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CoH2's lost maps: Which one would you like back?

18 Sep 2023, 14:44 PM
#1
avatar of Hannibal
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 3106 | Subs: 2

CoH2 has seen a lot of maps rotated in and out in its 10 years life span. Some of them might not have fitted into competitive play, but they were fun and beautiful nontheless. The current map pool has some very good maps, but many of them feel pretty similar. Visuals might be different, but the play style is the same on 80% of the maps, which in turn leads to little variation in gameplay in CoH2.
I'll present a couple of my "favourites", or at least some that I found noteworthy from 2v2 and 3v3, because I play these modes the most. What were your favourite maps that you'd like to have back?


Lierneux

Beautiful map, don't know why it had to be removed to be honest. I loved how the map was seperated organically into three parts: The closed forest, the semi-open village and the open fields. It often lead to relatively clear matchups who would win which side, but I loved the unsuspected surprise of attacking on one of these allegedly "secure" areas, mini commando raids or, if these didn't work, the house to house fighting in the middle to get an edge towards either of the sides. Some surprise commander choices could also switch up who would dominate which area. There's also some cool ideas: The southern outmost forest road that was rarely used apart allowing flanking maneuvers and the more separated northern fuel that was almost its own area from the "main fields". The tree lines could lead to some weird pathing, I was still happy to play that map. Atmosphere was top notch, it really felt like company level battles placing mortars behind houses and infantry groups supporting each other, ATGs blocking roads etc.


Semoskiy (Winter)
I have fond memories mostly of the Winter version, however it was taken out of rotation soonish after I started playing online. Loved the frozen lakes in the winter version and blowing up the ice to sink tanks. Great stuff and good implementation of this feature. The northers side didn't see much action, but was always a good diversion strategy to draw away attention or just snack a couple of territories while the opponent was busy. On the negative, the houses generally were too dominant. If you got pushed to you side of the river, the game was sometimes just over. For the current maps, this has often been solved by moving houses or placing sight blocker bushes. Maybe this map could have seen a similar treatment. Otherwise I remember great matches and honestly would like to play it again.


Stadtschutt
Was in rotation for quite a while. It usually yielded good games, I didn't like the atmosphere and blocky design of the map. The map just never clicked for me. That's not how a city looks like. What's the weird green patch doing in the middle of the city? The lumber area? All the ruins are so far apart, as if no one wanted any neighbour in the vicinity of 50 meters. It just looked a bit cobbled together. For gameplay, every single part was well designed, although all of the were focused on long range combat. I even liked the usage of red cover here, forcing you to think about when and how to cross certain streets. I think this is the map that looked the most gamey to me: We have it because the gameplay works on it, not because it really feels like WW2 combat. A big plus though for the idea of putting some fences that block infantry movement in the early stages of the map, while you could later open those up by overrunning them with tanks.


Poltava
I had a love and hate relationship with Poltava. The map is so linear it you'd just get stuck in MGs and TDs. On the other hand, the battle in the middle around those four houses worked so god damn well. The red cover streets were sometimes frustrating, but overall promoted thoughtful moving and use of smoke and grenades to transition between the houses and from the sides to the middle VP. The VPs in the corners were unfortunately pretty safe but could yield some really fun fights since these were the "enclosed" areas of the map. Apart from this, there were quite some issues: The munition points were pretty hard to take due to bushes and fences that would lead to weird shooting and pathing. I also felt like the northern side had safer fuel, although the map is supposed to me symmetrical. the roads on the very sides of the map were a bit too decoupled from the rest. They were meant to be highways to the fuel and corner VPs, but somehow I rarely used them. My fondest memory is getting my Sherman stolen in one of the corners because I thought the crew was safe to repair there. Good stuff.


Trois-Ponts
Honestly one of the most freaking unique maps in automatch that I remember. It had serious issues, but I loved it. The middle VP on the bridge with no good retreat path and being a prime target for literally any artillery was atrocious - but sometimes in even a good way. Some games just ended by being pushed back to the base and then being artied to death because you couldn't safely cross your bridge anymore, definitely not one of the high points in design. But everything else was just so fun. The huge graveyard with the VP on one side with few vehicle entry points yielded really good infantry engagements early on and even good battles once tanks broke the walls. The enclosed VP on the other side in the courtyard was also great for infiltration and taking them unnoticed while the main fight was going on elsewhere. Actually, both VPs had cool infantry entry points. The wider area around the munition points were a struggle literally for map control to open up movement options and the possibility to get into the valuable middle VP. The houses were well placed and dominant, but manageable. I loved this map, despite some glaring issues. It was unique and offered some areas and play styles that are hard to replicate on the current map pool.


Hamburg Hafen
Not a "lost" map since it's still in rotation, but, for the love of god, a ton of lost potential. Mostly with the flanks of the map that are basically never ever used. I don't know why this was never fixed. The ruin area and the dry dock on the other side of the map look so cool, but there is barely any reason to ever be there. The channels, point placements, pathways and obstructions just make it so hard to ever use these areas effectively. At some point, the map makers realized that issue so the ruin area got an infantry bridge. Cool. Still, its hardly used. The dry dock would have benefited from some crossing as well apart from the main bridge. In previous game versions, you could also blow up the bridge and later on repair it. That was a neat feature, albeit not that great for competitive play. Looked cool for bot matches and low ELO play though. This map has unfortunately lost a ton of potential due to some bad map design decisions. It's one of the heaviest arty spam maps in the current rotation. It's not a bad map, but it feels like developing it has just stopped once it got to "okay", and the rest of the ideas that have been built in to 50% completion were just left to die.



Ettelbruck
Again not a lost map, just lost visuals. It is a good map for arty and a lot of explosions in a tiny area. A map with good interaction between team mates even at low ELO, because it just is so small. My only gripe is: We had visually more beautiful versions. The version I remember the dearest is a pre-war Ettelbruck with a beautiful café, I think even the middle and station sides looked more tidy. It was a version where you're fighting the very first fight in this city, and seeing what war does to a beautiful small town at the end of the game was the highlight for me. The current version is a "you're commanding the 10th assault on that area" version - half the stuff is destroyed already. Lost some of its flair. The main issue for me currently is that a Brummbar can completely block off one victory point with not much to do about it, otherwise gameplay is good, if arty is what you want.
19 Sep 2023, 23:44 PM
#2
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2979 | Subs: 3

I'll never understand why they removed Stadtschutt, it usually resulted in dynamic and exciting games.. rather than this campy stalemate crap on 80% of the maps nowadays where both sides can slowly turtle forward, and where CQC infantry or medium tanks can barely be used. Just A-move vs A-move all the time


The map I miss the most though is probably Faceoff at Rostov. Only the older CoH2 vets will remember that map but I have so many good memories and nostalgia from the 2013/14 time on it. There were issues of course, but at least it was not just a 3-lane stalemate as usual.




20 Sep 2023, 01:03 AM
#3
avatar of Rosbone

Posts: 2099 | Subs: 2

Rant: Really sad that CoH2 automatch pool since 2016 or so followed this trend of just looking at map pickrates/vetorates and add or delete maps based off of that.

There are a few different things that pushed maps towards the laney stuff.

1) Players need to blame something for their loss. Weird map? Blame it. Some trickier to play maps were made and they were universally hated. People were even told "Make an open field map. We are not looking at anything else."

2) Players only have three load outs. They want three useful commanders. If the map is too weird, it requires a certain commander to be viable. Which takes away from your other commanders. The game should have been designed better. If your infantry could be focused short/long by upgrades would help a lot. This is partially Relics fault by design.

3) Many players want to use a variety of weapons. If the map is too much of a maze you cant use team weapons at all. AT guns, for example, become useless. Now you have balance issues for team weapon focused factions.

4) Mappers only get one shot at making a map (unless you are WhiteFlash). You have to make the map as safe as possible. You cant risk people hating a section that is weird to play cause your map will get removed rather then reworked. This is Relics fault. Their apathy towards their own game.

5) Some players just like to play a certain style (A-move???). They will veto certain maps.


ANSWER
Relic needs to be much more active with the mapping community. They need to add maps more frequently and let mappers update them. Instead Relic is saying "We cant add maps cause we have small pee pees". As usual, doing the complete opposite of what they should be doing. I dont know how they stay in business. What other type of business can you be completely incompetent and stay open?
20 Sep 2023, 01:38 AM
#4
avatar of GachiGasm

Posts: 1116 | Subs: 1

Arent this situation followed whole "CoH2 as a e-sport" game approach towards the game?

Like, unique maps will inevitably have some flaws, maybe not major ones but still.

So whole approach to mapping was shifted towards this, where you create campy line maps, where map itself plays no role what so ever. Like, look at Road to Arnhem and Nordwind, they look differently but they are practically identical in teams of gameplay they promote. Same with white ball and red ball.

Even 1v1 Crossroads, which for some reason considered the top 1v1 map, is basically an open field, with 2 safe VPs resulting in a stalemate fight in the middle.
20 Sep 2023, 04:22 AM
#5
avatar of Rosbone

Posts: 2099 | Subs: 2

Arent this situation followed whole "CoH2 as a e-sport" game approach towards the game?

Like, unique maps will inevitably have some flaws, maybe not major ones but still.

1v1 maps went this way for sure. Open field maps give the best balance and are easiest to play.

As validation, I know a lot of good players like the oddball maps. People who are just out to have fun. You got guys like Doggy asking for Montarge remakes. Siberian misses maps like Semoisky. Maps with character. Now Aerafield with Rostov.

For every person that says I like weird maps I point you to great mappers like Tric making maps that tried to break the mold of open area field maps and he just took crap for it constantly. Taking his vast game knowledge and putting it to use to make something special. And his reward was people coming into his stream and starting shit with him. So we lost the most valuable mapper the game may have ever had. Trics map contests were amazing.

And I point you to the community polls that said "remove that trash". The community as a whole does not like weird maps.

That is what is cool about Coh3. It is brand new and the maps are Relic designed. Meaning they will not fall into the open field maps generically. Mono even stated that on stream recently. Even though the desert maps have no real sight blockers, so they ended up being pretty open anyway. They just need to actually make some maps now.

So maybe Relic not adding community maps is a good thing???
20 Sep 2023, 09:29 AM
#6
avatar of Hannibal
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 3106 | Subs: 2

jump backJump back to quoted post20 Sep 2023, 01:03 AMRosbone

There are a few different things that pushed maps towards the laney stuff.

1) Players need to blame something for their loss. Weird map? Blame it. Some trickier to play maps were made and they were universally hated. People were even told "Make an open field map. We are not looking at anything else."

2) Players only have three load outs. They want three useful commanders. If the map is too weird, it requires a certain commander to be viable. Which takes away from your other commanders. The game should have been designed better. If your infantry could be focused short/long by upgrades would help a lot. This is partially Relics fault by design.

3) Many players want to use a variety of weapons. If the map is too much of a maze you cant use team weapons at all. AT guns, for example, become useless. Now you have balance issues for team weapon focused factions.

4) Mappers only get one shot at making a map (unless you are WhiteFlash). You have to make the map as safe as possible. You cant risk people hating a section that is weird to play cause your map will get removed rather then reworked. This is Relics fault. Their apathy towards their own game.

5) Some players just like to play a certain style (A-move???). They will veto certain maps.


ANSWER
Relic needs to be much more active with the mapping community. They need to add maps more frequently and let mappers update them. Instead Relic is saying "We cant add maps cause we have small pee pees". As usual, doing the complete opposite of what they should be doing. I dont know how they stay in business. What other type of business can you be completely incompetent and stay open?


Thanks for the insight.
I guess on top of all that comes the "low maintenance" strategy that Relic used for CoH2 after UKF release. There were few employees working on CoH2, and those obviously couldn't do the most intricate analysis. Their feedback was that these 3 maps are not liked by players, most vetoed and rarely played, so they put 3 other maps in that were more similar to the liked maps.
It's the easiest way to maintain the game and community with the least amount of work, and people seemed to be happy and player numbers overall grew. Why risk this trend and maybe also your standing in the company to push for more varied maps that fewer people like, when all "objective" indicators say you are wrong?

It's a shame for CoH2 though. That's exactly why vetoes exist: Veto the maps that you personally don't like. Most of the maps in the current pool are good to very good by themselves. They do well what they are supposed to do: Longer range combat with some thoughtfully placed cover and garrisons in between, and every know and then a shot and sight blocker to dance around and create lanes and channels.
But they are all the same. The difference of playing Whiteball, Eindhoven, Rails and Metal, Redball, Essen Steelworks, Winnekendonk, Minsk... there's just none. Play the same standard build and same tactics and you'll be fine in 80% of the games.
20 Sep 2023, 11:56 AM
#7
avatar of aerafield

Posts: 2979 | Subs: 3



The difference of playing Whiteball, Eindhoven, Rails and Metal, Redball, Essen Steelworks, Winnekendonk, Minsk... there's just none. Play the same standard build and same tactics and you'll be fine in 80% of the games.


I find it a bit odd that you throw a map like Essen Steelworks or Winnekendonk into the same pool with Redball or Rails. The first two definitely have their own character left and have to be played different than the latter two
20 Sep 2023, 13:57 PM
#8
avatar of dasheepeh

Posts: 2115 | Subs: 1

probably an unpopular opinion, but: i miss stalingrad (1v1)

i also miss semois / semosky (summer and winter)
20 Sep 2023, 14:23 PM
#9
avatar of Hannibal
Senior Moderator Badge

Posts: 3106 | Subs: 2



I find it a bit odd that you throw a map like Essen Steelworks or Winnekendonk into the same pool with Redball or Rails. The first two definitely have their own character left and have to be played different than the latter two

I don't find Winnekendonk very special. The most interesting parts are the cut-off placement with close by sight blockers and the VP in the village. The middle VP that usually sees the most action, but layout and cover placement is pretty generic, so are most of the field areas around it. The VP near the lumber camp has some minor alterations and corners to cut which is nice, the lumber camp fuel is again pretty standard. Every map has something "special", Winnekendonk too, but >80% is still the standard build order with standard open area and cover placement map. What I like is that there is not too much of a pre-defined "lane" in this map. Visually it just looks the same as any other "field and hedgerow" map, either.
Essen is somewhat special with defined and fairly enclosed fighting areas, but again the whole strip from base to base including the middle VP is fairly standard. The enclosed areas open up once vehicles arrive and then also become pretty samey to what you'd see on other maps. I like the placement of the munition points though that are often neglected but can create diversion and the overall atmosphere is great, but I just don't see why I should heavily deviate from the "standard" build order and standard commanders to play that map, because it's not special enough for that.
21 Sep 2023, 12:24 PM
#10
avatar of OKSpitfire

Posts: 284

I had/have a soft spot for Semois too.
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