Using checkboxes you could queue for as many maps as you like at once, per map select all the configurations you are interested in;
The game puts you in each queue and looks for the fastest match. It remembers your preferences for next time. After being matched you get the option to chat (gl hf) and it will allow civ pick or random, the game tells if your opponent has picked or not (not show civ). When both parties choose the same option the game will start immediately. When one picks while the other goes random, the players are able to communicate their thoughts. The random player in this situation is in a disadvantage, so he gets the option to skip and the game will look for a new opponent.
The end screen [Victory] does not contain any buttons, not to immediately encourage the player to leave the game. Instead the popup dissapears after 5 seconds so the player can inspect the map and engage in post battle discussion. Players leave as usual via the upper right menu, which also features a rematch button that the players can use after agreeing upon a re.
- Freedom to pick maps. (+No bans)
- Democratic (Queue times in direct correlation to map popularity)
- Promotes map diversity without force. (Shorter queue times when selecting more maps)
- Larger possible variety of maps while keeping everyone happy.
- Fairness regarding civs, does not force uneven settings.
- Chat, community aspect.
- Rematch option
In this system everyone can be happy with their favorite maps in the pool, instead of being negatively impacted by their least favorite map. It would behave just like an automated lobby, providing speed and ease of use without taking away player choice.
~8 main popular maps, these could be accompanied by more (12-16) maps. Even ideas such as a rotating map pool would be possible next to the 8 popular established maps. The nice thing about this system is that more maps in the pool don’t significantly affect queue times, and you could never complain about long wait times since this simply means that not many people want to play map x with you.
Someone will say; but then all games will be arabia. In that case you could de-select arabia and you will quickly match with another popular map, there could be a mechanic in place that attempts to create diversity when you have more than one map selected based upon previous games.
Another will say; but the point of MM is that one cannot climb playing only a couple maps… Ofcourse the same could be said about often playing the same civs. However as competitive as I consider myself, I still believe that elo is merely a tool to assist us with fair matches. It should never be something that hinders our freedom, that argument is out of proportion when you consider what it asks us to give up. I believe AOE2 with its random map generation lends itself well for playing certain maps over and over again. And someone that wants to try a certain strat with his favorite civ, he should be allowed to as long as both parties agree ofcourse. If you realise that you cannot remove player preference, you understand that the current MM system will never be able to please a diverse community. I have not been convinced that playing all the maps in a map pool is a ‘must’ superior way of experiencing this game, or that it is the best and most effective way to learn. In contrast I believe that the map pool (and the lack of consistency it brings) can be overwhelming for new players. It is important to remember that as a player you have no direct controll over the map pool, so with the current system a player will be punished by each change they consider negative. The suggested system above is far more flexible and healthy for our community by respecting player identity.