Honesty I've gone from being active on every forum known on planet Earth to going all but inactive in the past year because I truly just don't care to have these discussions anymore. I'll indulge this since you've asked me specifically but I don't really enjoy this type of conversation anymore, at least not on forums.
'Individualism' is a nice thing to have, it's also not the end-all-be-all for what I deem to be good map. It's like saying that I like skill jumps, so if my map doesn't have skill jumps it's a bad map, it just misses the point. We've used the word integrity a dozen times and feel free to keep memeing it but at the end of the day it's all that matters. The better team should win. That's it. End of discussion. And I'm not going to sit here and spell out exactly what that entails but everyone here knows, and recognizes that not all skills are equal.
I like Arcanum [because I made it] as it 1: does a good job mitigating the dumb bullshit in Halo 5 mechanically, I'm not getting AR'd, ground pounded, or double-melee'd every 4 seconds unless I've been extremely negligent until the moment leading up to that encounter - it's a pistol map. 2: There's a lot of traversal skill, especially in the center of the map where it becomes very reactionary between the lanterns but still controls your larger movement and punishes you for lingering to long. And by and far most importantly 3: It stresses mental skill more than anything else I've played. I feel like i can routinely beat better mechanically skilled players than I on that map day in and out because I'm actively and constantly making better choices as to how to position myself and my teammate in good spots to absolutely undeniably lock down a kill. The key is the only thing in Halo 5 I genuinely enjoy fighting with, using, and against. It's not a free kill, there's no guarantee of anything, it just gives you the opportunity to do something smart. It also gives the enemy team the opportunity to do something smart to counter it.
I feel like I, as a video game player, could probably outsmart a lot of people if given the chance. Thing is, most games and maps just don't give the opportunity to do that. I look at everything in game design as mechanical skill and mental skill. The more both you can have, the better. Telling me what map I might or might not like depending on who made it is a little bit irksome for me to read. If I can play the map and beat players worse than me, and rightfully lose to players better than me (proportionately to our difference in skill) I will probably like it.
"It's about as much as a hand holding map as you could possibly get..... This seems to be very "un multi like" lol. Obviously the catch is the KEY HOLDER becomes the ultimate individual and has the power to do disgusting things vs non-key holders. So that individuality is still there to a very high degree, if you can unlock it. I'm guessing this is why your okay with how the maps plays for non-key holders. It's a trade-off that makes the key that much more meaningful, and I think it's what's missed by alot of people criticizing how "nerfed" they feel on the map.
Am I correct in any of these assumptions, or way off base? "
I would say this is way off base. Essentially every area in Arcanum, without the key, has an entrance in, and out, and then maybe something a little bit spicier in the vicinity. 99% of my playtime on that map is looking at where Westin is going and then heading in the opposite direction, then we just prefire and nade corners to stall the other team from pushing one of us solo until we're both in position from either side of the map to collapse. I think it's like, the furthest opposite in every way to hand-holding. The key is actually what provides incentive to play closer to your teammate because then you both receive the benefits of the door, but that's just asking to get nade fucked. Otherwise, you have effectively no hope of doing anything standing next to your teammate. If you're pushing red lantern you come from up top, and from the swinging lantern bridge. if you push OS than one goes on the swing bridge and the other from the bottom, underneath OS. If it's chain gang than one comes from high bridge and the other ports from the OS room. I don't know man, I find hand holding to be a pretty off-basis description for Arcanum. At least according to both my own personal habits on the map and my basic understanding of looking at the design, it doesn't work.
It's also frustrating to hear people tell me what I would or wouldn't like if it weren't made by me, as none of my maps look anything like one another. Basically every person that's accused me of that has a recognizable and distinct style to your building to the point where I could see an unnamed blockout and pinpoint exactly what forger made it. I can actually see your preferences. Whereas, Legion, Oblivion, Arcanum, and Odyssey are all designed nothing like one another in any way. You could never show any of those to another forger who wasn't aware of who I was and have them make those connections beyond recognizing my lighting style. I don't have a preference beyond "I don't like to be screwed over every 3 seconds in a map". Halo 5 does that enough, just give me a way to be better. (none of this is directly targeted at you, this is sort of a general reply from me to everyone)
You're right about the clambers. I didn't know how to design the lanterns differently to preserve the type of movement you can do in the central atrium while having them be crouchable. And the rest of the ledges in the map I wanted to be tall enough to give cover. It was just a ramification the map has to deal with in Halo 5. My bad on that.
To be honest I don't really care whether or not you feel annoyed because you somehow feel like you see a path and deserve to traverse it. Do you see a ledge just out of reach and feel like you deserve to easily jump up to it? Do you feel entitled to instantly accessing the room on the other side of a glass pane because you can see it? I don't personally experience that emotion (albeit I'm the creator), and for as many people have told me that feel that way there's another dozen that don't. That's just not the feedback I care for.
Saying it doesn't add anything to the game is pretty disingenuous. At the end of the day, it's a powerup/power weapon that gives you a very, very small advantage but more importantly gives you the opportunity to do something intelligent. It also is the only weapon/powerup I've ever seen in a game that allows the enemy team to counter it by allowing them to do something equally intelligent by the nature of their own position, and in other cases, prediction. If you like the "classic" nature of Halo's weapons and powerups (and I've used quotations for a reason, it should read "bullshit") then no, you won't like the key. Because it's not guaranteed anything. And looking at your earlier suggestions about locking a power weapon behind a door or attributing it to a gametype it looks like that's the case, everything you suggested the key should be is everything I wanted to avoid because I thought it was shallow and would make for a terrible experience.
I wanted something that was inherent to the map because tying it to a gametype implies that the map could be played without the gametype and key attached. And to be totally honest, that's just not possible. You will never come up with a good key design that can just as easily be subtracted from the map and still 'works', it can't be done because then it's not designed around the key. And it needs to be built around it. It's not just difficult, it's literally not possible.
I wanted something that didn't screw over the team that wasn't using it, meaning there were ways to counter it by separating from your teammate and trapping the key player.
The distance of key shortcuts had to be proportionate to the effort it took to use them, meaning they couldn't cut you such a long distance that a player could just bounce back and forth on a door and be impossible to trap. You should be able to almost keep pace if you're moving at max speed, and opposite of your teammate.
There couldn't be any specific areas only the key holder could reach. This was problematic for a number of reasons, and there's some principle issues behind it as well.
Their had to be a way to limit the key ammunition, and then prevent players from using one key to secure the next one. This manifested itself in the 10 key uses, and then a key-burn teleporting that player to the dead end. This also means you could keep track of the enemy's key uses and counterplay accordingly, or trap the ported player in that dead end if you're moving accordingly and keeping track. This also birthed the 3 unique spawn locations for the key which ended up being really cool to fight over.
The distance between all 4 doors should be asymmetric so you could hear the enemy key player moving through them and gauge which one they were at just by listening to the pacing.
And most importantly, if a team using the key decided to hold out in a room and not use it (meaning, you didn't have access to any of the doors that would flush the room, there was no key spawning on the map to GIVE you access to them, and they could easily use them to escape) it had to be not just possible, but efficient to pinch and flush them out. Which means it's not just about limiting the path options, but the distance between the path options had to be quick in case of door hopping before their shields recharged and they could run away (not a lot of time).
The key player had to be viewable at a glance. This manifested into the key player glowing gold with the trailing fireflies.
All these limitations had to exist and STILL the key had to be the thing to have on the map, the defining element that you couldn't ignore.
Those were my self imposed conditions when I was designing Arcanum.
Every single suggestion I've seen in this discussion, and long before, on how to change the key mechanic or how to interpret it differently - have been blatantly worse in every way. Not different, just worse. If I made it a gametype, that had power weapons locked behind doors, and specific key only paths, or something "more easily implemented" it would be a patently worse experience in every way and I mean that. But like I said, if anyone feels otherwise feel free to prove me wrong, I'm open to seeing it and I love to be challenged and see great stuff. I heard a hundred claims of other key maps in production after I posted Arcanum and I've only seen two others be published. Red Death, and Bloodlet Throne. And it's not because the rest of you don't forge, you've all made a dozen maps since then.
Also, the Arcanum you all know is also the first version of Arcanum ever. I designed it, arted it, and had it scripted before ever running a single test on it. And after I tested it I published it without changing anything except the grenade launcher into a rocket. You're playing the first and final draft. If the key is possible to improve upon then again, be my guest. Build something better.
This is the kind of post that makes me want to never interact with you ever again in my life. Westin and I always do this when we play Arcanum against people. We joke about how good we are on it. It's funny. We do it to drive competition. To make you want to win. We were just having fun. How was this juvenile lol it's like you've never spoken to another human being in your life and have no idea how to interpret social interactions.