: Reliable, enjoyable with a small-medium amount of players (the typical). Offers up enough variance in strategies with the main doors not being the fastest routes to mid giving options for alternate attacks either jumping up to the battlements early, or going through the water tunnels but leading to worse positioning in the center area.
The length of the center room also makes it interesting for attacking against snipers, since the height of the ramps in the room give you an advantage but not necessarily against the door exits (where snipers stand typically) because the snipers can easily just leave the sightline , and it becomes difficult to chase them. It's like, non-trivial combat, lotta depth to think about, which adds to the feeling of 'who knows how the round might end, even after I die', which is exciting and intense.
The other arena maps are also mostly good. Lumberyard is great, really cool fast height available, but I've like, played the map too much now lol. It's hard to say if it's worse than Well because I've just played it too much to find it enjoyable anymore? Same sorta deal with arena_nucleus or arena_granary. Good maps but played too much. haha
- Double Cross
: I don't really like CTF at all actually, the invasion-ctf from Converge is a lot of fun, but dedicating someone to stand idly by the flag 'just in case' some random guy comes by is boring, and I never want to be that guy.. But at least with doublecross all the lines going from the intel inevitably pass by where the main holds are up top, or at least the teams can revolve around to catch the person escaping by. Some interesting layout. My opinion of it is higher because I played it in the competitive match servers which made the combat more depthful.
3.a SYMM CP
- Probably Badlands
. I don't play a lot of competitive matches on symmetrical cp, and then pub matches are probably not a great representation of the strategies of them. Snakewater, metalworks, sunshine, and process have some good heights on them to interact with, and require a lot of team synergy and organisation to work with well, but I haven't played that personally, only seen in streams and things. Whereas badlands I have played since a lot of the heights at mid to take advantage of are simpler / faster to interact with / catch a grip on.
3.b A/D CP
: reliably fun after 10 years. these days requires several ubers to push onto the points, but the funneling effect of the tight tunnels and small controlpoint areas means teamwork manifests all the time on its own (without player interaction necessarily) and the game feels the most 'TF2'-y.
: was a toss up between lakeside or highpass. I think I can just stand to play lakeside for longer than highpass. Lakeside has a lot of team interaction, and gives that fun-for-me-at-least feeling of going into a battle, barely surviving and alone from your now-dead teammates, and then meeting up with another surviving group of teammates in the nearby area (point <-> inner room areas) and that shit is like the bomb, so fun.
Whereas a bit in highpass, which does feel like it has better balancing in spots for different kinds of class dynamics, I feel like I'm a bit too separated from my team, or it doesn't necessarily feel like I'm pushing with my team, rather I just scoot on past the point and go f*ck some shit up in the other team's battlement areas.
Lakeside has been fun for a really long time now too, and the theme is easy on the eyes, not easy to get super bored of it. Some cool details along the sideline areas!
: good amount of balance of scale, big enough with the two controlpoints that I don't feel totally f*cked for missing those fast scouts going past us.
: the tunnel areas restricting combat help a lot with the poor prediction from the other maps, when the mannpower maps are so open and wide it's like which class I am has no bearing at all on the combat, and it boils down to just sniping each other or grappling onto each other for shits and giggles.
Meanwhile with the tunnels on hellfire the powerups become the major prizes (probably as they should, right?), and they then offer up some gameplay you don't see anywhere else in the game - chasing each other with unique powerups, or somehow outsmarting the guy with the powerups.
Mannpower doesn't seem to offer a lot of teamplay though. I wonder if an a/d converge-ctf might help supply that, with the small tunnels to narrow its focus. Could be more enjoyable maybe.
, I guess..: I say I guess because I don't really like any official passtime maps, but at least district offers some solid engineer sentrygun placements which at least makes it feel like I'm playing TF2 somewhat, and lets me witness the noobs have somewhat of an enjoyable time since they have a reliably means to help their team win.
Middle of the map seems really wide and open. Pretty frustrating making a 'sorta push' with my team and it being totally nullified by some random honkey and running away with the main resource / throwing it away, while I'm stuck in the subway tunnels struggling to survive against annoying classes who'd rather kill me than help their teammates go after the jack ball thing... So at least the capturezone plays out somewhat okay..
: followed close by Borneo, probably. Badwater's last is hard and not super fun to attack, but its opening and middle sections are so reliable! Borneo's middle is a bit weird / too easy to push through. Like too instantly chaotic, somehow always our medics die from some random shit , like a pyro jumping in suddenly. Borneo's intro two points are very very solid though. Borneo's last is kinda not super fun to attack, but the theme over the map is great. Badwater seems just more consistently fun I suppose.
Swiftwater has some really interesting gameplay that isn't anywhere else, a bit spammy though. Detailing is kinda bleh too lol. Lots of weird detail that seems a bit random / not super thought out. It's an enjoyable map though, which means a lot.
Upward doesn't feel too organised , like the combat is pretty all-over , and I don't really feel like I'm often meaningfully pushing or attacking places with my team, I just somehow end up beside them. The combat spaces are probably just too big for my liking, like my individual actions have less bearing on the direction of the game, which maybe is too 'ego' sounding, but it's enjoyable when you get those important plays, or when you participate in them as a support class. Or even defending against such a play, even failing to, still fun. Upward doesn't really have those..
Barnblitz too spammy/too chokey on last. Pushing the first point as blue is not fun.
Goldrush is fun, but it is a bit spammy. Hard to enjoy the last stage cause you need very certain playstyles, which is probably not what you want to play on the final stage after such a long slog. The ending finale always feels a bit underwhelming somehow, like one team wasn't able to play their best in some way, and you just go "ya ,.. well.. eh.." before the map changes.
Blade's pl_pier should be official, it's good.
- Maybe Pipeline
, I really haven't played much of blade's Banana Bay to compare. His is probably better, but I know for sure in the past I've had some decently enjoyable team gameplay within Pipeline... That stage 2 with the doors that open after a time is really interesting. There are some good defensible positions too that you can/have to dedicate some time to go take down, but once they're down it's hard for the enemy team to set them back up, which is cool. Feels a bit like the gameplay of thundermountain.
. somehow feels exactly my-style of gameplay
- Mann Manor
: pretty much the only halloweeny mode that I can enjoy without heavy gimmicks overlayed on top - of course there's theming and the HHH, but those feels like supplements rather than the hooks. The theme is good and comfy though!
I feel like my tastes will change over the years, but so far it's this more or less.