The original Starcraft brought me countless hours of joy. It wasn’t the campaign or the multiplayer skirmishes that caught my eye and kept me playing, however. So what was it that held my attention, you ask? It was in fact the User Created Maps. But what are User Created Maps, and why are they so damn entertaining?
The LowdownUser Created Maps are maps in Starcraft that were created around varied types of gameplay. These maps included the classic Cat & Mouse, Cops & Robbers or any of the DBZ maps that flooded the map list. The maps were distributed through a download system that would make a number appear next to your name. When your number hit 100 you were ready to play. These maps rarely ever used typical skirmish gameplay, instead focusing on control of a single character that you leveled and/or trained, which brought a nice RPG feel to a game that wasn’t designed to be an RPG at all.
The DrawThe draw of these variations was simple, they offered a whole new gameplay experience without ever having to close out Starcraft. The games varied massively. Cat & Mouse used a run and gun style of gameplay where you would control a probe that would run from a giant ultralisk doing nothing but hunting you down; your goal was to build a base sufficient enough to defend from the cat and possibly even kill him. Cops & Robbers played more like a grinding game, in which robbers gained money by destroying various houses or killing people and then upgrading their character while the cops gained money by killing the robbers. The cops had to stop the robbers from killing or destroying 100-200 various objects or people. DBZ games played like an RPG, training your character to a certain experience level and then training his weapons. These are just a select few that are well known, and that isn’t even scratching the surface, there were numerous tower defenses, RPG style games, and many more.
The Nitty GrittyNow that I got all the noob stuff out of the way, I wanted to take a minute to explain what these User Created Maps brought to the table. They brought variety to a game that was mainly just the same thing over and over again. There’s a limit to how many times you can get your ass kicked by a 7 year-old Korean kid and still have fun. I found solace in these maps. They were not very hard to play, and it was a good way to crank out a half-hour to an hour and just have some fun. I kept coming back every day to see what was new. This is also true for Warcraft 3, though the User Created Maps don’t vary as much as Starcraft. These maps are just pure unadulterated fun, and they bring a lot to the table for something you expected to only get one gameplay type out of. Also, I mentioned above that I hadn’t even scratched the surface of the various map types, and I meant it, there are many more maps to play (Tarpit Defense, Mass maps, EVOLVE, Diablo, Special Forces, just to name a few off the top of my head.) These maps also brought something you can’t expect from a regular match, friendly people. We could sit in the same map 3 times and continue to talk friendly even if we were enemies, I’ve only had a handful of time where I came across a douchebag.
The Verdict My verdict is: if you have Starcraft then give these maps a shot if you haven’t yet. I have yet to play Starcraft 2 and have no idea if User Created Maps will be abundant on it, so if you know, leave a comment to help out. I hope that you enjoyed and hope to see you on Starcraft someday.