We’re back with a catch-up on level design improvements for another batch of maps being reworked into HD. Today, we’ll go over changes designed to end players “camping” in one space on Erlenberg, give both teams equal chances for control over Steppes, and make Kharkov enjoyable for each vehicle class.
Battles on Erlenberg had a sad tendency to turn into battles of patience, with players choosing to wait in one spot. Though the centre of the map offered a lot of cover, much of the action occurred in the northwest and southeast. Each side knew exactly what to expect: teams would head to the hills early on, set up their defences, and wait for the enemy to rush the centre. However, it rarely happened, leaving both teams frustrated to say the least.
You know why: it’s difficult to organize a rush and even more difficult to make it actually work with bases located diagonally opposite each other and just three bridges across the otherwise impassable river. If you advance to cross by the central bridge, you’re likely to get a few to the hull from either the western or eastern ridge. Try other bridges, and you’ll run into the same problem of gathering a lot of attention.
Besides, the terrain was never on your side: hills prevented snipers from getting a clear shot (unless you were on one of the hills). At the same time, lights and mediums with good gun depression had a hard time leveraging the uneven terrain because of the locations of the hills.
We redesigned the town in the centre and the area along the riverside to add more variety to battles. There are new areas to cross to the other side, while the river banks bridge tightly built houses. The closer you get to the centre, the denser they become. Though there’s not enough space for heavy tanks, well-armoured mediums have just enough of it to thrive, using large areas of hard cover to tear down whoever dares to set foot on their land. Taking over this area will prove instrumental later in the battle or when you brave crossing the river.
We changed terrain a lot, narrowing down fields, creating more pronounced gorges, and making forests dense enough to provide cover. This should make it easier to read the map, predict the enemy’s next move, and plan yours.
Changes to the urban area improved battle dynamics, but weren’t enough to make the town a popular spot. Battles often played out in the same old scenario with teams taking over opposite river banks, instead of leveraging hard cover that the town offered. So we made another round of tweaks to make this area more attractive:
- Several streets were blocked to simplify town structure and make it easier to organise defence spots
- There are fewer break-through routes leading into the town now, which should make it easier to control the area
- We reduced the number of shoot-through areas in the central town (cracks in ruined buildings, windows, etc.) by adding tall buildings. You can fully focus on battling with enemies in close-range urban duels now, without fear of getting a few shells from enemies positioned in the hills
- Newly-added and strengthened defence spots on both sides of the riverbank offer a clear view at popular positions behind the mill and castle. Push the enemies out of the city, nest in these new defence spots, and counterattacks coming from there
- The river is no longer an impassable barrier and you can now cross at almost any spot.