The evolution of Ground maps

Is there any chance of getting an official statement or information about the design strategy for ground maps? Map preference is entirely subjective, but the recent map changes have a strong theme of simplification and the new maps are starting to get very repetitive in design.

Yes, the changes were made in response to feedback, but that was in an environment of strong negativity and feedback was not sought about what map features people like.

Rather than addressing specific map issues, some maps were completely changed.
Specific (and legitimate) play styles have been curtailed or even eliminated:
*) Tank destroyers & modern tanks provide for sniper battles. Hills have been flattened or blocked off. Open areas have been terraformed to reduce engagements to short distances only.
*) Wheeled/light vehicles excel at flanking. Speed crippling mud has been reintroduced and many high risk/high reward areas have been blocked off.

The paradox is that Warthunder keeps adding more complex mechanics while at the same time limiting the ability to use them.

We literally have a new generation of players now who grew up in a different era of user interfaces that hold the player’s hand to a greater degree than Warthunder provides. Warthunder is lagging behind in this area and has some undocumented functions.

Warthunder provides a slew of tools to deal with CAS, snipers, etc. Many of the complaints about the maps that led to the changes are due to ignorance of or unwillingness to use the full set of available tools. Changing maps to accommodate this type of player is a death spiral as it deincentivises the need to learn the tools and learn to play.

After nearly 11 years, the last thing that long-term players want is a reduction of options on the maps. If the strategy is to continue to simplify the maps, that’s fine, just let us know so that we can move on.

Some suggestions:
Tutorials/guides needs significant improvement
Alternate/additional map filters by categories such as Rookie/Veteran, allowing experienced players to continue to have access to adult maps. I’d rather have sim-like waiting times.
Matchmakers specifically for new accounts with newly purchased high level premium vehicles. Jumping straight into BR 10 matches as a newbie must be very daunting. Give these accounts X rentals at Ranks I-VI with strong incentives for them to build up.

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Very, very well said mate.
The new battle ratings are stupid too, why is the Tiger E now at BR 6.0 and the H1 at 5.7?
Why the hell have the reload times increased by about 1 second, we do all this crew skill grinding, just to have a pack of whinging newbies complain that its not fair, instead of them being told to get their crew skills up to scratch, everybody else gets penalised…NOT GOOD ENOUGH GAIJIN!!! ( a good tiger crew could get off 10 aimed shots a minute not one every 7.4secs)
I’m not sure but the sights on the panzer iv/70 v seem worse, why?
Why would they put a very accurate , powerful, and capable of long-range tank gun in a TD and put crappy early war stug iii g optics in it? Same question for the jadgpanther? Geezus the original tech tree version had the same optics as the Nashorn , same gun too.
PLEASE GAIJIN STOP MAKING THIS GAME CRAP.
Perhaps you could change the match making so that people with tank crew skills under 30 fight others under 30.
The map filters idea is a fantastic idea, I’d rather wait too as lm sure many others would as well, wasnt this game marketed as a AFV, aircraft and naval SIM? Not some arcadey / sim cross.
I know a few people who wont play this any more because of these recent changes, or until they get changed back

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I doubt that Gaijin will communicate on that kind of thing.
The closest you can get is what can be gleaned from their justifications for the map changes, like when they say things along the lines that they aim to make it harder for people to get taken out from unexpected angles. You also have the moves like lowering the spawn costs, and stuff like that ensuring that making a mistake is inconsequential.

Gaijin is pretty committed to make the game as accessible as possible, but they achieve that by making the gameplay simplistic as they adjust everything around the lower end of the player skill spectrum.
SB should have been the more hardcore mode, but due to it’s lack of popularity it’s not faring too well, and the Arcade maps are also bleeding into SB making it just as bad.

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Gaijin can l please have my money back? This isn’t why l buy premium time.
What kind of idiots are Gaijin trying to attract to the game? Not getting taken out from unexpected angles WT… OOhh and shooting at by some body from more than 600m probably isn’t desirable either.
Well there goes the idea of going to SB then.
Please gaijin make all these really really bad changes on AB or create a new mode maybe call it FBDP (for brain dead players)

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Not here, I think. Maybe if you made this into a suggestion in the relevant forum section, but even then I’m not sure how that would work exactly, since the suggestions I’m familiar with are about vehicles.

A short stay around the forum, or relevant Facebook groups, will show you how many players think sniping is not a legitimate playstyle. It’s a depressingly high number. They either don’t care, or will actively mock you for not wanting to slug it out at 300 metres all the time.

This part is even more painful, because at least modern tanks are fighting each other. Tank destroyers have a specialised role that is getting pushed to the sidelines more and more with each map update.

The issue you raise is 100% valid.

As far as I can tell, there are seven maps with the size required to provide actual long range options in Ground RB (thus excluding the sim, enlarged version of some maps): Fulda, Maginot, Red Desert, Fields of Poland, Surroundings of Volokolamsk, European Province, and Fire Arc.

That’s seven out of fifty-four. No idea how big Flanders is either, but I’m not holding my breath.

Out of those numerous smaller maps, as many as thirty-five are under 2x2km, total. If you actually consider just the playable area, it drops to below 1.5x1.5km.

This, in and of itself, is already bad. The game has thousands of vehicles with different strengths and weaknesses. Purely going by these numbers alone, vehicles that specialise in sniping and struggle in close quarters are inherently penalised. This is, of course, on top of the additional issue that the game is built around capping points, which already makes long-range specialists more situational.

But this is only the beginning, because this is a whole onion of bad, and there are many more layers left to peel.

First of all, while those may be seven maps out of fifty-four, the map rotation system does not feature maps equally. I don’t know if there are global data available on this, but I can report my individual experience at least. I get Seversk, Hurtgen Forest, Alaska, Sweden, Golden Quarry and (small) Ardennes with embarrassing frequency. I can’t even remember the last time I got Volokolamsk.

The numerical preponderance of short-range maps is thus augmented by their preponderance in matchmaker selection. This penalises the performance of vehicles that do poorly in knife-fights even more.

The next layer of this ugly onion is map design. Even the “sniping” maps are not, in fact, built around sniping, or say, the effective utilisation of gun depression. Ultimately all of these maps still require you to get very up close and personal if you want to win, because of how they’re broken up. For example, even the infamous Fire Arc - the key to that map is the B point, which of course is inside a tiny cramped village whose control is usually decided by knife-fights and corner peeking.

Such maps are also frequently altered to further “streamline” the fighting towards the cramped areas, too. Meaning that the open areas simply become long drives on the way to the objective, where you’ll be slugging it at under 300 metres once more.

And even on the small maps, it sounds like whenever sniping-oriented players adapt and find locations where they can minimise the weaknesses of, say, turretless tank destroyers, those positions are immediately taken away. Look at what happened to Jungle.

Sometimes it feels very disheartening, because there’s no acknowledgement whatsoever that this is an issue.

Yes, it’s the WT expansion paradox. This game is effectively an emergent property at this point, rather than a coherent design. It has expanded very rapidly in terms of vehicles and time span covered, way past what the original mission types and map styles were designed for. There is a clear incentive to push out as many new vehicles as you can to keep up engagement, classic MMO stuff, and then ameliorate this expansion in cosmetic ways by introducing minor BR tweaks here and there. Everything else, from decompression to mission types etc, is secondary.

M109s should not be lining up next to Panthers and IS-1s. They should get their modern equipment, be sent up, receive the ability to do proper indirect fire, and get maps where they can use this ability. WW2 self propelled arty can do the same at lower BRs. That’s what “introduction of artillery as a meaningful mechanic” would be like. But of course, slapping the M109 at 6.0 and 6.3 in various tech trees is much faster.

Yes. The game desperately needs much better tutorials.

Seconded, on everything.

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I get insulted for using my tank at range every time I play :x I miss the old big maps.

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I mean, if we’re being technical there some players for whom getting shot from more than a kilometer away at dart tier falls into the “unexpected” category.

Also shoot me a DM if you want a small QoL trick for SB.

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Thanks for the considered response.

I find this quite bewildering - the constant complaints of “getting shot from nowhere”. Have these people never played a first person shooter? Long-distance sniping is hardly a new aspect of gaming. And while I have asked many times, I’ve never gotten an answer as to what solution they would like to this.

Fields of Poland and European Province have been drastically altered, severely limiting long range engagements. I would not class these as long range maps any more. Maginot has lost flanking routes on either sides but retains long range areas. Fire Arc is interesting as it was changed a few years ago in ways I appreciate - it provided more cover (and added a specific flanking route by the river) yet very much retained its open character. A strong example of the change in the way Gaijin are approaching maps.

If the current trend of map design continues, laser rangefinders will become unnecessary.

This is a comment that Hunter from YouTube also made. He produces excellent high tier content. 38th Parallel is an eggregious example. It was never a particularly open map, but now the drive from spawn to almost the centre of the map is entirely in narrow canyons. A seemingly pointless change. They might as well just trimmed the map to 500m x 500m and have the spawns almost next to each other.

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I’d be interested too, since I like sim a lot. I haven’t played it in some time because I have less time to play these days and the queue times really eat into that…

It’s the sort of discussion I joined the forum for. Game’s sort of an absorbing interest of mine at this point :D

Complaining about snipers and campers (often conflating the two) is also hardly a new aspect of gaming, I fear.

If anything, a game about tanks should have even less focus on CQCs than first person shooters, in my opinion.

But, with that said, actually: since WT is not meant to be a simulator, I’m fine with the presence of CQC maps even though they can get pretty silly at times (the thought of a tank platoon casually driving into Sun City with no infantry support is one I find very amusing). What I’m not fine with, is the lopsidedness.

We have thousands of vehicles in game, some more generalist, some more specialised. Balancing them all perfectly is impossible, but balancing for different macro playstyles should be the absolute minimum.

Example: the Formula 1 calendar has a variety of tracks in it, which will end up favouring different car design philosophies from weekend to weekend. WT shouldn’t be all that different, and we don’t have the real world limitations of IRL competition either. We should have a more or less equal rotation of CQC, flat maps, maps with elevation changes, long range maps, maps that mix all styles, etc etc.

That would be the fairest solution. It would also be the one that challenges you the most, as you end up being tested on a much broader skill range, and adaptability is rewarded. Far less formulaic than what we have now.

“Solution” implies a problem, and they don’t think it’s a problem if you can’t use some sniping-focused vehicles. One less thing for them to worry about. It’s not really a good-faith argument on their part, there’s nothing especially bewildering about selfishness.

That was sort of my point in a way, I was trying to break this down logically to show that this is a multi-layered issue. Something like: we only have seven maps that are large enough to begin with, to even allow long range engagements. On top of that, these maps are altered to remove long range engagements as much as possible. On top of that, the numerical preponderance of small maps is augmented by over-representation in the matchmaker rotation. And on top of that, even the small maps are constantly shrunk down and deprived of sniping spots.

I play WW2 almost exclusively, and even there, say, the rangefinder on the Panther F - when would I get to “benefit” from such an “amazing” feature? Sands Of Sinai is pretty much the only map that comes to mind, especially now that Fire Arc is (IIRC) limited to 6.7+ only.

Shooting at 800 metres is already “long range” by the game’s standards…

I’d be interested in a link!

It was one of the few maps where really slow vehicles, or unarmoured snipers, could engage virtually immediately after spawning, and it’s hilarious to me that the northern spot was removed while the southern spot was left alone - not only was it a counter to the northern spot, it was also more powerful for players who know how to use it.

I’m also amused by the many snide comments that “yOu JuSt WaNt YoUr SnIpInG sPoT bAcK” and “skill issue” comments. The last couple of days, playing 38th parallel at 5.7, I’ve had double ace games doing CQC around C with Tiger H1 and Panther D. I know how to slug it out in close combat. That is not the issue.

The issue is that this was one of the few maps where it made competitive sense for me to spawn in a Waffentraeger or a Nashorn first, from the northern spawn, without feeling like I was actively reducing my odds of winning.

Now, it’s yet another map where the competitive choice is not to spawn those.

What’s there to celebrate about that? :/

BTW, I recommend taking a look at this conversation I and another user have been having about similar, but broader issues. You might find it an interesting read.

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In the comments of this one:

On-screen text in this video:

Dollar Plays recently said something along the lines of maps turning into “360 no-scope” maps.

Will check it out.

I fear that the map filter is giving Gaijin the stats that have led to the current situation. The draw of the high tier premiums is also a negative influence on the game. It has created strong incentive for people to use their high-tier premium - only that vehicle - in a quick game and then move on to the next quick game.

I don’t think that people realise that longer matches yield better returns. Or is it the apparent low RP earnings cap for a game that makes it not worthwhile? Lasting the whole game + minimum participation rate should bring high enough rewards to be enough of an incentive.

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You have no idea how bummed I am that that version of Tunisia will not be available for late WW2 BRs, by the way. I got my longest-range Sim Battles sniper kill on that map (got a Challenger with a Dicker Max, at roughly 2400 metres).

Yes. Clearly, many players have this perception that being shot by a target not in their field of vision is unfair, whereas if someone kills you up close, you can see exactly how it unfolded, so that makes it okay, right? /s

Almost guaranteed.

Players prefer CQC and short matches. Instant reward of making contact sooner (but sniping maps also did that, like 38th parallel; it’s the long driving maps that delay contact…). Careful shot placement against armour also becomes less important, since you can track & barrel, or corner peek, and get point blank gun performance.

Gaijin has an interest to indulge them, and benefits doubly from this because shorter matches are better for queue times.

I’m not sure. I mostly play to improve at my vehicles of choice, not for the grind, so that entire aspect is much more foreign to me.

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War Thunder’s maps are too small for high tier. Gaijin has failed to hire competent map designers who understand what is necessary for the game’s health. They continue to develop maps as if we’re playing World War 2 tanks which can’t move 60+ KM/H.

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there were bigger maps, years ago. they were a lot fo fun for realistic/sim… but they cancelled them again.
Until then the game had a tendency to slowly get better.
after that it went downhill quite fast.

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