2v2 maps should not be designed around "teamwork"

Discussion in 'Halo and Forge Discussion' started by Goat, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Goat

    Goat Rock Paper Scissors Scrap
    Forge Critic Senior Member

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    On the majority of doubles maps I've played in Halo 5, if you don't have a powerup or a power weapon, you're useless unless your teammate is team shooting with you or pulling aggro and allowing you to flank. Many of these maps consist of one dimensional encounters (e.g. corner camping) and the most effective way to penetrate those strategies when pickups are out of the equation (or in the enemy's hands) is to wait for your teammate to make a move.

    This was especially the case with the recent community doubles playlist. If you searched with a friend, good for you. For me and the rest of us who searched solo, we often ended up with the kid who either didn't have his TV on or couldn't find his way around forge maps very well. (Sure it was a casual playlist, but when it's 21-23 and your teammate only has 1 kill...)

    After experiencing that, I reflected back on the kind of 2v2 maps that I enjoy playing. I don't have any Forge examples off the top of my head, but a dev map that comes to mind is Damnation. While it's not without its own issues, Damnation is one of the few maps I've played where an individual can completely destroy a team even if the team is working together. If you move around the map with precision, time powerups, and are able to read their movements, you as an individual can disintegrate the other team's strategies. It may not be the best example, but to me that is a strong quality for a 2v2 map to have.

    When your teammate dies and it's 2v1, you shouldn't have to rely on your teammate or a pickup to beat the other team. A lot can happen in the seconds it takes them to respawn, especially if the enemy is already near you. And in this game, we don't have the luxury of buddy spawns, so waiting for them to rejoin the fight isn't ideal.

    Therefore, I've began to adopt this stance that a doubles map should have hardcoded geometry that benefits the individual player and their mental skill. The mechanical skill in Halo 5 is virtually nonexistent, thus the best way to empower a player is not with weapons, but with positioning. In theory, a good player should be able to manipulate the geometry to such an extent that they can outplay 2 players during a single engagement. In practice, it may not happen every single time, but that's not the point. The fact that the opportunity is presented to the player is something that I believe they will appreciate especially the more they play the map.

    What I experience on many maps is that the fights often start and end in the same place. If you try to move, you gain no advantage over the player who may not even have to leave their current spot to have power over you. In other cases, it's too easy to run away and disengage, whereby fights never amount to any exchange of information or positioning until you're right in each other's face. I consider both of those flaws in a doubles map because they devolve into a series of one-dimensional exchanges, thereby exhausting the map's incentive to replay it. Once you have one fight, it's the same thing every time.

    Conversely, with a design of the Damnation variety, I am encouraged to study every sightline and ledge I can in order to outmaneuver the other team.

    This is not to say that a doubles map shouldn't emphasize teamwork or allow it to flourish; there's obviously a teammate which allows you to make strategic plays. Whether the design punishes you for sticking too closely to your teammate or for not being close enough is a matter of your design philosophy. Nevertheless, when the chips are down or your teammate has their head in the sand, the best doubles designs are the ones that empower the individual to do something extraordinary to turn the tides with their own skill - and not by relying on a pickup to give them that advantage. Yea you can be a warrior with camo sniper or overshield rockets, but what happens if the other team has it? What happens if that spot you designed to be "pinchable" with a pickup or that strategy you want to execute isn't working because they have all the weapons and your teammate is nowhere to be found? A good map is one where even after losing control of the map - even after your teammate quits - you still have a chance to fight back. And the best way to do that as far as I've learned is to empower the individual to outposition the other team.

    Individual empowerment simply means you provide the player with a sightline, verticality, a quick flank, or some other advantage that puts them in a position to of control in a situation that is unfavorable. Whether that is through a shift in advantages in macro pathing or strategically placed micro geometry is up to the designer to decide.For example, if you're on the bottom of the map, providing the player a sightline that allows them to interact with higher areas where the other team is likely to be set up enables them to pick fights while repositioning.

    But it's worth noting that copious amounts of micro geometry could have the adverse effect. The essential element of empowering the individual is predictability - allowing them to read a situation clearly and presenting them with options to solve it through their own skill. When you bombard them with unnecessary routes and other extraneous geometry, it makes it much more difficult for them to get a read on the situation, and will instead devalue the design by needlessly prolonging the fights. The challenge comes in the balance of the two.

    This philosophy can even apply to other playercounts, but it shines in 2v2 where the individual has a greater influence on the outcome of the match.

    TL;DR 2v2 maps should empower individual players to make skillful plays, because holding your teammate's hand is dog
     
    #1 Goat, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  2. S0UL FLAME

    S0UL FLAME Spartan I

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  3. a Chunk

    a Chunk Blockout Artist
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    Really, they should be designed for both teamwork and individual play. The two aren't mutually exclusive. I'm sure that's exactly what you're referring to though...that 2v2 levels shouldn't be built in a way that RELIES upon teamwork.
     
  4. Goat

    Goat Rock Paper Scissors Scrap
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    That doesnt make a good thread title.
     
  5. Goat

    Goat Rock Paper Scissors Scrap
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    @a Chunk to elaborate on your point.... ideally there is a balance. But the way some maps are designed around teamwork leaves a lot to be desired.

    Teamwork to me revolves around a few questions:

    -How far can I be from my teammate and still assist them?
    -How much of the map can I control with my teammate?
    -Am I able to make pinches with my teammate?
    -How fast can I assist my teammate off of spawn?

    There might be more things to consider, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. Many of the maps i’ve played end up with sloppy encounters because of how oversegmented or poorly framed they are. This leads to an impractical environment where you’re needlessly punished for being away from your teammate. That's neither rewarding to the individual's skill nor the team's coordination.

    Furthermore, many doubles maps have one dimensional setups that require awkward pinches to break. While there is no way to account for every possible strategy used during a match, the maps shouldn't encourage a single dominant strategy whereby the most effective way to play the map is to "hold this position and block spawns to force them into that shitty spawn every single time". It's just something that requires awareness to catch in the design stage.

    Empowering the individual with geometry lets players think creatively and perform without the need to stick to their teammate like glue. Again, too much of that technique will needlessly prolong fights and make for awkward encounters. For example, copious amounts of ledges that can easily be clambered and dropped down behind lead to sloppy and annoying "duck duck goose" gameplay. But a variety of geometry to dance around and gain a favorable position over someone attacking you is what leads to those clutch moments, whereby you're able to make significant plays while your teammate is re-positioning or respawning. There are nuances to the way this is accomplished and doing so ultimately depends on the way it is approached. A crate, column, and small ramp both block sightlines, but only one can't be used in 3 dimensions.

    The microdetails are a matter of intent and depend on each area's unique purpose. Once that is understood, embedding that geometry into the design comes naturally. I've learned that adding space to a map can be approached mathematically; however, the fine tuning requires a careful eye and tasteful touch.
     
    #5 Goat, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  6. JurassicWeeMan

    JurassicWeeMan ONI Agent

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    Def. great points, but I will say I have been able to win matches in the MM 2v2 forge maps even with a teammate that is terrible - and I'm not even a great player. With certain maps, I have noticed that gameplay and success often depends a bit too much with camping and power-up grabs, however.
     
    CertifiedChamp likes this.
  7. CertifiedChamp

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    good read, its not often that there's a new thread worth reading these days
     

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