Non-Top 10 maps need feedback from Blizz

Map Showcase
Hi guys,

So I'm sure this is pertinent to many contestants who did not get a top 10 spot; I would not only love feedback about what was wrong with my entry map, but I need it. If you (Blizzard) would like to keep a high-spirited community going, this step is mandatory on your end. Please provide us with feedback on your reasoning as to why our maps were not selected (and also ways to improve for next time)... I don't want to know reasoning for other people's maps, so doing so through a private message or email would be ideal.

I shouldn't have to ask for this... please consider your contest participants as part of your company since we're literally working for free to make you more money; I could have made $7k with the time spent on my own map by working OT at my job... so choosing to do this meant more to me than just winning money (it took me this long just to calm down enough to write a professional post). Be respectful and close the gap, or you will be losing myself and I'm sure many others as part of the community.
Not Blizzard but my assumptions are:
- Too demanding on low-spec PCs
- Map too big. Felt like it was a bit hard to get around. Felt somewhat annoying when trying to get a Crystal from one side to the other
- Objectives a bit unclear at first
- Too many (custom) objective markers made it a bit confusing
- Too much talking
- A bit too hard

Other than the PC-spec thing almost all the RTC entries have these problems.
Yeah, I think all entries (including top 10) have these issues. That's fine because these maps aren't meant to be perfectly polished. Also I think you're thinking of another map; there were no crystals on my map, and I tested with a 10 year old computer with no lag issues. I'm sure to some extent my map had the other problems though... but since I have been hearing similar complaints about top 10, I'm still curious what differentiated them.

It's really just about not being able to improve for next time to make an even more epic map; since it's entirely based on someone else's opinion, I can't find that problem without their help. I know it's not because it wasn't fun; I had a pro-gamer down to the exact opposite in terms of skill (my wife ;)) say it was lots of fun, and my wife still keeps asking to play it again even though there's not much point now.
Yeah I confused you with FroggyCatty.

I just saw the first 6 minutes of deltronLive's playthrough of your map. I think an essential problem could be the two completely separate objectives. Having one player do something completely different from the other might feel pretty uncomfortable. I know Immortal Siege does something similar, but there you don't don't have to use a teleporter that's far away.

If I had to remake the map I would make it a lot smaller and either make teleportation a central element of the map or remove it entirely. Also move those structures which need to be defended a lot closer to the players.
I agree that it's more helpful getting personalized feedback compared to just a pass/fail type score. On the other hand, in this instance, I don't think Blizzard had the time to email every single mapmaker to give personalized feedback, nor should they be required to, unless it was stated in the rules somewhere.

Of course it would be nice if Blizzard provided mapmakers some reasoning behind their picks, but by you saying that Blizzard should consider the mapmakers as part of their company, that's not helping anyone and doesn't make any sense. Not even the top 10 maps received any feedback from Blizzard.

Unfortunately, outside of these RTC contests, there is not much support from Blizzard for the mapmaking scene, so any feedback you receive will have to come from the community.
That's most likely the case, unfortunately. But Blizzard only has things to gain and money to make by writing down this feedback as they play through and judge each map based on their own requirements. As a software developer, it just doesn't make sense to me that they wouldn't have done this. But, the end result is that there's simply no point in trying again as I'd surely make the same mistakes twice; I listened to every piece of community feedback, which made it much more fun and engaging. But when the primary judge doesn't give feedback - that's the critical fail point. You can reference any judge from any location on any tv show or otherwise, all judges generally give some fragment if not great feedback for improvement because they know it will help them in the future.

I certainly won't argue the point of "being treated as part of the company", as it's purely an opinion. I just come from an extremely professional and fast-paced programming background, and this contest felt similar.
I sympathize, it sucks to put in months of work and not even be sure the judges played it. I wrote a post after 2015's contest saying something similar: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/sc2/topic/20044776679
...for the Arcade I submitted that I poured months of effort into I didn't get so much as a note saying "Thank you for participating, we appreciate the hard work of arcade authors"
But I think you probably should have cooled down a bit more before writing this, because you come across as quite hot-headed -- and frankly, a bit naive.
please consider your contest participants as part of your company since we're literally working for free to make you more money

It's no secret that game developers in general do not consider modders "part of their company". Why do you expect Blizzard will be different?
you will be losing myself and I'm sure many others as part of the community.
They've been doing this for 7 years. And they have lost a lot of the community, so at this point, it's on you if you're expecting more.

It would be wise for Video game developers to appreciate modders more, but Blizzard is doing more than most by running this contest in the first place. You aren't owed anything and its unrealistic to expect their busy game-designers to give personalized feedback to 70 contestants. If they did they run the risk of bad PR by offending with their criticism -- or, more likely, they'd give vague and unhelpful feedback like "it just wasn't quite what we were looking for".

I'll quote my feedback on 2015's RTC again:
You should be creating Arcades because you love doing it, for the pure reward of seeing something you created come to life and seeing people have fun playing it.
Anyway, please don't take my post the wrong way. You're not wrong that it would be smart and kind of them to do this, you just come off as having a bitter and unrealistic mindset about the whole thing.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I'll try to give you feedback after I play your map again. (I played it before, but I'm not sure how much changed since)
Echoing what TheSkunk said about developer tendencies, it's been a long time since we've seen Neverwinter Nights modders have their work featured on the game's main site and forums, and this contest is about the best we're likely to get out of Blizzard. As a longtime SCBW content creator (15+ years and counting), my sympathies are with you in that regard. However, I don't work in Brood War to get feedback from Blizzard; I do it out of my personal enjoyment for the creative process. The most you can expect out of creating content is your own enjoyment and the appreciation of your peers in the space. I encourage you to keep making content and keep honing your craft, but one of the best things you can do as a creator is learn to be self-reliant. If you need a developer to give you feedback in order to stay motivated, I believe you're dedicating time to the wrong hobby.

As a side note, if you plan on continuing your journey as a content creator, I recommend joining the SC2mapster discord if you haven't already. Here's a link: https://discord.gg/Pc3uu6a

Not sure if I'm allowed to post links so that might be removed by a mod.
Thanks for the posts again guys, sorry if I'm sounding childish as it's extremely difficult to give negative feedback without sounding as such.

I understood that I sounded naive before the post; I obviously had a much higher respect, and thus higher expectations out of Blizzard. I was naive to think so. I don't mean to come off as hot-headed though... I gave myself several days already. So I think any emotion is just stemming from how much it bothers me of the unprofessionalism of the judges for not following through to the end, and I've never experienced it before so it surprised me.

They already have to make a ranking and general comments on every map that they judge, so it would take no more than 5 minutes per map to make those comments useful to a contestant. They can even ask people who want feedback and prepare them for it to be possibly offensive, then email it to them.

I have also been creating maps for fun since warcraft 2. So the loss doesn't disappoint me as much as the lack of feedback. Sorry if my thoughts offend others, as they weren't intended to.
I agree with Skunk and Pronogo. I also entered the 2014 RTC and when I didn't get any feedback I was a bit annoyed, but moved on(looking at their picks I could also reason what they were looking for, and that my map didn't have it). After all I mostly made that map just to see if I could make that map, and it just so happened that the RTC started at that time :P. I've been messing around on blizzard editors since WC2 for the fun of creating something whether anyone plays it or not idc so much. I enjoy making the map. The reason I made so many maps for this contest was for that very reason I like making maps and when I get an idea in my head I feel the compulsion to make it real! (The other reason is I suck at making maps aesthetically pleasing because I suck at doing that in real life too so just focused on mechanics :P )
So I think any emotion is just stemming from how much it bothers me of the unprofessionalism of the judges for not following through to the end, and I've never experienced it before so it surprised me.
I don't know where you get this presumption that its common for every contestant that enters a contest to be owed feedback, or how it's unprofessional for them to not do so. Maybe you come from a different culture than me. :P
They already have to make a ranking and general comments on every map that they judge
I think that's being presumptuous, too.
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Anyway, my feedback on your map. I'm going to try to give this feedback from the lens of Blizzards judging criteria and what I perceive to matter most to them. In the contest announcement, they laid out their judging criteria as Accessibility, Fun, Creativity, and Theme.

In general, Blizzard seems to pick 5 maps that are just of overall high quality -- high production value (custom assets, UI, voice-over, polish, etc) that do well in most if not all categories, and then 5 that simply excel in one area of the judging criteria no matter how poorly they do in other areas.

From looking at what they pick as finalists in previous Rock the Cabinet contests, I would argue they are most important to Blizzard in this order: Accessibility > Creativity > Fun > Theme.

Accessibility is first because it single-handedly seems to have the most power to ruin your chances at top 10 if you do poorly, and good accessibility greatly increases your chances. This can be rephrased as to how noob-friendly, easily understandable, simple, and forgiving your map is.

Overall, Blizzard is more likely to pick your map if it either obviously high quality or if it is some way memorable. I would say that in the eyes of Blizzard, this is most likely were your map failed. It was not bad, there was no particular flaw that killed it, it just was not memorable to the judges and ultimately they could only pick 10.

Now, to go on to the specifics of how your map marks in each category:

Accessibility
Unfortunately your map gets low marks in accessibility due to Warp Zones. For an example, the first few times I played it I was Raynor, and built my expansion Command Center in my main base because it takes really long to clear your expansion on your mission. Then, I would fly it over to my expansion and it would go through the teleporter and wind up all the way across the map. This was very frustrating. Other times, I would be trying to clear the Warp Zones, so my army would be fighting there. Then as soon as it was captured, my units which were there would be automatically teleported away even though I had no intention of entering the teleporter, I just happened to be there clearing it. Other times, I would be attacking something across the map and rallied units would accidentally walk into teleporters on their way from my base to wherever I was fighting. To make all of these matters worse, the return teleporter often wasn't close to the inlet, and where they would appear back on my side of the map wouldn't be close to where they went in, so I spent a frustrating amount of time having units wander the four corners of the map because they were sucked into a teleporter against my will. And when I actually DID want to go through a teleporter, it wasn't as convenient as it would have been if my units could just walk there normally. To top it all off, the very first time I played I was confused about the objective. I wasn't sure how we stopped the waves killing the Protoss, I couldn't figure out why we needed to capture any more than one warp zone, and I didn't realize that actually the objective was killing the rifts near the warp zones.

It's not to say your map was terrible as far as accessibility, but it didn't stand out above the others in this way.

Fun
This is such a subjective category it's pretty meaningless, and more or less derived from the other criteria. Obviously a map has to be fun, but as a judging criteria there isn't much to go on. Everyone has different tastes. I think part of fun is just spectacle, but that sort of falls under theme.

Creativity
Creativity isn't inherently good, it has to positively contribute to the experience. The creativity in your mission was primarily the teleporters. Of course there are the accessibility issues with them, but they could have been resolved. However, even if they had, they wouldn't really been adding anything to your mission. Using a teleporter isn't inherently fun compared to moving your army normally and it didn't cause interesting choices. The other creative mechanic was having to defend one place (the Protoss) while pushing other objectives, but other maps like Immortal Siege did this in a more interesting way. It wasn't really that impact in your mission. I helped the Protoss almost none while playing solo on Hard, and I won at 37 minutes without the Protoss seeming to be in much danger. I never (deliberately) used the Teleporters, and only a few times had my Hyperion attack a Hybrid for a bit.

It's not to say your map was devoid of creativity, it just didn't stand out.

Theme
Again, your issue here was just mediocrity. It wasn't memorable. Just the usual Hybrids and Rifts, no interesting character narrating the mission and no memorable story behind the conflict. There's also no interesting spectacle. Armory Retaking has you escorting the Odin through a facility, Cradle of Death has it's explosions, Primal Ascension has its boss battles. For almost every top 10 map, even if you don't like them, you can still describe them without remembering their names.


Its not great but hopefully that feedback will help you improve and do better the next time!
So much stuff!


Nice review. I would like to ask you about that:

In general, Blizzard seems to pick 5 maps that are just of overall high quality -- high production value (custom assets, UI, voice-over, polish, etc) that do well in most if not all categories, and then 5 that simply excel in one area of the judging criteria no matter how poorly they do in other areas.


In relation to the picked maps and the criterion. Under which criteria would you mostly put custom assets, UI and voice over?
In previous Rock the Cabinets, the "Theme" judging criteria had been "Execution", which they defined as:

The execution of your project, or polish, will be the final step to really make your game stand out. Making sure it has a crisp and tight experience will really go a long way in impressing our judges.


I don't think they really stopped judging entries by that, they just didn't want more than 4 criteria and wanted to include something about theme. But more than likely, just doing REALLY well in the 4 criteria they did provide was mainly what they were looking for this time.
... Under which criteria would you mostly put custom assets, UI and voice over?

There is a chance Blizzard might ignore these entirely, which may be why Skyfall got didn't make Top 10. But it's often a nice touch that will go a long way when trying to impress the players.
I instead think they do stop judging this way in this contest alone. Because they need to redo the map. Less custom assets => less work for them.

I think SkyFall is the proof of that. If they wanted custom assets, SkyFall is full of them. And very high quality. It almost seems a professional models and vfx showcase.

I think their purpose is to get the best possible (tradeoff between fun, innovation and accessibility) co-op mission with the least effort on their end. Theme is just the story. Nothing more I really believe.

Just my two cents. That is what I would do if I were Blizzard with co-op in mind.
Thanks TheSkunk. That does help; my goal was to make it feel replayable... which I ran out of time for as I wanted to do more with multiple parts of the map. I added many little subtle things that people wouldn't notice the first few times they played it, such as the phase smith actually walked around as he repaired warp zones and the capture % only increased while he repaired them. And then travelling through warp zones could actually be done by right-clicking in the opposite world rather than on the warp zone and your units know which warp zone is closest to get to that point.

I can understand how it isn't easy for people to figure out the warp zone mechanic; I struggled with that one at a point where it was already too late to go back. The lesson I guess is to stay away from that level of complexity. :S

Yeah, my expectation of feedback from Blizzard is a personal opinion; I learn an enourmous amount from feedback and I don't care if it's negative so long as it's constructive.
... Theme is just the story. Nothing more I really believe...


To me theme is how well story, tileset and objectives/mission design go together and how polished they are. It also helps if that theme can differentiate itself from others.

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