Players really don't know what they prefer because they know nothing of what map makers have to take into consideration when making a map. Who cares what they prefer :D
And... Blizzard doesn't know how to make good maps. I mean, they COMPLETELY FORGOT to make INVERTED RAMPS in SC1/BW -_-
In most cases, rotational symmetry gives the best use of space on a map, and usually the best thing about it is that it gives the least amount of positional imbalances because everything is equidistant from its other 3 mirrored counterparts on the map.
But I said "in most cases". There are times where other types of symmetry might be preferred. It depends on the concept, really.
Also, rotational symmetry looks the coolest :)
It's my favorite form of symmetry, although it's one of the more difficult forms of symmetry to pull off.
I would say the most difficult types of symmetry is between 3 player maps and Odd-Eye symmetry (from the map Odd-Eye, the Pro map)
It is not better "per se"... No symmetry is. Every symmetry has its own quirks both execution- and gameplay-wise that one needs to observe in order to make a good map.
Fact is that rotational symmetry has a better inbuild "eye candy effect".
That does not mean that axial symetry needs to look boring though, it's really only lack of imagination on the mapper's side that can lead to that impression. With some minor tweaks and twists in symmetry (look what I did in Desertec for example) or by chosing an "odd" symmetry axis (p.e. Gaia... There's really no more recent example I could think of... A shame - but I am already workig on this one, too ;D) you can create an axially symmetric map that looks just as stunning as any rotationally symmetric one.
And it is always possible to opt for hyper-symmetry, of course (i.e. a map that displays both rotational and axial symmetry, p.e. Monty Hall, Arcanoid, Rush Hour...)
In case of 4 player maps axial symmetry means more positional variance (you basically have three different matchups: vertical, horizontal and cross-position or something similar [like Python-layout, which is rotated by 45°]) as opposed to rotational symmetry which only has close-position and cross-position option.
Also, axial symmetry inherently avoids "rotational imbalances" where a player spawning clockwise/counterclockwise has a positional advantage in close-position play.
I think the main reason why axial symmetry is often frowned upon is the "check all symmetry boxes and map away" effect that often leads to bad looking, boring, uninspired and considered "newbish" maps. modified by Freakling
Well Blizz's BW maps sucked...a lot...generally blizz doesnt make that many good maps...although I really like metalopolis...
Well personally I prefer rotational(when properly executed) because it shows the mapper put a crap load of time to get it symmetrical cuz isometry makes it pretty hard to do...I think freakling actually pretty much covered it, rotational can generate imbalances in clockwise/counterclockwise for close position but axial symmetry is just too easy to do, check all boxes and people can crank out maps at like 2 and hour...
I think entombed valley is a sc2 map. I dont follow sc2, the following post is all about broodwar:
All 4 player maps regardless of symmetry have considerable balance issues. You can easily fix them by only including 2 spawns though, and the spawns must be opposite each other if the map is rotational.
A significant difference between rotational maps and axial maps is that mirror matchups are imbalaced on rotational maps to a far greater degree than on axial maps (when not cross positions).
I want to elaborate on Freaklings paragraph about positional variance.
I feels its important to say that on rotational maps you also have 3 different matchups; cross position, enemy behind, and enemy infront.
On any map (when not cross position) each time you expand will either be towards or away from your enemy, dependant on spawns and layout.
This affects all matchups on all maps. However, it affects mirror matchups to a far greater degree on rotational maps than on axial maps.
Axial maps suffer in a different way when it comes to balance. The problems in the non mirror matchups are amplified on axial maps.
So Ill repeat; All 4 player maps regardless of symmetry have considerable balance issues. You can easily fix them by only including 2 spawns though, and the spawns must be opposite each other if the map is rotational.
I strongly dislike all maps with more than 2 spawns for balance reasons. That doesnt mean you cant have a layout with more than 2 'main/nats' though.
Overall, a 4 player axial map inherently has the potential to be more balanced than a 4 player rotational map. However all 4 player maps will have issues that could be avoided if you make the map 2 player.
To answer your second post Taranok, the choice of symmetry does not affect whether you are considered a novice map maker or not. That said, novices are likely to use the mirror tools because it is easier to. I guess I think any logical person can see that there is a broad spectrum between super creative and newb. Why cant people think an axial map is pretty good, or perfectly servicable for example lol.
You then start talking about sc2 maps again which I dont know about but I can say this. Winrate percentages mean nothing. A far more accurate statistic for proleague is the number of mirror matches played on a map. But do not trust anyone who uses statistics to prove anything about balance in broodwar. Do not trust yourself if you disagree with me!
If anyone has questions about any of the points Ive made, feel free to ask. The concepts being discussed here warrant pictures and considerable time investment, which I havent done. modified by Cardinalallin
The only essential difference in SC2 is that you can disable certain matchups on 3+ player maps, so you basically end up with more of a "variable (2)-map" so to speak if you choose to do so. That does allow for an easy fix for otherwise imbalanced four-player maps by disallowing imbalenced positional setups. (and on the positive side you get a bit more freedom in designing four-player maps)
Changing/randomizing start locs via trigger works out rather badly actually...
And the basic idea is that a melee map should be fully playable/functional in melee mode.
And most of all readily available map statisitics are basically worthless. To really judge a map's balance you'd need statistics for all the hundreds of S-class test matches that are played by the pro-teams. As cardinal pointed out: You'll often only realize a maps imbalance by the unequal distribution of mirroi matches on it and often a statistically insigificat number of non-mirror matchups.
Iccup statistics have high game numbers, but player skill are genreally too low and unequal to allow a good judgement on map balance based on them.
Look out, heres a ramble;
Another thing people dont often talk about is the meaning of balance. A 50/50 winrate TvZ doesnt necessarily mean a map is balanced. There are many reasons why it might not be though. Heres some of them:
-One spawn position might mean zerg wins everytime and the other spawn means Terran wins everytime.
-The insurmountable advantage. For example imagine a map where zerg gets to hive tech and wins everytime, or a zerg doesnt get to hive tech and loses everytime. Is that balance just because the game length was 25minutes?
-Player skill as freakling mentioned. A map might be balanced at one skill level but not at any other level. This is a massive issue that gets ignored alot imo.
-Current development of strategy. A map that was thought to be imbalanced last year might be balanced now through the constant refinement of build orders etc.
The word balance for me means that each race can sucessfully get to the 'late game' and after this point both races still have viable options to win. And for 1v1 maps, I personally only think about balance at the korean pro level.
However, how do we define 'lategame'. Well this differs for each matchup, and is arbitrary.
As an example I could say Terran on 4 base and Protoss on 6 bases, including 2 mains with 12 gates in each is lategame PvT.
I could say a map is balanced in PvT if korean pro players can get to this lategame stage and still have options open to them. Protoss would require 2 more available bases being unmined and atleast one of these to be neutral. The terrain would have to dictate that Terran has to defend 2 large fronts and a large area from recall too.
But again this is completely invented idea of balance. What if in 3 years time, every TvP gets to this stage easily and we find that Terran can never beat a crazy stasis storm carrier timing attack.
So even the idea of balance is a changing one.
A map like Central Plains is considered Protoss favoured. It has 10 minerals in the main and 8 in the natural, and has two backdoor expansions. When you change so many things at once, the map upsets the current build orders alot. Imo the map was designed to favour protoss. However, anecdotally I think that P and Z win more games at the start of a maps cycle and as the season progresses, terran wins more and more. Incidentally, I also think that Airforce ace gets most of its wins nearer the start of the season too.
If all the maps had been more similar to Central Plains for that season, and they had stuck with it for the whole year, would we have begun to see more Terran and Zergs sent out on the maps or would everyone have switched to Protoss for a year? haha
I guess Ill wrap this up with a positive. When making maps, dont be a slave to balance. Take risks, have fun.
Take a look at this map for example:
The comment thread for that map is great because noone agrees about anything.
The stats for Nemesis are a good example of showing how misleading they can be. Protoss appears to be weak in both PvZ and PvT but the number of mirror matches played on the map show that actually Protoss was powerful.
And on top of that Balance was never even a main concern on Nemesis - if there's a competition for the most boring possible map layout this one would be definitely an odds-on favourite... (and I am not only talking about looks; standard layout, fully open middle, safe thirds and backdoor nat are as one-dimensional gameplay-wise at it possibly gets... Only the islands are remotely interesting...)