I've mentioned it before, but these remain perhaps the biggest joke in the game.
Firstly, the spawn locations are completely unbalanced on many maps. I'll just consider the non-DLC maps:
YEMEN: the team who spawn in the middle spawn ON TOP OF the T-Bolt, and a few meters from the RPG. The two other teams have no chance of even contesting these weapons, and the middle team usually are 3 or 4 kills up (in a 20 kill game) within 30 seconds. This is by FAR the worst example.
FACILITY: the team who spawn on the top bridge can just jump straight across to the platform, pick up the Hammer, then drop on the other side and have the Mag (all achieved within 10 seconds, and uncontested). Anyone who knows this can kill the other four players on the map quickly.
SYRIA: the team who spawn right next to the middle building can split up, with one picking up the RPG (at least in this case one other team has an option to fire on them from distance), and the other climbing to the raised tower and collecting the T-Bolt. A good team who adopt these tactics will be able to negate any possibility of the other teams contesting the weapons.
LONDON UNDERGROUND: the team who spawn in the middle on one side of the raised platform can roll straight down and pick up the SAS, then run a short distance and collect the Mag (all within 6 or 7 seconds). This example isn't as bad as the others, as a good team can contest from a distance, but the pick up and escape with just the SAS (an absolutely dominant weapon on this map on 3TDM) can't be prevented if that is the only goal.
Secondly, the starting spawns are clearly not randomly allocated. On several maps, I know before starting which spawn I will start at, because I start there 95% of the time (and this has been observed over several thousand games). On Facility, I will almost always start on the top bridge. On Yemen, I will almost always start at the top of the stairs by the tower on the opposite side of the map from the RPG; on this map I will NEVER start in the middle. On Chateau, I will almost always start by the 4x4 at the front of the house. On Syria, I will almost always start at the very bottom of the long stairs up to the tower. Bearing in mind the team who starts at the 'middle' spawn (i.e the one that had to be placed specifically for this mode by ND) on any of the maps usually are very close to the power weapons, it's all the more absurd that these spawns are clearly allocated on a non-random basis.
All of this illustrates that ND patched together 3TDM with the minimum of effort and consideration. Bearing in mind the weapons are not the same on 3TDM as other modes, why couldn't ND find genuinely balanced places to place the power weapons. Why can't starting spawns be randomly allocated?
An easy solution: Remove power weapons from this mode.
By doing this, each player will be forced to use their loadout weapons to get kills meaning that where you spawn is no longer a big advantage to any of the teams.
Clicky clicky dis link to be scarred for life (Updated with more poison for your eyes!)
3TDM will always be unbalanced due to unfair spawns and on top of that, it's booster-friendly. They should probably remove it in UC4 MP.
I do like the idea of power weapons being toned down in 3TDM, so that you'd just get a Mag, a Pistole, a T-Bolt in a very exposed position, and perhaps a PAK. The RPG and Hammer, on top of ridiculously overpowered kickbacks, are just too powerful for this game mode.
I do agree it's tricky to set balanced starting spawns on maps designed for two teams at opposite ends, but I think it's possible on quite a few of them, and keeping the original two spawns and just adding another 'in the middle' was a lazy approach.
So ND actually did something about this (presumably by live update) in the past week! Good job!
I haven't played the individual maps enough to gauge to what extent they are now 'fairer,' but it's pleasing to see that an effort has been made in relocating some of the power weapons on some of the maps.
YEMEN: the starting spawns themselves have now changed. The middle team now spawns somewhere around where the Mag used to be (I don't know exactly where yet as I'm still constantly starting from the same spawn, but an opponent is now always at the bottom of the stairs (below the flat roof) at the beginning of a game). The Mag has moved, and I get the impression the RPG might have as well. The map hasn't come up enough (the 'average' player seems to vote primarily for LU, Desert Village or Chateau, I assume because they mainly involve close combat and thus blindfire and melee are more effective), so I have no opinion yet on how the dynamic has changed.
MUSEUM: the SAS has been moved from the middle of the top level of the main building (it is now at ground level in the recess next to the treasure chest in the middle of the map). The Hammer is now on the first raised level of the building next to where it used to be. Both T-Bolts remain in place. Again, I haven't played the map enough to work out how the starting tactic dynamics have changed, or what the optimal starting gambit is, but my first impression is that it does restrict the ability to quickly establish almost insurmountable camping positions (e.g. spawn in main building, climb to top level and pick up SAS, run and climb into tower and pick up T-Bolt, so can pick off enemies at range but anyone who approaches can be blasted with SAS). My first impression of these changes are that they are positive, though I need to start from the middle spawn to see whether it is fair for them (they have always had least direct access to the T-Bolts, and the movement of the Hammer might impact them).
I haven't noticed changes yet to any of the other non-DLC maps.
I'll try to update when I have a better grasp of how the changes have impacted gameplay.
Anyone else more clued up yet?