As you may or may not know, I am a freelance map maker on Warcraft III, a game by Blizzard Entertainment, and not to be confused with World of Warcraft, another Blizzard game which, despite the similarities in name and story, are quite separate from each other in terms of gameplay and customization. Warcraft III (WC3)’s map editor is one of the most powerful of any video game, even though the game is eight years old. It pretty much allows an author to code anything (and Starcraft II’s editor is supposed to be much better still). Well, I suppose I’m not a freelance editor anymore—for the most part, I work collaboratively on a map called BattleShips Pro (currently v1.199).
The video above is of a special mode called Capfest. Basically, you may only use the Crusader (a type of ship) and may only win by capsizing, or “capping,” your opponent a number of times without being capped back. The next video is of a more standard game, with a variety of ships and weapons being used.
Warcraft III map making is no different from normal software development. A developer has to add content according to the needs of clients, fix bugs, preferably before clients find out about them as well as on demand, and of course, change content that needs to be changed. The last factor is especially important in a video game. Because of the way our brains work, and how many gamers are generally arrogant, players who lose a game will blame not themselves, but something about the game, especially if they know that whoever made the game is listening. That way, the player is still a better player; it’s just that the game was imbalanced, and he was put at an unfair disadvantage. Etc.
This is extremely annoying sometimes. In fact, very often. It didn’t happen so much with BattleShips, as there is relatively not as much content to balance. However, it did happen for Smota, a map that has tons and tons of content, and also a map where the skill difference between a new and veteran player is extreme. For this reason, a new player who chooses say hero A will fight a veteran with hero B, and lose horribly. He will think, “Oh my gosh, A sucks! B is so imbalanced.” The next game, the new player will choose B, but lose to a more experienced player controlling C. The next game he plays C, but loses to D, or even worse, to A or B. Frustrated, he randomly tries Q, but loses to Z. By the end, the player will be convinced that Smota is just a terribly imbalanced game. (The following video of Smota was not made by me.)
I don’t really know why I posted this; I guess this blog was just missing a critical element of what I do.