Listen, Valve, we’ve had our good times and our bad times. I’ve seen you do great things, and I thank you for getting me into Team Fortress 2. But I have one problem with our relationship. And I’m not talking about the overpriced-sombrero you have up for sale on the TF2 store. No, It’s not about Snowplow being cut either from the End Of The Line Update. It’s simpler than that: I’m talking about the frustrating, infuriating, impossibly hard; Hightower.
OK, I may need to explain why everyone in the community hates this map. But for those who are not familiar with the map, or the Payload Race game mode, I’ll start with you. Hightower is a Payload-Race map in which both RED and BLU teams are assigned a payload (bomb-cart) in their teams respective colours. First team to deliver their payload to the opposite teams base wins the round. Win 2-3 rounds and you win the Payload Race. Unlike Pipeline & Nightfall, which adheres to these rules, Hightower has only one “round”. Thank goodness too.
Now for why people hate it. It’s not badly made, not in the design sense anyway. Both payloads go through the courtyard, overlap tracks into each teams base, on a hill, then up to a precariously slow lift. If you’re looking for a well-balanced map, then look no further than Hightower. No, It’s because It’s too well-thought out. Hear me out, I know that’s sounds crazy.
On every map, There are always points in the map with weaknesses: very few sniper posts, confined space; so you can’t rocket jump everywhere, and even hazards. This gives both teams tactical edges in maps such as 2fort, a haven for Scouts and Snipers, and Turbine, the best place to hone your Engineer skills. Hightower combines all the point’s I’ve just made into one knuckleduster of a map. The sniper’s posts are parallel to each other, so either team can shoot each other (Or the opposite team’s payload) down, the engineer can set up a Sentry Nest within their own base, which the opposite teams Payload has to go through. not to mention giving easy access to metal and health. Soldiers and Demoman (Demomen?, Demoni?, demomans’s?) can Rocketjump/ Sticky Jump around the tower. The list goes on and on and on…
To make matters a bit worse for those watching from the outside (or better in my case) , Hightower has a halloween variant, aptly named “Helltower”, which is legitimately easier than it’s original counterpart. I spend more time on this one than on the original Hightower for this reason. Helltower, for those not familiar, has you pushing the opposite Teams’s Dead Employer (Blutarch [pronounced “Blu-Tark”] for RED, Redmond for BLU, both obsessed about Gravel) to “Hell” by means of a crack in dimensions…which is conveniently 10 feet off the ground. Like with other Halloween maps, you use spells littered around the god-forsaken map to your advantage. Those spells actually balance out the gameplay to such a level that it’s significantly easier to win in a much shorter time.
I suppose the real problem is that it forces the two teams to have as much contact between the two teams as possible. You can’t go very far on Hightower without running into the enemy team (or it’s payload). I don’t rant too often on matters that refer to Team Fortress 2, I don’t want to either. But I needed to get this problematic map out of my system. Normal service resumes soon.