For the Record: Corridors – Really Such a Problem?
Hello everyone, today, we’re going to talk about maps and corridors. As you might have noticed, the “corridors” issue is the latest amongst the series of “flavour of the month” whine topics. The essence of the complaint is that maps (sometimes new ones on reworked ones, sometimes even the older ones) funnel players into a corridor, leaving them no room to maneuver. From what I know, this whine started (as these trends usually do) on Russian forums, where Murazor (I think it was), one of the best known Russian video makers, made a video complaining about that. From there, I assume it infected various 3rd party sites and from them it got on the regular EU forums. This complaint is generally limited to more experienced and skilled players and generally is not taken too seriously by Wargaming (and for a good reason) – because certain degree of corridors is very beneficial, even practically essential for the gameplay as it is. Here’s why. Logical map segmenting (of which “corridorness” is a sub-group) is essential for basic gameplay, especially when it comes to non-hardcore players. Like it or not, World of Tanks is a game aimed at casual players. That was always the truth and always will be. Now, imagine being in a skin of a player, who is not so good, new to games or simply has no experience. You see a map, that is clear divided somehow and you usually have to choose from several directions, that are defined by several methods, but the creation of clear and readable segment is perhaps the most important one. This choice is there to make the gameplay easier for most players. Choosing between three obvious routes of approach is much quicker than if you for example had a map, that’s basically flat or filled with buildings, that do not follow clear geometric patterns. There is more to it, but I’ll get to that. In short, corridors help new or less experienced players choose where to go. Again, many consider that a bad thing, but it is not. Certainly, clear map segments support the tendecy of players to start “lemming trains”, but think about it – a “lemming train” is a very bad thing only if it gets stopped by a handful of enemy tanks. If you manage to keep the attack going, it can be a very powerful tactic. Now, consider the opposite. What if you had a map, that was more or less flat (no “artificial” segmentation), filled only with obstacles, such as buildings? Such a map has two major flaws. First – and obvious one – is that new players would not be able to decide quickly where to go and they would run around like headless chickens (becoming even easier prey for the skilled ones), or they would simply dug in and camp. This is an important element, so let me repeat again: incomprehensible maps support camping. Effectively, introducing a map without clear directions of attack would introduce either a campfest, or it would allow skilled players to use the map to a ridiculous extent. To some degree (although not critically), we can see exactly this happening on the Kharkov map. Once the basic pattern of attack is formed, if you wait a bit, you will have no trouble slipping through the middle part of the map to the enemy base, wiping out their artillery. That map, while generally pretty and arguably well-designed, is not easy to comprehend or learn for new players. I have a suspicion that this is the real motive behind the “corridor” whine – the desire of various skilled players to further increase the gap between them and less skilled ones by having the maps changed to suit them. Second major flaw of a map without artificial corridors is the way World of Tanks camera and spotting system operate. This might seem a bit strange at first, but let me elaborate. We all hate the Hidden Village due to the blatant way it forces the opposing teams into head to head clashes (that map is terrible and I have no doubt it will be removed at some point in the future) – and yet, the village part of the map is the perfect example of what would happen, if you had a map without “corridors”, only with – say – building cover. Take a look here. In each of these cases, my SU-100 was spotted (and thus hit by the fire from the center, were it a real battle). And in each case, I had no idea where the fire is coming from, despite the fact it was – as you can see – a heavy tank opposing me, possibly the least camouflaged target in the game. What I am trying to say: maps without segments, but filled with obstacles, are very hard to orientate on. This is – as I wrote – due to two reasons. First is the way the camera works – it’s placed somewhat above the vehicle, but not too far and if you want to aim properly, you can’t zoom out too much. What that means is that your field of view is obstructed by the buildings and you can’t see shit. For a new player, it’s really hard to make sense of these close quarters. Second – even bigger issue – is the way the spotting system works. You see, you have spot check points all around your tank, including the back of the vehicle (points that are checked against when calculating the visibility of the tank). The problem is, you only have two view range ports (one for the gunner, one for the commander). In effect, it’s perfectly possible not to be able to spot the shooting vehicle, because both of your view range ports have blocked line of sight by a building, but you have your rear exposed, so you get spotted, but you can’t see anything. A person, who knows how exactly this works – skilled players, again – can abuse this to no end and it can be very frustrating to new players. As a result, players tend to avoid such areas (unless they are skilled and know exactly what they are doing), which in turn means… you guessed right, camping. The short version is that maps without inherent “corridors” but only with obstacles would be a disaster and currently, there is no map in the game without some ways of attack, obvious at first glance. “Catering to noobs”? At this point, you are probably thinking “why should the map help new players this way”? Well, it’s really simple again. The game relies on massive playerbase for Continue reading →