Development

More on map rebalance. Springfield and a good old history lesson

In our previous article we talked about changes we made to Shenzhen map in War Robots 2.7 update. Now it’s time to discuss Springfield. 

Did you know that War Robots was initially supposed to be a car game? That’s why Springfield plains are so vast and open — you’d require some space to efficiently maneuver on wheels. And this map is somewhat messy both in terms of geometry and starting positions, because it was our first.

It couldn’t be not reflected by winrates… and you betcha it is! Before map rebalance in 2.7 Springfield had four possible positions where teams could start, and three of these — with heavy discrepancy in winrates.

Can we pinpoint the exact problems? Sure we can!

What was wrong with Springfield?

First two spawning patterns were very similar. The win/lose distribution on these was almost identical, because they all were about the same conflict: left versus right, moving concrete versus living in the countryside. Or, pretty much, factory versus farm. Most of the times the latter, where Team 2 spawned, prevailed.

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Farm is a superior starting positions to any single one. Team starting there had a height advantage. Landscape enabled Team 2 players to retreat quickly behind the hills once things start to get hot. Additionally, buildings there made incredible cover for high-profile sharpshooters, giving them great reach and flexibility. Oh, and relative safety.

Just look how happy this Trebuchet-Fury is.

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If Team 1 players ever tried to show their head outside the city at the beginning of the match, they would get obliterated from above. So they had only one viable tactic: go deeper into the city, where it’s possible to stay hidden from pesky snipers.

This didn’t just leave Team 1 out of interesting options, but also destroyed the dynamic: the first proper skirmish postponed at least for half a minute — right until Team 1 players had to decide whether they want to go over the dam to top-right point or directly to the middle of the map. And both of these options seemed really inconvenient: wherever you went, you would be open for a direct fire from the farm. It is reflected by overall win rate on Springfield’s third spawn pattern.

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Note: we are still using this pattern in 2.7, but Team 2 starting position is moved below the dam, where players can hide below the bridge just like Team 1.

Even though the dam allows you to be high above anyone else, it is also the most open place on the map. There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to run. The best thing top team could do here to stay safe is to jump down and hide under the bridge.

But that’s not it, of course not. There was another factor coming into play: the bridge near the bottom team spawn point is an incredible cover, which you can utilize reliably until your snipers take higher ground on the farm. When they do, everything becomes exactly like it was with spawn pattern 2.

So… does it all mean that Springfield can’t be helped without map being more or less rebuilt?

What did we do in 2.7?

Actually, there is fourth spawn pattern, and it brings us REALLY close the the perfect 50-50 win ratio. Numbers can fluctuate, but this is still the most balanced of spawn patterns on Springfield by far.

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Would be convenient if we could just take this pattern as our free-out-of-jail card and present it as an ultimate cure. It’s not that simple. We removed two out of four starting positions in 2.7, but Springfield is still not perfect in our book. For example, our 50-50 spawn pattern drives many players to opt for the shortest way to the enemy team creating the constant clash inside the factory. Meanwhile those going for 3 beacons outside have their own fun, rarely interacting with factory boys. Is having two separate fronts on the same map a good thing? We’ve yet to see.

We’ll keep reevaluating Springfield from time to time. This map surely could benefit from some changes to the geometry: for example, going over the dam is still pretty dangerous and possible rewards don’t seem to cover the risks. 

But the tweaks we made in 2.7 should already improve the feel of the oldest of War Robots maps. Did you notice the change? Tell us about your experience.