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Map Frustrations

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#1 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 06:31 AM

So I've talked about this with some of you and I really couldn't place sincere reasons why I felt this way, so I did a little 'soul searching' in an effort to determine why I'm not feeling some of the Halo 3 multiplayer maps like I did with Halo 2. Considering the functional problems with Halo 2's multiplayer, of which there were many, I'm really concerned that with such a solid and really good multiplayer functionality, why the maps have been rather lackluster for me. Let me get out of the way some of the good things about the maps in Halo 3 before I rant. I absolutely love Guardian, High Ground, Last Resort, Snowbound and Valhalla. To me, these maps really represent the best multiplayer maps of the series, barring a handful from Halo 2. They're amazing environments to work and play in, both visually and for gameplay. They're incredible, even though they're my favorites, there are some broken parts to a few. Three of them were in the beta and a fourth was a remake from Halo 2, so all-in-all, Guardian is the only launch map that I've really continued to enjoy without fault. Last Resort is the best looking part of Halo 3 (bar none) and it's fun to play, but pound-for-pound, I have yet to enjoy it like I did Zanzibar. Don't know what it is exactly, but it feels different...perhaps too big and as we've experienced, it seems incredibly easy to capture a flag this time around. And then there's Snowbound which errs on the side of balance, swapping out Battle Rifles for Carbines like they're equitable or even close. Guardin is a brilliant map and easily has the capacity to be the best of their entire selection, but sometimes I begin to miss Lockout when playing it because it's like dating the sister of the girl you are in love with. I want elbow flag spawns...is that so wrong? Those are the good maps though, maps I really love and can see that I won't get tired over with a few minor changes. The other maps, however, are either beginning to grate on me or just simply fail to impress. I started out liking Construct, Narrows and The Pit. They?ve each grabbed an amazing concept and they're fun to play from time to time, but overall, they just come across as boring compared to the former ones or the quality ones from Halo 2. They have no liveliness, save for their background visuals ? apart from that, they look fairly dull and repetitive. Despite what they do right, it?s something which doesn't seem new or exciting every time it's played and in succession they often bother me. Epitaph and Isolation are jokes as far as I'm concerned, both are pretty maps but the layout, premise and concept is paper thin. They just don't feel like Halo maps to me...almost like I should expect them in another game that's not Halo. There?s a long list of issues I have with them; I won?t bore you. Sandtrap started out as an interesting concept when we first heard about it, but when I finally played it I realized it was a glorified Coagulation with a fat, practically pointless building in its center. The gameplay involving the Elephants is wholly linear, not anything like I presumed it would be and it only works in small doses again reminding me why I support 4v4 battles as paramount. When they talked about Sandtrap, I imagined a true ?sandbox? where the movement of the Elephants changed the way the game was played every time. Not so, at least not in my experience thus far. I remember Halo 2, despite its atrocious gameplay flaws (which I never want to relive again, I assure you), it had Lockout, Ascension, Midship, Ivory Tower, Zanzibar, Headlong, warlock, Sanctuary, Turf, Relic and Terminal. Five of those available at launch and were really solid maps and easily replayable. The other five came later but were also solid. I also think about how awesome some of the Halo 2 maps, like Coagulation, Burial Mounds and Containment would be with Halo 3?s gameplay and sandbox. Frank has talked about three new DLC maps we're getting in DLC, hopefully we'll be getting them before the end of the year? There's 'Jodrell Bank,' which for those not in the know, is a very popular observatory with a massive satellite - sounds like a good time for platform-based combat a la Lockout. Revisit us please! Then there's 'Prince of Dorkness,' based on the John Carpenter horror flick on Earth - my guess is an environment similar to the one we've seen on 'Floogate,' but larger as it is presumably vehicle-centric. Finally, they talked about Moonbase Alpha, from the olden series 'Space: 1999,' which had a base on the moon. Excitingly gray! Don't know if I should have high hopes for these, since Halo 2's DLC had some winners, or if I should just curl up in a ball with my campaign, but clearly, at least for me, something needs to be done either to 'fix' the maps or to make them more interesting. Am I alone here or is there warrant for frustration and concern? Should we start to look at modifying the content, now that we're approaching a month with the game under our belt?

#2 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:01 AM

I notice this problem a lot with our group. We tend to get one game at a time, play it daily for weeks and months until most are sick with it. Might I suggest that we try having multiple games in our hopper. For example, a lot of you have a lot of bitchy things to say about Gears of War. I, however, don't see those same flaws. I got the game at the same time all of you did, so why don't I hate it (or at least see all of its flaws)? A. I don't play games as often as you guys do, and B. I have three or four games that I'm playing through at a time. Maybe I played Gears three days in a row last week, but the other days I played Ninja Gaiden or Final Fantasy. Maybe I'd get back to Gears in a couple of weeks. And when I got back to it, instead of leaving the taste of ass in my mouth, it was as enjoyable as the day I booted it up. In the past, it was understandable to play one game monogamously until you were sick (due to the dearth of quality titles, especially in the summer), but nowadays, there are so many good games on the market, that such a gameplay style simply isn't necessary. And right now, is the best opportunity to put this theory to the test. You have Halo 3 and The Orange Box available now (not to mention Bioshock), and in a few weeks, you can add Ass Creed to that and Mass Effect. At the very least, you could read a book. But if you have to be playing games every day, you could alternate days. It will seriously extend the life of your purchases. I still enjoy playing several games that are two or more years old because I don't drain the life from them in one marathon binge. Just try this style of play for a few weeks. Perhaps you'll find that your complaints, while they address actual situations in the game, won't be much of an issue.

#3 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:05 AM

Understandable, although I should note that I've played campaign sessions (3+ levels at once and sometimes the entire game) at least twenty times since I acquired the game. That has not worn on me one bit. I love other attributes about the game which perform flawlessly, but these stood out with my considerations being based wholly on my experience with Halo 2. Something which lasted for years off and on.

#4 Va1or

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:12 AM

I thought a list of all the maps in both games might be helpful to this discussion.

Halo 2 Maps
1. Ascension
2. Beaver Creek
3. Burial Mounds
4. Coagulation
5. Colossus
6. Foundation
7. Headlong
8. Ivory Tower
9. Lockout
10. Midship
11. Waterworks
12. Zanzibar

Halo 2 DLC
13. Backwash
14. Containment
15. Elongation
16. Gemini
17. Relic
18. Sanctuary
19. Terminal
20. Turf
21. Warlock
22. Desolation
23. Tombstone

Uplift (Vista only)
District (Vista Only)

Halo 3 Maps

1. Construct
2. Epitaph
3. Guardian
4. High Ground
5. Isolation
6. Last Resort
7. Narrows
8. Sandtrap
9. Snowbound
10. The Pit
11. Valhalla

#5 urk

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:05 AM

Halo 3 Maps

1. Construct - Campfest in the upper level. Few people visit the midsection and the lower level seems to be used only at spawn.
2. Epitaph - Campfest. Confusing layout. The new Chiron TL-34.
3. Guardian - Decent map, but it lacks the nuance of Lockout. There are a lot of dead zone. Almost all of the action seems to gravitate toward the lift.
4. High Ground - Spawning issues aside, one of the best new maps. Some balance issues, but it's a fun little bastard.
5. Isolation - Nice grass. Ever seen the interior of the bases? Me neither.
6. Last Resort - Hey, let's remake Zanzibar and include larger areas that nobody will utilize.
7. Narrows - Campfest in the back of the bases. Mancannon audio cue is like the knelling of your death bell.
8. Sandtrap - Fun in a social setting. Vehicular mayhem. Get caught on foot and it's terrible.
9. Snowbound - Wish the shield doors could be disabled, or at least, would operate intermittently.
10. The Pit - I actually like this map. Good weapon set. Most of the map gets used. Kinda ugly though.
11. Valhalla - Great map. Fighting spans the entire area. Great for every gametype.

There's a common theme: wasted space. Some of the maps feel like they should have been smaller, a map variant woefully missing from the launch set. There's just so much dead, uninteresting space on the majority of the maps.

Edited by urk, 16 October 2007 - 08:10 AM.


#6 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:18 AM

Halo 2 Maps (that were fun)
1. Ascension
2. Ivory Tower
3. Midship
4. Zanzibar

Halo 2 DLC (that were fun)
5. Sanctuary
6. Terminal
7. Turf

-- there, ftfy.

#7 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:32 AM

Urk, once again you and I see eye-to-eye. I have a nearly identical opinion of the maps as you, albeit a tad more scathing and I love me some shield doors. The maps have beautiful backgrounds though. A lot of time I spend looking outside of a map's set environment and wishing I could battle out there (this means you: Construct, The Pit, Narrows).

Halo 2 Maps (that were fun)
1. Ascension
2. Ivory Tower
3. Midship
4. Zanzibar

You missed Lockout.

Read Matthew 12:31-32 and hope that heaven didn't see this atrocity.

#8 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:46 AM

You missed Lockout.

Read Matthew 12:31-32 and hope that heaven didn't see this atrocity.


You are absolutely correct. Mere clerical error on my part. I'm trying to simultaneously be a smartass and take notes on the obnoxiously complex subject of the Conflict of Laws. I apologize for over-extending myself.

/Lockout RULEZ!

#9 Va1or

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:47 AM

After putting some thought into this I've come away with a few impressions. I believe that the H3 maps have a generally higher level of quality than the Halo 2 launch maps. However, some of Halo 2's small maps were great and unmatched by their big brothers efforts.

Guardian is a good map but falls on it's face in comparison to the fantastic Lockout. The Pit is also good (with particularly dull aesthetics), yet I'll take Midship over it any day. Zanzibar was an awesome single flag CTF map and I'm not convinced yet that Last Resort has the same magic. Where Last Resort might come up short, the great map High Ground gives us an entirely new and excellent option. Valhalla, one of my top 3 H3 maps, crushes Coagulation and satisfies the large scale vehicle friendly cravings we all have. Sandtrap whips Waterworks, though neither are really good.

I think part of your frustration, Voc, lies in the fact that some of the best Halo that can be had is found in small team (4v4) Slayer and single flag CTF battles on smaller maps suited to that end. It's on these smaller maps that Halo 2 shined and Halo 3 doesn't come out with an all-star like Lockout.

#10 urk

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:59 AM

Urk, once again you and I see eye-to-eye. I have a nearly identical opinion of the maps as you, albeit a tad more scathing and I love me some shield doors. The maps have beautiful backgrounds though.


Great minds. ;)

I like the shield doors too, but on Snowbound, they get abused somewhat. I think it would have been an interesting compliment to the map to be able to temporarily disable the large shield door into the cavern.

I think what made Lockout so playable was that the space was so tactical. Each area had it's use. Couple that with the weapon set (near perfect) and the careful configuration of the geometry to all for some really choice jumps and drops, and you have yourself a winner.

Guardian, in comparison, has quite a number of choke points. There are plenty of areas that don't offer much of anything besides spawn points. And that's the problem with most of the maps in the Halo 3 set. I find myself spawning out away from everything and having to hoof it to where are the action is. That's acceptable on large maps, but in a smaller setting, it feels very impotent. And I want boner time maps, not flaccid, wanting slabs of fail.

#11 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:06 AM

I get the feeling that a lot of the Guardian bitching is a function of inexperience with the map. Perhaps, given a little time, two experienced teams will learn to use all of the available space as efficiently as they use Lockout's space.

#12 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:09 AM

And I want boner time maps, not flaccid, wanting slabs of fail.

Agreed. Maybe this type of environment will be our new Lockout...

Posted Image

Also, I think that rear shield door does pose a problem from time to time. Wasn't thinking about that when you mentioned it the first time.

I get the feeling that a lot of the Guardian bitching is a function of inexperience with the map. Perhaps, given a little time, two experienced teams will learn to use all of the available space as efficiently as they use Lockout's space.

Could be and only time would tell, but I don't think so. I think urk's points are accurate about the spatial problems and to cap the flag, it's loads easier on Guardian which was one of our premiere gametypes on that map. Plus the space feels more cluttered and less dangerous, but maybe that has to do with the lighting. Perhaps time will make it more convenient, but I don't slight that map in the least. It's head and shoulders above most of Halo 3's selection.

#13 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:15 AM

Agreed. Maybe this type of environment will be our new Lockout...

Posted Image


Looks like a lot of wasted space. All the fighting will center on the top of the white thingy. And don't even bother asking for whom the grav lift tolls--it tolls for thee!

/am I complaining right? I think those are the salient points of most of gripes...right?

Edit: as an aside, I mostly agree with the substantive validity of the complaints I am mocking.

Edited by mattacus, 16 October 2007 - 09:17 AM.


#14 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:23 AM

:laugh: Haha! To clarify, I didn't mean that actual surface and geometry, I meant Lockout with the color palette and background similar to the Lovell Telescope which is stationed at the Jodrell Bank Observatory.

#15 urk

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:43 AM

It will be a gigantic, concave bowl primarily used for King of the Hill games. Players will spawn on the upper rim equipped with an SMG and a full compliment of grenades. Very cerebral.

#16 mattacus

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:02 AM

It will be a gigantic, concave bowl primarily used for King of the Hill games. Players will spawn on the upper rim equipped with an SMG and a full compliment of grenades. Very cerebral.


What you're describing sounds suspiciously like Foundation...

#17 urk

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:06 AM

What you're describing sounds suspiciously like Foundation...


Yes, but without all the numbered walls and such. There'll just be a big fat zero in the center of the map. Best for eight on eight play.

#18 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:12 AM

Yes, but without all the numbered walls and such. There'll just be a big fat zero in the center of the map. Best for eight on eight play.

Hah! Lol'rderby.

Valor and I talked about Last Resort and we've already seen a few elements which changed from Halo 2 to Halo 3 which altered the way it was played, namely the Rocket Launcher.

I think we're going to need some massive and epic multiplayer sessions where we play a number of our crew's most popular gametypes on a variety of maps to really get the feel for how they can be changed, whether major or minor, to better suit them for our gameplay.

I will admit that although the BR (stands for 'Better Rifle') is useful and needed on some of the larger maps, I'm perfectly fine with the AR being the starting weapon as it is beginning to grow on me - that aspect of the game need not change at all.

#19 urk

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 11:08 AM

Valor and I talked about Last Resort and we've already seen a few elements which changed from Halo 2 to Halo 3 which altered the way it was played, namely the Rocket Launcher.


Zanzibar felt pretty big, There was a lot of area for some interesting fights to take place in. It feels like they stretched the base side out too much and created, again, a bunch of dead, uninteresting space. There's now a second back entrance into the base, and neither it or the original prevents squads from pouring in. The result is that the mechanic of having to sneak in and open the door has been denigrated. It's not a major tactical concern anymore for any gametype. At least not as primary as it was in Zanzibar.

Plus you have the catwalk, which is simply a long walk inside the base. No real point to it that I can see. Certainly not any better then just climbing up the fallen wall in Zanzibar.

I do like the open room beneath Froman. Some interesting play happens there. And the laser switched out for the rocket makes logical sense.

I dunno. The base interior used to be one of the primary battlegrounds. It seems more arbitrary now. Maybe I just need to play more objective games on it.

#20 vociferous

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 12:49 PM

I do like the open room beneath Froman. Some interesting play happens there. And the laser switched out for the rocket makes logical sense.

At range, the laser is unparalleled in satisfaction and in efficacy, but up close, in an environment like the base on Last Resort, rocks (to me at least) are far quicker, more effective and efficient (there's ammo nearby). With the new pathways into the base and the entire main gate wide open to infantry, the base really didn't need a less-capable weapon for me.



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