|Posted by:Nightmarjoo |
Not even two months late, ie early, I give you the slightly contraversial, Map of the Month for the month of June!
And here's Testbug's (4)Voices 4! Testbug is surely not an unfamiliar name to you if you have been following the Map of the Month competitions at all, as he has won or been involved in literally half of all Maps of the Month! Testbug surely is the current dominating mapper at the site, and looks to be for some time!
While Testbug's name is no stranger, neither probably is the name Crackling, who has literally won or been involved in a fourth of all Maps of the Month to date. Crackling made the original (4)Voices (seen here).
Testbug took the concept in Voices, which was actually developed by Tktkvroom, probably an unfamiliar face, who won the 3rd Map of the Week in 2007 with his (2)Kumba.
Tktkvroom developed this concept in his map (4)Devotion (seen >here), which crackling borrowed and implemented in Voices, which Testbug took and brilliantly executed in Voices iv!
With introductions finally concluded, I give you the map!
The map starts out fairly standard, twilight with main bases settled in the map's corners, yawn... but quickly starts to unfold itself as a unique map as it gives the players two entrances to their mains! One entrance leads directly to your natural expansion, just like normal, and the second entrance heads right into a mineral only expansion. The secondary entrance is blocked with a 48 value mineral block, preventing both players from using this entrance, allowing the main base to feel safe and secure like normal.
But! Wouldn't you think that the mineral block, which while it blocks the path, causes units to believe it isn't there, thus resulting in pathing problems where the ai will cause the units to walk back and forth into the block endlessly, which would give all players a headache throughout the entirety of the game, as long as the mineral block is present? Normally yes, and that's the problem which Crackling faced, and later he fixed the problem by removing the second path altogether. But the brilliance of Testbug strikes, and by placing the two ramps nearly adjacent to eachother, they are positioned close enough that when a worker attempts to go through the mineral block (if he does at all), he will immediately find the non-blocked path and use it instead, thus allowing pathing to be perfectly fine on the map!
And from here, the map continues its brilliance! Starting in the nat, you start seeing features which can excite the gameplay. Overlooking your natural expansion's minerals lies a small basillica plateau, from which you and your enemy can harass one-another's miners. This feature, while not overwhelming thanks to its small size, will certainly play a critical point in gameplay, as both players must always keep in mind the plateau and ensure they can deal with any nuisance they throw up there, a cliff with no ramp which while can be fired upon from the natural is only accessible to air or drops for direct assault.
The next expansions in the map are in the compass directions, 12/6/3/9. These gas expansions are directly between each starting location, making them neutral expansions, not automatically "belonging" to any player. These are critical for gameplay, as they are closer than another nat or main, and give the players another vespene geyser to mine from. While these expos sport a fairly tight and defensible choke, they are quite open, making them quite vulnerable to drops.
From here you have the middle of the map, which while is open, forces or greatly emphasizes more flank and non-linear oriented movement, with the very center being somewhat tight, which while allowing players to use the very center and its pathing effectively and without annoyance, makes the proposition of using the side paths alternatively possibly more prudent.
One great thing the map offers, is complete expo order freedom. What I mean by that, is you aren't forced in any matchup to take any expansion in any order. You may take any expo based on the circumstances of the game, and your own strategical decisions. The mineral only expansion is a nice choice to take, as it is so close, and you can directly rally to it from your main if you need, once the mineral block is mined away. The fact though that the expansion of course has no gas certainly makes players reconsider taking it as their third base, with gas being so precious and critical in starcraft. You then can choose from taking one of the 3rd gas bases, in the compass directions, which are pretty close in proximity to your nat, and highly defensible from and by land with the tight choke, but they're so vulnerable to drops with their large size, and by securing that expo you don't gain anything else. Whereas if you take a main or a nat, with the nat securing the main, and the main having a tight choke, you gain the other expo as well, especially with the nat do you gain the main. All of the pluses and minuses to each expo must be carefully considered before a player takes an expo, giving the map an extreme strategical orientation, like all great maps.
While not completely original or unique, the map does feature its own unique concept, and then blends many common features and concepts in a unique way, while boasting the great thinking and adept execution Testbug excels at. With a layout nice, simple, easily adaptable to while still exciting and unique but homely feel, the map certainly earns its place among the Maps of the Month!
Spam the map's thread here, and download the map here.
In a very close second place, I give you the map which until the end of June maintained a short but veridical lead on Voices, Nastymarine's (2)Spinel Valley 2.0!
Nastymarine is probably another name you are familiar with, and while he hasn't been a major presence in the Maps of the Month, he certainly left his mark in six Maps of the Week, with many other near wins in MOTM and MOTW, along with winning the Two player Map of the Year of 2006 with his (2)Undying Lands. Also noteworthy, he officially has the most maps on the site, with proof here! Introductions aside, I give you the map itself!
Here's another map where the author borrowed another concept and actually did the execution of it, Nastymarine brought to life Spinesheath's concept, seen here.
This map combats the innate linearity of (2)maps by focusing the gas expos of the map and thus the attention of the map, on the sides while maintaining a very comfortable, open layout, with a middle friendly to all players, whether they need an open place or a tighter place to move through, provoking a great strategical sense in players while moving their armies. The expo layout being so spread forces players to remain alert to the many places his opponent could be, which helps balance what otherwise might be an issue of space given the relatively small size of the map given its layout and structure. It really accentuates the presence of the open space of the map which greatly decreases the potential of turtling and potential turtle strength, all-over helping gameplay.
With the mineral only expansions being reasonably close and thus defensible, they are quite vulnerable in actuality from the lowground middle directly behind it. This leaves players to carefully choose between the two gas expos, approximately equally distanced from the nat and min only areas. With such a sparsity of money in the map, players must be aggressive in order to best use their own money, while trying to best waste their opponent's resources, with every mineral deposit and vespene gas capsule being so precious.
Sporting a solid adaptation of Spinesheath's concept, boasting a fair endeavor at making a non-linear, and especially presenting a certainly unique layout and structure, the map earns its keep as this month's Map of the Month runner up!
Spam the thread here, download the map itself here, and grab the observer version of the map here.
A common theme this month's maps all share is the presence of a concept constructed not by the map itself's author, and the map which grabs 3rd place for this MOTM is no alien to it. The mapper juli3n adapted the more known mapper Ptar's concept, to make (2)3nim0, which means 30 minutes!
This map features a familiar feeling but yet unique structure and expo layout, with the expos as in Nastymarine's map all on the sides. This map immediately diverges from Nasty's model in that instead of giving the players an open battlefield, throws a still wide middle at the players, one dotted with bridges and tight chokes, forcing the players to move very carefully, and emphasizing more drop oriented play, with the middle being so treacherous.
The many paths would normally overwhelmingly favour a more mobile player, but these paths are so small with the chokes being so many, that there exists a balance between path size and path number, allowing players to balance the game with their own style and strategy.
With the fairly standard 3 expos beyond the main and nat per player, with 2 expos on the map being ostensibly neutral, players must carefully decide where they feel it is safe to expo at.
The map ensures intense, back and forth gameplay given the unpredictability of the middle as result of its weird path/choke setup. A in-my-opninion great example of this type of gameplay can be seen in this replay here. As tribute to the map's name, the game is approximately 30 minutes long, and features intense back and forth gameplay in the form of a pvp. It's worth checking out, especially as it presently is the only uploaded replay for the map.
While the map seems to offer exciting and intense gameplay, it probably just appears far too unpredictable to gain a higher place in this MOTM competition, not that third place is at all shabby! And the map certainly earns a spot in MOTM with its interesting layout and structure, with solid execution.
Spam the map's thread here, and download the map here
So with June's MOTM finally out of the way, we can all give our focus to July's MOTM, which seems to be building up to quite a nice competition, there are a lot of really nice maps submitted, with only a few votes so far. So enjoy the summer while it lasts, and feel free to cast your vote in the MOTM 07.2008 in the competition thread, in the bottom right of the site.