Shrunk down the area around 2nd point
Added resupply lockers to first spawn
Added drop down route to 2nd
Shrunk some stuff around mid
Opened up a building near mid a little
Added some windows for light to final
Added patches to ammo and health packs
Made the small health pack on final medium and added a full on the balcony
A7 Release - 11/14/13
Sorry for the lack of update notes, a lot has changed since a3
Opened windows at mid
New route to mid
Removed extraneous route around mid
Moved forward spawn at mid
Opened some windows overlooking 2nd
Added health and ammo on second
Raised final point
Added route under final
Added route to 2nd from mid
Added health under mid
Okay, let's see if I can type this out before the inevitable logoff---is there a way to stop that? HA, nope. This become really really long. Sorry.
I'll kind of assume the version you posted on steamchat was more or less an in-progress version, as it feels like there are major inconsistencies between red and blu side in terms of things you've added or detailed.
MID : I like the design of mid, and I can't particularly say much about it without playing it with people. One gripe I have is how small the buildings right on the point feel internally, but I realize you do that to maintain the walk-able roofs. If you wanted to make those buildings feel better and more playable I'd recommend increasing the width of the doorways so there is as little in the way as possible. I like the side buildings and the dip route from second. This is feels like the area you've put the most work into. SECOND : This area and in general the area between mid and last seem to be the most under-development areas, but also excessively open--as if you are still trying to decide what to do with the space.
This area is just simply too empty and open. It looks like you've started detailing the blu side, but not the red yet. However, even on the blu side there is still a very large space coming out of that route from mid.
If you do a 180 from this view the area around it is also relatively barren. This won't make for interesting combat, and generates a large sightline. Even with the large rock you've placed to the right (if I'm attacking second from mid) only blocks view to the point where there is already a wall. It might benefit the area to create a slope up along that section of ground that plateaus at the end close to the point. The slope is necessary so blu can still use the route to mid, but it also creates variation in the play area and a new angle of attack onto second. Even if you don't employ a height change, you need to reduce the total playable area of that flank (perhaps extending that building from mid along that route to block sightlines and generate cover).
It appears also that the area only has two routes from last into second and two routes from mid into second, this will result in easy defense and will make pushing between areas much harder (three routes seems to be the prime time).
You've also created two spots where only explosive jumpers can reach. Right above the cap, and the little building close to cap. While that roof of the cap building may have worked in gravelpit it may not work here (may be my personal opinion, but B always seemed to result in a turtle on gp and was kind of boring--turtling on 2nd of 5cp would be boring). The little building off to the side was a good idea, but it really creates a big difference of height when there is no accessible counter point for a scout (thinking comp again)---it gives a clear advantage and scout can't counter the position at all. ------ Maybe a better way to consider it would be to say that even though you've made height differences in the area around second, everything seems to play at mostly the same height, however the little building (as well as the point building) is way above the low ground and the low ground has no jumps or height differences that put people closer. Combining the previous suggestion of creating a slope out of the empty area would create a counter point to the small building though.
Here is right behind the little building. I remember you talking about your skill jump on the lamp to the right. The skill jump is now mostly hidden away behind the small building for any attackers on the approach, I don't really have a suggestion on how to improve the visibility of it though. Maybe adding a crate or something simple to the upper ground next to the window would aid in people making the window jump--or a light above the window illuminating it so people are more drawn to it. As for the door on the left in the picture. I think it completely slows the flow of the area and ruins any chance of it being a good spot for a push onto last, my suggestion would be to get rid of it.
This is an odd area, and I get the purpose it serves, but I don't think it needs to be that large/deep. A simple cubby-hole would suffice. Doing a 180 from the view angle we get the back wall, which is currently barren, but I saw you doing some detail work---that area feels next to useless/uninteresting besides the health/ammo. LAST : You've got a very short distance between last and second, on mostly level ground--but I wouldn't know if that's an issue because maybe you've got respawn times very small. Currently you've got two routes from second to last, and then three/four routes of attack into last from the push area/lobby. (I'm not really going to count the window because it seems to be more inconvenient to attackers)
This area is subject to the same open/empty issue that the flank route had on second (though it looks like you've changed it some on the red side)--really the main issue with this is the windows. Unless I turn around and run all the way back to the upstairs route, I am an easy target, completely visible. There is even a sightline from blu spawn to the stair way on the right of lobby, easy pickings for a competent sniper. Possible covering the window to the right would help people using the stairs.
The upstairs area is probably the best position as you can get the advantage on the enemy, but you sacrifice a lot of mobility choosing that area. And there is also only one health/ammo (both small) available in the whole upstairs and downstairs of lobby. I think the upstairs area has the potential to be a good attacking area, but lacks useful/convenient entrances and available health/ammo. To change this I think you need to completely remove that upper level door that I talked about previously, and also simplify the area. The area in general suffers from the same issues the flank from mid to second had--much too open. ----- It's like you've created a box and just attached routes to it and then added ramps wherever there was a height change. https://www.dropbox.com/s/kwa2xqxo0xe50yw/thinkoutsidethebox.png expert paint
Let's talk about the two upstairs routes first. The left one has cover, but it focused down to a small door, easy to spam. The right one has height advantage, no cover, and if you jump down you are basically committing yourself to win or death. I think the left needs an enlarged doorway, and a reduction of windows so that it can become a useful route to attack from. The right entrance can work as is if you improve the left, it has a nice balance of risk-reward.
As for the lower entrance, again there is no cover what so ever, making it a horrible idea to push through, but I just realized that if you removed the sliding door on the left of lower (as in keep the doorway, just removed the actually door), that will create an interesting path for the attacking team to possibly use or the defending team to get behind them. I don't really see red or even blu wanting to utilize that lower door/area. A larger issue I just realized is that all the entrances onto last are on one wall, there is no side route/flank.
Moving on to the general configuration of the point area itself, you've again made a sort of box however this time you just left it as a box...there isn't any cover what so ever...defenders would probably just sit in top spawn and wait...anywhere else is uselessly open---I could see your map forcing people to switch to sniper (like snakewater?).
You can fall down and get trapped back here.
This is probably just lighting issues, but from peripheral vision I could almost say it was red enough to be RED team or something.
I think this is mostly an in-progress build so I didn't take pictures of all the inconsistencies, but this stuck out to me. You have this rock/shrub on blu side, but not red.
Wrap-up: You've created a unique and interesting mid. I love the dip from second to mid as well, that route is cool to play around. Second can be interesting, but the area feels relatively uniform. Last is completely empty. Your use of height differences in mid is pretty superb, and seems to be all inclusive. Use of height in second is stale and gives all the advantages to rocket jumpers. Use of height in last is good, however the arena won't benefit from it. Mid is a complex space, whereas last is a simple box. Your current dynamic works the way it is, but has poor flow/pacing from second to last. It feels like as soon as a team would take second they could roll last as well, but you should at least be giving the defenders a chance to hold and even push out to retake second.
I think if you rework the interior of last to create a dynamic play area it will help the congestion of lobby and rebalance the area.
Word of advice, I come from an angle heavily influenced by the 6v6 competitive 5cp meta and some of my feedback may apply less so in pub environments. I realize you are not aiming to develop this map for 6v6, but a lot of the ideas and strategies used in that sort of meta are easily applied and used in pub environments as well. Take all of this with a grain of salt, but don't disregard it just based off of the fact I mapped for 6s and you're mapping for pubs. Here we go.
Ah, Sluice. Formerly known as Mill. It's an interesting map, strongest point would probably be mid. Second feels lackluster and last needs work. As far as I can tell, this map would play fairly slowly in 6s as both teams would choose to run sniper near full-time due to the sightlines poised on the map. There's a possibility that teams could choose to run two scouts alongside a roamer-switched-sniper, but that's theory crafting. Here's some hard analysis.
The Mid Point
The mid seems strong. Soldiers and scouts would have a field day due to the open air and height variance. Medics don't have any safe spots at all and would be constantly in peril during a midfight - potentially promoting very passive team play where medics sit back in the connectors to avoid getting bombed. This might not necessarily be a huge problem (see: process, that mid is incredibly open yet medics have it okay), that's just a warning.
Teams would most likely never choose to push through the lower entrance on the left, as the route to the right is much closer to the mid point and it is much higher up. This entrance doesn't feel useful for anything, it's not useful as a flank because it's entirely visible from both ends and there is no way in hell a combo would be pushing through it (especially into second, as there is a ledge defending scouts/soldiers can hide up in to pop uber early or kill the med):
They're also about the same distance from the entrance choke, so there is no reason to enter through the bottom route other than it being more visible to new players when first playing the map:
The water under your mid isn't a good thing. Only thing it does is give soldiers the ability to perform huge water-boosted rocket jumps that can span the entire point area.
Speaking of lower, this area with the healthkit is essentially a death trap. If teams are in any way competent and holding shack or planks, soldiers/demos/heavies can easily spam out anything coming from underneath without any sort of contest from the pusher. Essentially it nerfs the viability of using that route for anything but traversing after the fight has finished.
An observation: a good mid hold may consist of team members holding on top of shack watching the 2 main entrances and on top near fan, watching water. There aren't any places teams can peek into without being at a large height disadvantage.
The sniper sightline from enemy shack can cover all three entrances into mid while being fairly defended and easy to use: the team pushing into mid can't easily spam out the sniper and he has full reign over anyone peeking in any of those routes. Pair that with soldiers/heavies standing on shack/fan as seen above and you've got a mid hold that most likely isn't breakable with anything but an ubercharge.
There is a sniper sightline from water, usable if the team defending mid isn't in a position to hold forward on shack/fan, that covers a good portion of the mid and could be used to pressure the opposing team out of mid:
All in all, the midfight seems fun, but pushing back into mid after losing seems near impossible without an uber. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the holds are pretty strong.
The Second Point
Second is large, and long. There's a lot of walk distance that is covered by some wicked sniper lanes.
First of all: the sniper perch coming out of lobby encourages the team currently holding second (and being pushed into by the team holding last) to place themselves in very, very passive spots due to the amount of space the sightlines cover. Both of these pictures highlight potential forward holds the team could use if the perch wasn't so strong. In essence, this makes the second point play out in a "is their sniper alive or dead" sort of feel. Not something you should be going for.
Unless you hug the wall, entering from this side basically guarantees you'll be sniped.
Yard is a death trap to attack from, to push into last from (see feedback on Lobby and Last), and it a very large wasteland nobody really wants use. Metal bridge (the bridge leading from point to the cliff) and cliffside (the cliff coming out from the upper shutter) are both wildly more advantageous places to be in almost every situation (note that sniper perch and window covers metal bridge easily)
2nd feels like one of those "pile of stuff sitting on top of dirt", you know, those sort of wannabe-spires like Logjam has. Maybe rethink your detailing for the point, it's very... bland and standard looking as it is. Try to make it some sort of unique stand-out structure.
Here's a big issue with this point: there are only 2 entrances into 2nd, both are covered by the same sniper lane standing on the point, both lead into the same long approach area. It's not ideal and it feels like it really slows the map down. These walk distances are really, really long.
If you're not holding the second point with a sniper, pushing in is abhorrently easy due to the long approach and no easy way to hold forward against a team at mid. If the other team is running counter-sniper and you're not, you're screwed.
There's no reason to hold this lower ground at all, every route around it is more accessible, higher up, and won't lead you to death by spam and height disadvantage. There isn't any reason to use this route either, yard is useless and the lower ground has no flanks or advantages.
There aren't really any good hold spots for the team holding second besides directly on the point. All the area around the point suffers from being on the same level as the entrances into second, and being terribly far away from said entrances.
Overall, second is too large and doesn't have enough variance in choices of route from mid to second. Yard is pretty useless, and the sniper perch is insane, leading to one side of the area (cliffside and upper shutter) being used a lot more than the others.
Quick observation: these walls have asymmetrical detailing. Not a big deal, just something that could affect gameplay a little due to the indents being in different places.
The lower entrance into last is complete suicide unless the attacking team is rolling. There's no easy way from the lower door to the upper area in the last point area, and all spam from people holding upper (there is no way in hell they would hold lower) will be directed right onto you. Entering from lower shutter on second also leads you to be confronted instantly by anyone holding this staircase, leading to instant death:
Essentially, teams holding last would have a very easy time holding forward in the lobby. A hold might form something like this: main combo sits in upper main lobby, watching upper shutter. The flank holds staircase, watching lower shutter - anything jumping onto sniper perch can be easily destroyed by the combo in upper.
The window in upper lobby also gives defense a huge sightline over 2nd and a huge amount of uncontested visibility over the team trying to push in. Sniper perch does the same thing, albeit with a different (and arguably more powerful) sniper lane that can be easily retreated from.
The team holding last can easily bounce teams pushing through upper shutter around in the approaching room (since it's the only good route to use for a combo push), since the ceiling is low and the combo has to push through two doorways to enter into lobby:
This shutter doesn't need to exist, it's blocking no useful sightline and it only serves to make using the lower entrance even more of a bad idea by providing anyone unlucky enough to be behind it with no visibility into last until they walk forward and open the door.
Essentially, there's no flank whatsoever in this lobby - lower seems to be intended as a choke but it functions as neither, it's useless to push in from and it's the worst method to push out from. There needs to be some sort of flank in through this lobby, think snakewater or badlands.
The Last Point
Straight off, you should not be able to spam from spawn door straight onto point.
This path up from lower to upper is the only such path of its kind, and the nature of it (sunken back far) makes it only usable as a defender. You need to add some sort of easy method for attackers to bridge the height between lower and upper in last without having to commit so hard to a disadvantageous route:
This far corner seems a little too strong to hold from: sentries can be put here that can not be spammed at or seen unless attackers commit, and a medic can easily hide here free from spam in every way whatsoever. Maybe adjusting the entrances into last could help?
The sniper sightline from this upper area is impossible to contest if you're a defender sitting back: there's no easy way to spam the doorway, and it is impossible to access as defense holding far back. Also seen in this picture: the inability to see the above corner.
In my opinion, the windows peeking into last need to be two-way. One way windows only exacerbate the holding problem: teams holding last will have an impossible time anticipating any sort of movement by the enemy team until they're already far into upper. Plus, the defenders can't approach the windows at all to spam because they have no visibility while the attackers have full visibility. The attackers can see every move defenders make while the defenders see none of it. Think of someone watching you while you sleep, that's what this feels like.
Peeking in this far is a death sentence because defense can see you from a mile away while you can't see them at all until you're up in their face:
And that's it. Lots and lots of feedback. If you have any sort of questions about stuff I covered here feel free to message me or respond, but I think I covered it all pretty well and explained my thought process.