Vexal Tower Defense - Description
Vexal Tower Defense is a custom level for Starcraft 2. I started working on the the map during the Starcraft 2 beta prior to the game's release, and was released to the public the day Starcraft 2 was released. Vexal Tower Defense was consistently listed in the top 20 most popular custom levels for online multiplayer for the two years since I originally released the level. At various points in time, the level was listed as high as the number 1 most popular level for online multiplayer. Vexal Tower Defense maintained a dedicated community of thousands of players at its peak popularity, with hundreds of players playing at any given time.
The concept of Vexal Tower Defense is simple. Its gameplay reflects the classic Tower Defense from the era of early Warcraft III. Its success can likely be attributed to a combination of simple but refined gameplay, and my obsessive attention to detail. Each tower would take at least six to eight hours to perfect, and great care was taken to ensure each tower and race had a unique role and fit into the game, as well as having an initial "wow" factor when the player sees each tower for the first time.
As well, being one of the first Tower Defense maps to be released for Starcraft 2, certain elements of its gameplay were very novel at the time. It took advantage of capabilities of the level editor that didn't exist in Warcraft III, such as persistent stat tracking and the ability to unlock new towers for use in future matches. The levels were designed to always surprise the players and constantly force them to be at their best. I made sure that unless the entire team worked together and did every single thing perfectly, they will lose.
Many players complained that the game was too difficult, but the extreme difficulty and lack of an "easy" mode made victory much more satisfying. When I was a kid, my dad would ground me if I used cheat codes in DOOM. I don't enjoy games that are beatable without intense frustration. Victory should be earned. While a large amount of players refused to attempt the game due to this, the target audience for the level enjoyed it much more.