Guide to playing in Madness effectively
Overview: Madness is a quite a popular map, especially for XP/BP DM battles. Amateur parkour enthusiasts also frequent the map thanks to the many opportunities it offers to jump off of cliffs.
Battle Modes: DM, TDM, CTF, CP
Size: 20 players, 10 vs 10
Madness is a large and open map, to say the least, with a massive tangle of platforms and ramps above a perforated floor. The map volume is comparable to that of a cube, spare the higher platforms covering more sqaure area than the lower floor. Since it's such a huge arena, many supplies are scattered to and fro, especially on the floor with many holes. Drive safely, wherever you may be.
Railgun and Hornet / Wasp does considerably well on this map due in part by a combination of the hull's excellent speed and maneuverability and Railgun's high damage output per shot, dealing critical damage to other small hulls and possibly scoring one hit kills. This combo is best suited to the highest part of the map, as you have an incredibly open view and can hit many places below you. Just be sure that you're being observant enough to avoid being a target for others. If you can, find a Double Power/Armor box, as both of these will extend your life (and sequentially, your kill streak) for much greater durations of time. If you tend to take the medium and lower platforms more often, watch your step -- this map isn't for the faint of heart when it comes to driving. The light hulls' swiftness can often act as a double-edged sword, sending you careening off of the edge of the map despite your efforts to slow down. This is especially true with Hornet, as it has a tendency to skid around when moving at high speeds.
Smoky / Ricochet and Viking can dominate the lower area, should you play your cards right. Both of these mid-ranged weapons have excellent impact forces, making you difficult to fight so long as you shoot first and accurately. You can also use the high recoil to knock enemies off of the platforms while within the maze. This is child's play when you're fighting the Wasps and Hornets that thrive up there, though it's worth noting that you're likely to become a target for long-ranged combatants so long as you stay in their domain. Viking provides a stable support for the high-recoil gun you're using, sporting acceptable speed and health as well. Speed Boosts aren't as dangerous to a Viking, since it has one of the better acceleration and reverse acceleration rates in the game (14.94m/sec² and 17.65m/sec², respectively), giving you a set of tight controls to work with.
Shaft and Viking – In the right hands, this combination can be absolutely deadly. Viking is one of the best pairups for the sniper, since it has that low profile design that Shaft loves so much, excellent stability, and relatively decent speed if you need to evacuate the area for whatever reason. While Viking isn't exactly the type to leave their trackers in the dust, it can make a nice getaway to a better sniping position if the urge pops up, or at least grab that Double Power over there before that Titan / Vulcan does. The same rules of engagement that work for Wasp / Railgun apply here: find a vantage point, stay out of sight, hit fast, and hit hard. You will need to find a good spot to camp that has an open view but is quite secretive, preferably away from teammates (only in TDM). Hiding your laser is the key to getting anywhere with this combo, as players across the map will begin to panic and jump like lemmings from the ramps should you reveal it too early, losing out of many potential kills.
Both bases in Madness are quite open and can be attacked from above, so long as they're skilled enough to aim properly. Since the flags are on opposite corners of the map, extended out into space, there's only one way to get in or out. By this logic, it's fairly easy to defend these flags, having you opponents being funneled before you. Depending on what allies you have, offense of defense has varying importance.
For invading the opponents' base, you would want to stay out of sight for as long as possible before sprinting for the flag. What better way to do that than skydive straight into their base? Selecting a few platforms to fall from and land in the midst of the flag can save you valuable health and time that you'll need to escape their side. However, take note of where you're falling in relation to where the solid portions of the map are. It'd be in you and your team's best interest to not fall directly into one of the various holes in the floor or simply land upside down because you hit one of those struts the wrong way.
The lower part of the map is very open, therefore, it's very friendly to players with range that can't get enough of their space bar. Accordingly, it'd be best to minimize the amount of time you spend down there, should you not have range to fight back with. (Firebirds and Freezes don't always tend to do fantastic in Madness. Mid- to long-ranged weapons are a necessity if you don't want to get mailed home in a box.) Once you have the flag, avoid enemies and try get as close as you can to your teammates. That way, if you die, someone is right there to take the flag and pick up where you left off. It’s recommended that you use Hornet, Hunter and Viking, as these three hulls have a great balance of speed, weight and health. However, for extreme defensive purposes, a Mammoth / Vulcan has a place camping directly on your team's flag.
A massive map and many points make for a constantly fluctuating match. The primary focus points for each team are going to be on the ground, since everyone can agree that the spawn points for both teams tend to mix frequently, causing many to jump for the ground. While the control center is typically on the ground, this doesn't mean that the top is ignored, either. At least one of the points is likely to be guarded by a heavy hull with a ranged weapon, while the remainder bounce between the light hulls wandering the higher sections of the map. If you have something that can push players away from their points (Ricochet, Twins, Smoky), you can effectively steal huge portions of the map with little to no resistance.
However, the fight below won't always be as simple. Since gravity pulls objects down, the battlefield below will constantly be a mess, with tankers ripping each other apart everywhere. This is probably the only instance where a purely close-ranged weapon would be recommended, as to have the upper hand in the sheer bedlam of the lower floor. Players congregating around points will have much trouble taking out a weapon that can spray multiple tanks at once, and the results of that combat can scar them until they're finished off by the next teammate that comes along.