pl_highwood is a 4-point payload map originally created by asd417 (and temporarily taken over by me) set in an evening sequoia forest. asd had this map tested in prolander, though it may also be compatible with highlander, who knows. While I was granted access to the original vmf and given permission to release new versions while asd is away, I can’t edit the TF2maps page for the map, so all downloads from a20 onwards (until asd returns, presumably) are hosted through Dropbox.
difficult to say too much by just running through the map, but
-1st is going to be an automatic throwaway due to the ridiculous power that blu gets from the window that’s basically connected to spawn and gives them height advantage onto the point and a potential flank on anyone holding forward
-2nd’s hard to make any judgments on because I can’t determine anything that looks like an intuitive hold. it’s extremely open and that can work both ways. tunnel feels uncomfortably big in a way that could be defense-sided, but I think the hp pack placements are very offense favored, so who knows.
-I will do everything in my power to make sure this map never sees the light of day if the stupid snowycoast time-delay gate after 2nd isn’t removed in the next version. Also, if you cap 2nd and then let the cart roll back it gets stuck in this really weird slow-zone.
-3rd seems like an insane hold in HL, mostly due to this sightline having vision of all potential entrances. the top entrance/dropdown feels impractical unless you can rush past anyone holding to sneak past, but good teams won’t let you do that. like, there’s no way in. you either go in from the top, get shot while falling into height disad, or go through main and end up in the exact same spot. the far right entrance is almost worthless since you get sniped through main going to it, and even then only a scout/soldier can actually climb up to harass a sniper, assuming they’re not already dead from having to beeline down the world’s most vulnerable hallway. engi puts his gun here and it covers the entirety of the room while only up to being spammed from the dropdown, or he puts it here and it’s essentially unspammable. combo also gets to play there and alternate the two doors, and offense is 100% reliant on either a massive mistake or a huge spy play to get anything going. needs a lot of work.
-seems really interesting that you get 4 minutes capping 2nd and only 2 minutes capping 3rd.
-the flank under last doesn’t feel quick or reliable enough to be meaningful. tracks is a death trap, essentially leaving you two options to push against a combo holding the left side of last: this sad excuse for an uber which will make you waste 30% of your uber just getting in range to do damage (and still leave you at height disad) or the indoor option, where your entire push can be denied by a single pyro hitting m2, and will require constant attention from the attackers to make sure nothing gets behind.
The lack of easily accessible packs for a lot of the defenders in what seem to be the strongest holds is something I’d love to see play out in a comp setting, but it seems a little too rough around the edges right now.
1st is really janky to hold, and can be pushed really easily by taking out the sentry with a DH,
and 4th is probably the jankiest point of all, being incredibly difficult to push, as the combo can easily get denied by a single demoman or heavy. 4th is also really flank powerful for those who are actually defending, which seems like it shouldn’t be the case
This map is a solid map that rewards communication just like Steel and with many solid flank routes that anyone can take, it can open up any options on attack.
The only issues that I have is that the Attack respawn time is too long as it is between 15-20 seconds long, maybe set it 5-10, at least the death of an attack won’t be sudden because you dropped lets say your Pyro. Also, I would love about a 1:10 set up time because of the defense spawn being at the last point.
Overall, this is a solid map that can be a great map for competitive TF2.
It gets a 7 out of Sandwich for me.
So having talked to a teammate who also played in the pugs earlier today on Highwood, I have a suggestion for 1st point to make it easier to push. It would hopefully still be effectively defensible but not as strong as it is right now.
Imo the problem so far is that blue has to hard commit to that push to really take space. They have to round a corner that Red can easily watch while also watching the dropdown and spamming as needed - because of how close the drop down is, it’s super easy to spam out anybody trying to attack through there. Meanwhile Red can just retreat to safety there.
So here’s my radical solution that’s not necessarily a good one but one I think will provoke discussion. Upward’s 1st point is very strong imo because it allows for an open alternate pushing route (far left from Blu’s perspective) while running the cart through a tight area that the pushing route makes space for for their own team. So instead:
Move the wall just to the right to where my crosshair is.
Then, get rid of the current drop down house, and move this whole roof down a half storey, and make it walkable on, so that BLU can walk over the roof onto the point.
Map looks great! Having made some for CS before I can tell you put a lot of energy on this. Very well optimized, smooth on my computer, bravo on that! That being said, and having very limited playtime on the map during exp PL pugs, I’ll put in my 2c.
As far as I’ve experimented with the map, this isn’t really prolander friendly. The map is extremely roamer/flank heavy. The amount of connectors and alternative routes make for very awkward pushes and hold, and all the alternative routes funnel to a very tight upward-esque last, but with fewer points of entry. Without highground opportunities, the attacking side is locked to waiting until the medic can play on an über ad, which is relatively hard to obtain if red is properly nested on last. Last kind of reminds me of how 6s plays out on 5cp, and not how PL usually is played. TL;DR, last point is a boring push and is quite demotivating to push properly.
These ‘issues’ I’ve only seen in PL; I have not played the map in a HL format. That being said, the size of the map and the extra classes might make the problems encountered in PL less relevant with a proper combo and straight comp ‘metas’.
Again, very limited playtime on the map, this is more of a first impression kind of post, not a thorough critique of it. I’d need to play it more in different formats with different teams to form a proper opinion on it, so take the feedback with a bowl of salt. GL w/ development, looking forward to see this updated!
I’ll list my thoughts on each point in order. Played on the map a couple times in EXP pugs.
1st Point: This feels like an Upward 1st style hold. Either you outskill your enemy and you hard hold them there forever, or you play it like a soft hold and eventually give it up. Window is super strong for blue team to push onto the players holding at the cap and forces red teams demo to focus it completely. Once the sniper gets on the flank, there is a long sightline all the way down the tracks under the window which basically forces the red team to leave. Overall an acceptable point, but I’d personally make the window a little smaller so it’s easier to spam into it and lessen the power of blue’s push from it.
2nd Point: Overall, I like the point, but it’s very sniper-centric. It seems like it’s an upward 2nd idea, but the tunnel is actually better for the combo to play in on offense, as they can easily defend themselves from flanks, and it’s easier to get onto the position that defense uses from main tunnel, or from the stairs that go up into house. Overall an acceptable point, but less safety on red sides sniper positions (back on the wood area and near the entrance to 3rd) would make the hill push feasible. In addition, I brought up a potential worry about the rock on top of the hill closest to blue side that the sniper can get onto and provides a full sightline on the red team.
3rd Point: Sightline wasn’t as much of a problem as I thought it would be, but if this was highlander and not prolander, 3rd will be impossible to push I think. Demo has easy spam, heavy stops players from botting forward, sniper holds down flank. Engi lacks a good place to put his gun, but that’s a non-issue when it’s easily defendable. I like the idea of the point, but in practice it feels too difficult.
4th Point: My chief complaint with 4th point is accessibility to flank. In current strategy, red will have their gun close to spawn on the balcony above the entrance and main. The easiest way to handle this as blue team is to send your team flank and spam gun out + take svs. It’s incredibly difficult/time consuming to get to flank as only 2 ways exist currently: Going down the hall towards the choke door below the gun and taking a right (passing by a window), or taking the long scenic route from all the way back near third’s cap. IMO, the secret path next to tracks payload that goes to the back of 4th should also have a path/stairwell that goes up to the flank area for accessibility to deal with the oppressive last hold easier.
Overall, a fun map that I could find myself enjoying much more if some key issues are addressed.
@rocket Don’t thank me for the map looking/running good, thank asd.
Another couple of ideas for second and fourth.
Sniper can get on the rock I’m looking at here pretty easily and has immense coverage of all escape routes from 2nd. This should be fixed in some way imo.
Also, IMO the right side of tunnel hold (from red’s perspective) is too strong. They can cover anything coming at them on hill, and with help from a sentry + heavy easily watch main tunnel as well. My proposed solution is this: 1) get rid of the dropdown from the top right behind stairs, imo it doesn’t really serve any purpose but i could be wrong (though this part is not essential) - 2) turn the right side of hill into a porch, with the spot the sniper is standing in this screenshot the spot where, instead of tapering down, it becomes a dropdown like the one in top right right now.
The delay door after 2nd should be removed imo as mentioned by someone else above.
This should be climbable by non scout/soldier, using props, imo.
I think a way to fix last could be to give blu LIMITED high ground that’s not halfway across the point, like how on swiftwater last lobby exits via a staircase to the area overlooking the point.