I love me some King of the Hill. It’s a very simple game mode, it’s seen in a lot of games. The concept is incredibly basic, you hold a specific area until time runs down or a certain event happens. KOTH maps are generally smaller than your average map and can fit anything from 8 to 18 players. KOTH also gets played in almost all competitive forms apart from dodgeball and basketball. It gets played in Ultiduo, 4v4, 6v6 and Highlander! Alright, not so much in the latter two, but seriously everyone, koth_Viaduct_pro is carrying all the weight. Good map, that one.
Speaking of good maps, that’s where things get odd. The best KOTH maps are very varied. Viaduct, even in its non-pro form, is loved because it offers something for everyone, from the bitchy little Sniper on ‘China’ (I don’t know, I call them battlements or the Sniper Deck) to divebombing Soldiers and Demomen to a cliff to jump and stab people from for Spies to little areas where Medics can hide and still be somewhat effective.
What’s great about KOTH maps is that they’re easy to make. A lot of the maps on the Workshop beta (mustn’t forget the beta bit) are KOTH maps. You can easily make them symmetrical, you don’t need to add anything fancy like forward spawns and new pathways, you just have two spawns, a control point and some props to hide behind. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Or so you’d think.
Nope, that whole previous paragraph was a lie. While it’s really easy to get a nice, basic map going, it’s incredibly hard to get a nice, basic map that’s balanced. It’s even harder to get a nice, basic map with full textures and all that on it.
That’s where Suijin comes in. Suijin. Bloody hell.
Alright, positives first. It’s a BEAUTIFUL map. So pretty. There’s enough eye candy to sink a battleship. Suijin uses the Japanese resource pack released a while back and was designed to showcase it, rather than actually being played on. I can’t stress how nice the map looks and how it’d be perfect for some sort of atmospheric chill out music video.
Of course, for so much beauty, there needs to be sacrifices. Suijin isn’t the biggest map, but all the fancy stuff does take a heavy toll on weaker computers. And on higher specs too. It’s not a particularly well-optimized map. There’s a ton going on. Bridges and sakura petals and all sorts. I don’t normally have problems running pretty maps, but Suijin causes me all sorts of problems, lag and stuttering. At least the bug that made all the bridges invisible was fixed, that made actually playing the map both easier (free wall hacks) and harder (is that a bridge or a cliff?) at the same time.
Then there’s the gameplay problems. Suijin is a weird map. Most maps are rectangular or round, but Suijin is a bit of everything. It has elevated runways above almost every single part of the map, which means that practically everything is a place you can be carpet bombed from. Or assaulted by a twitchy Scout. Or trickstabbed by one of the billion Spies trying to fulfill contracts on the map. Basically, if you’re not a hyper mobile class or someone who can abuse lots of stairs and cliffs, you’re in for some pain.
That is, unless you’re an Engineer. The control point is enclosed, with three entrances up and down. Around the edge there is a lovely ledge for Engineers to build sentries on. Because it’s so tight, it’s pretty hard to dislodge an Engineer without an Uber. But Engineers, believe it or not, are not nearly as bad as the one gigantic flaw with the map.
Step out of the front spawn room, move slightly to the left or right (depending on what team you’re on) and you can see directly into the other team’s spawn area. This map has a sight line that would make Snipers on CP_Orange leap for joy.
What’s worst is that anyone with ranged weaponry can abuse it. I’ve seen Pyros spamming flares, Soldiers spamming rockets and three separate teams of Medics blindly firing Crusader Crossbow bolts down that sight line. Anyone that isn’t a Heavy must either take a long, winding side path or explosive jump their way to the control point if they don’t want to end up headshot for the hundredth time. Heck, even Heavies have problems.
Suijin has so much potential, but it’s all pretty much ruined by one of the stupidest sight lines ever.