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Getting familiar with maps is an important part of most RTS/FPS games. In most games, certain maps are more popular than others, and I assume that's also true for SC2.

I'd like to know which maps are played most often so I can focus on learning those as I start with multiplayer. I saw a related question from BlueRaja, but it was about training maps. Clearly I'll form my own opinion over time, but I like to study things as part of learning a game.

Is there a site or service that monitors gameplay and will give me an easy, factual answer--if not for all StarCraft 2 matches then for a good number of matches?

If there isn't, can anyone think of another way to find out? I'd be happy for a consensus from experienced players, though maybe that drifts too far into the subjective.

In case the answer varies by country and play level, ideally I'd like to know for US maches and low-level players.

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From my experience its all randomized, other than choosing 3 maps you would prefer not to be on, it could be any Blizzard map that meets the number of players criteria. –  jblaske Sep 10 '10 at 22:57
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Also, I think "learning the maps" is less important in SC2 since you are given a preview of the map before you start, and because you can see the whole map as soon as the game starts (ie, the fog of war is translucent). –  Wikwocket Sep 11 '10 at 1:09
    
Good point, @Wikwocket. My head is probably in FPS land, where the maps are more asymmetrical, intricate, and initially-mystifying. While I'm spending some time fumbling around with untried SC2 maps -- ramp number and locations, best expands, and the like -- on the whole they seem more symmetrical/balanced and intuitive than in many other games. –  Feral Chimp Sep 12 '10 at 1:58
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

When you play online you don't have much control over the map you will play. You can veto some maps off but in the end, it doesn't really matter whether the map is really played a lot or not, just your personal preferences.

In tournament, a popular map choosing technique is that the first map is decided either randomly, or every 1v1 starts on the same map. In Starcraft 1 Lost Temple has been chosen like this a lot in the early days (later on, it has been judge a little imbalanced because blocking the ramp gave the terran players a slight advantage).

After the first map, either the winning (rarely) or the losing (much more often) player would decide which map is to be the next. I'd say that most of the time, a 4 players map for a 1v1 is prefered since it gives each player much more territory to expand. Sometimes, they will choose "Steppes of War" in a "I want to rush you" fashion since it is the map where the spawning spots are the closest of the whole map pool.

So, on Battle.net, the maps are random so personal preferences don't impact the game much. Some maps are better for some races or some strategies (large choke points = harder to block = easier to rush).

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The most commonly played maps (and the best maps to learn if you want to play multiplayer) are the ladder maps. They're the maps that are used the most because most multiplayer games played online are ladder games.

You can view which ones they are (they are known to change infrequently) by going to the multiplayer menu and selecting "map preferences" (the maps change based on how many people are playing).

The 1v1 maps are the ones you will probably see the most, because most of the competition occurs at the 1v1 level.

1v1:

  • Blistering Sands (2)
  • Desert Oasis (2)
  • Scrap Station (2)
  • Steppes of War (2)
  • Xel'Naga Caverns (2)
  • Kulas Ravine (4)
  • Lost Temple (4)
  • Metalopolis (4)
  • Delta Quadrant (4)

2v2:

  • Arid Wastes (4)
  • Discord IV (4)
  • Monlyth Ridge (4)
  • Scorched Haven (4)
  • Twilight Fortress (4)
  • Tarsonis Assault (4)
  • Tempest (8)
  • High Orbit (4)
  • War Zone (4)

3v3

  • Arakan citadel (6)
  • Colony 426 (6)
  • Dig Site (6)
  • Frontier (6)
  • Monsoon (6)
  • Quicksand (6)
  • The Bio Lab (6)
  • Ulaan Deeps (6)
  • Typhon (6)

4v4

  • Extinction (8)
  • High Ground (8)
  • Lava Flow (8)
  • Megaton (8)
  • Outpost (8)
  • Sand Canyon (8)
  • Toxic Slums (8)

FFA

  • Kulas Ravine (4)
  • Lost Temple (4)
  • Metalopolis (4)
  • Tectonic Rift (6)
  • Quicksand (6)
  • Abyss (8)
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Ideally, we should be able to link to a page on the official Starcraft 2 website with a list that stays up to date with anything Blizzard changes. I could not find such a page, and lacking that, I wonder if this link will be updated: shacknews.com/onearticle.x/64920 This page also includes pictures. –  WillfulWizard Sep 12 '10 at 22:02
    
@WillfulWizard That link is a news posting. I think it's unlikely that they'll update it. I tried to give directions on how to find the current maps, as that won't change. –  McKay Sep 13 '10 at 3:33
    
Yeah, I didn't look to closely into the link I had. (Figured it would still add value with the pictures.) Explaining how to look it up should certainly be there too, (I did upvote your answer) but I can still hope and dream of BOTH an explanation and a link. :) –  WillfulWizard Sep 13 '10 at 5:37
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  • Lost Temple, a classic map from SC1 that also made an appearance in Warcraft III. One of my favorites as it has some very good terrain for all races to take advantage of. There's also a few strategies that are used almost exclusively on this map, like the Protoss Forge Fast Expand.
  • Metalopolis - it seems 50% of HDStarcraft broadcasts are on this map. Really rewards aggressive play and map control.

These are the maps that seem to be the most requested when I make custom 1v1 matches.

Otherwise, just look at the list of maps that are in the ladder pool. You'll be playing on almost all of these pretty equally.

Alternatively, Agria Valley because it's alphabetically first on the custom game creation list so lazy people just choose it.

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Thanks, I'll check those out. (And LOL on the Agria Valley tip. Playing against lazy people sounds like a great way to start. :-) –  Feral Chimp Sep 11 '10 at 0:24
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From what I've seen from the GomTV TG GSL so far (and what I've played),

-Blistering Sands

-Desert Oasis

-X'el Naga Caverns

-Delta Quadrant

-Scrap Station

-Metalopolis

-Lost Temple

-Kulas Ravine

In no particular order. These are the ones I have either seen being played on or requested be excluded (due to a particular advantage or disadvantage).

And assuming you're asking about 1v1 only.

Cheers!

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