Posted by:Nightmarjoo MOTM 10 2008
October's MOTM was a pretty close near-tie, but I think we'll give the win to long-time mapper NastyMarine, who despite getting over nine thousand maps of his and remade concepts of his into 2nd and 3rd place of Map of the Month, he has yet to win a first place since the Seventh Map of the Week in 2007, nearly two years ago!
For first place, for October's Map of the Month, for the year 2008 we have NastyMarine's (4)Ridge to Ridge! This map is a good example of a MOTM which earns its place not through ingenious conceptual work, but through pure excellent execution. That's not to say it's entirely conceptaully lacking at all, which would be quite false, but it focuses on making a comfortable battlefield for the players without distracting them with concepts which alter gameplay. So what we have here, is a very well-made map of a familiar concept, with a unique layout. If it really was so "easy" to make such a map, our database would be a lot nicer.
The main bases are in the corners, the nats are just outside the mains, everything starts out really standard along with really well executed rotational symmetry. Past the nats not too far, maybe a little farther away than the 3rd gas is in Tau Cross, is a 3rd gas expo. Pretty normal so far. The center is large and open. Well, that's about it. Hm? You don't think that makes for a good Map of the Month? Then look closer! What I failed to mention was the presence of long ramps for all chokes in the map. Your main and nat are both lowground, but there's a ramp going up to a skinny plateau and then down a larger ramp into your nat, with a mineral block making the larger main ramp more or less default sized for all intents and purposes, but of course allowing players to more easily move to and from their mains later on in the game.
In the center are more large skinny plateaus/ramps, and the 3rd gas chokes are also the same. The middle is large and open, but is divided up a bit by these ramps, which both give/take altitude advantages, and add fog of war. All-in-all, it puts a huge emphasis on strategy, on tactics and maneuvering. On using the ramps to your advantage, and not being caught with your pants down by them. The map's relatively lax concept allows this focus shift without distracting players much at all. Also, the ramps tighten up what otherwise might've been a middle nearly as large as Python's.
Also, while the gas expos mostly appear to belong to a player, they are not much farther from your opponent as from you, making your expo vulnerable sometimes, and in some cases make "ownership" ambiguous, they are almost neutral expos.
The map's scarcity of resources only further emphasizes a strategical orientation.
In a close 2nd place we have Testbug's (4)Aztec, a remake of Djin)Xuul('s map of the same name:
What we have here is a very basic but very well-made map, which seems in a lot of ways more old-school style. A rotationally balanced map, with cliffable nats, no inverted ramps, a closer/safer min only, and with farther/more open gas expos. The map stays true to modern macro trends mostly, though the map offers less mobility and is tighter overall. There isn't much to say about this map, it's a really well-made map and a very good remake, everything you'd expect from Testbug.
In third place we have neobowman's map (4)Beast II. Neobowman is a mapper you may not have heard or seen much about or from, but he's been around here for a while and his maps are really starting to pick up in quality. Also, neobowman is an admin representing the mapping section of sc2gg.net, whose mapping forum is slowly growing and developing, and which could benefit from more (patient) participation and activity from bwm mappers.
More daring than the other maps we've seen this month, but still fairly basic, is Neobowman's (4)Beast. The map has an expo layout emphasizing use of the sides of the map, similar to (3)Rush Hour III, and likewise also has two quite seperate entrances to the nat, though overall its nat is safer than that of rh3. Its use of neutrals helps dampen the potentially radical effects having two entrances to the nat could have.
The map is quite open and grants players many options for mobility, especially after they break down some of the neutrals. The map is overall basic as far as the expo layout goes and general layout, so it should be comfortable. While it's perhaps more conceptually daring than the other two maps, it is however a little more sloppy, but it's not like many at the site can consistently make maps with the same execution as Testbug and Nasty, and the map certainly is not far behind.