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|Map type:||Payload Race|
Hightower is a Payload Race map to be included with the Engineer Update as an official map. Along with Pipeline, it is the second official Payload Race map to be developed and released by Valve. However, it differs from Pipeline in that the map consists of only one stage, rather than three.
Your team must push your bomb cart through enemy territory, in order to reach the finishing point, whilst preventing the enemy team from doing the same.
- Hightower - The 'high tower' itself is a symmetrical structure at the center of the map. It is similar to the third and final capture point of Gravelpit, in that you ascend the tower through ramps on the outer edge and insides of the building. Halfway up the tower on the lower side is a medium ammo-pack, and on the platform at the peak of the tower there is a medium health-pack.
- The Crossing - The crossing is a point where the paths of the two carts cross each other. It is situated at the base of the central tower on the lower side, not far from the beginning of the carts path. The first initial push of the round will typically end here, and it is usually the focus of combat at the beginning of a round.
- The Ramp - After passing through the Crossing, the payload will wind past the open cliffs at the lower edge of the map, to a ramp located directly outside the enemy team's spawn. The payload must be pushed up the ramp all in one go, much like the hills in Pipeline 3, otherwise it will begin to descend automatically. The ramp is enclosed on all sides by the surrounding building, or 'ramp room'.
- Lifts - The eponymous lifts are two parallel moving platforms, on the upper side of the map. Once either teams cart reaches a platform, it will begin to raise (assuming there are still players standing by the cart). If all the attacking players are knocked off the platform or killed, it will lower back down to where it began. If a player from the other team jumps on the ascending platform, blocking the capture, the platform will halt until one side regains control of it. Once the platform reaches the top it will detonate the payload and end the round (effectively killing all players who were standing on it). The platform itself is quite small, only just wide enough to allow players to stand beside the cart. Also, if you stand below the platform when it lowers back down, it will automatically kill you.
- A popular strategy for engineers at the beginning of the round is to build a sentry alongside their team's side of the central tower, so that the progress of the enemy team's cart after it passes by 'the crossing' is interrupted. This may also serve as a suitable deterrent for any players from the enemy team who wish to flank the cart by jumping from the above balcony
- The ramp room is a popular sentry location, because of the vulnerability of players pushing the slow-moving cart uphill. Potential areas of placement include the awning above the peak of the ramp, and pressed up against the wall on the lower side of the map. Due to sentries in this area, the ramps are often where long stalemates between the teams occur. To move through the room, a couple well timed Ubers can be useful in taking out the sentries.
- Because of small size of the lift platforms, players capturing the point have barely any room to move. Because of this, they are incredibly vulnerable to fire from snipers, soldiers, and demomen. Other classes may reach the ascending cart by jumping to it from the top of the central tower. Pyros can jump off the balcony by their spawn and engulf everyone in flames without retaliation. Also, it may be helpful to have some snipers picking off players attempting to raise the lifts, situated at the bottom of the map by the cliffs, where they should be relatively undisturbed.
- Hightower is the second official Payload Race map, the first being Pipeline which was released with the Sniper vs. Spy Update.
- Hightower has been stated by Valve to be specifcally designed to encourage longer and more intense combat periods through with the ramp rooms.
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