Why pl_borneo should replace swiftwater in Season 9

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  • I am going to preface this little speech by saying I do really enjoy the three current standards of payload in the rotation. Vigil, Upward, and Swiftwater are all well designed maps that have been proven to be consistently fun as the seasons have gone on. However, the seasons have gone on, and these three maps have been in the rotation since season three, and its been a long six seasons, with no change in what payloads have been played. King of the hill, the other premier gamemode in highlander, has had four consistent maps being played in highlander since season one. Those maps being, lakeside, cascade, ashville and product. With koth rgl has experimented heavily with changing and rotating out maps season by season in response to community feedback. Yet, payload has not gotten this sort of treatment, despite there being a fourth heavily played competitive payload map. That map being of course, pl_borneo.

    The primary reason the community as a whole feels that Borneo should not be played over the other three payloads currently in rotation is because Borneo in the past had a reputation for taking significantly longer to push than the other payload maps in the rotation. However I actually will not get into the Long Payload vs Short Payload time discussion here. What this post will be centering on is the importance of “Transitionary Periods*” on payload maps, and why Borneo excels in being an incredibly fun map to play. To explain what I mean by transitionary period, its just playing around where the cart currently is, instead of defaulting to a “standard” hold. While transitionary periods can become the meta, for example holding hill on upward second instead of performing the pub hold, most maps really don’t provide much potential for forward holds or adaptive holds, where teams hold to deny cart, instead of defaulting to a standard position. Therefore you can view these transitory holds as parts of a hold. For example on swiftwater second you can hold your combo in tunnel, which forces their combo to have to come meet yours, effectively meaning a combo fight has to occur before the cart can be pushed any further, instead of just letting the blue team get free cart time in tunnel. Transitional holds all have risks, and like normal holds they cannot be done while a defending team is staggered, but when utilized well they can add minutes to a timer. However, currently most maps do not have many utilized transitional periods. The most commonly used ones are the aforementioned hill to spawn hold on upward second, the tunnel to upper hold on swiftwater second, and the forward hold on vigil first “which is rarely done at least at a high level due to the amount of risk it carries”. However keeping this in mind let’s take a look at borneo.

    The biggest reason I had so much fun playing borneo this weekend was 100% because of the nature of the holds on the map. Borneo first, is a pretty standard first hold, where most of the challenge stems from pushing their demo and sniper back to where your team can push. However, unlike every other map payload map, where the blue team caps and the red team has to run in fear, on borneo you can begin the first transitional hold. The box hold, or the “Frankenstein hold”, as snook Bv liked to call it. While defending, the red team can sit inside the point house until they are pushed out, and watch the cart. Of course blue team can simply have their flank wrap behind and pinch, the red team trying to do this, however, it’s a very effective gamble for the red team to take, as doing this box hold can easily shave a minute off the clock, and really can only be broken by a flank pinch or, most effectively by shoving the cart out to where it cant easily be watched from point house. However, the red team has another hold to fall back to once this box hold is over. The corn hold, is from my experience, the strongest way to hold borneo second, and this is probably what most people consider to be the “standard” way to hold on this point. As such I won’t be talking about it until the end. The last really cool thing for second is once your team gets pushed out of corn, you can fall back to holding second on highground, or the standard pub hold for second. Second is so well designed, because it seems like on this map more than any other map, your team can really just play around the position of the cart, and adjust accordingly, as no matter where the cart is, your team can hold and get set up. The fun does not end on second however.

    Borneo third offers just as much fun as Borneo second, with three possible holds; a forward hold on the stair room overlooking the tunnel, the standard hold where your combo holds upper in confusion, and a transitory backout hold on silo and in the entrance to tunnel. I’m not going to gush and go over these holds as much as borneo second, because by this time you get the point, your combo plays to deny the cart as much as possible wherever it is, while they’re still together. The really beautiful thing about borneo is you don’t have to instantly fall back to last, or fall back to third. Your combo and team can convene on any one of these transitory holds, and continue to fight from there. You don’t have to wait for the blue team to come to you as much as on the other payload maps. I think the most fun part about tf2 is the interaction between the two teams, and maps that prioritize the amount of fighting, and pushing that can happen in a game.

    Finally, we come to borneo last. This might be a flare-esque opinion where I am a sayer of controversial truths, but borneo last is really not worse than the others last’s that are currently played in highlander. Last points are made to be a challenge for the blue team to push, and borneo last is no different. Yes, it is a challenge, but a fun challenge that has many steps and things that have to happen before the cart can explode, just like upward and vigil.

    To summarize everything, or you could just check this for the tldr, borneo could add some much needed variety and fun to the payload map pool in highlander, it has many transitionary holds that are unique to it as a map, and I think it would be exciting for all divs to try all of these holds and see what works for them. Who knows, maybe the meta holds will shift on borneo from doing a few standard things, to it being an adaptable payload map to where the combo always holds around the cart. I heavily encourage everyone reading this to please vote borneo over swiftwater this season, and I hope some of my excitement about this has rubbed off on you too.
    Feel free to tell me if you agree or disagree with me in the comments, any conversation is good conversation 🙂

    *ps: thank you kasper

    *pps: Also something I wanted to add was that borneo’s fastest theoretical cap is 2:18, while vigil’s is 2:30 and both upward and swiftwater’s is around 2:50, meaning that aggressive play from the blue team can make borneo even more of a momentum based map than vigil. Vigil just does not have as many opportunities to forward hold, leading to the very fast overall times.

    https://rgl.gg/Players/My/Survey.aspx?r=35&s=55 vote for borneo, and thoughts about the new koth maps here

  • @Adam Dude I scimmed through it and … yeah I can agree with a lot of the points there. I may be biased because I think ramjam can add the variety koth needs because its such a funky map (nerf the sniper sightlines a bit though it’s actually insane)

    But as far as borneo is concerned. I think when you compare it to swiftwater it offers a bit more diversity vs APARTMENT PUSH HHHH and also trying to hold last. Swift seems like a make or break map. Like either your team is out DM’ed and just cannot successfully push apartments, or the enemy team fumbles and you manage to break through and carry that momentum from second to third and just roll them. Swiftwater is the harder of the payload maps, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a balanced experience throughout because of how strongholdy the second push is. It tests the strength of your team, sure, but if you happen to scrim someone who is better than you at DM it shows— it is a bit harder to learn from.

    Playing borneo last night was p damn fun, if not a bit scuffed cause not a lot of people have that experience of actively playing it in comp.

  • Playing borneo last night was p damn fun, if not a bit scuffed cause not a lot of people have that experience of actively playing it in comp.

    Yeah I agree completely man, its really exciting especially for lower div teams to learn a new map, even if that map is an old standard that hasn’t been played for a while.

  • @Dr-Hurrible hate to break it to you but ramjam is not getting updated. The map maker doesn’t want to make any changes, so sniper sight lines is going to be same. Which is a shame because it has potential.

  • The only map from the map cup that actually has a dev working on it is Cascade.

  • bornedope

  • i actually enjoyed all 3 maps in the map cup, and i vote putting borneo back in the map pool, but not every season, as you said, variety is fantastic and healthy for the pool

  • I totally agree with adding borneo, but I think Upward should get replaced instead. They’re maps of similar quality but swift is less stale and has better rotations

  • @vibeisveryo said in Why pl_borneo should replace swiftwater in Season 9:

    I totally agree with adding borneo, but I think Upward should get replaced instead. They’re maps of similar quality but swift is less stale and has better rotations

    On the voting page the only option is to replace swift with borneo, which is why I didn’t go into which map I would personally replace, just went with the one rgl reccomended.

  • @vibeisveryo said in Why pl_borneo should replace swiftwater in Season 9:

    I totally agree with adding borneo, but I think Upward should get replaced instead. They’re maps of similar quality but swift is less stale and has better rotations

    @WiLLmaTiC can comment more on this, but this is due to Swiftwater having the lowest polling ratings of the three payload maps.

    His article is here - https://rgl.gg/?r=24&a=1544

    “Swiftwater is second to last overall, and the lowest rated Payload map at only 60% of players enjoying it. Depending on the results of the map cup will determine it’s future in Season 9. If it is rotated out, the replacement will be announced before qualifiers.”

  • @exa I see, that makes sense. Doesn’t change my personal opinion ofc lol but good context to have

  • I would take Upward or Swift over Borneo any day of the week. Borneo last somehow manages to hit the perfectly dreadful spot of defenders having significant height advantage but still being able to return to hold positions very quickly without putting themselves at much risk. At least it takes time for combo to rotate back into position on Upward if they had to drop down on cart, and on Swiftwater dropping on cart puts them in a mosh pit with a handy death pit.

  • @scaredy-bat right now, id take a bad map over playing the same 4 payload maps for the next 15 seasons

  • @ALL-FEAR-THE-FREAK Bum you said you RETIRED. I’m gonna cartwheel over to your house at five in the morning and sprinkle cinnamon on all your socks.

  • Nah replace upward with borneo and keep swift. When was the last time there wasn’t upward?

  • don’t feel like writing a full essay right now, but swiftwater is the most tactically dense map in the game. The points are all so diverse and there are so many different ways to push them, unlike every other stopwatch map. People just don’t like it because 2nd is bad (every other point is awesome tho) and because they think long map = bad. That’s like saying a map is bad in csgo because it’s CT sided; harder to push means your tactical prowess/skill make a bigger difference and you get rewarded more for it.

  • upward was played for the first time in HL on Jan 7, 2011 and excepting ugc s7 (which was a no-playoffs joke summer season filled with meme maps) it has not missed a single season in a fucking decade

    the poll can eat my ass, no map where dealing with a dispenser block is a crucial part of pushing is good enough to warrant a decade of continuous play

  • @scaredy-bat you can never truly quit tf2 you should know that by now

  • I of all people understand wanting a more diverse map pool, but compromising this severely on quality just because boomer players are bored is bad for the future of the scene.

    (To those who genuinely believe that Borneo is a good map, I disagree with you on that point but the above is not directed at you.)

    @ALL-FEAR-THE-FREAK Ironically, yes 😛

  • @scaredy-bat What future?

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