Top Ten, Rock the Cabinet Co-Op edition

Co-op Missions Discussion
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My thoughts on the ones I've played.

Armory Retaking - An inferior rehash of the WoL Odin mission. The Odin moves far too slow and doesn't seem to contribute much to combat, especially since you can move ahead of it and wipe out bases without it. The bonus objectives are also very easy to secure. Overall this mission takes the WoL Odin mission, and sucks out the coolness of seeing the Odin in action. Instead of sending a force to help support this lumbering behemoth as it solos five enemy bases, you're sending a force to clear the clear the way for a unit you need to take out the main objective building in the base. A simple change I would make is to wall off the bases with giant gates the Odin blows open when it attacks, so you can't get ahead of it. If nothing else, too, I like that the bonus objectives actually contribute to gameplay and aren't just arbitrary "kill this thing for more exp" objectives.

Death From Above - An perfectly fine escort mission, a bit standard but not badly done. Cool to see the Tal'darim mothership mechanics from Covert Ops at work, and also neat to see the void stuff used. The gas mechanic worried me at first but it was fine in execution. Only complaint would be the cannon objectives came too late into the mission and I have no idea what they did when we got them.

Mercenary Business - A terrible map and one that just won't work in Co-op. Two words: Jimmy Raynor. Mules and Raynor's trivial vespene needs meant we easily met the deliveries, once it dropped I could pump several thousand minerals into the package and still have plenty left over. The presence of numerous enemy bases with mineral fields made it far too easy to send out mass OCs and Mule-mine them. A pity too because Raynor is the only one with the superpowered economy like this, so if not for him this map could be decent. But as is Raynor just cheeses the hell out of this one.

Solar Right - First, I like seeing Jake Ramsey back. While this seemed an interesting map, mechanically it's rather sloppy. The transport moving around the map for no reason adds escort mechanics to a map that doesn't need them. The solarite pickups spawn in far too few numbers demanding constant micromanage of workers to keep going back and getting them until you crawl to 750 10-15 units at a time. That the workers take their haul to the transport also means they sometimes have to cross half of the map to get there. And then when the transport is moving and the solarite isn't spawning, you sit there and wait. This map alternates between being totally boring and demanding constant micromanagement and escort of mission objectives. Really lame and not fun.

Primal Ascension - Great to see the Primal Zerg back. The bosses were well done and each felt unique. In the final release I'd like to see their positions randomized to avoid making them too predictable. And if possible make them immune to time stop to nullify Vorazun cheese. Bonus objective was good, ash worms were good. All in all a solid mission.

Immortal Siege - A good concept, defending one central building isn't something we've done in Co-op yet, sure Sergeant Hammer's Fortress but in practice the mission is about hunting void thrashers and not defending the objective, and Void Launch is likewise about hunting the attack waves and not defending. But the execution is severely lacking. The torrasques are pathetic and weak even late into the mission, compounded by the gate's massive 10,000 HP and 20 armor. Nothing but the torrasque can dent it, so instead of defending the gate from enemy attacks it just becomes a game of whack-an-ultra. The mechanics seem solid but the numbers are too out of whack. Also the terraining is terrible, a third of the map is taken up by a massive ramp straight to the gate and the starting base is way too large. Also some very out-of-place doodads.
I'll probably vote for Mercenary Business just for the idea, the execution is terrible but I'm sure blizz will figure something out.
I think the only way to make it balanced is remove the economy influence over it, you just collect scrap to collect like, jorium or terrazine or something. But then that ruins any strategy of conserving resources to meet the objective.
06/05/2017 08:34 AMPosted by DrakeyC
I think the only way to make it balanced is remove the economy influence over it, you just collect scrap to collect like, jorium or terrazine or something. But then that ruins any strategy of conserving resources to meet the objective.


The idea is quite creative. Having gas and sometimes minerals keeps the game challenging. I would have added a 3d resource in game like credits or some money that u somehow have to mine? or collect..

But this mission really changes how you play co-op. Its also a mechanic which makes the game harder unlike some other mechanics which make it a bit annoying.
I bet Mercenary Business will rely on a separate resource as mentioned. However, to encourage raiding enemy bases in addition to collecting stuff around the map, there should be buildings that provide the objective resource periodically, and it's up to the players to seize control of them away from Amon's forces.
I'm really sorry Skyfall didn't make it. It surely deserved to be in the Top 10 - with all due respect to all creators, I don't think one can compare Skyfall to Solar Right or Death from Above. If the issue was acessibility as TheSkunk suggested, it still isn't a reason to let it out of the Top10: first because they should let people decide withvotes if it was too complex or not, and second because Blizzard's version could and should be more polished and playtested than the RTC one.
06/05/2017 08:34 AMPosted by DrakeyC
I think the only way to make it balanced is remove the economy influence over it, you just collect scrap to collect like, jorium or terrazine or something. But then that ruins any strategy of conserving resources to meet the objective.


You could also make generating the "3rd resource" partially based on economy, but have them require an amount of minerals+gas (say 100 minerals 50 gas->1 credit), that way Raynor cheese doesn't help much. (although Raynor+Swann would)
Hi all guys, first of all thanks for all your feedbacks, I value them very much. Without feedbacks my map would be a boring mess, so I have to thank everyone, expecially BlackReapeR, for its constant support during the pre-deadline period. I've heard your concerns regarding Mercenary Business and I would like to address some issues. At least, tell you why something is the way it is.

1) Voice acting. This was not a priority. Mira voice is my voice edited, so it's bound to be synthetic (I'm a male). Blizzard does not care about that, it's stated in the guidelines, and here where I live there are not many people who speak correct english, was difficult to find a girl suited for the task. As such, voice is only functional. If you hear it and you understand what she says, it's fine for me. Is it unprofessional or unnatural? Hell yeah. Blizz will redo it in the so unlikely case I win.

2) Gameplay: too big map. Map is big as the Co-op template map. Then all is down to preferences and I may agree that reducing the size could be better somehow. Keep in mind though that the appeal of the map is also in the great freedom it offers to players. Freedom and choices, to be precise. It's size contribute to that, on purpose. I fear if I would have reduced the size some would have complained about that as well.

3) Gameplay: main base starving. This is done on purpose, I would say it's the main point of the game. Without this, it would be boring as hell.

4) Gameplay: 3rd resource. What can I say about that? I was undecided. At the end I decided to go for the economy because of just one reason: I wanted to avoid complexity. Krikkitone idea is not a bad one, and I thought about something like this, but would have made the map more complex, and this is something I really wanted to avoid. Above all, because of Blizzard guidelines. I tried to do something different, messing with players economy, nobody dared in the contest except for me. Neither did Blizzard. I may have failed, but, sometimes, we should try something different just to see if it works or not.

5) Cheese: raynor. No. Just. No. Actually Kerrigan can cheese much more and what about the poor Artanis, with its solar bombardment can do much more damage than the hyperion. Did you all realize that workers are always rebuilt until you destroy the related CC? Destroing them with Hyperion or banshees is just less effective than a good solar bombardment destroying also the CC in the process. All commanders I have the chance to balance the map with have some way to cheese the map. This means, they are not cheesing the map at all. If you think you can cheese the map, play brutal and tell me if you can easily beat it cheesing. After all, that's what cheesing is about, isn't it?

06/05/2017 08:16 AMPosted by Deneb
I'll probably vote for Mercenary Business just for the idea, the execution is terrible but I'm sure blizz will figure something out.


I dislike when people tell me that something is terrible without telling me why. This because I cannot improve for the future. So, can you please tell me why do you think that the execution is terrible?
Good to see another author here to take feedback and give explanations.

Your Mira voice sure is hypnotic. Obviously there were restrictions and limitations, but you did your best. It sure isn't the worst vocal effort out of the bunch (I'd have to say Construction Yard and Immortal Siege takes that dubious accolade), and I'm sure if it does become official, they'll dub those lines with grace.

It's good to see a large map; it's what goes on in said map that can negatively affect the overall experience. Attack waves aren't relentless and all over the place and are clearly marked.

While it's understandable you made the resources less dense at each base location for the sake of the objective, changing said objective can render this design choice unnecessary (see below).

An objective-only resource shouldn't complicate matters; take a look at The Vermillion Problem or Solar Rights, for instance. Having a separate resource dedicated towards the objective should make it easier for players to use their economy on unit creation and upgrades as usual, rather than worrying about whether or not their vault is full enough to pay the contract each time. It would also prevent certain COs from gaining an unfair advantage over others (ie Raynor, Kerrigan, Swann). The enemy bases can still be raided to halt Amon's progress, probably along the lines of capturing structures that gradually fill the objective resource over time towards whoever controls it. Messing with the players' economy is usually a taboo for a good reason.
A 3d resource would reduce some of the pressure of the economy (having to pay a 3d resource in a certain round).

But i disagree with RainingMetal. Excluding the mineral/gas payment altogether would be fatal. This is the heart and soul of this map...and thats why its so fun and challenging.
06/05/2017 11:33 AMPosted by RainingMetal
An objective-only resource shouldn't complicate matters; take a look at The Vermillion Problem or Solar Rights, for instance. Having a separate resource dedicated towards the objective should make it easier for players to use their economy on unit creation and upgrades as usual, rather than worrying about whether or not their vault is full enough to pay the contract each time. It would also prevent certain COs from gaining an unfair advantage over others (ie Raynor, Kerrigan, Swann). The enemy bases can still be raided to halt Amon's progress, probably along the lines of capturing structures that gradually fill the objective resource over time towards whoever controls it. Messing with the players' economy is usually a taboo for a good reason.


This is a different take all togheter. I wanted to use the player economy. I actually want to see this taboo out of the window. For instance, I want to use all the mechanics of any game I play or make. Why bother making a mechanic if none is using it?

I wanted to use something different from just the units or buildings. Resources are here, and usually all players in co-op end up with too many resources, too many upgrades and if this is always the same, why bothering having resources or upgrades at all then? Just a timer till you can build your next unit will be fine. The same applies to upgrades: if you will get with max upgrades, why bothering having them? Let's streamline the game.
I think that a good game relies on choices, and what to invest and when is one of the fundamental choices each player should be forced to face in every match. Starcraft has plenty of it already: In competitive games, players which do spend their resources are better usually, but when both spend the same amount, the ones which takes the better choices end up as winner.
Understand that does not mean making the game harder, it should be scaled down or up with difficulty. This just make the game complete.

Economy is a key component of the game and I really really want Blizzard, and all co-op players, to start enjoying it, using it, cheese it, exploit it, do whatever you want with it. It is such a waste, from the game design point of view, to see much potential unused just because people is accustomed to do something and is afraid of change.

Of course, this is my view, from an engineer point of view actually. I was trained to a basic concept: never use more things than you need. This applies to game design as well. You may disagree, you may be right, but I just want you (and all those who read) to know why I decided to design it this way.

To BlackReapeR yes, that was what I meant about 3rd resources, or a resources that depends on the economy anyway. But, it would become more complex. Maybe a trade-off? I wasn't able to find it though.
Just to join in on the Mercenary Business discussion:

1. I made the comment about the main base running out. Like I said, I am fine with this, but this may be something that needs to be taken into account depending on the difficulty level chosen. And that's fine, because the objectives on normal, hard, and brutal aren't always the same. So the starting mineral here can change. I think the thing that needs to be clear is that the main base does in fact run out, so Mira can say something about it at some point. If it doesn't work, Blizzard can easily remove this. I don't see this as an issue more than a balance aspect.

2. Did all of the Top 10 maps use the template size? Some felt much larger than others. I didn't really notice the size on this map in particular as I did with the others. Maybe it's just how the layout turned out.

3. While DrakeyC and InsaneMst have a point on Raynor and Kerrigan having an advantage given their respective mechanics, I think this can be solved by Amon having MULEs or start with more minerals to take this into account. The great thing about this map is that you're not trying to get 1,000 minerals or 1,000 gas, you're trying to get more than Amon. So maybe the solution is for Blizzard to tinker with Amon. There's an opportunity cost with minerals and gas that you can't replicate with a 3rd resource, because you have to use minerals and gas, while you don't have to use a 3rd resource.

All in all, while I do see where everyone is coming from, I don't think they're deal-breakers. Blizzard didn't see it as one, and given it was chosen in the Top 10 they must have given some thought to possible workarounds.
06/05/2017 12:16 PMPosted by JorgeCis
1. I made the comment about the main base running out. Like I said, I am fine with this, but this may be something that needs to be taken into account depending on the difficulty level chosen. And that's fine, because the objectives on normal, hard, and brutal aren't always the same. So the starting mineral here can change. I think the thing that needs to be clear is that the main base does in fact run out, so Mira can say something about it at some point. If it doesn't work, Blizzard can easily remove this. I don't see this as an issue more than a balance aspect.


You are right. I removed one mineral patch at brutal if I recall correctly, but I could have gone further. Where were you when I was betatesting my map? :P

06/05/2017 12:16 PMPosted by JorgeCis
2. Did all of the Top 10 maps use the template size? Some felt much larger than others. I didn't really notice the size on this map in particular as I did with the others. Maybe it's just how the layout turned out.


Mine is the template map, that's why I'm sure. Others I don't know.

06/05/2017 12:16 PMPosted by JorgeCis
3. While DrakeyC and InsaneMst have a point on Raynor and Kerrigan having an advantage given their respective mechanics, I think this can be solved by Amon having MULEs or start with more minerals to take this into account. The great thing about this map is that you're not trying to get 1,000 minerals or 1,000 gas, you're trying to get more than Amon. So maybe the solution is for Blizzard to tinker with Amon. There's an opportunity cost with minerals and gas that you can't replicate with a 3rd resource, because you have to use minerals and gas, while you don't have to use a 3rd resource.


I agree with this. I could have changed some Amon parameters depending on commanders on the field. A pity I didn't think of it when it was the time.
@InsaneMst your map was quite fun, and probably the best among the 10 finalists.

Messing with economy is actually a good idea, because it's one of the few way to really change how the game is played. Bonus point for being a map where everyone can play its way thanks to the lack of objectives order and the relatively open map layout.

Regarding balance, i would have put both Minerals and Gas in all shipement except the first one, that way it keep things relatively balanced between commanders.

Speaking of that, let's be honest... While it's quite possible to cheese such a map, Most/All commanders can do it in their way (as you said, it's no longer cheesing)

Raynor/Swann have economics bonuses
Kerrigan/Nova/Zagara can wreak plenty of thing freely with their Hero unit.
Stukov can swarm the map with free units if he wants
etc...

Good luck to everyone !
Mercenary Business is a love/hate type of map, which I think is reflected quite well in the arcade reviews. If it makes it into the top 5, it'll be up to Blizzard to decide if they want to base a co-op map around the map's idea, which would be really interesting to see what they do with it. I'm guessing they would dumb it down a bit to make it more appealing to the majority of casual players.
06/05/2017 01:53 PMPosted by deltronLive
If it makes it into the top 5, it'll be up to Blizzard to decide if they want to base a co-op map around the map's idea, which would be really interesting to see what they do with it. I'm guessing they would dumb it down a bit to make it more appealing to the majority of casual players.

I think that's a given for any map Blizzard picks. Frankly, I'm surprised about the complexity level of maps they picked for top 10, including mine, Mercenary Business, and Solar Right -- but I guess they are either counting on one of the simpler maps getting top 5 as well so they can just pick that, or reducing the complexity of the map greatly if they do pick it.
The problem with using minerals or gas as a map mechanic is that some heroes are vastly better at playing with a bank than others. Nova in particular is pretty much always assumed to have a large bank. Karax tends to accumulate one as well. Raynor and zagara on the other hand spend minerals as fast as they accumulate.
06/05/2017 02:26 PMPosted by TheSkunk
I think that's a given for any map Blizzard picks. Frankly, I'm surprised about the complexity level of maps they picked for top 10, including mine, Mercenary Business, and Solar Right -- but I guess they are either counting on one of the simpler maps getting top 5 as well so they can just pick that, or reducing the complexity of the map greatly if they do pick it.


I don't see your map neither mine as complex. Solar Right even is not complex just bloated and hardly balanced at all. All the top 10 picks are actually, in my opinion, some of the best map in the trade-off between performance, creativity and accessibility. Add just a little bias for escort mission, they do seem to like that.
06/05/2017 02:47 PMPosted by InsaneMst
I don't see your map neither mine as complex. Solar Right even is not complex just bloated and hardly balanced at all.

OK, let me clarify. I really meant "Accessibility", which was one of the judging criteria they laid out in the contest announcement. A lack of Accessibility can come from complexity, or from other factors.

A most accessible map has players simply attack-moving towards points on the map in succession, usually something with a lot of health surrounded by some forces. Good examples from the top 10 are Death from Above and Armory Retaking.

It's defined by Blizzard as:

This refers to how quickly new players can jump into your game and start having fun. Are the game objectives clear? Do players understand how to succeed?


So, how I feel it applies to the maps I mentioned:

Cradle of Death: Players don't realize you can control the Payload, forget to, or find it difficult to do. Due to the map size sometimes you are far away from your base when it is attacked.

Mercenary Business: Players are given too many different ways of accomplishing the objective, no clear points of the map to focus on and a-move towards, and they are not used to having to look at, and use, a special bit of UI at the top-right of the screen.

Solar Right: (Admittedly haven't played it recently) Player's attention isn't focused on a specific point of the map, its kind of complex, and players multitasking is taxed heavily.
06/05/2017 03:25 PMPosted by TheSkunk
Player's attention isn't focused on a specific point of the map, its kind of complex, and players multitasking is taxed heavily.


This is (along with Amon's ghost Solarite) is what I think dooms this map. I play with ~130-150 APM (the arcade maps were very useful for checking this) and still had some difficulty when trying to adequately assign forces to guard points. I can't really imagine how my partners (some of whom had >100 APM) were managing to deal with the map.

There is also the point that the map forces both early units and the ability to defend multiple points. The attack waves are far too frequent, and calldowns are sorely lacking for dealing with them because you have to be consistently guarding the points while trying for an expansion, for example. Any attrition at all can be deadly to your forces, especially when they number so few so early.

It simply needs to be improved so that you don't need all these factors at once. Either make the map 'start' later, reduce the number of collection points, or allow expansions to be rocks instead of an enemy base. Any one (though preferably two) of these options would go a long way to improving the playability of this map.

The map simply needs to be optimised, as I gave in my feedback on the front page.

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