map design and thoughts.
Before we start I want to say that this is not a guide and will probably not help you in your quest for better games. I merely compiled here some thoughts I had from my experience as a player, and from the time spent trying to analyze maps and make them the map inspector app.
I started blitz on day one, and maps evolved, new maps were added, old maps were changed, some had many versions.
Blitz as of v4.4, November 2017 has 23 maps, and 3 more have been rumored with various pictures leaked.
When it started, it only had a handful. Nobody thought of complaining at the time. Today people never stop complaining that maps are too small, or one sided, or repetitive, or all flat with similar generic obstacles of different skins. Many old players also have fond memories of the early maps, and that was my case as well for the longest time. Recently though, that rosy nostalgia has passed.
Blitz game and tanks and strategy, and the maps, have become more complex and nuanced, for the better. On the wrong side, they now tend to be stronger on one side, and all tanks going to the same side tends to be the stronger move. Both things are annoying and I wish the devs could manage to balance that.
evolution of map design
While I was working on the maps for the map inspector app, I had to compare maps a lot, and jump between PC and blitz maps. It brought some thoughts about their design and evolution. Interestingly, some maps started as unique creations for blitz, and some were brought over and adapted from PC. Then a newer generation of maps were added. All evolved through iterations as the devs understood better noth the technical limitations and the gameplay.
Typical PC maps have 3 corridors. You try to block one and overcome, but if the team forgot one of them, a flanking force will come around and pincer your forces, usually winning the game. Blitz maps are usually too small to carry three corridors. But we can notice that most maps have been made to have a heavy lane and a medium lane. As a result, the medium lane tend to hold a lot more strategic value, because If you leave it unattended, it will soon work as the 3rd lane and flood your back while yo are busy. To avoid this and make the game more dynamic, recent designs have brought many crossing in the middle between lanes, opening the maps a lot more, breaking the front line into a very dynamic confrontation, and i think it is for the better. As the game moved from the heavy lines towards the recent light tanks, it made more sense. Older players miss the days of the TD big carry, but the old days often had 4 players not leaving spawn for the entire game. We don’t see that anymore, and i think it is a great evolution.
blitz maps that are faithfull to their PC older sisters
Maps that are coming from and looking very much like PC :
- rockfiled, which looks more and more like PC Karelia.
- mines, which got more and more features like the PC original mines
- oasis palm, which started a sniper contest map and now is very much like 2/3 portion of the PC sand river
- malinovka is which is very close to the original.
PC inspired maps
Coming from PC but somewhat different. we can cite many maps that haven’t yet evolved to become like the PC maps, but are still bound to evolve in the future :
- himmelsdorf, which lost the castle and has (unfortunately) a simpler, square layout of straight streets, and I hope it will get more features some day as it is kinda boring without them.
- middleburg, which is hills or town, the town being the wrong choice. It obviously needs to have more of something. The original is erlenberg, which has a river in middle of the town, and a space behind the town. Yeah that would help middleburg not being the one direction map that it is.
Of course that leaves about the other half of the maps being native to blitz. We need to separate the maps which were there very early versions of the games from the more recent maps, and we will see that arguably the most successful (or least flawed) ones are from that last category.
original early blitz maps
Fall creek #1
We can see these maps have things in common. Simple layout. Two lanes. It seems that the still receive influence from PC maps.
Recent blitz maps
We can see most of these maps have lateral traverse everywhere. There are no lanes or corridors. The game is very fluid and dynamic. The most recent might have some more typical heavy oriented and protected alleys, but they don’t have a fast lane for mediums, more of a large brawl open areas which join into the heavy side at multiple entrance.
I read a lot of complaints about the maps being too small, the textures being ugly, etc...
Most of these is to be expected. People want more, better, and more better. However I do think the game does a formidable job and we will see a few aspects below :
Early maps were much smaller. However their size didn’t eventually increase all that much. The tiniest early maps were just below 500m and now the largest are around 600m. I haven’t seen bigger maps in a long time. A lot of the resizing did remove vegetation and spread the features. In fact we can say it was a lot of optimisation to have them run smooth on all sorts of devices, and in gameplay to utilize as much area as possible.
In that department, IMO, a lot of maps can still see huge improvements. When we have experience, we quickly know the few strategic points, and most of the maps unfortunately have huge dead lands which no one should visit under normal circumstances.
My favorite maps on the other hands, are the ones that see use of most of the area available, over the course of one or several games. They tend to be the recently made, and blitz only maps.
I recently saw a YouTube about an early version of world of tanks PC. PEOPLE ! we have come such a long way.
Blitz on your phone is magnitude better than the old game on PC. Now let’s agree the latest HD PC maps that have arrived this year are amazing, but this game has to be able to run on crappy phones.
And, finally, you know what ? It still looks better than all other mobile games I have ever seen.
Lots of people complain about the gameplay. The different case made are many. A lot say it is repetitive.
The one that I regret the most, is that in the encounter modes, all green team going one side has much stronger chance of a win. I would even say easily that all team going the medium side have a much stronger chance of winning in nearly all maps, given a comparable red team going to the heavy side. Blitz maps usually having two zones, it makes only half of the map useable if you care about winning, and maps inevitably feel much smaller as a result.
This meta was once balanced by TD campasniping positions, because all together one side was a good way to feed them and lose 3 to 4 teammates in a short period of time. In that old meta, dispersing tanks made it much more difficult to be hit by snipers. Going 2 sides had much better chances of pincering the enemy into a deadlock position. With the loss of bush and high points, we thankfully lost campasniping as a viable strategy and gained a much more mobile and unpredictable gameplay. However in turn, it made the single group attack almost the single strategy in all maps, a boring and repetitive thing.
Especially this “all together” meta was strongly reinforced by the loss of MM+-2, which allowed strong carry and bold moves. The replacement by MM+-1 made individual initiative very hazardous and mostly a way for your team to quickly lose a member and the game.
introduction of suppremacy
At that point that is probably why the devs had to come up with a new game mode
Because most maps have 3 bases, or 4 bases, all going to one base will not win, if you can’t manage to quickly kill the reds. In other words if they split and cap or hide, you will waste a lot of time and lose.
The devs also ideally placed 2 bases out of 3 in the very place that no strong player ever visited. This made the game a lot more varied, but at the same time it confused the playerbase as a whole for a very long time : on most maps the strong side in encounter (because mobility and higher ground) is the weak side in supremacy (because two bases and walled dig in area).
you will notice that not all maps are available in supremacy. It’s probably because of the need to have 3 balanced locations for the caps, which wasn’t easy to force upon maps that weren’t originally designed for this.
Of course good players will have sharper opinions and might find things to contradict me. I’m painting with a broad stroke here. In a discussion, one argued that the maps and gameplays actually moved to the better and that maps allow for a lot of different approaches nowadays. It’s true. It’s especailly true now that we have light tanks with great mobility, and for good players who can exploit venturing solo in a remote part of the map and pull it off. But for 99% of players who either are new or learn, or for players in the mid range of skills, staying close is unfortunately never punished, and remains the best option, which in turns makes only one side of the map suitable most of the times.
The good thing about blitz compared to the PC game, is that you can never block one lane. And if a lot of people on the forums complain that the traditional spotter/sniper TD doesn’t work in blitz, the good part is you can always escape and traverse laterally for a complete and non stop brawl experience. It’s a much more dynamic and diverse gameplay. More stressful ? Or more fun, you decide.