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anet doesn't make maps like it used to


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i visited some old maps, they are so beautiful, even on lowest settings, the views are so satisfying

to be more specific, maps before and include icebrood saga.

but the new maps, just seems off, i had to tune up the graphic settings only to make them look acceptable..

every map after icebrood saga just looks...bad

Edited by Lighter.5631
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I somewhat tend to agree. I did some world exploring lately to get two more GoE and thus had to visit all core maps again. And I found myself thinking more than once "wow, those old maps somehow feel more beautifull / detailed than the newer ones". It's weird because I can't determine why exactly I had that impression, but it is what it is.

Edited by Nash.2681
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I remember playing EoD for the first time and getting lost in the details I saw around the maps. Just like the time I played the game for the first time when I was a new little rat running around in metrica provence. EoD brought that feeling back for me. The movement of the grass, the vibrant colors and details in nooks and crannies. Looking into jade and see creatures stuck inside really blew me away. And coming across the little grave to pay respect to the poor little kitten that got murdered in a live stream. (We will never forget 👀

I don’t feel like they lost their touch with the beauty of map design. It may not be to your liking, but that’s subjective. I don’t like how the new maps in SotO looks like, but that doesn’t mean the design is bad. Others like it and that’s good. We all have different taste when it comes to things like this. 

Edited by Freya.9075
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Post-PoF, they definitely started to feel more like "levels" than natural extensions of the world, imo. A map like Desert Highlands has multiple biomes (desert flatlands, arid cliffs, snowy peaks, lush floodplain/bay, the brand) that all organically mesh together really well, and it feels like a natural continuation of the map before it. Every map since the start of IBS though has felt like it's own specific, one-note biome that has very little connection to the zones around it. Cantha especially feels really disjointed to me because it's basically just "cherry blossom island level", "techno city level", "gray forest level", "jade ocean level" and each one has very little visual variation inside of it. Like besides the ruins filled with Risen, every part of New Kaineng looks almost exactly the same. Whereas, if Kaineng had been designed like a PoF zone, it'd probably have visually distinct slums, upscale apartments, industrial areas, night markets/etc. And yeah you can see where they tried for that somewhat, but mostly it all just blends together right now, and there's barely any visual transition from Kaineng to Shing Jea or Echovald.

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2 hours ago, Sweetbread.3678 said:

Post-PoF, they definitely started to feel more like "levels" than natural extensions of the world, imo. A map like Desert Highlands has multiple biomes (desert flatlands, arid cliffs, snowy peaks, lush floodplain/bay, the brand) that all organically mesh together really well, and it feels like a natural continuation of the map before it. Every map since the start of IBS though has felt like it's own specific, one-note biome that has very little connection to the zones around it. Cantha especially feels really disjointed to me because it's basically just "cherry blossom island level", "techno city level", "gray forest level", "jade ocean level" and each one has very little visual variation inside of it. Like besides the ruins filled with Risen, every part of New Kaineng looks almost exactly the same. Whereas, if Kaineng had been designed like a PoF zone, it'd probably have visually distinct slums, upscale apartments, industrial areas, night markets/etc. And yeah you can see where they tried for that somewhat, but mostly it all just blends together right now, and there's barely any visual transition from Kaineng to Shing Jea or Echovald.

Well said, and I'd like to add that I think part of the issue stems from them wanting to make the maps really big with lots of verticality. HoT's vertically worked great because it was tied to the horizontal progression involving the mastery system. PoF also did it well with the horizontal progression with the mounts.

As much as I like skyscale, it really changed the game significantly. They've written themselves into a corner and now they have to create maps with skyscale in mind. From an exploration and discovery standpoint, there really isn't much they can do aside from intentionally impose mount restrictions in the new maps. Unfortunately that will also simply break immersion (not that most players care for that anymore).

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11 hours ago, Sweetbread.3678 said:

Post-PoF, they definitely started to feel more like "levels" than natural extensions of the world, imo. A map like Desert Highlands has multiple biomes (desert flatlands, arid cliffs, snowy peaks, lush floodplain/bay, the brand) that all organically mesh together really well, and it feels like a natural continuation of the map before it. Every map since the start of IBS though has felt like it's own specific, one-note biome that has very little connection to the zones around it. Cantha especially feels really disjointed to me because it's basically just "cherry blossom island level", "techno city level", "gray forest level", "jade ocean level" and each one has very little visual variation inside of it. Like besides the ruins filled with Risen, every part of New Kaineng looks almost exactly the same. Whereas, if Kaineng had been designed like a PoF zone, it'd probably have visually distinct slums, upscale apartments, industrial areas, night markets/etc. And yeah you can see where they tried for that somewhat, but mostly it all just blends together right now, and there's barely any visual transition from Kaineng to Shing Jea or Echovald.

Well, to be fair, that's just the devs being faithful to the source material, the biomes you described are simply how Cantha is splited in gw1

Also, Desert Highland is kinda an exception, most maps tend to have a single biome with very little variations

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I wonder if some of this feeling is that a lot of the older maps feel like places that could really exist (ok, some like draconis mons might be an exception, but only because it is in a lava bubble).  But starting with EoD, it feels like the maps are more just drawn up from someone's imagination.  So in the case of older maps, you can sort of loose yourself in the map, where as later maps, you really just feel like you are playing a computer game.

 

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16 hours ago, Zera.9435 said:

As much as I like skyscale, it really changed the game significantly. They've written themselves into a corner and now they have to create maps with skyscale in mind. From an exploration and discovery standpoint, there really isn't much they can do aside from intentionally impose mount restrictions in the new maps. Unfortunately that will also simply break immersion (not that most players care for that anymore).

Agreed. It's a blast to flap around on, but it's definitely changed how maps are designed and experienced. Even if a map is kind of interesting, it's just inherently harder to notice those details when you're constantly zooming by and you don't have to learn the landmarks/pathways or whatever because there's no real pathfinding to solve.

6 hours ago, Shuzuru.3651 said:

Well, to be fair, that's just the devs being faithful to the source material, the biomes you described are simply how Cantha is splited in gw1

Also, Desert Highland is kinda an exception, most maps tend to have a single biome with very little variations

Those basic 4 biomes were in GW1, but I definitely remember them having more variety and flowing together better than in GW2, especially Kaineng. GW1 Kaineng had a huge mix of environments like the o.g ornate red laquered wood architecture in Kaineng Center, all of the open imperial court stuff in Raisu Palace, and then outside of that there's this whole Kowloon Walled City refugee favela shantytown being built on top of that original architecture that goes so high it ends up forming it's own sort of sky ghetto in Xaquang Skyway, while underneath there's also an entire labyrinthine Undercity formed from the old city and canals being completely built over by that new architecture. In GW2 Kaineng is pretty much just the ruins (that are almost entirely the same moss covered stone texture + bamboo aesthetic repeated over and over) outside the walls, and the inside the city is pretty much just the same 10 jadepunk assets being repeated 4000 times. There's some cool kitten, but aside from 1 or 2 setpieces like the Soo-Won statue, not really a lot of noticeable variety. Also in GW1 there's an entire transition zone between Kaineng and Echovald / the Jade Sea; in GW2 it's just like the city abruptly stops right at a zone portal with a couple of large, but otherwise normal trees behind it, you go through and suddenly you're in a gothic cathedral with stone trees so tall you cannot see where they end and they they literally blot out the sun; it's incredibly jarring imo.

I do think that GW2 nailed the Jade Sea stuff though. Meta design aside, Gyala Delve is especially a really visually interesting map that has a lot of cool scenery changes with really effective environmental storytelling.

All of Path of Fire is like Desert Highlands though. Crystal Desert has the harbor/farmlands, the northern desert area, an entire Jinn subsection, Kormir's temple, and then branded floating pyramids and all of the Zephyrite stuff in the east. Elon Riverlands goes from canyons and brand, to open desert and sandsunk cities, to a tropical river valley, to a necropolis prison camp. Even the Desolation, probably the most one-note PoF map has a ton of variety, the top third is lush farmland, half of the middle is the Maw of Torment, and the bottom has a floating Jinn city. Vabbi's like 1/4th limestone quarry, 1/4th North African fantasy city, 1/4th brandstorm, and 1/4th war camp. I don't think it's really a hot take to say that map design after PoF hasn't really lived up to that sense of diversity, scale, and design.

Edited by Sweetbread.3678
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To an extent you are right, esp in map storytelling. I will defend Amnytas though. It quite an exceptional and unique design despite some copy/pasting and performance issues. Nayos is pitiful though. The Citadel was the only notable area and that could have been so much more too

Biu, yes older maps have a certain something that is lacking more recently. On a side note I've been in Vabbi all week and the left hand side is just so magnificent that it is a shame so little was done with in terms of content. So much history, ambience, nooks, crannies and details. Just no reason to go there beyond a couple of select locations. Some areas don't even have events or too few to be noteworthy

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Agree, the SotO Wizard maps are particularly bad and do not feel natural to the world at all. Maybe the old designers got booted when the restructuring happened. Lot of has dropped quality wise rapidly since Icebrood Saga announcement. Both design and gameplay system wise.

Still kudos to the small team doing those QoL elements and such, they are the shining beacon of Anet

Edited by Jin.8501
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There are vanilla and expansion maps. That feel natural not just packed with content on every step. Secrets, places that serve no other purpose than exploration and scenery and world building.

And there are living world maps that feel smaller, focused. Someone said it best, like a computer level. There are exceptions (Bjora, Jahai). Not that it's bad but it worked well as in between expansion maps.

Unfortunately these mini expansion maps are living world maps and I dont know if we ever get anything else.

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On 6/20/2024 at 9:28 AM, DanAlcedo.3281 said:

Me who plays the game on the lowest setting possible:

Details? What details? Is that a boss? 

The old maps looks stunning even in lowest settings while the new maps(after ice) look like gamecube games.

old maps even in the lowest settings managed to get clouds, dogs and depth and the edge of the sea is hidden. Cantha sky just look plain blue,

You can see the edge of the box shaped sea from land and the far view(pictures) of the city is ugly made too on shing jea island

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18 hours ago, Astralporing.1957 said:

Unfortunately Kaineng City was ugly enough to offset everything else.

 Kaineng City is so ugly, i think most people refuse to go back after they finish the story.

now i still go back to check HoT PoF maps, specially PoF, it's a treat to do quests there.

same for the wizard's tower, everywhere else except that tiny entrance area is completely wasted, no one goes there. they don't seem to understand how to make an actual social hub.

i'm just glad we have mounts to skip all these maps fast, unlike the olds maps i actually enjoy walking in, even PoF/IBS onces where they introduced mounts

 

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19 hours ago, Shuzuru.3651 said:

Well, to be fair, that's just the devs being faithful to the source material, the biomes you described are simply how Cantha is splited in gw1

Also, Desert Highland is kinda an exception, most maps tend to have a single biome with very little variations

No two maps felt the same in GW1 Cantha, and even within maps we've had visually distinct sections. They've reduced entire regions to a single map in GW2 and somehow made them less diverse than some of the GW1 maps. They even used the same architecture for 3/4 of the maps, GW1 Cantha had ~6 different styles (5-7 depending on how you want to count Kaineng).

Edited by Morvran.8265
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10 hours ago, Jin.8501 said:

Agree, the SotO Wizard maps are particularly bad and do not feel natural to the world at all. Maybe the old designers got booted when the restructuring happened. Lot of has dropped quality wise rapidly since Icebrood Saga announcement. Both design and gameplay system wise.

Still kudos to the small team doing those QoL elements and such, they are the shining beacon of Anet

Yes, the place where they make and design fractals, and the magical wizard city in the sky, and the realm of dreams doesn't feel like the natural world. I can't imagine why....oh wait...

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3 hours ago, Vayne.8563 said:

Yes, the place where they make and design fractals, and the magical wizard city in the sky, and the realm of dreams doesn't feel like the natural world. I can't imagine why....oh wait...

Naturat to the world, not natural world. The problem isn't that those places are magical and exotic. It is that they look fake. That's expecially true of Amnytas.

The "it's magic", "it's aliens", "a wizard did it" explanations don't help when the map design is simply uninspired/boring/plastic. For example, New Kaineng may make sense lorewise, but it's still a very badly designed map, and it's still ugly in a way that's simply unappealing.

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6 minutes ago, Astralporing.1957 said:

For example, New Kaineng may make sense lorewise, but it's still a very badly designed map, and it's still ugly in a way that's simply unappealing.

I sometimes wonder how we'll look back on these maps in future, though. In GW1, Kaineng City felt like a sprawling labyrinth of slums that took up too much of the map. It wasn't a fun experience to navigate at the time, but now with my nostalgia goggles, I kind of miss it. It's like being messy and hard to traverse is part of Kaineng City's identity, so the fact that it still feels like that despite having a radically different layout and composition is impressive, in a way.

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Agree with most of what has already been said about the variety and "quality" of in game maps.

For me the issue is that recent maps are designed really to drive the story and delay the players whilst they are doing repeated achievements. It's almost as if the designers thought process was "hey how can we slow the players down travelling across these maps" even with mounts they're a pain, Amnytas in particular.

Older maps were little worlds all on their own, things happened, NPC's chatted, some needed help with a quest and ran off after you did it, only to reappear somewhere else and continue an event chain. Funny stuff happened, the world appeared to be fleshed out. The story was secondary not the be all and end all for the map to exist.

Lornar's Pass, Mount Maelstrom, Timberline Falls, Desert Highlands - those are some of my favourite maps and clearly a lot of care and attention has been lavished upon them. Sadly for the reasons I've already given, plus the fact that I just think they're a repackaged living world, the SoTO maps are a poor relation.

I hope the next "expansion" doesn't feel like another slapped together LW release with endless fast spawning events that have to be repeatedly farmed. Time will tell I suppose.

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6 hours ago, Astralporing.1957 said:

Naturat to the world, not natural world. The problem isn't that those places are magical and exotic. It is that they look fake. That's expecially true of Amnytas.

The "it's magic", "it's aliens", "a wizard did it" explanations don't help when the map design is simply uninspired/boring/plastic. For example, New Kaineng may make sense lorewise, but it's still a very badly designed map, and it's still ugly in a way that's simply unappealing.

I had no problem with two of those zones, it's only Amnytas I have a problem with.  I think Skywatch Archipelgo looks like the laboratory it was meant to be. It's constructed for a  purpose and looks suited to that purpose. It IS fake.

And while I know that Inner Nayos isn't everyone's cup of tea, I love that zone and think it looks great. It feels like a demon realm to me.

I don't like Amnytas for a number of reasons. It does look like a wizard university campus though, which is probably what it most closely functioned as.

Edited by Vayne.8563
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