Most other survival maps are just about killing zombies until the time runs out. The NOTD group of maps are considered the best survival maps and are generally the toughest out there as well. It has the largest member base amongst all survival maps, as evidenced from it's forum membership and activity at www.kingsforum.com/notd
, relative to other survival maps. If you compare this map relative to other survival maps, I believe it offers more guidance and instruction than the other maps. Maps to compare and contrast includes DotD, Swat Aftermath, Rural Zombie Onslaught. I believe that Aftermath also offers greater dynamics once players get the hang of the game. The gameplay replay offers a glimpse of how it may be interesting for players.
Once you get the basic gist of the game and seen everything, what keeps people playing is teaching others, building their communities and generally learning XP and medals, not unlike many rpgs. You can say it's relatively linear, but most survival maps are based on this principle. Stand here, shoot creeps, move there, shoot creeps. Aftermath does have established missions that, upon completion or undertaking, contributes to your survival.
You cannot win Aftermath by maintaining a static position throughout the game. Survival maps will always remain a niche market and is indeed not for everyone. I can state with confidence and based on player testimony that the game involves a lot of movement and a reasonable degree of team coordination. The map takes time and commitment to fully appreciate, and a team of complete Privates will most likely be lost and confused, even with the relatively explicit amount of instruction. My msn email is firstname.lastname@example.org
and I can arrange a game with Tim, Blade.dk and any others on US East with some veterans to demonstrate that it is more than meets the eye.
The learning curve is intentionally high, and dying off easily is part and parcel of learning. It takes around 1 week to really catch on the basics of survival. People familiar with survival maps can accomplish this in a few days, or sometimes hours. I believe that your criticism largely holds true for most survival maps, apart from those that are so easy you can literally win the game by staying in one spot for 2 hours. Unlike most Battle.Net games, Aftermath does not offer instant gratification or immediate results. However, I believe that it can be a rewarding long run experience. Often bonds are made between veterans and new players who they teach, and this bond grows into BNet friendships that continue throughout many games. This is more likely to happen in survival maps due to the necessary guidance by veteran players to provide a lot of new insight to privates. You will also leave the game with at least a small degree of what the USMC is.
The fancy icons, sounds, etc are not a product feature nor point of interest i tout to gamers. I believe what is important for the players is the gameplay experience, and I believe it offers one of the best survival experiences for players new and regular alike to the genre. I also believe that the map offers meaningful education and exposure to general players in terms of military concepts and some basic understanding. For instance, many Aftermath players did not know the term 'Corpsman' existed or its meaning, it's reason for being called such, as well as it's history.
If someone can provide example of a better developed survival map, I will work on incorporating its strengths on Aftermath. This is inherently subjective, but I have consulted many players I am familiar with. Without doubt, in submitting my map here, I will have to negotiate with the criticisms and concerns of the evaluation team. The amount of effort or lack thereof put in the map is not a negotiating factor or point of consideration, as what is important is meeting the map submission requirements (some degree of originality & quality) as well as what the general community on wc3c feels about it.
Jacek, blade.dk's and Gadden's criticisms are actionable. 'Dying off too easily' is not really actionable, as it has a direct relationship with a player's skill & experience in the simulation. A compromise would be to reference the gameplay replay and use the easiest difficulty setting. I feel the quest menu is not a good platform for telling new players what they should expect in the game, and this has been dealt with by providing as much supporting in-game and tooltip text. There is definately room for improvement and action is continouously taken. The next patch release is on 28th February 2006, and I will incorporate any actionable concerns or criticisms you require for map acceptance.
A complete list of possible missions that the squad may undertake during the game :
Chapter 1 : Operation Silent Hill
Wave 1 - Retrieve Supplies
Wave 4a - Flesh Composite / Wave 4b - Black Hawk Down
Wave 5 - Escort Convoy
Wave 6 - Set up Surveillance Network
Wave 7 - Search for survivors
Wave 8a - Moirae / Wave 8b - Hades
Wave 9 - Provide cover for Navy Transport
Chapter 2a : Revelation
Wave 11a - Lyganesh
Wave 13a - Search and Destroy Cocoons.
Chapter 2b : Delta Force
Wave 10b - Lyganesh
Wave 11b - Retrieve M242 Components
Chapter 3 : Magnificent Bastards
Wave 16 - Secure Landing Zones
Wave 17 - Utilize Close Air Support
Wave 18 - Defend perimeter and assist Combat Engineers