Terra Therma has been a long time coming in my book. It is the first map that really forces teams to utilize role warfare. The first map to require communication just to survive. An ideal map for individual lance movement. And the first map that makes slow, hot sniper builds a little uncomfortable. In short, Terra Therma is the best map at mitigating all that is wrong with MWO right now.
You see it all the time. You may have have muttered it yourself a time or three. “Oh great Terra Therma, another cap race! There’s nothing to do but sit at our base or lose.”
Terra Therma is the first map to take scouting seriously. Sure, we have plenty of big maps, but they all have incredibly forgiving lines of sight. On Alpine you can stand on a mountain peak and basically see the entire map. Tourmaline has only a couple routes and wide open lines of sight. Terra Therma, on the other hand, has these bloody volcanoes blocking everything! This means you have to go out and actually do some decent reconnaissance.
Remember how I said Alpine and Tourmaline are different because their huge lines of sight while Terra Therma doesn’t really have those? That’s true, but there are smaller ones. The key to scouting this map rests in discovering the spots that give you a clear lane from where you’re standing to the out of bounds line. The lava rivers tend to be pretty good but there are many others. If you can get there, it can effectively shut down half the map for cap rushers.
There are probably better places, but this is where I go and scout in my slow Hunchback (red top right spawn, teal for bottom left spawn). Ideally, you want two dedicated scouts if your team goes middle, but even one scout can greatly improve your team’s chances.
For those scouts with jump jets, I suspect there are some peaks on this map that give you even better lines of sight. Test it out in the training ground and you may find something even better.
Terra Therma is a hot map, which means it pays to be cool. However, what really makes Terra Therma a bad map for snipers, and a good map for the rest of us, is the terrain. Line of sight is often so reduced that not only is it easier to close the gap, but it is harder for them to camp one spot for most of the match. To top it all off, the dark terrain color makes it easy to blend in. This is especially important for the ECM inclined.
One of the funny things you all have probably noticed is that many players are often so desperate for big open spaces they tend to run straight into the middle platform. Unfortunately for them, the middle is probably the worst place to fight from on the entire map. There is next to no cover, you can get easily flanked, and it’s possible for a smaller force to trap you in there. When that happens, the only way out is to leap into the lava. That’s fine for faster mechs, but slower mechs will often find themselves easy pickings while they try to navigate out.
I imagine the next few weeks are going to be a little rocky for some. Despite the rhetoric, a lot of people are quite comfortable with the current meta. They don’t want to deal with proper scouting and communicating with people outside of teamspeak. They just want to deathball in their PPC/LRM armada until the enemy comes into their crosshairs. Still, I’m confident that Terra Therma will force a change that is good for the overall health of the game. Other maps are either too open or too small. Terra Therma is big, complicated, unforgiving, and a hard to play map.
Adapt or die.