten past the first dynamic objective once, and I've never seen blue cap the final point by burning the camp. They won, sure, but it was because they just held the middle point for long enough to drain all of red's points. And that's only happened about two or three times for my memory. Most of the time, red captures mid fort, and either just sits there, acting like a stone wall for blue, or rushes in and destroys the cave entrance capture point within minutes.

Mountain peak does seem to favour blue a little, but compared to the other maps I'd say I've seen the most even split between team wins on that map. The advantages for blue aren't that big, although pushing the ram does seem to be a little too easy compared to burning the tents, most games don't actually get that far and tend to be more like team deathmatches, with the team that kills the best and most frequently getting the win.

11 3
  • 2
  • 16 May '19
 CoiNs

@Optimates said:
Agree mostly on all points here. One thing I'd really like to see changed is the positioning of some the ballistas. Not sure what the idea was there, especially the blue team's ballista on camp, red get an actually useful ballista whereas blues literally does nothing unless you're about to lose. Oh no sorry, unless someone on red wants to spawn camp you. Nice.

It's the most non strategic placed ballista ever. Why would anyone put a ballista facing the inside of their own camp? Why is it not on the walls our behind the spikes just outside the walls??? Also supply crates are more out of the way than REDs... The river has 3 WALLS, and a better choke for spikes. They also spawn right on top of the river like literally barely 10 feet away. They get their quicker and it's much easier to contest since they are always right on top of it, it seems.

I think maybe this game could benefit a squad based system like Battlefield, where team leader tells them to defend or push objectives. And squad mates get bonus experience for doing so.