Warcraft III Multiplayer: Comparison to Blizzard Ladder Maps

Comparison of Neutral Buildings

Neutral buildings offer players alternate strategies, and the combination of available buildings on a map is a major part of the map's identity. I did a comparison of my new maps with some of the Blizzard ladder maps to avoid too much overlap.

Blizzard ladder maps

(2)Two Rivers (2)Echo Isles (4)Lost Temple (4)Turtle Rock (4)Twisted Meadow (2)Shifting Gardens (2)Twin Kings (2)Mt. Kamao (2)Chasm
Tavern x1 x1 x1 x1 x1 x1 x2
Goblin Merchant x1 x1 x2 x2 x2 x1 (33%) x2
Mercenary Camp x2 x2 x1 (33%) x1
Goblin Laboratory x2 x2 x4 x2
Marketplace x1 x1 (33%) x2
Fountain of Health x1 x1 (33%) x1
Fountain of Mana x1 (33%) x2
Dragon Roost x1 (33%)
Way Gate x4

My Shifting Gardens map uses random sets of neutral buildings to offer an unknown but managable setup every match. Notice that it is the only map offering the Dragon Roost--I assume this neutral building has some dicey effects on race balance because it does not appear on the smaller Blizzard maps (I admit I don't know exactly what abuses are possible, but taking cues from Blizzard certainly can't hurt). However any building in the random sets on this map has only a 33% chance of appearing so players cannot effectively count on a Dragon Roost.

Twin Kings is intentionally minimalist with neutral buildings. The focus of this map is on the expansion locations, where the four expansions are placed so that none are clearly a natural expansion for one player or the other.

Of my melee maps, Mt. Kamao has a set of neutral buildings closest to the current Blizzard ladder offerings. The layout, though, is what makes this map unique--the starting locations are in the northern corners of the map on a high altitude, and there are several "steps" down going south. The idea is that players who venture south for expansions and neutral buildings are more likely to find themselves on the lower end of a ramp when making contact with the enemy.

Chasm has an unusual assortment of neutral buildings, most notably Way Gates. It was an unsuccessful attempt to make a fuzzy symmetric map where two sets of Way Gates connected differently shaped continents.

Comparison of Gold and Creep Levels

The amount of gold in mines on a map clearly effects whether games may run long like on Lost Temple, or if they are constrained like on Echo Isles. I compared my maps with the ladder maps to get a rough estimate of their place in the continuum--I could shoot for the play style I was looking for without being able to play test en masse.

A total level for all creeps on a map also works into the play style of a map, although I think the particular combinations and locations of camps is much more important than the total. Still, this comparison is also included.

Rank Total Gold Total Creep Levels
1 (4)Lost Temple - 200,000 (4)Twisted Meadows - 412
2 (4)Twisted Meadows - 140,000 (4)Lost Temple - 334
3 (4)Turtle Rock - 130,000 (4)Turtle Rock - 284
4 (2)Chasm - 91,000 (2)Mt. Kamao - 213
5 (2)The Two Rivers - 75,000 (2)Chasm - 205
6 (2)Twin Kings - 75,000 (2)Twin Kings - 192
7 (2)Mt. Kamao - 64,500 (2)Echo Isles - 188
8 (2)Shifting Gardens - 52,200 (2)Shifting Gardens - 186
9 (2)Echo Isles - 52,000 (2)The Two Rivers - 160

Comparison of Item Drops

I used the Blizzard guide for item drops:

The items we place on each creep camp is set up for consistency, when a player plays a Blizzard Entertainment map we feel they should be able to gauge what type of item will drop just by looking at the camp. The formula that we use is as follows...

  • Levels 3-8: Level 1 permanent or power up.
  • Levels 8-11: Level 2 permanent, charge, or power up.
  • Levels 11-14: Level 1 permanent or power up and Level 2 permanent, charge, or power up.
  • Levels 14-17: Level 1 permanent or power up and Level 3 permanent or charge.
  • Levels 18-21: Level 2 permanent, charge, or power up and Level 4 permanent or charge.
  • Levels 21-23: Level 2 permanent, charge, or power up and Level 5 permanent or charge.
  • Levels 23-26: Level 2 permanent, charge, or power up and Level 6 permanent or charge.
  • Levels 26-29: Level 1 permanent or power up and Level 3 permanent or charge and Level 7 artifact.

Generally, we don't create a creep camp larger then level 23 but every once in awhile its fun to create a 'super' camp. We don't expect most players to attack the camp but the option is there for you to make that choice. The last piece of advice for creating a creep camp is diversity. The creep camps should have a nice mix of range, melee, and spell casting. If you create an all range creep camp a human player will be able to research defend and blow through the camp and if you create an all air camp then some races like Night Elf will have an advantage since their basic units are ranged. So try different combinations for the best game play for all races.

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