The three maps that don’t get a lot of love and I find are often trash talked by streamers and 1v1 ladder players. Black Forest, Boulder Bay, and Archipelago.
Before beginning, I do think that some maps are better suited for 1v1 experiences. Opinions are great, but when one popular 1v1 or pro player says, “this map sucks”, “choke points suck”, “water maps suck”, I think a lot of players (not all) take this information as truth without making their own opinion on what they like or dislike about the game. Now a large population thinks these maps suck because of this and has worsened dodging. It’s gone all the way to the devs removing certain maps from queues. I can’t recall the last time I’ve played a Archipelago team game, and I miss it.
I think things will change for the better once we have map pick/ban options for the queue, and will improve the overall enjoyment of the game. I believe that’s coming soon?
Diversify your style with the game and the boring “open map” idea.
This applies to all players. I don’t care if you’re a 1v1, or 4v4.
Not every map has to be that open map. Do you eat pizza everyday? You might. Change your style, you will enjoy the game more. It’s what makes games great, having that variety. I love choke points, and having those long battles to where the levee is eventually breached. Some don’t, I get it, but learn to deal with it. I don’t like open maps.
This map is one of my favorites. I think those that dislike this map are hung up on this idea of not being able to get to your opponent because of the narrow interconnecting lanes and walling. It’s a different style of play, but there are several interconnecting lanes to your enemy. I don’t understand the hatred, but I think it stems from 1v1 ladder players trashing it because they hate walls. It was the same story in AoE2. It’s like these opinions are passed down from generation to generation. Those who hate walls, don’t wall, and they should (unless you’re a Mongol player of course).
A lot of 1v1 players hate this map, but I think they are not diversifying their strategy enough. They are stuck in this open land meta mindset - I eat the saltine crackers for food everyday and drink water! I’d consider even a good player on the ladder to be less of a player because of this closed mindset. The map produces amazing matches with the battle for water and sacred sites. Especially that sacred site with the cliff, and the one only accessible by boat.
Earlier on around game release, I had one of the best 1v1 games on this map. Even with team games, I remember we lost a 4v4 because we did a wonder build without considering much defensive units against siege. It came down to seconds and was exciting. I’ve heard that they’ve improved battles on water, but I haven’t tried it because it’s removed from the queue, and I don’t want to do AI skirmishes with island maps.
In conclusion. Players should form opinions rather than following blindly the opinions of others. It can make a game worse, and we’ve seen that with dodging and less maps in the queue.