Well, it's been a long ride. This has clocked in as one of our biggest contests yet, standing proud against submission numbers seen in both the Extermination and Grifball contests. We have seen work from both veteran forgers and those looking to explore the tool for the first time. Players flocked to lobbies almost daily to share ideas, stress test maps and even make new friends along the way.
One of the most exciting facets of this contest was actually it's conception. As a team, we always try to gain ideas from our community on what contests and events to hold but with the 1v1 Contest, the community really took the wheel. The regulars on the WAYWO thread birthed the contest themselves, creating it's rules, guidelines and even electing the judges. As a team, this was probably the easiest it could have been for us. What's more, it was extremely exciting to see such enthusiasm from you all. Even some of our most cynical members jumped on the 1v1 hype train. Now let's be clear, the tracks that the train ran on were less than perfect. There were edges to be smoothed out and kinks to be resolved but at the end of the day, I think it's fair to say that in-tandem, our community worked up a stellar contest. On behalf of the staff at large, I'd like to both thank and congratulate you all on your hard work.
Since this was a community born project, it goes almost without saying that the overall community involvement was high. I personally had a great time running my testing lobby for the duration of the contest. It was extremely interesting to see how maps both developed and how overall, maps shifted in response to new revolutions and discussions. I'm sure this is a sentiment Max Extra can relate to as well.
I'd also like to take a brief moment to shine a spotlight on @brusky0086 who not only played every single 1v1 map submitted to the contest but also recorded it all and posted the gameplay, with feedback included, on his Youtube channel for the Forgers to see. It was an awesome way to both provide a helpful service and acknowledge the hard work put in by our community. In the words of Brusky himself, "That's rad!"
Over the course of roughly a month, our community selected judges filtered our total pool of almost 90 maps down to the top 5. These 5 winners represent the "cream of the crop" according to our judges and likewise, these maps will serve as the official rotation for the upcoming, ForgeHub 1v1 Tournament, where forgers will slam down against their monitor brothers. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for more info on this event in the near future!
Without further adieu, let's start rolling out our winners!
Xzamplez is a veteran Forger with plenty of experience under his belt. His map, These Walls, is a room-based symmetrical thriller that places heavy emphasis on simple geometry masked by layered aesthetics. The walls on the map are notably worn and torn. Stone structures are placed within the white plaster walls and layers of the plaster are peeled away to reveal the stone underneath. This adds depth to the maps textures as well as further immerses players in to their crafted environment. The map is oddly serene and carries the traits of an old monastery or church, long past it's prime but not far off from it's faith.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of the wooden overhangs that go almost unnoticed in-game as well as the clever use of the sangheli flags as gentle curtains.
A map that once again focuses heavily on simple geometry, Faultline almost takes it one step further by appearing as the kind of map that would have been released alongside Halo CE. Don't let appearances fool you though, this map is purpose built for Halo 5 and the gameplay reflects that as well.
"The map is relatively large for its intended 1v1 player-count, but routing is kept intentionally simple, focusing on easy readability and gradual inclines that help to encourage movement. However, more experienced players will quickly discover a variety of shortcuts, nade-points, and sniper sight-lines that will help elevate their gameplay and improve their chances to dominate the competition."
The term ambitiously vertical is correct. You better be prepared to fight at strong angles on this map because it will be the greater norm of your experience. But that is far from a negative point. There is strength in the variability of those angled fights and one could reason that is a strong contributor to it's style.
Another veteran forger steps into our winners circle. Chronmeister's Jaguar is an asymmetrical map set in an ancient Mayan temple. Similar to These Walls, the overall geometry is rather simple but Chronmeister uses the pieces he earned in that venture to create cool thematic elements that better portray the map's visual story. The easiest evidence of that lies with the circular sculpture that dawns an iconic Mayan face. The pyramoid pieces are also put to work rather well on this map to craft heightened detail to to enhance the overall immersion.
"Jaguar is perhaps one of the most interesting entries in the 1v1 competition. It follows no established design cues but instead blazes its own trail with unique geometry and movement opportunities. Jaguar is perhaps my personal favorite map to traverse and does an excellent job at providing the extended duels that 1v1 matches are known for."
Urban decay. Boarded windows. Abandoned homes. Ratty roads. No, that isn't a description of Detroit; we're talking about Afterhours by Sethiroth. Set in a city block far past it's prime, this map's asymmetrical design blended with it's rather natural elevation shifts makes for a killer gameplay experience. Players weave in and out of buildings, alleys and even engage in some minor scaffold action. For a map that is fairly thematically united it's individual parts stick out fresh in the players mind and getting your bearings for movement on the map is easy and intuitive.
"Afterhours is exactly what you imagine when you think of a tight, refined playspace purpose built for duels. The sightlines, spawning manipulation, and ranges were all designed with the utmost care and the quickly changing map density will provide you with all the tools you need to make that incredible comeback. You’ll find Afterhours provides you with an incredibly consistent duel experience."
What can be said for Third Gear? Unique and varied piece use. Diverse playspaces. Memorable themes. The power of the asymm is strong with this one. The map itself seems to draw inspiration from Halo 3's Rat Nest thematically but in a way that calls back to Reach's Powerhouse. Strong human overtones blended with stellar gameplay vibes propelled Third Gear up through the ranks of the 1v1 contestants.
"Third Gear provided the most refined experience of any map in the Forgehub 1v1 contest. It excelled in providing just the right amount of everything, never fighting against insurmountable odds or picking between one-too-many options - but rather the perfect balance of punishment to getaway opportunities. Of refined hallways to open expanses. Of predictable pathing to creative movement options. Third Gear is a worthy winner to host even your sweatiest matches."
And so concludes yet another major ForgeHub event. Like in every contest, there were a thousand little intricacies that made this one special but the one that will always stick out the furthest is the heart that the community put into it. This contest emerged from almost no where and off the whim of a few regular members while being carried by the interest and excitement of the Forge community.
As a personal aside, I was absolutely delighted to see so many people be thrown from their comfort zones with this contest. We are an environment that promotes the creation and crucible of competitive maps; chiefly 4v4 in style. From the very beginning it was clear that so many of the rules of thumb and tricks of the trade we apply to 4v4 in Halo 5 do not translate into 1v1. Almost every forger was challenged to rethink how they approach small scale engagements in both reasonable yet dynamic fashion. For many it was very difficult but through this contest's progression I have seen both forge veterans and novices alike play and grow together.
I think there is immense value in that.
Congratulations to our winners and thanks to all who participated. I hope to see you all soon as we race through the new year.
Start your engines ForgeHub