From my perspective, as a forger, I can appreciate the hours of dedication involved in creating, recreating, and fine tuning a map in the Forge. I agree that there should be a certain emphasis put on the inclusion of community maps in multiplayer. However, I believe that the execution in bringing those maps into matchmaking was the incorrect way to involve the community in Reach’s maturation.
Maps that came with the game, as well as maps that one may have purchased as DLC, have been pushed aside in many standard playlists to make way for quite a high number of community-made Forge maps. While some offer good gameplay, many criticize them for their high levels of grey color and lack of details in an effort to reduce frame drops as objects are loaded in-game.
As a result, the experience is bogged down with characterless aesthetics and muted overtones. I’m not saying that the selected Forge maps are bad, per se, but overall boring to experience in full FPS matchmaking glory, particularly within a game series known for its vast collection of engaging architecture and atmosphere.
That said, individually, these maps emanated potential as wonderful inclusions to the matchmaking experience. Unfortunately, the method of implementation was flawed, universally importing entirely too many maps from the community. This decision emulated the concept of inflation and decreased the value of the maps offered in response to their high numbers.
I do not know the math for weighting in pre-game map selection for individual playlists, but I do know that Forge World is the most played map in Reach matchmaking outside of the Premium Playlists and Squad Slayer. This is largely due to the high number of variants introduced into matchmaking, as chosen by Bungie through the Community Cartographers.
I believe that only one map out of the many that caught Bungie’s attention should have been added to each appropriate playlist, specificly created to cater to the experiences offered, respectively. Forgetacular did this by offering seven categories in which maps were placed to be tested in a competition to find the best maps of each given category.
Forgetacular as my example, each winner of each category would have been implemented into the playlist that the category represented most (e.g. Treasury in Team Slayer, Atonement in Objective). For other playlists, such as Double Team, that weren’t involved in Forgetacular, the Community Cartographers could have been charged with finding maps that, for example, catered to 2 on 2 gameplay.
Any other community map certainly should be recognized, but their place is not Reach’s standard playlists. Community Slayer should still exist as a method to bring in community maps, with implementation into matchmaking given only to those pristenely superior maps that offer something new and different to immerse the player, not only through gameplay, but aesthetics.
Only through this will community maps become the maps to play, and not just seperate variants on Forge World. Variety is the spice of life, and I don’t think these implemented maps are being treated as individual entities with personality, but thrown in universally as a Forge World “Map Pack” of sorts to switch up gameplay, alone. The setting that they are best played in should be the playlist that they are injected into, and only the very best (I’m talking one or two, at the most) of these maps should exist as permanent offerings in their respective playlists.
So what do you think of the current community offerings in matchmaking? Do you love them? Hate them? Think there are too many? Too little? Reply and express your opinion.