With 2014 Ladder Season 1 starting to wind down, we would like to take some time to preview our new maps for 2014 Ladder Season 2. The upcoming season will see ten new maps added across the 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 map pools. We’ve already published the new maps below to the Custom Games list, so after you’ve given them a quick look here, be sure to log in and get a few practice games on each before the season rolls at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Monday, April 14.
The 1v1 Map Pool
Our direction for the 1v1 map pool in Season 2 is to continue to find interesting, unique maps that will help provide variety in our map pool. We want more maps that show creative use of existing mechanics and provide different gameplay options from other maps already in the ladder pool. Habitation Station is a great example of a map that achieved this goal in Ladder Season 1 and we believe this was the best map addition in a really long time. Going forward, we’ll look to continue adding new maps that offer diverse gameplay.
For the 1v1 maps that we’ll be removing in Season 2, our goal is to reduce the amount of maps that heavily favor Blink all-in strategies. Other than that, we’re also looking to remove older maps that have been in the map pool for a while. Here are the maps we will be removing in Season 2.
King Sejong Station LE
King Sejong Station is a 1v1 map that is currently being used in Proleague. This map has proven to be quite interesting as it offers a variety of timings and strategies, which we feel are due to how the natural and the third expansions are set up. We have high confidence in this map both in terms of balance and the potential for diverse strategies based on the games we’ve been seeing in Proleague.
This is a new two-player map created by GSL, with a fairly standard natural and third base set up. Overgrowth also features High Yield bases in the middle of the map with watchtowers nearby. We feel these features, combined with a more familiar expansion path, will create some exciting games.
Merry Go Round LE
Merry Go Round is another new GSL map, and also the first three-player map to join the ladder. While the weakness of three-player maps in general is that they’re naturally not symmetric, we believe any start location advantage on Merry Go Round is minimized by how late this asymmetric advantage kicks in. We’ll definitely be watching to see if this works as we hope, and any feedback from games played on this map will be helpful prior to heading into Season 2.
Waystation is a four-player map where you and your opponent can only spawn diagonal from one another. With this map, we are hoping to see players have to adapt based on the different strategic options offered by the different start locations. The top left and bottom right start locations will offer a more macro oriented game, while the top right and bottom left start locations will play quite differently. When starting in the top right and bottom left, the combination of a more normal rush distance, an open center path to your opponent, a slightly more difficult to defend third base, and island bases behind your main base will make this start location feel a lot more unique.
As with recent ladder seasons, the maps used in 2014 Ladder Season 2 will also reflect the map pool used in WCS 2014 Season 2. Below is a compiled list of the complete map pool for both 2014 Ladder Season 2, and WCS 2014 Season 2.
Complete 1v1 Map Pool for 2014 Season 2
Alterzim Stronghold TE
Habitation Station LE
King Sejong Station LE
Merry Go Round LE
If you are a player interested in participating in the World Championship Series for Season 2, read our blog to get you ready for Season 2 Qualifiers at StarCraft2.com/WCS.
The 2v2 Map Pool
In the 2v2 map pool, we’re looking to add maps that allow for more macro oriented games. Both of the new maps in Season 2 will flow similar to a 1v1 map in that every player will get a natural base that is easier to access and defend, as well as a fairly easy to obtain third base. Due to these changes, the rush distances on the Season 2 maps will naturally be much longer than most 2v2 maps from Season 1. This change came as a result of feedback from the community, and we agree that it’ll be fun to see what happens on these types of maps. If you get a chance to play these maps, please let us know what you think.
On Crystal Pools, your main and natural bases should be easy to defend. The third base layout is similar to standard 1v1 maps, but there’s also another option of breaking the rocks and taking the high yield early. Due to the distance to the high yield base from the natural expansion choke point, we believe this will be a viable macro route as well.
This map features a shared starting location, and two well-protected expansions behind it. Defending solo against two players should be fairly easy on this map, meaning it’ll be possible to coordinate strategies that focus on early macro gains, similar to strategies we see on 1v1 maps.
The 3v3 Map Pool
For the 3v3 map pool, we’re exploring having more a more diverse map selection. For Season 2, we tried to focus on maps that play differently to existing maps.
Vault of Secrets
Early games on Forbidden Sanctuary will feel similar to other rush-friendly fortress maps, except that defending the main ramp should be much easier. The map also features a long, alternate path to the opponent’s base by going around to the back side.
We expect that early aggression will be difficult on Frozen Fields due to the rocks blocking off the main ramps. The map also offers attack routes that require the team to commit to a chosen path, as they do not intersect. In the later stages of the game, we feel the positioning of the last expansions on the lower ground with overlooking Xel’Naga watchtowers will lead to some exciting late-game action.
The 4v4 Map Pool
As with our 3v3 map pool this season, we are looking to add interesting maps to our 4v4 map pool that will offer varied strategies.
Conduit is a macro fortress map. There are multiple paths to attack from, and multiple ways to expand after the natural expansions. Depending on how each side is playing, where the action happens will vary greatly.
Allied starting locations are much more spread out on Sundered Isle, except for one location where two teammates can defend together. After the natural expansions, there are several high yield locations to expand to that are more difficult to hold. It will be important to scout for enemies who quickly expand to these bases, and finding the correct time to utilize these higher resource expansions will be a critical part of success on this map.
All ten of the new maps have already been published to the Custom Games list in order to give you a chance to check them out before the new season begins. Please feel free to grab some games on these maps and tell us what you think in the comment section below. All of these maps will also be available through the matchmaking queues when Season 2 begins at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Monday, April 14.
Good luck and have fun on the 2014 Season 2 ladder!
We would like to hear your thoughts on the new maps, so we've created two threads for discussion. Please visit these threads if you would like to join in on the conversation!1v1 Map Discussion: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12249555187
Team Map Discussion: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/12248915167