Beginning with Season 4, we experimented with prioritizing tournament-style maps on the StarCraft II ladder. This has been working out very well not only because it’s allowed pro players better opportunities to practice on the ladder, but also because players across all skill levels can now experience the tournament feel when playing on Battle.net. Given the success of these changes, we’re removing the last two maps in the current map pool that aren’t tournament-viable, and will be replacing them with new, tournament-ready maps.
Season 5 brings with it the following changes to the existing map pool, which begins the week of December 19:
These maps will be removed:
- (4)Abyssal Caverns
- (4)Nerazim Crypt
These maps will be added in their place:
- (2)Arid Plateau
The rush distance on this map is comparable to Shakuras Plateau or the longest distance on Metalopolis. We tried to go for a slightly more exposed natural expansion, followed up by a greater choice of which third expansion to take. The high-yield expansion offers better resource acquisition, but is also the most difficult to defend, while the corner expansion is similar to expansions found on Metalopolis or Shattered Temple. The base closest to your main is open, but remains easy to defend because of short travel time from the natural expansion. We wanted to go for a more open center with very powerful Watch Tower placements.
- (4)Entombed Valley
We’ve seen that rotationally symmetric four-player tournament maps can provide an advantage depending on where you start compared to your opponent and which races are involved in the match-up. This is feedback that we received from the community as well.
Our goal with this map was to address that issue. Whether you start horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, the game should be almost completely symmetric for both players. Also, no matter where you start, we were focused on minimizing features which tend to favor a specific race such as certain races experiencing challenges expanding beyond two bases, air-to-air distances which are too short between starting locations, the center path being the only viable attack route, or too many choke points.
On the subject of new maps, TeamLiquid.net recently hosted a map contest to offer map makers a chance to show off their skills. This past weekend, the top contenders in the TL Open battled it out on the top maps that emerged from that contest. The TL Open tournament has now concluded, but you can still see these new maps in action by checking out the replays and VoDs. We’re carefully reviewing the maps that were featured in the tournament, and those which meet our standards have a chance to be included in future ladder seasons.
We’re very much looking forward to your feedback, so please let us know what you think about Arid Plateau and Entombed Valley, as well as the maps that were featured in the TL Open!