For a while I sometimes will think to myself "How is it that I can make a balanced map but I can't balance anything in the races?" The question might have popped up for some of you at least once or twice, and at first it feels like a contradiction. I mean, if you know how to balance the game of starcraft, then surely you would know how to make a balanced map, right? But it's the complete opposite. I can present a well-tested, properly-balanced map, but I can't tell you how to fix the marine, and yet somehow I'll know how a marine can be used, or how the marine will benefit more or less to every piece of terrain I create in the map editor.
Why is this? For us map-makers, do we just overlook gameplay balance, look at the everyday use of each race, and say "okay, protoss will usually clump their army up and use force fields, so how do I make this piece of terrain work for them but also for zerg and terran?" Sometimes it boggles me and confuses me a little.
We might take other obvious facts into account, like golds are terran-favored, so don't add golds to your map. Or, don't make the map too open, because that favors zerg, or don't make the map too chokey because it favors protoss. When thinking generally about the overall gameplay on everyday basis, it feels like there are so many restrictions, and therefore makes all oncoming maps extremely standard, generic, and often repetitive (that's a mapping discussion which I will not go into).
So what is the difference between the two perspectives regarding map balance and gameplay balance? Do they have any relationship with each other? Do they inter-connect or correlate in any way? Does one benefit over the other? Does being in diamond, masters, or grand masters really make a significant difference in how you create a map? Does playing really matter at all? I mean, there are a handful of exceptionally balanced maps that were created by bronze and silver players.
So I thought i'd bring this topic to the table of mappers and see what the minds of map-makers have to say about it. When you create a map, how is it that you somehow know that what you're making is balanced? Do you think about how the game is played to further your map-making decisions? Do you play regularly and use replays or your own playing abilities to guide you in your map-making? Or, is it just common to believe what high level players say because somewhere in the back of our minds, they must be correct and therefore that's how we should make maps?
This is an open discussion, and i'd be glad to see what both experienced and novice map-makers have to say.