Justin Rouse, Designer on Halo Wars, talks about his strategies on Docks.
Iterations: The_Docks, our city map on arcadia world, was a difficult map to create because we had to stick to our core gameplay which did not include any building to building fighting which is the usual type of fighting style you see in city based conflicts. We also placed a rule on ourselves that because this map was on Arcadia, in a pristine UNSC city it couldn’t have large forerunner structures in it nor could it have the look of a large covenant presence. This limited the designer of the map a lot because it took away a lot the available in game “hooks” we had available to add to gameplay. What we settled on was a large section of the city of “Pirth” that conveniently had only one passable location in the center to move between two sides. We also added a few covenant towers to help defend this large choke point that can give some flavor to the large battles that usually occur in this location.
Tactic: Because of the choke point and decent travel time from one side to the other early in the game, it’s pretty safe too boom up. This is why I really like using Cutter and elephant/marine rushing on this map. If I can setup my Elephant near the enemy bases and get it pumping I can slow down their boom sometimes, even keeping them off the open base location near their start area while my partner boom/techs freely. This tends to leave me behind the curve a bit but I can still get to ODST’s and just support my teammate until we can get the win.
Duncan Stanley, Community Manager for Halo Wars, on Docks:
Docks was a map that I hadn't really playtested much on during development. I was usually playing Campaign missions or 1v1 games, so I never really got into many 2v2 matches. When Halo Wars first launched I was online playing Multiplayer games every night after work to get out there and talk to people in game and get a feel for how the Community was going. I was doing pretty well, about 14-0 in 1v1 games, when all of a sudden I found myself on Docks. It's a 2v2 map, but due to a glitch was in the 1v1 hopper for a time. While the game was loading, I looked up my partner's game stats on HaloWars.com so I could see what he had built in previous games. This tactic was usually pretty good, as I could build a counter without even scouting!
Unfortunately my tactic only works if my opponent doesn't adapt to my strategy. I had pumped out a few Flame Marines and built a turret and was waiting for resources to expand to one of the many free bases on docks when my opponents Brute Chieftan showed up with a few packs of Brutes. A melee ensued and my units got crushed by his skillful micromanagement and kiting. I was pumping out more marines, and my turrets were having an effect, when a Banshee showed up, and then another, and then another. I had spent too much time countering his ground units that I had completely forgot about the huge wall in the middle, and the necessity of air units. To end this quickly, he wrecked me. I was too confident that since I knew what he was going to try, that I didn't really try to adapt. So don't be too confident!