Posted by:Nightmarjoo I don't know if the statement better late than never is universally true or not, but at anyrate, this MOTM is certainly late and no longer never!
Why has this MOTM taken almost a year to be posted? Well let's look at the vote:
Oro Lala1.2 by Razt has 30 points, and Junktion2.6 has 32 points. However, Nastymarine gave his own map 3 points, and I have always discounted self-votes in the past. Discounting those three would put Oro Lala1.2 in first place, by a single point. I of course have never had any scruples about changing my vote to manipulate which map is winning, and could change my vote to make either map win. Do I however feel strongly that one map is better than the other, to the extent that I should pick one over the other? Nope. Furthermore, is there a MOTM 1 competition at all? Nope. So how about both maps win? Nasty's map came first, so it's MOTM 12, and Razt's map is MOTM 1 for 2010.
Junktion's most noteable feature is the layout focused around the natural expansion and 3rd expansion. The cliff overlooking the back of the natural expansion is blocked off on one end by a 2000 hp neutral, and on the other end by the 3rd gas expansion. The neutral is more easily clearable, which enables access to this cliff by ground (and thus makes harass at this location potentially easier to deal with). The 3rd expansion itself however is only accessible through a path that leads from the middle (if you want to use the gas, which you almost undoubtedly do), as opposed to some path leading directly from the nat, as is the standard. This leads to interesting cheese scenarios, where a protoss player for example could hop a probe over the 3rd gas expo's mineral formation, and place unreachable-by-ground cannons directly behind the expansion. Or perhaps a terran player could hop an scv across and make a factory, or make a factory outside and lift it in (the former protecting the building-worker from being prevented from finishing the construction, the latter making it more likely the scv will get back home) and construct tanks to hit the expansion from. Additionally, vultures and burrowable zerg units (read: lurkers and potentially hydras) can hop over the formation to acess this cliff using mines and stacked burrowing respectively. There could be other ways to utilize this cliff without use of air, but I can't think of them. At anyrate, it leads to a number of interesting scenarios enabling the players to easily harass eachother in ways impossible in most maps. It clearly makes it imperative for players who seek to expand quickly to scout well and secure map control early to prevent this.
The path leading out of the nat along the main pathing is tight after the nat, making it useable for early attacks and scouting only. Players will rally out the larger exit which heads out into a longer path later in the game. Near where players might rally is the 4th gas expansion, in the corner of the map. It's misleading to say that there are two paths that lead to this expansion even though that's the truth, because one path is needlessly blocked by a neutral, and is useless even without the block. I cannot think of a single scenario where you would be able to reinforce your expansion via the longer, tighter path if the shorter, wider path where you would be likely to rally all of your units to were inaccessible. This is somewhat silly and is part of what makes me not feel strongly about the map. The second path is more for the map's aesthetics than anything else, but uses up space, and includes a useless neutral block which seems again to be more for aesthetics than gameplay. Why bother with features like that? Two neutrals are on either side of the path that leads to the middle for large units and to the 3rd gas expansion, and one along with a neutral on the side of the small main-pathing ramp opposite the 3rd gas expansion create another semi-cliff which is inaccessible by ground until one of the neutrals is cleared. However, this cliff oversees absolutely nothing. I can't even see it being used in a tvt, where drops and the repositioning of armies is common-place. Another example of a silly useless space-wasting feature of the map. The obstruction itself is critical for the map's concept, as it increases the distance between players via the larger ramp path (which leads to the 3rd gas expo), but why it's a neutral blocked cliff and not say, a pretty lake or something that's more obviously useless is simply a matter of aesthetics.
The 5th gas expo is off to the side of the clearing outside the 4th gas expo and the large ramp pathing. It has no noteable features aside from the relative vulnerability its wide choke yields.
The only other thing I can say about the map, is that the expo I described as being the 3rd gas is potentially more likely to serve as your opponent's 5th gas, with the 4th and 5th I described being the 3rd and 4th respectively. However, the close proximity by air and nonfavourable if not close ground proximity to the opponent makes this unlikely. Particularly as the cliff overseeing the natural can easily be used against this, especially once the neutrals are down.
So here we have a decent map, with some interesting features, and some silly features. I like the use of the small ramp for the main scouting pathing, and the large ramp to extend the distance between the players via the large-unit pathing as a way to alleviate the linearity of a two player map, as well as the concept of a cliff being potentially used against two different expansions. However other aspects of the map mar it conceptually to me, such as the useless paths and cliffs formed by useless neutrals, and the difficulty in putting what I described as the 3rd gas expo to any practical use, given how far away it is from the large unit pathing out of the way (from your reinforcements), and its proximity to what I described as the opponent's 5th gas expo.
All-in-all the map isn't bad, but it just isn't great. There's nothing that makes me love the map, but there's nothing also that might make the map bad. There are however certainly things which potentially make the map's gameplay awkward, such as the difficulty of placing buildings effeciently defensibly in the natural as part of a fast expand build. Despite this, its execution and concept are above average, so to describe the map as being average would not only be an insult to Nastymarine, who is a good and talented mapper, but would additionally simply be inaccurate. I can thus only describe the map as being "interestingly decent". Aside from RazT's map, it had no other competition, so relatively it blew the other maps out of the water, and thus deserves its place as MOTM.
RazT is an unknown mapper here: this map is his only contribution under that name at this website, so it's remarkable that it should win a MOTM. Congratulations RaZt!
The map uses a simple even symmetry, being symmetrical along a horizontal line that splits the map in half (symmetrical like the letter 'K') Typically two player maps use odd symmetry, with f(-x) = -f(x) (symmetrical like the letter 'S'). There are three main paths. The main pathing takes the second path at first, and then potentially the first second, and never takes the third.
The first path is lowground, and connects the two natural expansions. The second path is highground and contains every expansion past the natural, and cliffs the natural somewhat. A multitude of ramps lead from the first path to the second. Near the middle of the map the main pathing becomes ambiguous, as the first path goes around a curve, making the shortest path a mix of the first and second path. However, starcraft pathing dictates that units are afraid of ramps, and thus units will potentially take a somewhat longer path if it doesn't change altitude. This is potentially but not always the case in this map. The third path is higher than the second, on a high basillica level. It cliffs every single expansion past the natural. A smaller multitude of ramps lead from the second path to the third.
The expo layout is relatively simple. Past the nat is the third gas, which is comfortably close in proximity to the natural. Past that is a mineral only, which functions as the fourth expansion. Past this is a neutral fourth gas expansion. It's the least vulnerable of the second path expos to the cliff, but most vulnerable to ground (it's more open). Players will be able to easily fight over this expansion. The expo layout yields 3.5 geysers per player, below average. Typically, two player maps have four or five geysers per player (bluestorm has four, destination has five, for example).
The linear progression of each expansion along the map's space along the same path enables players to change their rallies everytime they expand. This is extremely comfortable, but tends to lead to turtlish gameplay, hence the third path. The dynamic between these three paths is key to the map's gameplay. Players can constantly weave between each path to avoid and outmaneuver their opponents. That the third path cliffs the expansions offers each player easy ways to harass their opponent in addition to simply moving around between the paths. The first path further opens up maneuvering as a viable option (as opposed to simply move forward or retreat). This great harass potential and great maneuverability potential strongly contrasts with the turtlesque gameplay of the expansions. This dynamic is further complemented by the below average quanitity of gas per player, which makes turtling as oppose to actively fighting over the gas less viable.
All-in-all I'm convinced the map very well constructed to provide a specific gameplay experience. The map is well-made, the concept seems executed nicely, and it's aesthetically very well done. So why then, having said so many more nice things about this map than about Nasty's, was I unable to decide which was clearly better? Well let's get to this map's faults. The natural is atleast as difficult to properly build defensibly as part of a fast expansion build as Nasty's map if not more so. Honestly that's a big deal, having any kind of difficulty in securing the natural early on really potentially jeopardizes the quality of the gameplay. While there is a lot of harass potential by ground, the pathing and layout basically eliminate harass potential by air, cutting away a variety of strategic options. Limiting strategic diversity is usually a bad thing in my eyes. It's very easy to guard every base by ground from any air aggression, even against tactics as early as basic muta harass in zerg vs terran. Lategame drops and recalls are a key aspect to every matchup aside from zerg vs zerg, and those are all very difficult given that the pathing takes up 100% of the space. Finally, there's the issue of the first path around the center. The obvious main pathing splits here between the first and second path. This isn't bad, though it can lead to accidental base trades via the even paths issue. The problem however, lies in the ridiculously large size of the first path around this bend. It is single handedly the largest allocation of space in the entire map, larger even than the mains. And what's there to justify this much space? Nothing. The main pathing doesn't even necessarily take this path. It's too large to justify it with "adding maneuverability". There's no expansion to fight over here. No reason to rally here. There's really no reason to be here, everywhere else in the map is more strategically valuable. As an alternate path and a source of nonlinearity/maneuverability the path itself is a valuable part of the map conceptually, but it doesn't need to be this wide! In fact, cutting it in half would help the map in a lot of different ways: it would reduce the amount of space the area currently wastes, freeing up room for air pathing. Adding air pathing would actually be a far more efficient use of the space, as ironic as that sounds. Doing so would greatly increase the air harass potential, greatly increasing the map's potential strategic diversity. This would even further combat the turtleish nature of the map's relative linearity, further improving the map and its gameplay. Alternatively, this space could be improved by instead adding another neutral gas expo. This would make the space useful, and decrease linearity by creating something important to worry about in this side of the map (in this portion of the path). This would do nothing for the air harass potential, but that's not inherently bad, as limited air harass potential simply seems to be part of the map's concept. I can't say for sure which idea is better, though I think I'd be tempted to favour the former. Adding an expansion to the pretty scarce expo layout certainly wouldn't hurt the map though.
Room for improvement aside, this map is pretty good, and is amazing for someone who hasn't uploaded any other maps. Definitely worthy of MOTM in my opinion.
Posted by:Nightmarjoo OK, FIRST SCAN YOUR SYSTEM BECAUSE I CAN PICK YOU UP ON MY EXPLOIT SCANNER!! FIRST TIME I'VE HACKED YOU, SO IT PROVES YOU'VE HAD MORE HACKERS BYPASS IT IN THE PASS.
PLEASE ADD ME ON MSN TO SOLVE THESE ISSUE'S: KATIE1992@LIVE.DK NO CAPS :)
I'M WILLING TO HELP YOU SOLVE THESE ISSUE'S, I'M NOT LIKE THE KIND OF BLACKHAT HACKER LOOKING FOR DATA AND/OR HACKING SITES FOR FUN. I'M DOING IN FOR YOUR SAFETY.
Yeah, it happened again. This time someone was able to change a newspost by Nighmarjoo (So he either had admin credentials on the site or write-access to the Database) and put a "index.php" file in the webspace, which deleted almost all files.
So, it is possible to make a backup, but I don't know yet what security hole there was to blame this time. It's much too easy to hack BWMN;-(
I will restore 99% of the content soon - But I will have to make some changes first. Allowing generic HTML and even JS is foolish, and it is pretty easy to put some php files on the webspace that do whatever the cracker wants.
Do ppl still do new maps? A pretty simple way to improve the security without losing any of the great archive of maps we built in the past years would be to make the site "read only" and not allow uploading any new maps. or even prevent any interaction like commenting? What do you think?
EDIT: Btw, please do not upload maps right now. They will be deleted when I install the backup anyway...
Hey, HTML formatting is still fun:D
So, I re-uploaded most of the content. Please tell me if I missed some of it.
I disabled "file database". I'm almost positive that's how the hacker got his fatal PHP script on the server.
Also, you can now change your password. At least the admins on the site should do so.
For now I did not change anything about commenting. Don't do this at home
There seems to be a problem when changing passwords that I don't really understand yet..
Except for that, please test the site and tell me if there are bugs or missing content!
Getting back on track with Maps of the Month, I hereafter present November 2009's MOTM!
In first place, we have a clear winner, such a godly map that I don't know why we should even keep making MOTMs, as this map will blow away future winners indefinitely, hmm.. more on that idea later.
Famous mapper LastCurse gives us: crapshit2.jpg, er I mean (2)DeadSpace 0.98!
This cataclysmically great map starts out with a bang: low ground mains with highground nats! Reversing the altitude I'm sure will be standard in all maps from now on. The nats are pretty wide, making fast expo builds potentially riskier vs trashcan players seeking to all-in early on, further deviating from the norms of comfortable, skill-based gameplay we're so used to. Lastcurse intends with this feature to blow our minds away by forcing new standards in gameplay, an action surely needed with the release of Starcraft 2 Beta, initiating the demise of Broodwar as we know it. "Cliffing" the nat from beneath it lies an islandy pit which doubles as a useless ovy spot to trap noob zergs who think they can scout their opponent, hah!
Just outside the nat we have a path leading to three roads, a LastCurse choke, if you will. The outward path leads to the 3rd gas expansion, a relatively safe base fairly close to the player, and pretty far from your opponent. As the path with the LastCurse choke is higher altitude than this path, it's easier than otherwise to control and secure the expansion, ensuring its defensiveness. There is no safer possible expansion to choose from as your 3rd base. As such we have a more linear expo layout, but let me assure you this is simply another grand feature by our genius LastCurse. Nonsensical features like nontraditional expo layouts, where players have "choice" in where and when to expo simply distract from the game itself. Rather than invoke strategic diversity, making each game truly unique and spectacular as previously thought, the concept simply confuses bad players, reducing the amount of gamers who can enjoy a map employing the idea, how silly! Thanks LastCurse for not using that quaint concept, and enlightening us about its adverse effects on a map's overall gameplay.
The central path from the nat's LastCurse path leads to our 4th gas expansion, well sort of. Instead of a boring antiquated ole' normal expansion, our 4th is a reverse-oriented mineral block. That is to say, it blocks off the path with its mineral formation, and to use its gas (as opposed to just its minerals), you must go around it (or hop over it) and expo on the other side of the mineral formation (don't try to transfer your workers to the expansion after doing this!). Players can choose to take this expansion from the "normal" side and mine it as a mineral-only expansion, but their workers will be vulnerable from behind. For a terran in tvp though, this will probably actually be common. Securing this base, particularly with siege tanks, helps defend the 3rd gas expansion, limits your opponent's mobility to a certain degree, all the while getting more minerals. Siege tanks will easily defend the workers, and the terran can safely rally here. When he chooses to move forward or when the lower mineral valued block is mined out (allowing a potential worker transfer) the terran can easily lift his command center to the gas side.
The inward path from the LastCurse path leads into the center, and into a two-forked path. Counter-intuitively enough, the outward path of this fork leads into the most-center path, while the inward path leads to the outer-central path. The former has another two-forked choke, the inward path thankfully leading to the inner-most central path of the map, the outer path leading into the linear path along the edge of the map leading to the 3rd gas expansion. The gas-side of the 4th gas expansion has a large ramp outside of it leading into this path as well. Going backwards along this path takes you to the 5th gas expansion. It's here we actually have a degree of expo-choice: the expansion is far from everything! It's close by air to one player, and lies along the 3rd gas path of the other, but then lies along the inward-outward path of the first player. It has a fairly large choke, a ramp higher than the ground leading to it. The expansion thus is fairly defensible but not incredibly so. An actual cliff overseeing it can harass it easily, and I'm sure tanks from inside the main by it can hit parts of it. I'm not exactly sure how or when this expansion will be used, congratulations LastCurse, you confused me!
And that's the map in a nutshell, so let's look at it in overview. The map is 128x112, making it taller than many (2)maps, but not as big as the vacuous 128x128. The end result is a very long distance from everything to the 5th gas expansion, but also a wider middle. Aside from the very corners of the map there's basically no wasted space, and the first 4bases are all pretty near eachother, making the distances generally respectable. Personally, I'd have stuck to 128x96. A different middle involving fewer chokes (which use up/reduce space in the middle) especially in conjunction with different shapes for the main and 5th gas expansion to use space a little more efficiently would result in atleast just as open a middle, but with better distances and a higher degree of efficiency as far as space allocation goes. However the map is probably fine as is.
Aesthetically the map is less than perfect. LastCurse opted to use terrains lacking differential decorational terrain-types; there is no low altitude terrain that fits with the lowplatform he used, and while there is high plating, he covered the highground with unbuildable tiles making use of plating impossible. He used such tiles along all of the lowground and normal platform away from expansions as well. Some of those ramps are not great looking as well. Seems like a tileset limitation.
The map probably centers around a fairly turtlish macro play-style. The expansions are close together aside from the 5th, which is hard to take outside of as a hidden expansion, ie hard to take securely. It's hard to be aggressive at all given long nat2nat distances and the close proximity of the first four bases. The middle is fairly linear and tight, although its many paths can be used to a degree of openness and nonlinearity, Bluestormesque. Balance-wise my prediction is that it'll be t>z, p>z, t>p, the classic turtle/tight map imbalances. Terrans will probably mech vs zerg, and play passively vs protoss. Anticipate carriers with the many cliffs. The main/nat layout/shape strikes me as being relatively mutalisk friendly, and the long distances certainly dissuade any lurker oriented builds. Maybe you'd see a lot of crazyzerg. zvp should be pretty standard, I'm just betting on the safe 3/4base of p to beat out zerg in a long macro game. Maybe anticipate Shine-esque lair-based play to abuse the long distances and large mains.
Second place won second place last post, just read it again if you want. Third place takes after its image name very well, feel free to check that out on your own.
Now in lieu of reduced activity at broodwarmaps, Map of the Month has become quaint and antiquated, so we'll be replacing this archaic institution with a more modern and more competetive competition: The LastCurse Map and sty_lezerg-ex/tktkvroom Second Place Map of the Fortnight competition, aka the LCSZ&TKMOTFN! Every two weeks we'll be showing off the greatest works of LastCurse, who is changing his ID to LastBlessing, and the dynamic duo sty_lezerg-ex and tktkvroom, who are merging as an archon and taking on the name StyleVroom! Every fortnight you guys will vote on which of their great maps are the best and second best respectively.
Now, I'm excited to announce that I was lucky enough to get an interview with LastBlessing, it's here as follows:
Nightmarjoo: Hey LastBlessing, can you tell us what you do when you're not making amazing maps for our site, keeping the greatest international broodwar mapping site alive almost singlehandedly?
LastBlessing: Sure thing Night^^, when I'm not making epic maps I usually spam my latest set of epic ramps in every map/thread I can find XD, and when I haven't made another rampset for you guys to complain about, I go through the site's database^^ and try to edit every map, replacing the maps with no passwords with animal porn XD
Nightmarjoo: Haha, how amusing. So how do you make the amazing maps you do? I almost have to compare your maps to Testbug's now!
LastBlessing: XD Testbug hates me^^ Well Night, first I go read your sporatic MOTM posts and comments in other people's maps, and I just copy whatever you say to not do XD
Nightmarjoo: Wow, no wonder they seem so great, they're partly influenced by me! I'll have to be more openminded from now on, and accept the myriad of unique ideas, even if they don't conform to what I've decided and told the universe is correct!
LastBlessing: Don't hurt yourself XD
Nightmarjoo: You're right, I'm just kidding.
Nightmarjoo: So what will you do now? What's the first LCSZ&TKMOTFN winner gonna be?
LastBlessing: I dunno yet XD I'm thinking about remaking either Iron Flush or Desert Flower^^
Nightmarjoo: Wow, you're such a bold mapper! Just what the community needs. So, may I ask what prompted your name change?
LastBlessing: Well, I figured LastCurse was too negative sounding for such a great guy like myself XD^^
Nightmarjoo: Yes I agree, and I feel your new name more correctly reflects your activities here at bwm too, forcing us to open our minds to new and unique map concepts, helping ensure the security of the site by abusing the site's vulnerabilities as best you can, making sure we fix up those holes lest someone actually malicious try to exploit them, making large sets of new ramps for all mappers to use in their maps, however ugly they are, and guaranteeing the survival of this great site. I eagerly await to see your next maps.
LastBlessing: XD Thanks XD
Nightmarjoo: My last question, do you have any helpful tips or suggestions for lesser mappers, such as Protoss4ever? Or what about our other rising star, styleVROOM?
LastBlessing: p4ver is hopeless^^ his best bet would be to just copy me XD StyleVROOM is great though, he just needs to use more snow, his maps aren't quite blinding enough yet XD
Nightmarjoo: Haha, you're so great and helpful, what an impressive guy! Most guys of your status and skill might be obnoxious or conceited, it's nice seeing such a modest, down-to-earth mapper. Thanks again for the interview and your continued support of the site!
LastBlessing: No problem XD
Unfortunately styleVROOM didn't have enough time to give an interview, but he did send this image:
Soon we'll be caught up with the old MOTMs, just in time for the first LCSZ&TKMOTFN!
For August 2009's MOTM our winner is Tktkvroom, who I guess by now is an old mapper! Tk has won a couple MOTM/MOTWs in the past, including co-making the previous MOTM (July), but is largely unrepresented in bwm competitions. Well, he apparently got sick of that, and decided to win four MOTMs in a row, here's the second: (2)Sun Shower
This two player map is relatively standard, so I'll start with the most unstandard feature. Behind your otherwise normal nat in front of a normal main lies a backdoor closed by a mineral block (I don't know the mineral values). The theme of the map begins here. From your nat you have two paths, one leading over a nastyridge into the center of the map. The center is unremarkable, linear but fairly open. There are no expansions or strategic features in the middle. Following the backdoor path leads you to a fork, with an enlarged ramp leading to the 3rd gas expansion plateau, the other leading along the edge of the map, around the plateau. This path and a default-sized ramp from the plateau lead to a mineral-only expansion. Continuing along this path takes you to a second plateau with the 4th gas expansion. There are large ramps leading into the center from both plateaus.
As far as the map itself goes, that's it. Strategically the key to this map is controlling the plateaus. The middle itself has absolutely no value to it at all, a lot of the action is going to revolve around the plateaus and the side paths. The center links the two sides to eachother, and of course represents the main pathing from player to player. The other gameplay feature here lies in some relative flexibility as far as expansions go. Players do not necessarily need to take any expansion in any order. A player taking what I labeled the 3rd gas expo covers the backdoor to his nat, and puts himself in a pretty safe defensive position. From here the player is probably going to attack down the middle, particularly if his opponent also took the 3rd gas expansion. If his opponent took the 4th as his 3rd, the player could push along the side path from his 3rd, taking the min only as he goes. If his opponent took his 3rd gas, the player could push along the side anyway into his opponent's 4th. A player could take the 4th as his 4th, perhaps taking the min only by his own 3rd to defend his 3rd/backdoor from that side. The player could opt instead to wall-off his backdoor and take the 4th as his 3rd, and pressure his opponent along that side. Expoing on this map leaves you fairly vulnerable, which partially is responsible for the flexibility in expoing. There simply is no expansion you naturally take in any order, aside from the natural itself, hence its name.
In second place was (4)Orchidees Noi by Freakling. Just look at my post about the map when it won 2nd place for July's motm here. And I don't reward 3rd place out of 4 maps, which if you're curious was sty_lezerg-ex's (6)Twin Headed Snake, with 10 points.
For September of 2009, our winner is Tk's third appearance in a row, co-authoring with sty_lezerg-ex to make (4)Broken Wings.
This rotationally symmetrical four player map throws the mains in almost the corners of the map. The main itself, aside from being perhaps a little tight/small is standard. The nat deviates from the norm with another backdoor path. This backdoor is more prominent than last month's map. It leads into a cliff that oversees and circumvents the main, leading to a neutral blocking off the ramp to the 3rd gas expansion. The third gas expansion has a nastyridge on its other side leading into the center. The 3rd gas expansion by your own main is not necessarily the expansion you will actually take yourself, and in fact I find that to be unlikely. The 3rd gas expansion near your nat, but by another player's main is probably a safer pick. If your opponent is there, taking that expansion as your 3rd allows you to pressure your opponent. Securing the backdoor is critical for protecting both your nat and your main.
In the wasteland of a middle lies a 6-block mineral-only expansion. I don't know when a player would ever take it, probably never unless the game lasts a very long time. This expansion is fairly far from your other bases, doesn't lead into any other expansion and thus has very little if any strategic worth, it has virtually no economic worth, every other expansion both has more minerals and gas. The base is very vulnerable, being in the middle of the map with no choke to defend. I imagine the only reason it's there at all is so you can pretend the middle has something in it. It still in my eyes, does not. A big mass of clutter in the very center linearizes the map needlessly.
Gameplay should be pretty basic once you decide which gas expansion to take as your 3rd (your 3rd, another base's 3rd, or another base's main/nat, all of those being viable and/or preferable in some scenario or another).
In second place we have p4ver's tileset change/bugfix for the former promap (3)Demon's Forest, now titled (3)Demons Shiver. Promaps don't win bwm competitions, nor do tileset changes. In third place we have Excalibur and sWaGu's (4)World Tree, but my understanding is that it is incomplete, and whether it is or isn't, I see no reason to reward a map that lost to a tile-set change.
2009's October is graced again by the dynamic duo that is Tk and sty_lezerg-ex (what a lame name, let's vote on new names for him!), finishing off tk's 4-win motm streak. Apparently these guys became bored with all the standard maps we've had in MOTM lately, and made this map: (2)Flash.
The bizarrities begin right off the bat, with two entrances to the main. One is blocked with a stack of 6 neutrals (700 hp each neutral, so 700 splash damage kills the whole stack). Down the middle of the map is a wall which cuts the map into two sections, and the rest of the map is based on this division. In the center of this division is a troygate, which of course can be closed off. Once you close it, there are two neutral-blocked chokes which connect the two areas. And of course, the two areas are connected through your main. On the nat side of the map is a gas expansion on a tiny hill (so tiny that 3 cannot make comsat, and I will never edit this out, shame on you stylezerg/tk!), and past that is a large plateau with another gas expansion. This plateau leads through a backdoor into another gas expansion which lies behind your opponent's main. This expansion is pretty out-of-the-way except for by air/drops, but is easy to defend. Being hard to attack, hard to reinforce, and out of the way, this expansion is likely to play as a semi-island in many situations. A second choke, a bluestorm choke (lets only small units through) leads from that expo into a path which leads along-side the plateau ramp into the middle. Right outside this path is yet another gas expo, this being what you could call the "2nd nat" for your opponent. This expansion is right outside your opponent's 2nd main entrance. Then, in the very middle, on either side of the troy-gate are mineral only expansions you'll never take. These things are actually worse than the ones in Broken Wings, if you can believe that. Think about the expansions I said no one in their right mind would ever take outside of desperation in a very long game, make them shootable from behind, and take away a mineral. They atleast are fairly near other expansions unlike the broken wing min onlys, but there are gas expos with more minerals that are safer to take at the same distance or closer to another gas expo everywhere on the map. I don't understand why these min onlys are in what is already a money-rich map.
At anyrate, if you hadn't figured it out already, this map has very complex gameplay. There is a constant dynamic between the two sides. Players can always find a gas expo near another gas expo they already own on either side of the map, so there's a lot of flexibility in where and when players expo. Every expansion has an alternative choice that's just as viable or more viable in any given scenario. Mostly, the gameplay will be determined by how the players choose to use the neutrals. Aggressive players will seek to open up the neutrals quickly, allowing them to pour units all over the map, attacking their opponents on both sides of the division. Defensive, more passive players will seek to protect the walls (terrans can repair all the neutrals aside from the troygate, an interesting mechanic).
This map is fairly experimental, and as such is a little messy. The gameplay should be both interesting and fairly solid. It should be fairly difficult to play passively vs an aggressive player, so it could be difficult for players more used to passive play as such. I think the rewards to being aggressive too far outweigh the rewards for being passive, so I can't see it playing out any other way. The messiness is somewhat due to the experimental features, but more due to the odd expo layout. The concept itself would probably benefit a lot from a remake with a different expo layout. The authors apparently did not find it necessary to look into this however, and I decided to make fun of LML instead of giving them an essay on how to improve the map, so this is what we're left with. Either way, this map is interesting, relatively well-made, and is worth playing a few times if only to see how the divided-sections concept plays out.
In a very close second place is JungleTerrain's (4)Desert Yellow (4)Naous. This map is very standard. There isn't much to discuss here: You have a normal main and a normal nat. You have a normal/open/cluttered middle with mineral only expansions nearest to the nats. Cliffing the mineral onlys is a plateau which leads into the 3rd gas expansion, next to the mains. Zergs will likely take a nat/main as their 3rd (possibly a far 3rd gas expo vs terran, attempting to defend the small ramp with lurkers), and terran and protoss will probably pick a plateau based on where their opponent is, and take the mineral only/gas expo there, in no particular order. Players with map control will probably take the gas expo before the min only. Depending on positions it's probably a good idea to push towards the plateau facing you, and defending the gas expo from the plateau itself, inching into the min only a little later. If that's not possible players will probably take the min only nearest to them, then use that expansion to secure the plateau and the gas expo a little later. And, that's it for the map.
As I said earlier, I don't reward 3rd place out of 4th, which is sWaGu's (3)Hope if you're curious.
And there we'll stop for now, as I don't know if bwm is ready for a lastcurse motm quite yet. There are three outstanding MOTMs remaining, and then the current MOTM. If you haven't taken the opportunity to vote for 2010's January/February combined motm, please do so now! That motm has quite a few great maps, it would be a shame to spoil what ought to be such a tough competition with too small a number of votes. Be sure to look for great maps to submit for this current MOTM, as there's hope it might be posted this year!