INTERVIEW: The Return of Four Updated Maps (Plus More Surprises)
Get the scoop straight from Game Designer Brenden McCormack about four revamped maps and other map changes coming in the next big update!
We hear you, Commanders: The more maps you get to play on, the more fun you have.
So, we’re thrilled to tell you that four fan-favorite maps have been overhauled and are returning to the game in the September 28th update!
Not only that; we’ve also got more map news and updates to share that are nods to what you, the tankers, have asked for.
Want to find out which maps have been updated and what Tiers and Eras they’ll support? Get all the details on the updates below, in an interview with Wargaming Game Designer Brenden McCormack!
(Interview edited for clarity, length, and formatting.)
Hello! Brenden McCormack here. I am a game designer; my discipline here at Wargaming is map and level design.
Since the last time we got updated maps, it was mentioned that a few more were going to come in the next big update. Can you give us a breakdown of the next four maps?
Absolutely! As before, we’ve looked at what our players’ favorite maps are and which ones are well balanced, and we’ve tried to pick out a bit of a variety.
We have some big fan favorites that are coming down the pipeline in the next update. And thematically, it works well. The four maps we’re going to discuss are all Summer Camo [maps], and they’re all aesthetically designed for summer and fall to coincide with the season we’re in at this point in the year (at least for the Northern Hemisphere, right?).
I’m happy to announce that the fan-favorite maps Redshire and Murovanka are coming back into rotation!
One of our challenges is trying to make maps work for Cold War game mode as well, and typically we try to find maps that are a little bit larger in scale. So, we’re also going to be returning the console-exclusive maps Dukla Pass and Heilbronn. Each of those is 1.2 square kilometers as opposed to Redshire and Murovanka, which are just one square kilometer.
Let’s talk about Dukla Pass first. What’s changed since the map was last available?
We made spawner placement adjustments for balance, some base capture positioning changes, and the time it takes to capture a base has been adjusted—all for balance purposes.
Much of the heavy lifting came on the art side of things. They replaced a lot of the foliage and a lot of the rock placement, and upscaled the textural resolutions. The lighting is completely redone, and, of course, theater of war [elements] have been added into the map as well.
For those of you who might not be familiar with Dukla Pass, it is a large sprawling map with many open routes and backroads. The flanking opportunities on this map are plentiful. Throughout the map are scattered homesteads and farm fields, with the main village centralized in the middle of the map between a few hills.
Cutting through the village is the fastest route to get across the map, but with the dip in elevation here, you could be trapped dealing with enemies perched on the hillsides. The many types of engagements both with long range and close-range combat that this map offers keeps the gameplay fresh and requiring new tactics from the players every battle.
You mentioned that Dukla Pass is going to be a World War II and Cold War map. What Tiers and Eras can play on this map?
Dukla Pass will be available in World War II mode for Tiers V through X and in Cold War mode through all Eras.
What changes and adjustments have been made to Heilbronn from the past to now?
Same as for Dukla Pass, much of the heavy lifting came from the art side of things. Also similar to Dukla Pass, it’s going to be available in World War II mode for Tiers V through X and in Cold War mode for all Eras.
For those of our players who might not be familiar with Heilbronn, on the east side of the map are some hills and mountains, a little bit more foliage, some trees and bushes here and there. So, if you like the open plains or the long sightlines, this is going to be your route of attack.
On the western side, you have a river that separates the city blocks and created varied sections of brawler zones, suitable if you’re more of a medium or heavy class player. There’s more cover out in that direction, of course, but the better flanking routes might be on the east side of the map, where there are hills and higher elevation vantage points to help you see across the map.
But just a word of warning: Those bridges over the river are a bit narrow, so watch your speed and don’t fall in! There’s no coming out of that river if you fall in.
Let’s talk about a fan favorite: Redshire. Why is it a fan favorite, and what was changed to make it even more exciting?
Redshire! Players love this one generally because, from border to border, the map is accessible. It’s got a lot of open fields. There are some hills; most notably, in the middle of the map is a high bluff, and that’s a major contention point for tankers. They’ll drive up to the middle of the hill and fight toward the top for superiority.
And this map has a little bit more of an autumn feel to it, kind of like what we applied when Highway came out.
In terms of changes, on a few select maps, we’re experimenting with trying to make maps more viable in Cold War game mode. For this one specifically, we maintained the same north and south spawns and base locations for World War II mode. But for Cold War mode, we put them at diagonal opposite ends of the map.
This gives a little more distance between the teams, and it played well in our internal playtests, so we decided, “Let’s move forward with this going into the next update.” Especially with the center hill that occludes your vision between both ends of the map—that works really well for Cold War, and playability was improved for that reason.
This map also has a unique theater of war element, where the Art Team put a giant zeppelin in the sky. It actually gets shot down by some planes, and you get to witness the fall of this giant behemoth, falling from the sky into the opposite end of the map. This does not impact gameplay, just like any of our other theater of war elements; it’s just part of the ambience of the map. But it is a spectacle to behold during battle. Just don’t get too distracted! You are in the match, you are in a tank battle, but maybe once in a while, take time to smell the roses.
What Tiers and Eras can play on Redshire?
Redshire will be available in World War II mode, Tiers V through X, and as I mentioned, we did push for this one to be available in Cold War. This one, however, will be available only in Eras 1 (Post-War) and 2 (Escalation). Not Era 3 (Détente) due to the sheer speed and horsepower of those tanks. The playability was sketchy at best, so we decided to keep Era 3 to bigger maps.
The last map we have to discuss is Murovanka. Tell us about it!
This one is very similar to Redshire in the way it feels and with the open border-to-border gameplay. However, this map is generally flatter.
On the east side of the map, the Art Team worked on increasing the foliage density. There are some fun little dunes and hills with a lot of trees on there. This is excellent if you’re a tank destroyer, or a light tank that wants to be a spotter, or someone who just wants somewhere to hide. This will also be a major contention point because the other team will also try to take over this area. So, another recommendation is to hang back and wait for the enemies to push through the brush so that you get the jump on them.
Conversely, on the western side is another major contention point, where you have some soft hills to get a little bit of a height advantage as well as a small village for some hard over in that corner. A lot of players will push over there, and you might even be pushed to the border of the map over there if the enemy team starts to take advantage of those small hills, like I mentioned. But hopefully your team has your back closer to the baseline so that they can catch any enemies trying to cross that threshold.
Murovanka is a map we’re keeping strictly to World War II game mode; it’s going to be available to Tiers V through X.
The reason we could not get this one to work well in Cold War is that, like I mentioned, it’s a very flat map. With the Vision System, you can see all the way from your spawn point to the other. And very quickly, if you go left or right from your spawn point, you will almost immediately find the enemy team. This doesn’t translate to good gameplay, so we had to make the hard decision to make Murovanka a World War II-only map.
Is there anything else special happening this fall that we can look forward to, other than the four maps we discussed?
I believe you’re hinting at our Halloween mode!
This is a favorite internally in our playtests as well. We love our Halloween mode; we love our Halloween Monster Tanks. We have so much fun with it.
I’m happy to say that we are returning with Dead City. This one has had its art upgraded with a lot of new spooky elements thrown into the map, including… well, the castle’s been taken over by a kraken, we have skeletons in the center graveyard (which used to just be the courtyard in Himmelsdorf). The Ghost Train of course makes its return! The icing on the cake, however, is the heavy fog and lighting effects throughout the map, truly sets the Halloween vibes!
Any more info you want to share with the community?
I do have a number of things I can share in regard to our maps in general for the next update, a lot of changes we’re pushing through to the game.
We’ve also added a community member request (shoutout to Slapafish Jr.!). He mentioned that he wanted more regular Assault mode added to the maps in Custom Games. It’s worth noting that Assault mode is exclusive at this time to Custom Games only. But I’m happy to say that we were able to turn out twelve more maps in the next title update that now support Assault game mode (again, Custom Games only). Those are:
- Fisherman’s Bay
- Mountain Pass
- Arctic Region
- Dukla Pass
Here’s another little thing. This goes out to our Community Contributors. I won’t make any specific notes, but something that we are doing now on the Level Design Team is that we’re taking certain clans, gamertags, or names that community members associate with, and we’re now throwing them in as Easter eggs on select maps. Just note, you’re not going to see verbatim someone’s gamertag thrown in, but we gave you guys some good nods. Look forward to more of those in the future!
Anything else you want to add?
As always, thank you again! We’re working hard to deliver more maps to you guys. And please, don’t stop letting us know of some changes you’d like, some feedback you’d like to see us act on. We want to deliver the best we can offer on all of your maps and give you guys an opportunity to enjoy these maps at the best they can be.
Which of the four updated maps are you looking forward to the most? Got any other feedback regarding the game’s maps? HOW READY ARE YOU FOR HALLOWEEN?