I feel okay about the layout of most DW maps. They don’t impress me nearly as much as MW maps, but I attribute that toward them being designed for deathmatch at high player counts, rather than objectives at medium player counts. Ducat Isle is bugging me though for a couple of reasons.
1. Too many right angles and long straight walls for a natural environment. I understand that collision and mesh instancing is more efficient with rectangles, but it’s overly distracting here. The treasure cave opening is straight. The ramp next to it is straight. The hut plateau is straight. The interior of the skull rock is straight. The water channel is straight. Heck, fly skyward as a spectator and look at the overall island shape; it’s a rectangle! It should be more organic, no?
2. Small choice of paths between sub-areas, and few objects to provide ranged cover. From any given spot, in order to end up in a different strategic position within 15 seconds, there are generally two choices of where to proceed next. The edges / corners of the map are pretty much dead ends, not all of which are filled with spawn points. Where are the most dynamic places to engage? Probably the drop hole, skull, and treasure pile; everywhere else feels like no-man’s land.
So… of course all maps are basically a giant rectangles, but the rest seem to do better at obscuring it with more varied object placement or terrain elevation. Their ramps and corridors also tend to be more numerous and irregularly aligned, whereas the Isle has just a few straights and single bends (ok, a couple of T-junctions). Right angles are of course visually more prevalent in other maps due to man-made structures, but I’m referring to the shape of navigable regions, not model geometry. The Isle layout is just too… rigid?
Possible improvements are up to anyone’s imagination. I wish I could see the beach from the hut, maybe via an extended overlook that becomes a falling hazard. A cannon could point at it to counteract snipers. The skull rock interior could totally contain more than a wide sandy ramp, especially if it were bigger. Might be amusing to look out from its eyes just for giggles. Drop some more boulders / debris on the beach. An anchored pirate ship would obviously be awesome, but I won’t ask for something so tedious. Just a bit more intricate, more organic layout would make me happy with this map.
What do other players think?