I think the current spawn algorithm for neutral trade posts isn’t ideal because:
- Placing it randomly on the back side of the map ruins the trade-off that’s built into trade. The further it is from the corner, the worse the reward is. But at the same time it’s not any easier to protect because trade is inherently very exposed. Trade in 1v1 is basically only viable with the neutral trade post in the corner because that’s what it’s balanced around.
- Placing it in the middle is just completely useless. I’m not sure why forts has the neutral market in the middle, but ever trying to trade on that map is just insanely bad. I don’t think this is good design because it’s basically just a trap to ever try.
Compare those situations to the trade posts always being on the sides of the map. You retain the significant variety from the map gen and there are actual trade-offs with different generations; from safe but conservative trade from corners to corner all the way to risky but highly valuable trade going from the middle of the side to the opposite corner. It also pushes people to control space and gives another important thing to fight over towards the middle of the map. It would also give currently underused openings like Chamber of Commerce or Trade Wing Abba a significant boost in viability and make the choice much more engaging and skill-intensive.