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Polar Highlands

Strategy Desperate Plea Giant Clue

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#1 Void Angel

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:33 PM

Ladies and gentlethings, I have found something amongst the detritus of the internet that may be of use to you as you amble about the beautiful environs of the Polar Highlands:
Posted Image

Polar Highlands is a great map - it's unique, and in a good way. But because it's not quite like the other maps we have, people are confused by it, and scared to play the map the way it needs to be played.

The Polar Highlands are quite unlike anything we've had thus far - the map is deceptively open, but with a lot of cover sewn into the seams of all those rolling hills. In contrast with Alpine Peaks - where there are generally zones of cover with huge, totally open areas between them, the cover in Polar Highlands is pretty much scattered out everywhere. This means that you can literally hide an army (or a 'mech company) on the lee side of a shallow hill, and there are generally covered means to reach any point on the map.

This is what makes the map so fun! And also what makes it confusing to people who have become used to the rather constrained playing style that's been the PuG meta for some time. Generally, players have played one of two styles: long-range 'mechs find cover and then poke and snipe, trying to get shots on the enemy without being shot effectively in return; short-range 'mechs, on the other hand, try to use cover to get in range, and then attempt to basically do what their long-range teammates are doing - deal damage to the enemy without stepping into a shooting gallery. Much corner-peeking is had, and generally players will be cautious about moving too much in the early stages of the game (once the enemy is located.)

Polar Highlands is the second new map - the first is Viridian Bog - where this behavior is.. disadvised, and for the same reason. On both maps, the team which stops and tries to corner camp loses, because the enemy has covered routes to get around to the side of any cover you're camping behind, and can then pick you apart with crossfire from their own cover. This kind of terrain is the primary map feature in Polar Highlands, and there is a covered route to just about anyplace on the map you care to go.

All that being said, here are the top two things I wish my teammates would know when I drop in Polar Highlands
  • Mobility is key. This isn't a map where you can find a strong point and settle down to a nice sniper war with plenty of warning if they try to flank. The enemy doesn't have to cross a single danger zone in order to get around whatever you're using for cover, and can thus turn up on your flank without notice - potentially trapping you in a killing field parallel to the low ridge you were using for cover.
  • Scouting is vital. Every time I have yet played this map, there have been Light 'mechs camping with the main body. Every. Single. Time. That's bad news. With the number of ways the enemy can get around you unseen, you have to use your Lights to scout the enemy and to interfere with their scouts and spotters. There's no, "I'm providing ECM cover!" That dog won't hunt; Lights are the only ones with the speed and mobility to scout, and scouting is desperately needed. Thus, you've gotta scout. For many Light pilots, it's high time to learn how.
This isn't intended to be some 1337 Guidz0r about how to win Polar Highlands every time, nor an ego trip for me - half the times I've been whacked on this map, it's been because I misjudged how well the enemy could see me and ended up getting rofflpwned - but that's the point, you see. This map is different from any other map you've played to date in MWO - it's time to get jiggy with it.

Edited by Void Angel, 22 January 2016 - 12:38 PM.


#2 Wintersdark

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 01:47 PM

Absolutely. I understand it's strange and different, but this isn't just the first map that scouting is useful on, it's the first map where scouting is mandatory and key to victory.

You can't just walk up and fight it out. There are no anchors for your flanks, so a team can roll around your force and eliminate much of your cover.

Controling exposure and line of sight are critical, using cover AND PATIENCE to get into a good range band essential.

You don't need really long range, but <300m mechs will suffer unless they are quite quick... But really, that sort of inevitable. You can't expect a slow short ranged mech to be viable everywhere.

#3 General Solo

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:14 PM

I like it as well, forces people to not be lazy. Posted Image

#4 Marcel Bekker

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:59 PM

This map is how mech battles SHOULD play out. The only map so far that gives the feeling of actually piloting a mech in one of those old novels or on the Tabletop Game. Almost all of the others give of the feeling of being a Solaris VII Arena instead, and to no ones surprise, configurations that excelled in the Lore Solaris VII Tournaments are usually those that work best on them.

Polar Highlands however... I love it. Please PGI take note and modify the other maps closer to what we have here, not exactly the same though, of course. I love the feeling of an actual moving dynamic battlefield between opposing armys instead of a caged of deathmatch between Arena jocks.

#5 Lazygunns

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:29 PM

View PostOZHomerOZ, on 22 January 2016 - 02:14 PM, said:

I like it as well, forces people to not be lazy. Posted Image

well then I'm in trouble....

#6 rolling thunder

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 03:41 AM

I have to laugh at the behaviour of "Commanders" in Polar Highlands. Ordering light mechs to stay with the main body to provide ECM cover & in return totally forgoing Scouts. As you say, Scouting is needed,once the main body of the enemy is located the scouts report in & if necessary return to the main body of Mechs. I'll admit i'm not very good shooting on the move yet the Polar Highlands force me to keep moving & barring the occasional hic up, I last longer & get more kills. I've been trying to incorporate movement into my normal games,easier in my Shadowcats than my Warhammers.

#7 Nightshade24

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 04:53 AM

View PostVoid Angel, on 22 January 2016 - 12:33 PM, said:

Polar Highlands is the second new map - the first is Viridian Bog ...

Um... isn't the Second new map Caustic valley?... after Frozen city?

Because I am pretty sure it went...

Forest colony (first/ originaly), Frozen City, Caustic Valley, River city, Tourmaline desert, Canyon network, Terra therma, HPG Manifold, Alpine peaks, Viridian Bog, than lastly Poland Highlands....

#8 Anunknownlurker

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 05:08 AM

@Nightshade - Void Angel's full quote makes more sense as he adds "where this behaviour is...disadvised"(sic).

His comment was more about the gameplay than the maps.

#9 Evil Ash

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 06:23 AM

This map lacks consistancy. Tall mechs jut out of these trenches that are supposed to be able to give you cover, LRMS ignore 90% of the "cover" on the map due to their outrageous arcs, the map has no interesting features besides being flat and white, the map plays laughably one sided, with insane advantage to LRM boats and major disadvantage to Brawlers. despite there being venues to flank, there are no venues to brawl. Overall this map needs an adjustment, when the only thing you did was use the terrain randomizer on a flat map and call it a day I'm not going to be happy with the result.

#10 Tanar

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 07:27 AM

I do notice more people trying to turn flanks from one or both sides at the same time on this map more than the others. and the small spots with buildings being just enough to provide LRM cover and provide the peek and shooters a spot to temporarily hold (because it's not big enough to avoid getting flanked ) while the rest of the team tries to take advantage of the attention given there. small mechs will love the map because while their taller teammates get shot at they just scoot along in full cover to flank the ones doing the shooting.

it's not a "everyone charge!" style map. action much more fluid despite the flatness. and there is enough rolling terrain where it's not just everyone line up and shoot- shots will be blocked by slopes/hills so trench warfare isn't going to work in the end.

all in all it seems a good match to stage- fight for a bit, move to next point, stage, fight again while flankers do their thing. much less static warfare so far

#11 General Solo

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 07:46 AM

View PostLazygunns, on 22 January 2016 - 03:29 PM, said:

well then I'm in trouble....


Seems your style of lazy seems quite effective.

Edited by OZHomerOZ, 23 January 2016 - 07:50 AM.


#12 Wintersdark

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:39 AM

View PostEvil Ash, on 23 January 2016 - 06:23 AM, said:

This map lacks consistancy. Tall mechs jut out of these trenches that are supposed to be able to give you cover, LRMS ignore 90% of the &quot;cover&quot; on the map due to their outrageous arcs, the map has no interesting features besides being flat and white, the map plays laughably one sided, with insane advantage to LRM boats and major disadvantage to Brawlers. despite there being venues to flank, there are no venues to brawl. Overall this map needs an adjustment, when the only thing you did was use the terrain randomizer on a flat map and call it a day I'm not going to be happy with the result.


Wut? There enough cover all around to avoid LRM's by avoiding line of sight, as long as you don't allow your enemy to roll around a flank to see along a trench.

You need to be very cautious about the center area, though, where instead of trenches you've just got rolling snow banks. That area, its easy to walk a bit up the side of a Dune and expose yourself.

But that? That is a player problem, not a map problem. If you're in a tall mech, stay out of there. Hell, just stay out of that area, period. It's a death trap.

LRM's ARE stronger weapons on this map, that is true. But they're very weak weapons on most other maps. And all the same things apply here as well as everywhere: they key to avoiding LRM death is in your hands. Good play, AMS, ECM proximity, Radar Derp, there are lots of options.

You're only in trouble if YOU screwed up, or you got NARCed. NARC is brutal on that map :)



But still, I see people complain about LRM's on that map and still don't mount AMS. You've got tools to protect against LRM's that you're choosing not to use.

#13 Wintersdark

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:42 AM

And, finally? I've seen LOTS of really dynamic, awesome brawls on the map. Not just big furballs, but complex company sized brawls that stretch over a kilometer despite combats being in ~300m ranges, as both sides struggle for position, to roll a flank, or otherwise get an advantage.

Edited by Wintersdark, 24 January 2016 - 02:00 AM.


#14 Void Angel

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 08:58 PM

View PostNightshade24, on 23 January 2016 - 04:53 AM, said:

Um... isn't the Second new map Caustic valley?... after Frozen city?

Because I am pretty sure it went...

Forest colony (first/ originaly), Frozen City, Caustic Valley, River city, Tourmaline desert, Canyon network, Terra therma, HPG Manifold, Alpine peaks, Viridian Bog, than lastly Poland Highlands....

...

"Polar Highlands is the second new map - the first is Viridian Bog - where this behavior is.. disadvised, and for the same reason [emphasis added.]" Read; don't skim.

Polar Highlands outright punishes players for just stopping to corner snipe when they take fire. Viridian Bog does that too, but it's more forgiving of mistakes and corner camping than Polar Highlands. That map consists nearly entirely of interlocking low hills with trenches of various depths spreading across it like cracks in a mirror. If you just try to ridge hump, or snipe around the edge of your cover, you end up having a mobile enemy work his way around the sides to achieve enfilading fire on your units while they themselves have corners and ridges to snipe from. Yet this is very often what people insist on doing, sometimes both sides; until one or the other gains an advantage through attrition - or gets bored enough to work around the flanks. In such a circumstance, the battle is decided more by what 'mechs your random team ended up with than how well you shoot with them.

So often the objections voiced by people who whine and cry about the map (every fracking time it's played,) boil down one of two things. Most confused players just don't get how to play the map; it's different than the maps they've learned to play on, and that's disorienting. They respond by misemploying standoff firing tactics and clinging desperately to any cover they can find (to the point of saying, "just camp one of the military bases; it's the only way to win.") This thread is for them.

Other confused souls are deficient in Vitamin W. They just don't wanna; don't wanna equip AMS, don't wanna learn to keep track of more than what's in front of them on the field, don't wanna learn how to traverse those deceptively rolling hills safely (confusing a route of march for a defensive trench, perhaps,) don't wanna learn to scout. There's not helping those people - there never is. Even if they found a supplement for their deficiency, they wouldn't take it - they don't wanna.

#15 Wintersdark

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 01:58 AM

So much of the latter there. So very many people crying tears of dispair because How They Play doesn't work, but making zero effort to learn anything new. Assuming everything that applies to how other matches plays out still applies.

It doesn't.

The lack of AMS is proof positive. From day one here for me, I've had this rule of thumb:

If you don't equip AMS, you don't get to complain about LRM's being too powerful. Period.

Mounting AMS and a ton of ammo takes very little investment on a players part. Almost ever mech can, with some able to mount up to three. 1 AMS unit will severely reduce the threat of an LRM mech, 2 will totally shut down some Clan LRM mechs, 3+ basically make all but the heaviest, slowest, and otherwise terrible IS LRM boats worthless. Unlike radar Derp, and to a lesser extend ECM, everyone can bring AMS if the want. It's cheap, small and light.

But yet, they don't wanna. They just want to complain that LRM's are killing them and their 60kph 270m range Orion isn't useful there. Everyone has the tools to be useful there. Everyone has the tools to scoff at LRM's, even if they don't want to use cover. There's a reason almost every stock TT build featured at least one medium+ range weapon.

If you choose not to use the tools available to you, then you made the choice to be ineffective. It's your fault, and yours alone.

Edited by Wintersdark, 24 January 2016 - 01:59 AM.


#16 Nightshade24

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 07:30 AM

View PostVoid Angel, on 23 January 2016 - 08:58 PM, said:

...

"Polar Highlands is the second new map - the first is Viridian Bog - where this behavior is.. disadvised, and for the same reason [emphasis added.]" Read; don't skim.

-snip-

I didn't skim, in fact I can't skin, since as soon as I can read I often read word by word... and sometimes mess up and go back to the start of the sentence and read again. The bold part didn't seem to relate to the "new map" statement for me... especially since for me the said behavior is the strongest in viridian bog. I would rather say caustic valley is a better example of this than viridian bog...

#17 Wintersdark

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 03:10 PM

View PostNightshade24, on 24 January 2016 - 07:30 AM, said:

I didn't skim, in fact I can't skin, since as soon as I can read I often read word by word... and sometimes mess up and go back to the start of the sentence and read again. The bold part didn't seem to relate to the "new map" statement for me... especially since for me the said behavior is the strongest in viridian bog. I would rather say caustic valley is a better example of this than viridian bog...


The dashes in there indicate an "aside", interjected into the middle of the sentence. The sentence itself is about Polar Highlands, as such the half on the other side of the interjection is relating to the first half.

When you see that (much like parenthesis!) you can simply remove that section of the sentence entirely and it'll still make sense. See what I did there?

#18 Void Angel

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 07:46 PM

Caustic valley is a decent example as well, I suppose - but it's a bit different tactically. In Caustic, you can stop and fort up in several places. Of course you can be surrounded eventually, but that's true on every map.

What's different about Viridian Bog (and Polar Highlands) is that there is no place to do that. If you stop and try to fight in place on Viridian Bog, you end up fighting behind one or two of the buttes there, which limits you to a few corners of cover. Meanwhile, an enemy who is smart can get parallel to your lines of cover and pick you apart - while having their own corners to hide behind. By contrast, in Caustic Valley you can hold certain points against an enemy (that ridgeline near the water, for example.) Unless you have no scouts at all, you can hold both ends and the top of these terrain features - and even punish them if you catch them crossing the Bowl of Heat And Failure. Both maps reward you for aggressive play and discourage camping too much if played well, but the difference is clear.

Another way to look at it is that in Viridian Bog and Polar Highlands, an enemy that keeps probing you instead of trying to fight in place will automatically end up achieving enfilading fire on your units - even if they have no idea what "enfilading fire" is. =)

#19 loopala

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 09:49 PM

if you can't think and move this map will kill you. this map brings back the flank, the mixed build and many other things that we have been missing in the min/max meta that the game has been stuck in. a fast mech with a TAG can have a field day if there are LRMs on their team. want to brawl just stay alive a bit it gets brutal when both teams get in the same trench. LRMs can be a pain but cover, AMS, and radar derp do work. know were you are and were you are going.

let the whiners whine i like it but then i also like Mordor conquest....

#20 Not A Real RAbbi

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 10:04 PM

Solid candidate for BEST MAP IN THE GAME.

Better than the OLD Forest Colony, with the FUN TUNNEL OF FUN (and I LOVED that map in 8v8, but not the SNOW version). Better than the OLD Caustic Valley, with the 2-line light mech brawl arena, sometimes credited as the birthplace of hill humping. Better than Tourmaline Desert, where Pop Tart went from science to art, and scouts still had a chance to be USEFUL.

No, Polar Highlands cannot be outdone by those maps. It's on a whole new level. It's freakin' AWESOME.

Most kills in one match on that map? BJ-1X, meta loadout. It FORCED me to maneuver, to THINK through a route to get TO my target without becoming someone else's target on the way, but still get there in time to be effective. But I could also shoot almost FOREVER in a 4x LPL Battlemaster, and that 2x AC/10 WHM did work there. Just SO fun. This map may just revive the concept of MANEUVER, which this game SORELY needs...





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