StarCraft® II

Why is stuff like Squadron STILL front page?

Posts: 1,720
Lack of maps is hurting us all. I actually make a point of helping my competition because a larger community overall can't help but do my maps some good.

There is a major point here I agree with: Making High-quality maps is unrewarding. They don't get players. Historically its been "the crappy maph that were there first".

However before all of you go blame the playerbase remember one thing: Most of the player base quit StarCraft 2. Look at the average hours on the top 10 maps. They are down to less then half what they were when those maps first came out. And who were the first to quit? The very people, pure custom map players, that most of us are trying to target with our maps.

What do we have for a player base? Look at the avatars. Almost all of them have fancy avatars. In Warcraft3 the ratio was far lower. Whats left for a playerbase is melee players.

Will most of our maps ever gain popularity with a group of melee players? I highly doubt it. There is the occasional melee player who can think in more advanced terms but they are rare.

And who is left for mappers who can actually make the maps? College students, many if not most of them going into CS.

Melee player <---> CS student.

Its not a very good lineup for most of us.

The only way the community will truely revive is if the old custom map player base comes back. Blizzard seems* to be banking that HotS will bring them back. Personally I think that idea fails in the face of simple common sense: "Why would someone pay for a game they have written off?" The only part of HotS that will bring back the custom map player base is the campaign. Those who will buy it for the story line. Then again those people may choose to to wait until the price goes down too.

HotS might break the cycle but then againt it might not.

I'd also like to take note that the developers seem to have left us again. We are, once again, on our own and being ignored it seems. Things really improved when the developers actually become involved but that was like putting the community on life support. However it seems they may have pulled the plug.

Its October now. Probably around Chirstmas we will find out if the players will come back.
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I would like to share with you my experience of the current custom games' state. About 2 weeks ago I released a map that I made in spring 2011 (yes a year ago), I had never released it due to the flawed popularity system at the time. So 2 weeks ago i saw that now they have this new arcade system, it looked promising so i gave it a shot and released my map (The Dominant Species). To my great surprise, not even a day later my map was featured on the top 6 up & coming list and hence it was in the spotlight section - the first page that players see when they press Arcade.

Game were filling left and right and i was overjoyed - this would have never happened in the old system.

Alas that lasted for about a day, then the map dropped off the up & coming top 6 as newer maps get released. It was now a little harder to get games going but still, games were filling up. I managed to get a lot of great feedback, players seemed to like the game and always came back for more - at least most of them did.

As the days past by, games were getting harder and harder to fill and i believe i know what's happening. It's not that people simply got bored of the game - almost every game is filled with new/"old" players that end up giving a positive high rating at the end of their match, and the game hasn't been round long enough for players to be bored of it (not even 2 weeks).

I believe what's happening is the big majority of players use the spotlight section to join their games and not the open lobby list. Hence what they see is the top 10 most played/highest rated maps and the top 6 up & coming maps - this would explain how my map got such a huge boost when it was in the top 6 up & coming and then suddenly dropped off quickly as soon as it was beyond that point even though it's still new to the big majority of players.

I've read what you guys have been saying, and from my personal experience, i'd have to say that the player base is largely to blame for the shortcomings of the custom game scene at this point in time - i recon that before 1.5 the pop system pretty much killed newer maps and caused a lot of damage, but with this new arcade system, the means for newer maps to flourish are there, it's up to the players to play them. Sadly most of them do little effort to find/play newer maps.
Edited by CaveOfWondrs on 10/12/2012 12:51 AM PDT
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I would like to share with you my experience of the current custom games' state. About 2 weeks ago I released a map that I made in spring 2011 (yes a year ago), I had never released it due to the flawed popularity system at the time. So 2 weeks ago i saw that now they have this new arcade system, it looked promising so i gave it a shot and released my map (The Dominant Species). To my great surprise, not even a day later my map was featured on the top 6 up & coming list and hence it was in the spotlight section - the first page that players see when they press Arcade.

Game were filling left and right and i was overjoyed - this would have never happened in the old system.

Alas that lasted for about a day, then the map dropped off the up & coming top 6 as newer maps get released. It was now a little harder to get games going but still, games were filling up. I managed to get a lot of great feedback, players seemed to like the game and always came back for more - at least most of them did.

As the days past by, games were getting harder and harder to fill and i believe i know what's happening. It's not that people simply got bored of the game - almost every game is filled with new/"old" players that end up giving a positive high rating at the end of their match, and the game hasn't been round long enough for players to be bored of it (not even 2 weeks).

I believe what's happening is the big majority of players use the spotlight section to join their games and not the open lobby list. Hence what they see is the top 10 most played/highest rated maps and the top 6 up & coming maps - this would explain how my map got such a huge boost when it was in the top 6 up & coming and then suddenly dropped off quickly as soon as it was beyond that point even though it's still new to the big majority of players.

I've read what you guys have been saying, and from my personal experience, i'd have to say that the player base is largely to blame for the shortcomings of the custom game scene at this point in time - i recon that before 1.5 the pop system pretty much killed newer maps and caused a lot of damage, but with this new arcade system, the means for newer maps to flourish are there, it's up to the players to play them. Sadly most of them do little effort to find/play newer maps.


Blizzard you need to read this. Open Lobbies *only*.
Edited by FockeWulf on 10/12/2012 1:35 AM PDT
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Like I said in another thread, The Open Lobbies list still need to have their order reversed to show the oldest games (more likely to be hard-to-fill games) and by extension fix the AFK hosts issue.

Too many Popularity maps accessible in page 1 Hosted List give a big impression that you might as well just pick from the Popularity List or any other section.

Yes, ideally it should only be open lobbies but we know that Blizzard won't give up the Popularity List especially when the Premium map system is probably coming around HotS as well.

Anyway, I can potentially make a very decent new map ... but is it honestly worth it? I am closer and closer to finish university and it would pay much more off to get personal programming experience for better jobs rather than doing decent SC2 maps that can easily go nowhere fun-wise or profit-wise.

Blizzard's presence and support are just too unreliable and instable period.



Heck, even if I switch around to the "dark side" (not literally) and only aim to do maps toward making them premium for money, I STILL don't have any proof that it is worth it.

Blizzard didn't mention how much the average premium map would sell, what cut premium mapmakers would get, what are the OBJECTIVE standards ("high quality" is very subjective) to have a map branded premium.

Would you honestly work 80 to 300 hours on a "Maybe you will be paid ... just maybe" implied stance of an "employer"?

Hence why I preferred a DLC-like system which give the mapmaker control rather than hoping Blizzard give premium status. It's a long shot ... too long of a shot. You are probably better off be a cheap indie programmer and you are more insured to get SOME fun and/or recognition and/or money.

Thus, ultimately both mapmakers oriented towards fun OR towards profit have no insurance that their spent time will be worthwhile.
Edited by Honejasi on 10/12/2012 5:54 PM PDT
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10/12/2012 05:07 PMPosted by Honejasi
Like I said in another thread, The Open Lobbies list still need to have their order reversed to show the oldest games (more likely to be hard-to-fill games) and by extension fix the AFK hosts issue.


The lobbies don't NEED anything done to them. This is just your opinion.

10/12/2012 05:07 PMPosted by Honejasi
Too many Popularity maps accessible in page 1 Hosted List give a big impression that you might as well just pick from the Popularity List or any other section.


Not even true. Current system suppresses popular maps. What you want will promote popular maps.

Yes, ideally it should only open lobbies but we know that Blizzard won't give up the Popularity List especially when the Premium map system is probably coming around HotS as well.


Are you seriously asking them to take away a completely optional, informational and fundamental method of browsing maps? Before, Blizzard gave us too little information to choose what we play effectively and that wasn't out fault. Now you're saying it is our fault now that we have more than one method and they need to take it away?

Seriously, this whole "TAKE AWAY POPULARITY LIST" movement is ridiculous.

10/12/2012 05:07 PMPosted by Honejasi
Blizzard didn't mention how much the average premium map would sell, what cut premium mapmakers would get, what are the OBJECTIVE standards ("high quality" is very subjective) to have a map branded premium.


Now Blizzard is a criminal for announcing a future plan but not detailing everything about it? They never asked map makers to start making premium maps, or let alone forcing them to. They just released a possible plan for the future. We don't even know if they're working on it. This is hardly a reason to abandon SC2.
Edited by Cherry on 10/12/2012 5:55 PM PDT
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Wait, there's still a popularity page?

Last I checked the only thing anyone used was the "Open Games" page. Since, you know, it actually lists open games.

Guys, what's actually happening is people play the games they want to play. It's not some big conspiracy. It's a limited player base. There are not huge numbers of people playing custom games, and those that do play them play the games they enjoy.
Edited by Ramenth on 10/12/2012 6:35 PM PDT
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We are dealing with a simple case that Blizzard doesn't seem to get then they designed bnet 2.0.

People will only look at what is right in front of their noses.

What is the first page they see when the press arcade?

Bnet 1.0: Open Lobbies = Worked
Bnet 2.0: Feature + Up and coming = Not gonna work

Actually all Blizzard needs to do is just swap the 2 lists and the button positions (Icons really).
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Posts: 528
It's a very long post but anyway :

10/12/2012 05:54 PMPosted by Cherry
The lobbies don't NEED anything done to them. This is just your opinion.

This can be quite debatable. I still feel the popularity maps are too easily present in the Hosted List. While they have the right to be there, the Hosted List should naturally favor the unpopular over the popular. The Popularity List is already there for any popular map.

The closest I could agree with you is that Blizzard made at least the strict minimum (the existence of the Hosted List) for new custom maps to have any real chance to flourish.

Not even true. Current system suppresses popular maps. What you want will promote popular maps.


If it suppresses them correctly then why we got this thread in the first place? Squadron and many 1-2 years old other popularity maps are still easily page 1 in Popularity List and often in page 1-2 of the Hosted List.

If it worked that well, 3 months after patch 1.5 would have been more than enough to change about 80% of the current page 1-2 popular maps. 50% strict minimum. Right now with SC2 running, I would estimate only about 25%. Admittedly, still better than 5% of pre-1.5.

Plus unpopular or hard-to-fill maps are almost always the oldest games in the Hosted List. Hence showing them first would help them in disfavor of popular maps.

Are you seriously asking them to take away a completely optional, informational and fundamental method of browsing maps? Before, Blizzard gave us too little information to choose what we play effectively and that wasn't out fault. Now you're saying it is our fault now that we have more than one method and they need to take it away?

Seriously, this whole "TAKE AWAY POPULARITY LIST" movement is ridiculous.


The movement isn't ridiculous if you are a mapmaker that honestly tried to get your non-sucky map played in the last 1-2 years. Same if you heavily favor playing a lot of different maps without relying on friends to fill the lobby.

Based on history, the vast majority of mapmakers on SC1 or WC3 had more chances to get their map played and replayed on the sole existence of a list that shows games period. Thus, only keeping the Hosted List does make great sense in that view.

Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if the main issues of under-played non-popular maps are fixed if the Hosted List is clearly on the front plan while the Popularity List and other lists are put behind without actually removing them.

Now Blizzard is a criminal for announcing a future plan but not detailing everything about it? They never asked map makers to start making premium maps, or let alone forcing them to. They just released a possible plan for the future. We don't even know if they're working on it. This is hardly a reason to abandon SC2.


It's deadly obvious that they are working on it. Activision is easily there and money talks loud with them. Heck, look at Diablo 3. They added the auction house since they wanted more money. Thus with SC2, they are obviously going to try again with the Premium maps.

As far for detailing, if the Premium maps (or any form of map selling/DLC) are essentially 100% assured, they got an idea of their prices and details in mind for a very long time. If ANY reasonable potential premium map maker is to take Blizzard seriously, Blizzard would have already given rough estimates.

It doesn't even need to be exact estimates but just enough to make an educated decision rather than a total leap of faith should anyone try. Maps takes time. Decent maps truly worthy of a premium status to sell takes ridiculous amounts of time.

For all I know, I could be getting a tiny 5% cut instead of a hoped 25% to 75% and they might overprice the map thus drawing away all the potential buying players. Ultimately making said leap of faith worth of 200-300 hours of work completely worthless.
Edited by Honejasi on 10/12/2012 7:16 PM PDT
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This can be quite debatable. I still feel the popularity maps are too easily present in the Hosted List. While they have the right to be there, the Hosted List should naturally favor the unpopular over the popular. The Popularity List is already there for any popular map.The closest I could agree with you is that Blizzard made at least the strict minimum (the existence of the Hosted List) for new custom maps to have any real chance to flourish.


Popular maps are too easily presented in the Open Games list? That's like saying popular shows are too popular. THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS! It does favor the unpopular, silly. The longer a lobby is open, the farther it sinks. Popular maps sink to the bottom because they're always open. "The popularity list is already there for popular maps." You're saying popular maps shouldn't be shown in the Open Games list...? Strict minimum? It is practically the same thing as BNET 1.0, where new maps popped up first on the list. That's what we've been asking for, and received. They've added many other non-requested features, such as ratings, reviews, summaries, pages, featured maps, recently played, etc.. Hardly the bare minimum.

If it suppresses them correctly then why we got this thread in the first place? Squadron and many 1-2 years old other popularity maps are still easily page 1 in Popularity List and often in page 1-2 of the Hosted List.If it worked that well, 3 months after patch 1.5 would have been more than enough to change about 80% of the current page 1-2 popular maps. 50% strict minimum. Right now with SC2 running, I would estimate only about 25%. Admittedly, still better than 5% of pre-1.5.Plus unpopular or hard-to-fill maps are almost always the oldest games in the Hosted List. Hence showing them first would help them in disfavor of popular maps.


We have no idea how popular maps are in relation to each other. That's something Blizzard has not shared with us. All we have are the rankings. That's it. Sure, the old system sucked. It still pulled out some maps that we like, though. Lots of people like SDT. The vast majority of hours played pre-1.5 were spent on that map. Of course it is still popular. And the top played maps have changed dramatically. "3 months after patch 1.5 has been more than enough length to change about 80% of the top played maps." No, we have no idea how much should have changed under what conditions. 80%? Are you serious? The oldest games in the custom games list are more likely to be the popular ones. And what you're asking with the harder to fill games... You're asking that maps that require more people get more attention. Doesn't make sense. Why should a 12 player map get more attention that a 4 player map?

The movement isn't ridiculous if you are a mapmaker that honestly tried to get your non-sucky map played in the last 1-2 years. Same if you heavily favor playing a lot of different maps without relying on friends to fill the lobby.Based on history, the vast majority of mapmakers on SC1 or WC3 had more chances to get their map played and replayed on the sole existence of a list that shows games period. Thus, only keeping the Hosted List does make great sense in that view.Ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if the main issues of under-played non-popular maps are fixed if the Hosted List is clearly on the front plan while the Popularity List and other lists are put behind without actually removing them.


What are you talking about? The Open Games list is the same as the SC1 and WC3 way of browsing maps, with some exceptions. It's alright, we all need someone to blame when our maps don't get popular. For you, it's the order the maps are displayed. It's a small issue that has two sides. Switching the order of the games is not going to fix anything. You're just blindly promoting one side for some preconcieved false notions.

It's deadly obvious that they are working on it. Activision is easily there and money talks loud with them. Heck, look at Diablo 3. They added the auction house since they wanted more money. Thus with SC2, they are obviously going to try again with the Premium maps.As far for detailing, if the Premium maps (or any form of map selling/DLC) are essentially 100% assured, they got an idea of their prices and details in mind for a very long time. If ANY reasonable potential premium map maker is to take Blizzard seriously, Blizzard would have already given rough estimates.It doesn't even need to be exact estimates but just enough to make an educated decision rather than a total leap of faith should anyone try. Maps takes time. Decent maps truly worthy of a premium status to sell takes ridiculous amounts of time. For all I know, I could be getting a tiny 5% cut instead of a hoped 25% to 75% and they might overprice the map thus drawing away all the potential buying players. Ultimately making said leap of faith worth of 200-300 hours of work completely worthless.


So, you're marketing move would be to make premium maps so Blizzard's must be as well? I'm sure you have experience as a game designer and have the background to make such a sure claim (and then saying you're unsure). "ITS DEADLY OBVIOUS THEY'RE DOIN' IT." "WE DON'T KNOW IF THEY'RE DOIN' IT SO DON'T MAKE PREMIE MAPS JUST YET BOYS." You have no idea what they're going to do, quit going around spewing your nonsense.
Edited by Cherry on 10/12/2012 8:50 PM PDT
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Popular maps sink to the bottom because they're always open.


Oh god Cherry, are u seriously saying that? ><
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10/13/2012 03:05 AMPosted by Kildare
Popular maps sink to the bottom because they're always open.


Oh god Cherry, are u seriously saying that? ><


Ya I stopped reading there.

If that were true then we wouldn't be having this conversation.
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Posts: 399
Wait, there's still a popularity page?

Last I checked the only thing anyone used was the "Open Games" page. Since, you know, it actually lists open games.

Guys, what's actually happening is people play the games they want to play. It's not some big conspiracy. It's a limited player base. There are not huge numbers of people playing custom games, and those that do play them play the games they enjoy.

Most people use the first page they're taken to in the Arcade, which is the Featured Game (and only shows 1 at a time and has StarJeweled up), alongside the Up & Coming which has 6 maps, one of which is not actually playable (i.e Unit Preloader, whose popularity shows Blizzard really messed up on something), and the Top 10 default.

So there's more options, yes, but it's incredibly important to consider that 95% of players just stick with the default and look no further. Having Open Games as the first thing to appear when you click Arcade would do incredible things in promoting map variety. A person will click Arcade and instantly go to Squad TD, but if they go to Open Games first, they'll probably see Squad TD, but they'll also see Kobold Wars and think "Hey, I'll give that a try" (Kobold Tribes is already off everything on the Spotlight page too).
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10/13/2012 03:05 AMPosted by Kildare
Popular maps sink to the bottom because they're always open.


Oh god Cherry, are u seriously saying that? ><


10/13/2012 12:46 PMPosted by FockeWulf


Oh god Cherry, are u seriously saying that? ><


Ya I stopped reading there.

If that were true then we wouldn't be having this conversation.


We're having this conversation because the quality popular maps are still popular. The cheaper popular maps from pre 1.5 aren't popular anymore. Anyway, that statement was how it theoretically worked in my mind at the time, but I see now that it only applies to extremely popular maps that constantly have a lobby open, which isn't the case for any map right now (proof that there isn't as steep of a ridge in popularity now).

The popular maps are popular because we choose to play them now, not because we had to like before. There is really no issue right now with it.
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OK wait, now I'M confused. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't game lobbies refresh to the top of the list the moment the existing one starts and a new one is created? ><
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OK wait, now I'M confused. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't game lobbies refresh to the top of the list the moment the existing one starts and a new one is created? ><


Unless I am missing something myself, old games sink more and more at the bottom until they start or until it gets abandoned. Then if a game started (or got abandoned) and there is a one new then it is created at the top of the list.
Edited by Honejasi on 10/14/2012 9:12 AM PDT
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Posts: 483
Wall of text aside, people play Squad TD because:

There is no other TD like it.
TD's suck in sc2 overall. I can think of three or four that are popular and good.
TD's are the easiest, non-committal, "I don't care about my score" type of games out there.

I play it every night for the above reason. The other TD's either don't fill as fast or are not as fun.

Secondarily, this is an assumption on other people's taste here. I don't think there is enough variety or art tools to offer a different feel. Everything just feels like you're playing a sandbox version of sc2 as opposed to a custom map with it's own identity.
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10/14/2012 10:01 AMPosted by Malpheus
Secondarily, this is an assumption on other people's taste here. I don't think there is enough variety or art tools to offer a different feel. Everything just feels like you're playing a sandbox version of sc2 as opposed to a custom map with it's own identity.


I get what you're saying but there are definately some remarkable maps with their own identity.
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Posts: 328
The current lobby list is sorta acting like the old popularity system where the popular maps are constantly on page 1 (due to them being hosted over and over again) and the less popular maps are QUICKLY pushed down to the other pages - the pages that 90% of the SC2 player base doesn't bother to look at...

So what did we really solve with this new open lobby list? The MAIN problem is still there. This stuff is not hard to figure out, i don't get how Blizzard can't see this...
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Posts: 351
The current lobby list is sorta acting like the old popularity system where the popular maps are constantly on page 1 (due to them being hosted over and over again) and the less popular maps are QUICKLY pushed down to the other pages - the pages that 90% of the SC2 player base doesn't bother to look at...

So what did we really solve with this new open lobby list? The MAIN problem is still there. This stuff is not hard to figure out, i don't get how Blizzard can't see this...


Before 1.5, we were victims of inconvenience, every individual had to play a popular map. Now, there's really no oppressive system. It really is our fault this time, so I don't feel that Blizzard needs to do anything to the system. Anyway, it really isn't that large of a problem. But if Blizzard wants to add more options, that's fine. I do, however, think there's pros and cons to both sides and reversing the list is just going to be a new situation. Simple solution would be to choose how to view the list, which is my prediction of what Blizzard will do. I still don't see why we can't view open games by genre, popularity, % lobby filled, etc.
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Posts: 328
The current lobby list is sorta acting like the old popularity system where the popular maps are constantly on page 1 (due to them being hosted over and over again) and the less popular maps are QUICKLY pushed down to the other pages - the pages that 90% of the SC2 player base doesn't bother to look at...

So what did we really solve with this new open lobby list? The MAIN problem is still there. This stuff is not hard to figure out, i don't get how Blizzard can't see this...


Before 1.5, we were victims of inconvenience, every individual had to play a popular map. Now, there's really no oppressive system. It really is our fault this time, so I don't feel that Blizzard needs to do anything to the system. Anyway, it really isn't that large of a problem. But if Blizzard wants to add more options, that's fine. I do, however, think there's pros and cons to both sides and reversing the list is just going to be a new situation. Simple solution would be to choose how to view the list, which is my prediction of what Blizzard will do. I still don't see why we can't view open games by genre, popularity, % lobby filled, etc.


I agree, like i stated before, the blame is on the SC2 player base. I'm not sure about reversing the order, if they do implement that, then they need to add restrictions otherwise we might end up with a page 1 filled with maps no one wants to play. For example if no one joins your lobby for like 7-10 minutes then the lobby is removed and the lobby can't be up for longer than 20-30 minutes.

Of course fix the AFK host problem first.
Edited by CaveOfWondrs on 10/14/2012 6:17 PM PDT
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