We need to talk about the map pool (TheViper)

Viper recently uploaded a video discussing the current map pool system. His main points are:

  1. There are many similar maps in the map pool that play out exactly the same. His perspective is that the current map pool has four fast castle maps and that “MegaRandom” generates five out of ten times as a fast castle map as well.

  2. His suggestion is to add more maps. He further comments, “Every single week, I feel like we’re seeing the same maps recycled in and out.” and he has the feeling that the whole year he plays the same maps over and over.

  3. While he is hovering over the Empire Wars ladder, he also suggests that it should be replaced by a 9 villager start ladder.

  4. His final suggestion is that whenever a tournament is ongoing, tournament maps should be rotated in the map pool.

My thoughts

  1. I agree; however, I don’t see how this could be changed without changing the whole map pool voting system or damaging the game in another way. Players are obviously going to vote for the maps they like, so there are two ways in which that point could be changed: by dev picks or by including only unpopular maps in the map pool voting. If you have maps like “Four Lakes”, “Hideout”, or any other popular map in the map pool voting alongside extremely unpopular maps, then the popular maps will always win. More importantly, though, I’m not even sure if I would consider this a problem (currently). There are 83 official random maps in the game right now, and I like about ten of them. When I queue, I ban and favor no maps, and this is completely fine for me because I still get maps I like or can tolerate around 90% of the time. However, this only holds true depending on how often I have to play a specific map. Playing “Islands” once would be fine; having to play it 20% of the time wouldn’t.

  2. Again, it is very difficult to change, but I generally agree. My main gripe with the current system is that it neither promotes variety nor the ability to pick your map. Players who don’t like to play “Arabia” or “Arena” but have another favorite map like “Hideout”, for example, usually need to wait several months before being able to play it in the map pool. However, the maps that get voted in are almost always the same.

  3. No comment on that currently

  4. I personally really hate most (unofficial) tournament maps I have seen so far. A lot of them feel extremely gimmicky as if the map creator was trying to force the players to do certain actions that would make the games more enjoyable to watch but not necessarily to play. If the devs find ways to make maps like “WW - Mired”

enjoyable to play and not become a micro-spam festival that is dominated by Mongols and Goths pickers every time, then I could generally agree with this suggestion.


What if they added a ‘random’ option, that would allow the game to randomly choose any of the entire map list?


Yeah, IDK what the exact solution should be, but I’ve been watching Hera’s “The Champions Invitational” and having a wide variety of maps seems to be nearly universally regarded as a big upside. So I definitely agree with the basic point. Variety is the spice of life.


Every time the map pool skews closed maps, people complain about how horrible everything is, yet when the map pool skews open it’s suddenly not a problem.

I do agree with his opinion that the map pools could get updated (and tournaments promoted) by changing the map pool to the ones of a tournament that’d be going on at the same time. It’ll bring variety and hopefully a mixture of different playstyles. Perhaps they can keep in the usual Big Maps like Arabia, Nomad, BF, Arena.

But hey, at first the voting was only done through forums and people wanted the voting to be in game, so we got voting in game. And now people are annoyed that democratically (with some dev meddling by giving the map options) more closed maps get voted in.


to do any actions of increasing the map diversity, there s sth needed to be improved.

the first thing is the sample map review function in the waiting room, able to show the the general resources u can get and also the resources distribution. We are not the pro that spending so much time to study those all weird maps, at least we need to have a rough concept of what such map looks like , how many sheeps, boar i suppose to have before the game start.

I dont see why this function cannot be included but when i first raised out this suggestion, bunch of the people against it saying it s not necessary, but i dont know why they ban such idea as it is helpful to new players and it s totally harmless to them.

such “old man” attitude defintely make the game goes downward bevause this game is already not new player friendly, talking about it s 2019 when the DE is launched, it s more likely a graphic upgrade and some balance changes made only, as a 2019 game, the interface, the functions, player stat display, are defintely a failure to me.


Some sort of ‘preview map’ button could be nice. Just a prerendered image of a map generation, that you could preview in the 60 seconds before the game starts.


yes, definetely a small change but a big help for players. and mostly it s totally harmless, especially we have so many different maps rotate in 1v1and tg, the mini logo doesnt really represent what it really looks like.

there are some maps that only have one boar that really bother me because i have totally no clue that the deers replacing the missing boar.

I really like 9 vil+2 house start concept. Across all build orders, 6 are always on sheep and 3 are always on wood. Things change only after that. Also it prevents waste of 2.5 min(6*25 seconds) minutes worth of ingame idle time which can be pretty good for fasten up game. Pros and many others in general doesnt like EW that much due to how important Dark Age is to a lot of civs. 9 villager start feels like a solution to that slow pacing issue of RTS games.

I love how it is posted this time, while it was always fine if there was 4x Arabia, but then under another name, but with some small tweaks. Nevertheless i would promote more variety in the map pool. Just go for some forces categories. Like always have at least 1 open map. At least one closed map. At least one water map. At least 1 hybrid map. At 1 nomad start map. If these things are fixed, then for sure you get more different maps in the map pool.

I dont really think this it was he meant. He kinda made two different points and you tried to combine them to one:

  1. He want more maps in the map pool itself. Not just 7, but more.
  2. The maps that are rotating are mostly the same. They dont really try out adding many new maps once in a while.

You mostly focused on 1, but i dont really know if that is really what we need. The current system works like bans for 1v1 needs to be less then # pool / 2. More maps does indeed mean more variety, which i like. But there are also other who want more control. So you need some balance between the two. I dont know if making the maps in the map pool greater is the solution.

I want to more focus on his second point. There isnt much variety in the map pool for voting and in the devs picks. Get some more variety there. There are many maps never featured. Why? The devs can also pick different maps as map picks and let on vote on the common ones. This way they can introduce new maps and add them to the rotation.

It seems like he got an idea i have posted here many times. So ofc i do agree. This is one way to introduce new maps. Biggest drawback is that most of these maps are made by the fan base and aren’t ingame maps. Maybe that isnt really a drawback, but it is a hurdle to put them into the game.

Not really sure. Yes, EW (and before DM too) didnt really atracked a lot of players. I dont really know if 9 vill starts will attrack a lot of players. I am not really sure about that.

I agree to give the map Bay (aka Pants) to the people.

I agree with Viper 100%. I hate the current fast castle turtle map pool and EW kind of sucks, there was nothing wrong with Death Match honestly.

More maps + more bans = More happy players


“Honey, where are my paaaaaants?”

My thoughts

  1. I agree; however, I don’t see how this could be changed without changing the whole map pool voting system or damaging the game in another way. Players are obviously going to vote for the maps they like, so there are two ways in which that point could be changed: by dev picks or by including only unpopular maps in the map pool voting. If you have maps like “Four Lakes”, “Hideout”, or any other popular map in the map pool voting alongside extremely unpopular maps, then the popular maps will always win.

The first problem is that the devs make a preselection. We should be able to vote for all maps.

The second problem is that the votes for losing maps don’t get stored for the next vote. This leads to the same maps winning again and again. But every vote should have at the end of the day the same success rate.

My suggestion is that all maps should be votable, and only the votes for the winning maps get set to zero for the next vote. This way it is only a question of time until all maps get played, although in case of unpopular maps it would take maybe 100 rotations.


Yeah I fully agree with this.

The 1v1 map pool often features “Arabia”, “Alternate Arabia”, “Arena”, “Alternate Arena” and “Accessorised Arena”. Then we get Megarandom, which leaves us with … exactly one map that could be genuinely different.

It’s boring. I’ll freely admit I don’t care much for the pre-walled-up maps: I love base building, and I feel like starting in a square of pre-built wall detracts from that. Buuut whilst I like playing Arabia, I don’t like the fact that I basically have to choose between Arabia-style and Arena-style with nothing in between.

So here’s my suggestion:

Create some map pools:
Sparse maps: Arabia, Atacama, Serengeti, Valley. Mabye Runestones and Scandinavia.
Fortress maps: Fortress, Arena, Hideout, Hill Fort. Mabye Aftermath and Ring Fortress.
Nomad Maps.
Island Maps.

And in addition, for teams:
Dense Maps: Black Forest and its variations.

Then, each time the map pool rolls around, one (1) map from each of these pools is offered. So you’ll always have Arabia or a map like Arabia, but never several maps like Arabia.

The rest of the map pool is then used for maps that aren’t in any of those pools. I agree that it should be bigger then it is currently. I’d keep the amount of bans the same.

I usually quite like Empire Wars, but its map pool is just the same maps. All the time. Over and over again. It’s really getting quite stale. I have a bit of an idea for this pool as well, actually:

Instead of always offering Empire Wars, have the ranked system be divided in “Conquest” and “Wildcard”. Where Conquest has the sorta-default maps, Wildcard can be EW, Deathmatch, Regicide or even… gasp… Standard?


Surely with twice the number of maps you should get twice the number of map bans + two favourites. Otherwise it doesn’t solve the problem Viper was talking about (too many fast castle maps).

One thing that should be said is that African Clearing, Fortress and Islands are not similar too Arena and Hideout.

So when Viper groups them together in opposition to the “diverse” Arabia, I think he has a narrowed view of diversity.

African clearing has a Nomad start, very high ressources and is extremely open. You have the strategic choice to collect risky free food sources or play safe with farms for example. You don’t have such a choice on Arabia or Arena for example, simply because there are no such food sources.

Fortress has Towers and Castles so a late game is much more likely than on Arena or Hideout.

Islands is obviously comletely different.

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Just make sure michi is never in the pool again. Such a braindead map. Everytime it is in we have to waste a ban slot for it. What’s the point of michi? It is like having a custom senario in map pool.

I dont really know if this is true. Personally i do like more variety. So for me it will be fine if we have more maps (and also more new maps that have never been in the map pool), but you also have a group which really enjoy only 1v1 Arabia. These lads will get less Arabia, so they dont enjoy this change. i also feel already the lack of impact from my bans on team games. Playing a 4v4 and being only able to ban just 1 maps. We can go up to 17 maps and go to 2 bans, but then it will be 1 out of 15. Getting your preffered maps will be much more rare. So i dont really know if people really like this change.

Yeah I was talking about 1v1. Currently 3 bans out of 7 maps. So that would mean 6 bans out of 14 which I think would be fine. Ideally I’d prefer infinite bans but I’ll take anything up to 50% bans as pretty good.

This has been addressed several times by a variety of content creators and pro players, yet the devs always ignored such simple change. Cant wait to see their reaction this time.