A New Approval System

Map Approval Requests

A New Approval System

Postby Stryde » 27 June 2021, 22:03

Earlier this year, I wasted at least half a month reviewing and critiquing the old approval system to find many erroneous issues and flaws. With help from a few select players and mapmakers who have provided valuable insight, I've compiled a list of issues with solutions/workarounds to address each problem -- but this version described below is a "TLDR" version because 1) everything I wrote would not fit into a forum topic; 2) it's too long and PB2 community attention span is too short; 3) not everything is applicable directly to the community, and may be better suited being addressed to the developer.

Problem 1: The approval “marketshare” is skewed towards mapmakers without consideration of player ideology.
Maps have been manufactured and pumped out in a systematic manner. You can check through the approval request archive and see that some mapmakers have requested maps in very frequent intervals, leading to a “manufactured map” environment. This solely benefits the mapmaker, not their maps or the competitive environment. How do you manage to produce five maps in a week that are innovative unless you have been planning them in advance? Regardless if your maps are innovative, how do you ensure players KNOW they are innovative and will be played if they are released simultaneously?

Solution 1: Introduce community playtesting back into approval requests. There are a few ways to solve this problem. Under the old approval system, the approval team and map approval contributors playtested approval-requested maps 1-2 times a week. Many of the map approval contributors are mapmakers who lack knowledge in what players want to play, and many of the map approval contributors are the same people making map approval requests on their own maps – the disconnection between solely being a mapmaker versus solely being a competitive player. There needs to be a balance regardless if you think ranked should conform for players or be pushed for innovation by mapmakers. This balance is missing right now, but incorporating more public player input will be beneficial for PB2 and PB3.

Solution 2: Support maps players like for ranked gameplay by adding current approved maps to your favorites. As a player, you can further support maps you like to see in ranked by recommending maps for ranked mode, or by adding current approved maps to your favorites list.

Solution 3: Implement restrictions for how many maps one person can request for approval at a given time. In principle, this shouldn’t be needed, but as mapmakers prefer to make approved maps to boost their level developer rank (LDR) instead of developing unique and innovative maps to push mapmaking as well as PB2 competitive forwards, it is needed.

Problem 2: The quantity versus quality argument.
Kubakuba, Kiriakos Gr96 and Concentrationcz have 40+ approved maps between the three of them (they represent roughly 20% of the total approved map pool), yet statistically speaking, their maps either are not well-liked by the community or unknown to the community. Their maps may look aesthetically innovative, but their execution is terrible. I’ve asked people in the community who play ranked competitive or have mapmaking experience as to what their favorite maps are for ranked PB2. Some players have 100,000+ kills while some mapmakers have ~3,000 kills; some mapmakers have 30+ LDR while some players have 0 LDR. Based off responses, kubakuba and concentrationcz maps are not heavily popular among 25 players (excluding Kiriakos Gr96). In general, very few maps from 2018 to present are popular with the community, but many of these maps have a lot of plays. Just because these maps have a high number of plays relative to older approved maps doesn’t mean these maps are popular – in fact, it means the opposite -- in reality, map plays are skewed towards new approved maps.

Solution 1: Stop approving maps because they check all the boxes. I’ve playtested and approved maps, while simultaneously watching those maps get “retired” – essentially never to be played again unless they are featured in rotation or specifically hosted by a player. I used criticisms such as “long lines of sight” to hinder map approval, when these criticisms were just excuses because I didn’t think people would understand “uniqueness” as a component, and I still don’t – I really just don’t like the map in question. I can say there have been some maps I have liked that have a good balance between the mapmaking philosophy and player mentality, but I guarantee you that most people won’t be able to list 10 approved maps from the past year unless they are a playtester. There’s a lack of advertising combat maps in the servers, rather, the advertising happens on the forum where players via requesting approval. The map doesn’t stand out, doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, or doesn’t provide good enough gameplay to take up the player ideology.

Solution 2: Remove all approval requirements and keep the technical requirements – allowing mapmakers to become innovative in ranked maps. The approval team define the technical requirements that aren’t supplemented by the developer for ranked mode. This is a call to re-review approval requirements to allow mapmakers to express innovation and creativity while gathering player input.
The most controversial rule likely regards selfboosting – everyone knows how to selfboost or can easily learn how to selfboost. We need to cater towards the competitive environment, not cater away from it; if people who aren’t familiar get dominated – that’s their fault. Removing this rule allows mapmakers to explore their creativity while attempting to find balance in maps. Let mapmakers express their art form, let players express what they want to play, let the approval team bridge the gap by providing technical means to an innovative map. Ditch the mindset of “I’m going to make this for approval!” – that’s not the right mindset. From the players perspective, removing some requirements may tilt the level of fairness towards veterans, leading to suggestion 3.

Solution 3: Allow approved maps to be hosted in custom mode to not influence player stats. Allow approved maps to be hosted in custom mode (i.e. so kills, deaths, SP remains unaffected). This will allow players to become familiar with approved maps before playing the maps competitively. I suspect if either unranked has no influence on stats OR if approved maps can be hosted in custom mode, increase of players attempting to play more maps without having to worry about stats being influenced would increase.

Solution 4: Remove bonus LDR received from approved maps. It was justifiable to give bonus LDR to mapmakers once their maps were approved under PixelVoxel’s system because maps that were frequently played in the player servers were typically approved, there was no way to request map approval. It’s not justifiable in an approval system where 1) you can request maps for approval OR whenever; 2) when mapmakers (Xenixus, Resi, monkeyman2535, etc.) unpublish approved maps to boost developer rank. To this end, many unpublished approved maps have been unapproved over the past few months to prevent developers from artificially inflating their level developer rank.

Problem 3: The map rotation system is not efficient.
The rotation system is a heavy influencer of which maps are randomly selected to be hosted. On average, rotation maps average 80-83 plays. Just because a map has thousands of plays does not mean it is popular, however. The rotation system used to go unchecked and maps would remain in rotation for a whole month before finally being randomly swapped out, while other maps still never been in rotation.
Since I joined the approval team, I’ve been monitoring rotation maps and limiting rotation maps to two weeks in rotation per an eight week period. Rotation maps are designated by a blue checkmark and give players slightly more skill points (x1.5 skill points). This promotes playing rotation maps, but only rotation maps in ranked mode directly influence skill points (i.e. there is no point to host rotation maps in unranked because skill points remain unaffected in unranked mode). The rotation system should support a competitive environment with the most liked maps for ranked remaining in rotation on a more permanent basis. However, as I alluded to, the rotation system is powerful for getting map exposure. Therefore, the rotation system also needs to support approved maps that aren’t as known to attempt to community interest from the player perspective.

Solution 1: Build a new approval system around community input that supports new approved maps by directly implementing community input.

Since maps in rotation have a skill point multiplier for ranked mode, it’s logical to include popular approved maps in rotation during weeks 1 and 2 to help with the first objective – “support a competitive environment with the most liked maps for ranked”. However, weeks 3 and 4 in the month aren’t currently planned insofar as map rotation selection. The opportunity to start re-reviewing approved maps would be during weeks 3 and 4, to help with the second objective – “to support approved maps that aren’t well known to gauge community interest”.

Usurpation Destroyer [350]
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Re: A New Approval System

Postby Yusuf Wijaya » 5 April 2023, 17:06

i have an idea.

a system like this :

a map approval board on the custom maps page.

map makers can pitch maps they wish to get approval to the board.
the maps will be visible to everyone, players will be asked to play test the maps in the list.
there will be options for the players to choose after playing the map.
if the players feels the map should be approved they will vote for approval.
if the players feels the map should not be approved, they will vote for the map to be rejected.

only maps with overwhelmingly positive votes will be approved.

however to give the rejected maps some chance, the players will provide some feedback, criticism, suggestion for the mapmaker to improve and revise their map.

Yusuf Wijaya
Posts: 2
Joined: 2 July 2022, 15:46

Re: A New Approval System

Postby Pb2 D » 14 April 2023, 01:33

I agree with this amen

Pb2 D
Posts: 11
Joined: 8 July 2018, 11:45

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