Thanks to JoeyNubzy (coach for Seattle Surge) for streaming the finals of the GB 2k, I was finally able to witness how a competitive match played out in the CODCaster view between two actual teams. It allowed me to get a first hand look at how some of the best teams break hills and rotate. However, inconsistent spawns, difficult-to-break hills and overall poor map design made for a lackluster experience.
Near unbreakable Hills
The Grand Final match between team Super and UYU was a closely contested game for the first three hills. Once those 3 minutes were over the game never settled down. We saw a whopping four hills where one team scored more than 50 points, and another five occasions where either team couldn’t break the 10 point mark. Considering this is a match between the two best teams in the tournament on the smallest map in the rotation, the scores should never be this harsh. But what exactly is causing this?
Poor map design is particularly noticeable in the Tire Shop Hardpoint (P2) on Hackney Yard. While Proto is racking up time in the Hardpoint, he is able to lock down two lanes to spot any player attempting a break. Hackney Yard being so narrow means that the only place the enemy can push without being seen by Proto is through the middle. To me it is very odd to see a Hardpoint being placed in such a strong power position.
Parasite recently highlighted this topic in a tweet and summarised the issue well. Placing the hills in edges of the map increases the difficulty of finding balanced spawn locations. More often than not the favourable spawns are too close to the Hardpoint, making it ridiculously hard for a team to break, thus creating a snowball effect. An example of a location done right is P2 on frequency in Black Ops 4. It was set up so that the good spawn was in the back of the map, which rewarded the team in control with a shorter route to the hill, but far enough to give the opposing team a fair chance to break the hill.
World Champion TeeP put out a video analysing every Hardpoint in the competitive rotation. A common theme in this video was the sizes of the hills being too small for 5v5 gameplay. The former coach for Optic Gaming was especially amused at how small the area for the first hill on Gun Runner was, and also stated that increasing the sizes of many of hills in the competitive rotation would make the game “play out better”. In theory, extending the area in which you can score points opens up additional lines of sight. This makes it easier for the enemy team to break, resulting in a more balanced and entertaining game.
As frequently mentioned by Nubzy in the commentary, Modern Warfare has a peculiar spawn logic where two teammates who die at the same time spawn in different locations. This is simply unnecessary and pointless, considering that zero pressure is being applied to the spawn point by the opposition. Spawning one member further away from the hill increases the time taken to coordinate pushes, creating imbalanced team fights. This is definitely a problem that is bigger than Infinity Ward might think.
Another big issue with the spawns is pressure being meaningless. Naturally in Hardpoint a hill will have good and bad spawn locations. It is up to the enemy team to apply pressure to the good spawn in order to ‘spawn out’ any player they kill, making the hill easier to break. This doesn’t happen in Modern Warfare. In fact, there have been instances where two players from different teams re-spawn right next to one another. Random spawn algorithms like this is definitely a cause for concern heading into the CDL.
A big spawn update is much needed and may be arriving soon, if this statement by Attach holds true. On November 7, the World Champion of the New York Subliners said: “I would be scrimming tomorrow, but I gotta go fix the game. A couple people and I are going to try fix spawns”. Clearly we have yet to see any changes made so far after witnessing the flaws during Sunday’s 2k, but the entire community will hope something arrives soon to put everyone’s mind at ease.