Map balance

  • Dear Tornbanner,
    a long while ago you made some changes to Hillside and Citadel because these maps would give one team a pretty huge advantage which almost always resulted in a win for the denfending team, because some stages were too hard (Hillside Stage 2/Citadel Stage 1). I really liked that you changed things, because it is really boring if you know from the beginning which team will win. So far so good. Now some time has passed and we came to realise that the winrates were just mirrored. Now the defending teams are the ones who have no chance. If you pass stage 1 you have won in 99% of the cases (except for maybe you win with 10 seconds left) on both these maps. Id like to see the latter stages made harder for the attackers (last stage on hillside is the worst of all, taking out the hardest treb from stage 2 AND nerfing the ship hp was just too much at once) and maybe the first ones a bit easier to make up for it (not sure on this one though). I´ve never read anything on this subject on the forums, but with the few TO maps we have right now, they should be balanced accordingly at least, no?

  • I agree. Buff Mason defenders! Poor guys got ridiculed.

    My suggestions:

    (1) Increase “destroy time” for trebuchets OR make destroying trebuchets an active task (destroying parts of them on both sides) OR make the progress stop with defenders around.
    (2) Make ships most resistant and give them a proper hitbox (you should not be able to destroy them by shooting the sails).
    (3) Make the ballistas fully rotateable and able to be used by the Mason team (its the last objective after all).

    (4) Keep the ballistas on Citadel and make them accessible by every team.
    (5) Make locks operate separately and require them all to be destroyed for freeing slaves.
    (6) Make slave chains more resistant to damage (one strike is too easy).
    (7) Make the gates operate separately but only require one to be broken (the others can be destroyed during the last stage if additional entrances are needed).

    Alternate bonus stage for Citadel:
    (8) Open up the whole map during the last stage and make it possible for Malric to escape by reaching the first Agathan spawn (in which case the Mason team wins). Spawn points should be moved back according to Malrics location.

    And a final stage for Battlegrounds:
    (9) When the Petard reached the gate it does not explode. Instead there is one more stage that requires Agatha to light it by using a torch.

  • @Evil:


    All been suggested before, still think this should have been done a while ago. Agree with pretty much everything here.

    Also bring back old treb 3.

  • In terms of competitive play, making the game easier for defenders is a bad thing, IMO.

    As both sides are played, and times are compared it makes much more sense that both teams finish the map. Now, admittedly it almost never happens that both teams don’t finish, but it is also not very fun being locked down completely at one objective. Darkforest is probably so popular because all the objectives can be progressed slightly each time, even if it takes you ages (apart from the sluice gate, which can be frustrating).

    Stoneshill also popular until the last objective, which requires a pretty big play from the attacking team to win it.

    Hillside was often not popular at all because the first objective was obscenely difficult, but it’s not too difficult from that point on, which often meant teams would finish the map then lock the other team down at the first objective when they were defending, which isn’t really fun at all.

    In general, I think it’s better to be more attacker-sided than defender.

  • @NabsterHax:

    In general, I think it’s better to be more attacker-sided than defender.

    No. It is fun for both teams to finish the map. Competitive hardly exists anymore so does not really matter. I do think in general the objectives should get harder. Making the first objective the hardest was always silly for obvious reasons.

  • @gregcau:

    No. It is fun for both teams to finish the map. Competitive hardly exists anymore so does not really matter. I do think in general the objectives should get harder. Making the first objective the hardest was always silly for obvious reasons.

    I disagree that competitive chiv hardly exists. With that attitude it certainly won’t get any better. I’m not saying TBS should rebalance the maps to make them better for both worlds, but just consider that rocking them too far the wrong way might make some really popular and fun maps (the only ones we have) into a far less satisfying experience.

  • @NabsterHax:

    In general, I think it’s better to be more attacker-sided than defender.

    So does this mean you like Shitadel?

    Map looks stunning btw though, just sucks gameplay-wise.

  • @NoVaLombardia:

    So does this mean you like Shitadel?

    Map looks stunning btw though, just sucks gameplay-wise.

    No. I don’t just like any map that favours the attackers. Citadels objectives just don’t suit competitive play, with most of them being ridiculous to defend.

    I just don’t particularly like maps like old hillside, where most games would end up with one team never seeing 90% of the map for their attacking side.

    I like darkforest and stoneshill because they both start with “time-building” objectives that teams often eventually complete, and the last objective is easier/harder to complete depending on how much time you gained. It’s much more exciting to play and watch darkforest where games can get right down to the wire at the end of the map (or at least, put a come-back win within dreaming distance) than watch a team get shut down at the start of the map for 10 minutes.

  • Nabs is correct and having non balanced maps made for great game play. In AOC there were several one sided maps and because of that when you defended a map that normally is a walk for the offensive team, that says a lot about your team. Knowing maps are one sided make the defensive victories all that more sweet.

  • @gregcau:

    No. It is fun for both teams to finish the map. Competitive hardly exists anymore so does not really matter. I do think in general the objectives should get harder. Making the first objective the hardest was always silly for obvious reasons.

    Not the EU comp scene, I’d say it’s growing instead.

  • 1. Battlegrounds - Has needed a defense respawn timer adjust for a while now. The 2nd objective is incredibly skewed in favor of the defenders.

    2. Stoneshill - Pretty well balanced, king section is very difficult without high levels of coordination.

    3. Darkforest - Pretty well balanced, almost no adjustments needed.

    4. Hillside - 1st stage is far too hard given that the 2nd and 3rd are incredibly easy for Agatha. I personally think old trebuchet 3 should be added back in. It created some of the most chaotic and enjoyable battles. And then, maybe lower the pyre time by a few seconds.

  • @NabsterHax:

    In terms of competitive play, making the game easier for defenders is a bad thing, IMO.

    I think it depends one the stage. For the attackers there should be an increase in difficulty and challenge with each stage. The first stages should be generally doable with a greater focus on speed. The later stages should be more balanced and the final stage should be a challenge on some maps. And in the end a map is not balanced if the attackers win every time. A good map usually progresses through all stages and is decided at the last.

    Stoneshill is a good example: The first stage is relatively easy to complete and barely does a team fail to pillage. The second is more balanced - usually completed but sometimes the defenders manage to stall the game and win. The last one is a challenge if the defenders know what to do. Its my no means unbeatable but it gives the map a tense and exciting ending.

    Hillside is (unfortunately because I really like its basic design) on the other side of the spectrum: The first stage is relatively hard, the second is a little easier and the last is usually too easy. That makes for less tense gameplay because the decision who wins is usually made very early. Arguably in scrims the second stage is the hardest - but here successfully defending the ballistas is even less likely. This makes the ending a downer.

    Citadel… The progression is just not right. It starts quite hard - which can be frustrating for attackers as their can be not progress for quite some time. Then it gets easier. Then it gets even more easy. Okay the last 3 slaves require you to sneak through a bottleneck at the enemy spawn but their are plenty of options how to get there. The 4th stage is the hardest and can be challenging against good defenders (its similar to the stoneshill throneroom but you got more room, your target is immune to ranged attacks, bigger and doesn’t fight back or regenerate). The last stage is more of a bonus stage: Its relatively easy because the throneroom is designed in a way that makes defending pretty hard.

    Citadel in general is a pretty stupid fortress:

    • its on top of an active volcano (you can argue thats the root of all problems)
    • you can storm it without any siege weapon support
    • you can even destroy looted siege weapons without risk of failure
    • there are so many ways for attackers to reach the objective
    • cages are constructed in a way that the need multiple locks and breaking one of them opens the cage
    • slave chains can be opened by a single quite weak and unaimed strike (the could free themselves actually because they got hammers)
    • building a statue than can be toppled from outside the wall to destroy it is not the best idea
    • magically linking the gates to your throne room to take the damage of the other two doesn’t serve any purpose
    • the throne room looks nice but is impractical for defense reasons because there are so many paths you have to cover and attackers find plenty of cover

  • Personally, I still think TO should be balanced for pubs and LTS should be the go-to for competitive team battles. This would mean defense would need some slight nerfs on some maps to make attacking easier, because currently in solo pubs defending is too easy, but in coordinated games attacking is usually with the advantage. Since most people in pubs are solo and not coordinated, defense has the advantage on pretty much every map in almost every objective. It would be really frustrating to balance TO around healthy pub and competitive environments, and if TO was purely competitive team balanced then the vast majority of pubbers wouldn’t stick around for as long and the game wouldn’t be any better.

    LTS should just be the go-to game mode for competitive team battles, IMO. I think respawn timers should be dynamic based on how many players are in the server, and depending on the current map and objective; with fewer players, shorter respawns and later objectives should have longer respawns (Obj 2 in Battlegrounds should have longer respawns than Obj 1). I’m posting this as a solo pubber perspective. With this in mind:


    Obj 1: Maybe increase peasants needed to kill from 40 to 50, or 45. Personally I like how it is currently, but if objective 3 (kill the king) was nerfed, then this would probably need buffing for defense. Heavily favors attacking, but with how obj 3 is currently…
    Obj 2: Slightly increase the respawn time on defenders. This is one of the best balanced objectives in the game, so I’m still kind’ve iffy about increasing the respawn time. Slightly favors defense, but barely.
    Obj 3: Heavily increase defender respawn times, and force all respawns to be on the bottom two, no longer respawns on the top. This is extremely difficult to take without coordination, which is rare/frustrating to achieve in solo pubs. I don’t want attacking team to faceroll, but it certainly needs some help. Heavily favors defense.

    Dark Forest:

    Obj 1: As much as I would like to see a slight increase in defender respawn, most people seem to think everything in Dark Forest is great as it is. It’s pretty close to perfect, but I still think it favors defense slightly. Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 2: Slight increase to defender respawns. Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 3: Fine as it is. Slightly favors offense, but can still be hard to take once defense gets in control without some coordination.
    Obj 4: Slight increase to defender respawns. Favors defense.

    But I guess it would be fine to leave it as it is. It requires some coordination, but not as much as others which is why most people think it’s perfect.


    Obj 1: This can actually be a really hard objective for the attacking team. I think most people agree the map is won or lost on this objective. It should have a slight increase for defender respawns as it’s very difficult to take without a lot of coordination if the defending team is actually paying attention. Heavily favors defense.
    Obj 2: Don’t re-add treb 3. It made the map far worse, but defense does need lower respawns currently to compensate for it. It’s still frustrating for solo pubbers since it requires 2 people to take out a treb, but there’s no arguing this favors attacking team. Heavily favors attacking team.
    Obj 3: Honestly, this is really hard to attack on without depending on good counter archers. Defending archers can completely control all 3 ballistae from the top left ballista which is really stupid. A tower shield knight on the bottom ballista doesn’t guarantee any shots against decent archers, but it’s a frustrating objective because it feels like it’s hard for both teams. I think defenders should have a faster respawn, but to compensate add some platforms or cliff rocks or something to prevent archers from controlling all 3 ballistae from that one spot: if archers want to control bottom ballista, then they should have to give up control of the top 2. I think it would be okay for defending archers to control all 3 ballista from the top right ballista because it puts them much closer to the attacking team and they would have to run away which would give time for the bottom ballista. I think the ship sails should not count as hitboxes for the ballista, and slightly increase the amount of shots required to help compensate for less archer control. Slightly favors defense.


    Obj 1: This is a unique objective in the game because it’s really hard to defend as a solo pubber but really easy with a coordinated team. Nonetheless, it certainly needs lower respawns for the defending team and some sort of second respawn for defending team near the market place. Heavily favors attacking team.
    Obj 2: Quite possibly the worst objective in the game. Extremely difficult as an attacking solo pubber, and I know this was designed for a level of teamwork and not how good you are with a sword as an individual (according to the kick starter video) but it’s a little out of control right now. Defending team needs much higher respawns. Also for some reason the ballista never seems to be able to kill defending players if an attacking player is on it, for awhile now. I used to be able to spawn camp with that ballista as Agatha but now it just shoots right through Masons: even if they’re standing still. Archers completely dominate this objective, too. Getting the cart past 75% as attacking without coordinated team is almost impossible in most scenarios. Heavily favors defense.


    Obj 1: Defenders need higher respawns. Heavily favors defense
    Obj 2: Defenders need higher respawns. Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 3: Defenders need lower respawns. Slightly favors attacking team.
    Obj 4: Defenders need higher respawns. Heavily favors defense.
    Obj 5: Defenders need slightly higher respawns, which more defensive positions for Malric. Slightly favors defense.

    The biggest problem with Citadel is that it’s one of those objective maps that force you to die without getting many kills in order to complete the objective, which isn’t very fun. Killing other players should go hand in hand with completing the objectives to some reasonable degree.

  • Whenever I play hillside its a clean sweep for the agathians almost all the time.

    The problem with citadel is the fact that one ballista can shoot the other ballista. Its pretty easy to capture one ballista but you’ll be pinned down by the other one. You either need to take both which is really hard or have an archer up with you to pin down the other ballista firing with the one you captured. Or lots of getting on, firing then getting off and ducking instantly then fighting off anyone that comes near. That’s how you do it by yourself. Quite hilarious fighting next to the ballista. When you jump on you teleport to it and if you have positioned your enemy in the right place you can hit them with it.

    Malric often dies becuase they think siting by the spawn is the best place to be which it isn’t. Its a clusterfuck and you die to team mates and fire pots. Archers have an easy time shooting you as well. Also only half your team ends up there and the other half as a longer run to reach you. Staying by the throne thee are 6 stair cases going up. A good team defends the from 4. The two at the back are easy escape routes. Though many cases of malric dying is getting trapped on those stairs. Their team behind them blocking them and the enemy in front. Though a there’s always the railing you can jump over.

  • @SOC:

    Obj 1: … Heavily favors attacking
    Obj 2: … Slightly favors defense, but barely.
    Obj 3: … Heavily favors defense.

    Thats how a map with 3 objectives should work. Especially on a siege type map with a pretty major last objective (kings don’t grow on trees). Please keep it that way everything else would destroy the feeling.

    Dark Forest:
    Obj 1: … Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 2: … Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 3: … Slightly favors offense, but can still be hard to take once defense gets in control without some coordination.
    Obj 4: … Favors defense.

    Works perfectly fine for a “field map” (non-siege TO). A little smoother progression makes for a “pushing your enemy back” atmosphere.

    Obj 1: … Heavily favors defense.
    Obj 2: … Heavily favors attacking team.
    Obj 3: … Slightly favors defense.

    I do disagree with the last stage as ships are just so squishy and the defending team needs to control all three ballistas while being too stupid to use them themselves. Anyway the progression sucks (as written above its pretty said as otherwise the map design is very good). But being so heavily focussed on the first experience makes for a strangling experience as defender: Lose the Pyre and you have good chances of getting slowly overrun by an angry mob. As attacker its lsightly better but after lighting the Pyre the challenge level usually drops which makes the map a lot less rewarding than it could be.

    Obj 1: … Heavily favors attacking team.
    Obj 2: … Heavily favors defense.

    Pretty decent for a two-stage siege type map. Bonus points for increasing challenge during the second objective (it gets harder the closer you get to the gate). Also ends with a big bang if you really manage to do it - for extra satisfaction.

    Obj 1: … Heavily favors defense
    Obj 2: … Slightly favors defense.
    Obj 3: … Slightly favors attacking team.
    Obj 4: … Heavily favors defense.
    Obj 5: … Slightly favors defense.

    Pretty damn bad for a siege style map. But if you look closer Citadel isn’t siege style at all. Its more like urban warfare with lava. Lots of paths to go and some positions you can fortify yourself in. As such the progression curve should be similar to Darkforest. It is not. The first objective can be very frustrating as attacker and sometimes it takes just too long. The next two are more like bonus stages that should be done as quickly as possible to get enough time to complete the final one. The final one - is storming the gates which can make for a pretty decent fight. Then Malric is killed off in some kind of downer-epilogue (in most cases he doesn’t survive and if he does its most likely because the Agatha team failed at some point).

    Rule of thumb:
    Obj 1: Should never significantly favor the defending team.
    Obj <in between="">: Should increase in difficulty for the attackers if the defenders do it right.
    Obj <last>: Should favor the defenders. Always and more than the other objectives. If the attackers win this one its over anyways so why not give them a run for their money?</last></in>

  • I wouldn’t say ovjective one on citadel is that hard at all. There’s just an awful lot of running involved.

  • @Evil:

    Rule of thumb:
    Obj 1: Should never significantly favor the defending team.
    Obj <in between="">: Should increase in difficulty for the attackers if the defenders do it right.
    Obj <last>: Should favor the defenders. Always and more than the other objectives. If the attackers win this one its over anyways so why not give them a run for their money?</last></in>

    I can agree to an extent, but I feel like every map favors defense just too much, and certain maps need tweaking more than others. I don’t want every objective to be 50/50 even, I like the concept of it being easier to attack first and harder to attack later, but it’s a little too hard to attack later as a solo pubber without a lot of coordination on many objectives. I don’t want coordination to be completely un-necessary, but I do want a little more leeway instead of not being able to go near the objective while constantly spamming in team chat “wait in spawn for large groups, go as a big unit” while no one bothers and everyone constantly rushes one by one the moment they respawn.

  • I agree that too many maps favour defense. Particularly because I find defenders get more kills and therefore players looking to rank up or get better K/D ratios tend to stack the defending side.

    Stoneshill -Well balanced generally. Pushing the cart should give objectives points from when it first appears. Last objective is too heavy on defense, it’s also a bit boring being King because you spend most of your time hiding. I think it would be more fun for both teams if the last objective was a little more dynamic, for example if there was a ballista at the entrance to the throneroom; making it harder just to hide at the back and more incentive for defenders to push forward to take the ballista for themselves. I agree with SOC that the defender spawns should all move down.

    Battlegrounds - Needs a few changes: second objective should end when the petard is at 50% and the attacker spawns should move up to another building closer to the end. The last objective is pushing the cart the last half. This would be more fun for both sides instead of increasing defender respawn time. You could even throw another catapult or ballista further up.

    Hillside - First objective is in favour of defenders all others on attack. I would put treb 3 back but change the way the trebs are damaged. Make them actually take damage from weapons so attackers can chip away at them. Now the defenders can heal the trebs by standing on those little platforms if they’ve taken damage but not if they’re destroyed. Again I agree that letting defenders use the ballistas would help.

  • Darkforest - Probably the MOST balanced in competitive play for smaller numbers, in any pub server it totally skewed for the defending team… it only depends on which team is more stacked. Perfectly balanced rarely or never happen though so it’s mostly do-able. This is my favorite map, i like the struggle of the second objective the most but it’s also the most frustrating with archers everywhere (that doesn’t matter to map balance though) i think darkforest is the best.

    Stonehill - close 2nd in better map balance competitive and smaller numbers games. However in larger games, TOTALLY biased for defense. You can have an even lesser skilled group of randoms against some of the better players in the game as we did the other day and completely shut down the 2nd objective for 10-12-14 minutes even with not too much trouble. Once it gets to the bridge agatha gets stuck forever. It’s just archers in the windows, archers on the wall, ballistae firing off left and right, and then you have most of your force right at the cart after they’ve had a long run to get there and they pretty much get shut down. The only way masons get hits usually is man at arms or any other classes using that little ram exploit by teleporting onto it from the side/back area. Then typically what happens is they have like almost no time left by the time they get to the king objective… then it’s 5 minutes to kill the king, which is peanuts compared to the number of arrows they have to get to to get to the king… not to mention the respawn times which makes it so that even people that attempt to carry their team to victory have to fight through not one but 2 full spawns of enemies before even nibbling on the kings toes.

    Hillside- God this map just needs work… it’s really all about the first objective in this one on whether mason or agatha wins. If mason holds the first obviously they win, if they lose it… they have practically lost the match… since all the rest of the objectives are fairly easy. I have found ways to hold the objectives, but pubs aren’t organized to know what the hell they are doing usually. Obviously the main holds are 1 and 2, but 3 is still defendable if only to delay time for a while. The main holds are 1 and 2 obviously though, but 1 in my opinion is easier because it’s much harder to get flanked there. Then the ballistae stage is almost impossible to hold with any decent attacking team, even if they’re not… but the best way i’ve found to defend is running straight from mason spawn lower right and go right for agatha spawn and keep them trapped best you can.

    Battlegrounds- i do like this map a lot because of the fun battles in the middle and the open space available. Archers in that middle wall have got to be the most annoying little shits ever… archers basically ruin this map for me most of the time, and there’s not much you can really do about it but have a good team. The first objective is actually pretty balanced since both attack and defend needs to work to get to the fires, if both fires are defended well it can go well for mason, but if agatha pushes well they will get them. The 2nd part favors mason a bit too much, and it’s really just archers for the most part. Archers… archers everywhere.

    Citadel- ah citadel, i like this map because it’s fun to attack and blow through objectives. I think the run for agatha on the first objective may be a bit much to call it balanced, but then again on attack i’ve been able to complete it pretty fast as well, as well as being able to hold off on defending. The cages are also defendable a bit as long as you ahve people dedicated to defending the top cages especially the center top one, which i’ve seen can be held for a LONG time. The free the slaves objective is a complete joke attempting to defend against it, best we’ve been able to do is send a good force to the left side and push all the way to the bottom and try and hold out forever… and hoping your team can hold off the right side a bit, at least from crossing over to the mason’s left from that side. Gotta be careful about those back avenues as well. I think holding the stairs are the best chance masons have of killing some time at that point, keep a bunch at the top, and have guys soften and kill of as many as they can before reaching the door. Then malric… god has anyone survived this? I don’t think i have ever survived even once as malric… MAYBE, just maybe one time but there must have been under 5 miniutes left. Usually malric is left with about 15-18 minutes on the clock and it takes all of about 2 minutes to finish him off. He hasn’t really got a great place to defend from, and running around hoping your team will know what the hell you’re doing is mostly suicide. Firepots will rain, hell i know for myself i’m going to hit him at least 2 times from firepots because i throw one when i spawn, then i grab another on the way up the stairs and repeat… keeping him in constant fire. There are so many stairways to attack him from also and he just gets surrounded, and teammates hit you all over the place and then you die.

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