Competitive Map? Casual Map? No Such Thing!

Discussion in 'Halo and Forge Discussion' started by SecretSchnitzel, May 16, 2016.

  1. SecretSchnitzel

    SecretSchnitzel Donald Trump
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    Competitive and Casual Maps: There Is No Such Thing

    Today I want to touch on a subject that’s long been a sore point of contingency in the community; the “competitive” versus “casual” map labeling. Little over a year ago, PsychoDuck and the former THFE crew (as well as ForgeHub) made a transition from labeling maps either “competitive” or “casual”, and it’s a move that I applaud. See, the thing is, there is no such thing as a “competitive” or “casual” map, there’s only a “balanced” map. A map is either balanced or it’s not.

    “But Schnitzel! What do you mean by ‘balanced’?”

    When I speak of balance, I’m speaking in terms for how enjoyable a map will be for players of all skill levels. Can super “sweaty” kids play on it and have a moderately good time? Can “casual” kids play on it and have a moderately good time? Can a mix of good and bad kids play on it and still have a moderately good time? What it boils down to, is the map free of exploits or cascading advantages.

    An exploit is something that occurs on a map that a player can take advantage of to gain an unfair advantage over opposing players. It can come in many forms, be it hidden power weapons, hidden power positions, or difficult to get to areas that were not intended by the creator (such as getting out of the map on Recurve and sniping for example). A cascading advantage is something that allows for a team to get a lead and maintain it in such a way that the opposing team has no way of fighting back. Cascading advantages can come in the form of poor weapon placements, weapon respawn timers, insurmountable power positions, or any mix of the three. Power weapons that despawn upon death or deletion (and not on weapon pads) with a short respawn timer are something that can contribute to cascading advantages, as the team controlling those weapons will know when they will respawn and thus will be able to get them again without the opposing team’s knowledge. This type of cascading advantage can also be particularly frustrating on large open maps where there are a limited number of long range precision weapons, as the dominating team can continue controlling said weapons and making it (at least seem) near impossible to for the opposing team to make a comeback.

    What do these two things have in common? The make the game less enjoyable. Of course no one enjoys losing a game, but losing a fair and well fought match is one thing. Losing on seemingly unfair terms is another. Both of these issues diminish the capability of the losing team from being able to mount a comeback, regardless of skill level. More importantly, when differences of skill level are added to the equation, these two issues can out right ruin a player’s ability to enjoy a map.

    To sum it all up, there is no such thing as a “competitive” or “casual” map, only a balanced map. A balanced map should be free of exploits and cascading advantages, as these diminish how much players enjoy the map regardless of skill level or degree of “competitive” mentality the players may have. And much more importantly, as there are almost never perfectly balanced teams in regards to skill level, these two issues will be compounded drastically by the disparity in skill levels.

    Please feel free to discuss and comment below.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Goat

    Goat Rock Paper Scissors Scrap
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    Now the question is whether an unbalanced map is a good thing or not.

    Also I like this side of you instead of the usual one.
     
  3. SecretSchnitzel

    SecretSchnitzel Donald Trump
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    The question really boils down to: "does the enjoyment of one player group come at the expense of the other". I'm really talking about balance of enjoyment factor here explicitly, not other forms of balance (such as balance of asymmetries and what not).
     
  4. Spranklz

    Spranklz Promethean
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    I could not agree more!

    I really think that feedback should answer two questions:

    How much fun did you have?

    What do you think would have made it more fun for YOU?

    I actually just listened to a guy walk through my map and explain to me that it is bad for gameplay, but could not tell me what he defined as bad gameplay. In fact, most of my testers really enjoyed my map and did not interact with it the way that this gentlemen was telling me they would. When I asked him why it isn't suited for competitive play, he told me it was because I needed to change the map. In the end, I really got nothing out of it and could therefore not improve upon the map.
     
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  5. Yevah

    Yevah Promethean
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  6. WAR

    WAR Cartographer
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    A long time ago, ForgeHub used a system that prompted map posters to select either 'casual' or 'competitive' for categorization purposes. This was completely done away with, everything now falls into a 'core' category. Hopefully people move away from the old tropes.
     
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  7. a Chunk

    a Chunk Blockout Artist
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    Looks like I have somewhat of a contrarian perspective on this one. I say it's all semantics, and both types of classifications are the same.

    I always felt the argument over whether a map was casual or competitive was pretty pointless, but all you're doing in this case is exchanging words and keeping essentially the same meaning.
    Balanced = Competitive
    Unbalanced = Casual

    Is Schnitzel joining the ranks of the politically correct? :p
     
  8. SecretSchnitzel

    SecretSchnitzel Donald Trump
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    It's not quite like that... Balanced =/= Competitive. Competitive or Casual are player mindsets.

    A casual players only lobby can (and most likely will) enjoy a map whether it is balanced or not.
    A competitive players only lobby can enjoy a map that is balanced, but won't enjoy a map that isn't/
    A mixed lobby of casual and competitive players will not be able to enjoy an unbalanced map, because the competitive players will make it a miserable slog for the other players.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to balance of enjoyment. Does the enjoyment a player have on a map come at the expense of the other players?


    I've been in the "politically correct" forge mentality for a long time. Haven't you seen my other threads? :p
     
  9. Xandrith

    Xandrith Heroic
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    All maps are casual.
     
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  10. Yekkou

    Yekkou Yellow, but with "kk"s
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    'Cause all maps suck :rip:

    I'd comment something more constructive, but I see no points to argue.
     
  11. xXSB101Xx

    xXSB101Xx Spartan I

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    All casuals like maps.
     
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  12. Chronmeister

    Chronmeister Blockhead
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    Calling a map "casual" is just a nice way of saying you don't like it.
     
  13. Box Knows

    Box Knows Spartan II

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    You define casual in matchmaking
     
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  14. Psychoduck

    Psychoduck Spartan II
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    In that context, it is mostly a matter of semantics. But, the reasoning for the shift in terminology extends to other types of maps as well. Relegating the 'competitive' label to a subset of core maps prevented that term from being used to describe other types of maps. Mini Games and other types of maps can certainly be intended to be played competitively, albeit in a different sense than core maps are.

    Ultimately, these are just labels. Maps can be whatever the author wants them to be and can be described however players perceive them. But, I still believe the shift in terminology was an important one.
     
  15. MultiLockOn

    MultiLockOn Promethean
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    I really like the discussion in this thread. Everything is very well worded. Funny enough, I shared this same opinion as everyone else here who has posted so far until last night when Salty and I had a discussion about this.


    You're all wrong. There are casual balanced maps.
     
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  16. a Chunk

    a Chunk Blockout Artist
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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. MultiLockOn

    MultiLockOn Promethean
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    I literally said the same thing as everyone else in this thread last night to Salty. That I believed anyone who willingly classified their map as casual is just admitting that they're unable to fix the actual design issues. Saying your map is casual is just saying it's a poor unbalanced map.

    Salty acknowledged he understood where I was coming from but then said that sometimes you can make a map "casual" on purpose, and design fun encounters that wouldn't happen on a competitive map.

    I said that's not true. Every "competitive"map is a casual map, you can play ANYTHING casually. But you can't play a casual map competitively. I said casuals can have just as much fun on The Pit as they would snowbound.

    He said he disagrees.

    Ultimately after sleeping on it I'm pretty sure I agree with him. The difference here is that people misuse the word casual. Most "casual" maps like isolation and snowbound aren't actually casual, they're just shitty maps. Halo CE has a very distinct line between the serious core maps and the casual ones, aka Boarding Action and Chiron vs Dammy and Chilly (albeit the former 2 weren't designed to fill that role buy they might as well have). There's a lot of fun to be had on maps like Chiron that you can't replicate on a more viable map like Guardian or Pit.

    I could totally see myself designing a "casual" map in the future that's really just filled with goofy interactions and cool lifts and teles and fun stuff like that. Not saying core maps can't be fun, again, I stand by that. But there's definitely room for ACTUAL "casual"maps.


    I really didn't want to sit here and type all this out lol which is why I previously left that short response. But I like chunk and I like family guy, so..
     
  18. SecretSchnitzel

    SecretSchnitzel Donald Trump
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    You can make a "casual" map Multi, correct, but such a map would not hold up in the general population. It'd be fine with its intended niche audience, but outside of that absolutely not. And again, this all comes down to one factor, if it's balanced for gameplay in a way in which it's free from exploits or cascading advantages. You can have goofy maps that break convention and it still be balanced in a way that it holds up in all audiences.
     
  19. MultiLockOn

    MultiLockOn Promethean
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    Nope.

    If you made Chiron fully symmetrical, would it be unbalanced? No. Would it be exploitable? Not really. There's too many teles to watch at the same time. And certainly no cascading advantages.

    It would be a perfectly balanced, goofy, silly map, that had 0 competitive depth. And that's it.
     
  20. SecretSchnitzel

    SecretSchnitzel Donald Trump
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    But you could play it competitively. It just wouldn't be tournament level worthy.
     

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