Red = banned in tournaments.
Yellow = banned on the first round.
Upper half is singles, lower half is doubles. The rules have changed since this image was made, too; Rainbow Cruise, Jungle Japes, Great Bay, Green Greens, Corneria, Brinstar, Mute City, Poké Floats, Mushroom Kingdom II, and Kongo Jungle are now banned.
A gaming community's refusal to congregate in any but a few choice arenas for play. Certain levels are played on over and over again without any deviation due to people either knowing a certain stage well or the level requiring a certain amount of skill and knowledge to get around on, which filters out people who never played on that level before. A type of Complacent Gaming Syndrome
These tend to be Fixed Floor Fighting
stages, as Free Floor Fighting
adds a layer of randomization.
However, for competitive tournaments, this is often enforced by the rules, and for good reason — many games with a tournament scene have particular levels with exploitable bugs or a lopsided advantage toward a particular side or character.
For players who look down on anyone who likes playing on anything but a few set stages, see "Stop Having Fun" Guys
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- This is also seen in GunZ. A good 70-75% of all fights take place in the "Mansion" Arena.
- Usually in Bomberman games, many players prefer the normal battle mode stage.
- The English-language version of Dynasty Warriors Online suffers from this. There are at least 30 weapons, roughly 11 maps, 5 vs game modes (excluding showdown, which can be played only at certain times, Campaign, which is Basically 3 of those vs game modes you can normally play but with land at stake, and Defeat commander, which you can only get randomly), and 2 Singleplayer/Co-Op modes. Despite all this, People only play in Confront, use, at most, 6 of those weapons, and only play on plains.
- Final Destination from the Super Smash Bros. series is infamous among casual players. Many wannabe tournament players mistakenly feel that a completely flat stage, devoid of obstacles, is completely balanced and shows a true test of skill between players. In reality, it just gives the advantage to higher-tier characters with powerful long-range attacks, like Fox with his blaster and Pit with his arrows, since there is nothing blocking their shots. Battlefield is rather considered by pros to be the most balanced stage and is the standard model to look at when judging other stages. Predictably, fan hacks like Project M attempt to make more stages viable for tournaments by removing the more powerful and luck-based elements from them, and may have a stage even more balanced than Battlefield in the form of Pokemon Stadium 2, which is like Battlefield with the top-center platform removed.
- As the first game, the 64 version has the fewest available stages, most of which have a significant element of luck prompting even some casual players to cut arenas from the already short list. Compounding the issue, three of the "cleanest" levels out of the game's twelve are Final Destination, Battlefield, and Meta Cavern, all of which are available only in the 1P mode outside of hacking.
- Nintendo had become aware by Brawl that lots of people would only play on Final Destination when fighting other players online, which made random match ups extremely boring for anyone looking to play something casual or at least a level that wasn't Final Destination. Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS boasts 2 modes for online player to address the trope; "For Fun" lets you play on any level BUT Final Destination and items are enabled while "For Glory" only has Final Destination as the playable level, along with items turned off.
- In the fan patched netplay version of Guilty Gear X2 Reload, a lot of players tend to choose Slayer's stage even though stages really have no impact on gameplay in this game. To elaborate, Slayer's stage is a large open cathedral-looking area with a gigantic bearded skeleton wearing armour in the background. It is likely because they want to hear Slayer's admittedly cool theme tune
- Before Slayer, it was Chipp, for the same reasons.
- Due to Tekken 4's engine allowing for various forms of weirdness and other game-breaking moments, tournament play was very often restricted to a handful of stages (the Arena being the most common). That didn't stop the possibility of potentially broken combos still being executed even on the most fair of stages.
- You are likely to see this plus bonus arguing matches in Dissidia: Final Fantasy and particularly its sequel, Duodecim. The source of all this is, because of the way the game works, there are potentially real and severe consequences to character/stage matchup— for example, Terra is a holy terror in the Phantom Train, while Firion is practically helpless in the Planet's Core. Kain thrives in tall stages that let him make use of his best attacks but has a very hard time dealing any HP damage at all in stages with more banish traps than walls. The fact that each stage has an "active" form as well complicates things further—Zidane and Kuja have no objection to normal Sky Fortress Bahamut, but its Omega version is very, very hard to deal with for them. Some stages are pretty widely reviled for being incredibly difficult or irritating to fight in...unless you are playing one of a very few characters who do well in them, in fact who seem almost specifically designed to do well in them, such as the Emperor in Pandaemonium. It's bad enough, in fact, that some characters (especially the hero and Jack of All Stats Warrior of Light) have as a selling point that stage isn't going to make or break them, though it will still affect them. In other words, while players have their Arrays that are (usually) dependent on the characters they main, they're often not the same as the Arrays of other players...leading to arguments.
- Order's Sanctuary is probably this game's version of the Final Destination - a large flat area with a few grind rails to make moving around easier and remove a bit of the advantage long-ranged characters have over others. (Edge of Madness, while completely flat and devoid of any objects, is much too small to be considered fair.)
- The most common stage that you will find yourself playing on in Jump Ultimate Stars is the Demon World Tournament arena. The only gimmick on that stage is a moving platform above a regular floor. It is loved for the same reason Final Destination (above) is.
First Person Shooter
- In Battlefield 2 is Strike at Karkand. Curiously, everyone wants to play this almost infantry-exclusive map on a game whose main gimmick are vehicles.
- Not only this, but the demand for this map was so great it lead to the developers adding the 'infantry only' game-mode to the game.
- The sequel, Battlefield 3, is basically marketing the game on the back of telling everyone that Karkand would be back for it.
- The map for the franchise as a whole is Wake Island. It originally came with Battlefield 1942. It was ported into Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 1943, Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, Battlefield Heroes and along with Karkand is one of the maps in the Battlefield 3 pre-order bonus. The only major games it isn't in are the two Bad Company Gaiden Game sequels.
- Battlefield 3:
- Operation Metro. You will find hundreds of Metro 24/7, 64 player servers, most of which included increased ticket counts for longer games. There appears to be some kind of perverse thrill in playing this map, as it's incredibly small, is incredibly biased in favour of the Russian team and 95% of the players do nothing but camp, launch noobtubes, throw grenades and fire rocket-propelled grenades across the map, actively avoiding anything that might result in their death or having to use their actual guns.
- The major reason for the popularity is that it's used as an extremely quick XP boosting map. People are constantly dying in the meatgrinder, allowing people with medic kits to revive potentially hundreds of times a round, and people with support kit can make just as many reloads. Not to mention that because of all the reviving available, it's extremely hard to get a negative KDR unless you're really bad.
- Caspian Border is the most popular vehicle map. It contains multiple vehicles, is quite open and has a nice map layout that means games don't end in spawn camps most of the time.
- Battlefield 4:
- Operation Locker is essentially the sequel to Metro. Tightly packed hallways and very few options in assaulting means that it's a favorite in all modes, particularly Rush, where the attackers are forced to funnel their way through two very narrow hallways, where XM 25 Airbursts, rocket-propelled grenades, and a rain of grenades likely await them. There's a side path outside, but it's also less travelled due to lack of cover and poor visiblity on the inside of the map.
- Some players even get into earlier maps just to get to Locker, including Golmud Railway (the map before Locker on the standard playlist), which is unofficially known by fans as "that map before Locker" or "Operation Locker Eve".
- The de_dust maps in Counter-Strike are quite popular. Heck, Concerned even knows this.
The Global Offensive match searching options, which are normally sorted by game mod, has an option to search for dust exclusively (annoyingly, "defuse mission" can and probably will still send you to dust as well).
- And to a lesser extent, for a non-defuse map, Office or Assault.
- Some unofficial maps, especially fy_iceworld, fy_pool_party, aim_awp and cs_casa also enjoy this status, mostly because quite a bit of them are either very small maps that allow for very fast-paced deathmatches, or maps specially designed to use a certain weapon.
- Also, if you play the fan made Jailbreak mode, expect to see ba_electricprison and its variants a lot.
- The Jedi Outcast Italian community plays only on FFA_Bespin. If you change the map with a vote while there's nobody else on the server, expect choruses of "Boooo! This map sucks! We want FFA_Bespin!" once enough people join. Everybody else just plays FFA_Deathstar.
- The Movie Battles II mod for Jedi Academy. Every single server running it plays mb2_dotf and nothing else.
- The Anzio map in Day Of Defeat has this status.
- Nowadays it's Avalanche, which is particularly perplexing because Avalanche is quite possibly the worst official map in the game - it's confusingly laid out, filled with dead ends, and has a ridiculously open capture point in the middle of the map that makes it impossible to actually win on - unless one team is far more skilled than the other, the teams will just keep swapping the center control point. For the entire game. Which normally lasts 15 minutes. And there are servers dedicated to playing this map 24/7.
- They presumedly just want to kill each other over and over without the game ending before their expectations to interrupt it.
- The difficulty of winning makes victory all the sweeter.
- Descent is based around disorienting full-3D flight. Therefore all multiplayer matches take place on the completely flat "Minerva" and "Ultra-Earthshaker".
- This has happened at least as far back as Doom, where the first map of the compilation dwango5 (otherwise known as D5M1, a derivative of an older map called SS-MAP1.WAD) overshadowed basically every other level in online play at the time.
- Temple or Facility for the N64 FPS GoldenEye. Not surprisingly, its successorPerfect Dark included slightly modified versions of both these maps.
- Halo: Combat Evolved gave us Blood Gulch. On the PC version, after going through the usual server narrowing process (not full, users playing, not passworded) no less than EIGHT of the eleven pages were 24/7 Blood Gulch.
- The popularity is probably the reason Red vs. Blue is set on that map.
- The popularity on PC may also be due to the fact that the trial version only comes with that map.
- Halo 1 and 2 multiplayer seemed to only be played in Capture the Flag mode. Fortunately, added gameplay modes in later games have gotten players out of this.
- In Halo 2, it seemed like online custom games consisted of Lockout 90% of the time and Midship the remaining 10%.
- And in Halo 3, the most popular map was usually Valhalla, Blood Gulch's Expy, while Reach brought back Blood Gulch, yet ended up a close second compared to Sword Base.
- In Halo 4, you can count on Exile being voted for at least 90% of the time whenever it shows up in the voting rounds in Big Team Battle. It's the only map so far that has a Scorpion and Gauss Warthog, not to mention its relatively easy to spawn camp on the map, which may have something to do with it.
- Halo: Reach had Sword Base always picked in the Living Dead mode, because there was a spot in the map that was extremely easy to defend yourself from the zombies in. Bungie fixed this by creating several different copies of Sword Base with the most common areas blocked, making sure that no players picked the map.
- The game also had another example in the Team Snipers mode, where almost every player would pick Haemorrhage, due to the openness and abundance of vehicles. This still stands today.
- Left 4 Dead. In the finales of each campaign, there's always one very specific spot that most people defend from to guarantee victory.
- In Versus, corner camping. When you're the infected, expect to see all survivor players camp in wall corners during crescendos and finales so that you will never be able to touch them.
- Valve has gone out of its way to change this for Left 4 Dead 2, with all of the new playable Infected being made specifically to counter strategies based on camping (i.e. Spitter makes whatever spot its spit lands on hazardous, Charger can knock over the entire team if they don't move out of the way).
- Don't forget that in the original Left 4 Dead, players only ever want to play the first campaign, No Mercy. Part of this is because at launch, only the first and fourth campaigns featured versus mode; since then all four campaigns have been released for versus, but people still rarely choose anything other than No Mercy over and over.
- Mirrored in the sequel where for VS games, people will only play Dead Center and The Parish. No Mercy is now the most played since it was added into the game.
- This is mostly due to Death Charges, a technique where a Charger player can charge into a survivor and hurl them to instant death. Dead Center and No Mercy have several spots where survivors can be instantly killed if they are not careful, so infected players pick these maps to get a shot at killing survivors in one shot.
- The Quake series had DM6 in Quake/Quakeworld, Q2DM1 (the edge) in Quake II, Q3DM6 and Q3DM17 in Quake III: Arena and probably another number in Quake IV.
- From the original Quake-based Team Fortress, 2fort5 (which inspired Team Fortress 2 's CTF_2Fort) and well6 (which has pretty much nothing to do with Team Fortress 2 's CP_Well/CTF_Well).
- Dustbowl, Goldrush and Gravel Pit are the most commonly seen "24/7" server maps in Team Fortress 2. But listing available servers will show 2fort to have the most entries at any given time, despite a large segment of the playerbase hating its guts.
- And at the other end of the spectrum is Hydro. Ironically, one of Hydro's commentary nodes specifically lays out Valve's anticipation of this trope influencing the focus on this map as the big map that would provide enough content and variety to withstand people playing it all the time. Unfortunately, nobody ended up wanting to play it, due to the actual gameplay on the map resulting in every round ending in Sudden Death.
- Well, gameplay plus a respawn-time bug that was left unpatched, and possibly even uncaught, until 2010. In a catch-22 scenario, the lack of play may have actually contributed to the bug not being caught.
- Similarly, the Arena mode has essentially been abandoned, mostly replaced by the fanmade Vs. Saxton Hale mode.
- Also ironically, this trope's use in Team Fortress Classic is the only reason that maps like 2Fort and Well were remade, even though their gameplay and layout isn't as refined as their contemporaries.
- Valve also recognized the rise of custom maps over the built-in ones, and struck deals with the creators of several popular and/or (in their opinion) well-made ones to add them to the game officially.
- The King of the Hill community has an outright unhealthy obsession with Nucleus (whose design offers greater advantage to certain classes than more balanced maps), and those who don't have a similar obsession with Kong King (the newest map as of the Pyromania update). If the current match has one of the two in its voting option for the next map, chances are 95% that it will be the one chosen. If you want to play any cult favorites such as Sawmill or Harvest, you better hope both Nucleus and King are in the list so as to cancel each other via competition.
- The Payload community has a similar obsession with Badwater Basin. Granted, there's a significantly lower amount of Payload maps than most of the other gamemodes, but Badwater is the easiest to find a game in. The aforementioned Gold Rush is a distant second, but it also overshadows most of the other maps.
- If you're looking at playing the Payload Race mode, expect to spend a LOT of time at Hightower. It's gained a following similar to that of 2fort above, due to the tendency for matches to drag out for incredibly long periods of time due to the goals being right beside each other, and two chokepoints which require the attacking team to push the cart uninterrupted for a fairly long stretch.
- 5CP servers usually spend a lot of time in Granary and Badlands, due to the heavy focus on them in competitive play. There's a reason why the pair are collectively referred to as "Blandlands" by the more weary of the 5CP community.
- From the Video Game/Unreal series:
- The first game has DMDeck16, the first map of a long time series.
- Unreal Tournament's most (in)famous map is CTF-Face, also known as "Facing Worlds". Quite small and simple, with no running around through mazes trying to find each other. It is incredibly easy to spawn-kill the enemy team from pretty much anywhere in the map, due to each base being a giant tower with only one entrance, but the spawns being behind or to the sides of it rather than inside. Yet, the snipers at each tower can also be shot down, what with the players spawning near Sniper Rifles, and the Redeemer also being able to kill said campers. Oh, and the Translocator makes this map pretty bearable. In fact, the map was so popular that it was included in UT2004 as CTF-FaceClassic. After not being included in UT3, it was later added in the Titan Pack.
In the Deathmatch front you have DM-Deck16][ and DM-Morpheus. Part of the fun regarding Face and Deck is simply the visual decor. Both maps have impressive art assets in addition to workable gameplay.
Other frecquent maps in servers are CTF-Clarion, CTF-CivilWar (and its smaller variant) and CTF-McSwartzly are usually the most-frequently played maps on Siege servers.
- In Unreal Tournament 2004, expect a lot of DM-Rankin online, assuming you can find any populated servers outside of Onslaught mode, where ONS-Torlan reigns supreme.
- Unreal Tournament III has DM-Sentinel.
- The full conversion Red Orchestra for UT2004 hasn't seen any new maps created for a looooong time. Everyone seems to acknowledge nothing else will be played, ever, so if you plan on playing on open servers, you'll probably want to become intimately familiar with Arad (for tanks) and Danzig (for infantry).
- Oddly, Killing Floor, which also started as a mod for UT2004 doesn't have a particularly popular or unpopular map, and all the official ones can be found in a rotation at some point or another, though West London and Biotech Labs do seem to be slightly more popular. Part of this might be because the game is hardcoded to prevent 24/7 servers as much as possible.
- Treyarch actually had to patch Black Ops a few months after it launched because everyone was only playing in Nuketown. Now it can't be selected within two or three games of the last time you played in it.
- And then to the other extreme, they actually added a "Nuketown 24/7" mode, which cycles through different modes exclusively on that map. It's only available during double-experience weekends on consoles, though.
- And WHY is it so popular? Because the map is so small, there's a VERY high chance that chucking a Semtex two seconds after the match starts will get you a cheap grenade kill (or kills) right off the bat! Also, the easy camping spots (on top of a bed, behind a fence, two houses with one open window) and the constantly-embroiled-in-explosions-and-gunfire Point B on Domination Mode made this place VERY popular.
- If you play Killzone 3 multiplayer, expect to see Bilgarsk Boulevard pop up more than once. Why? It has miniguns on both ends to defend the boulevard, great sniper positions in the buildings, and the routes around the main road are usually stalemated with grenades and turrets, allowing Marksman and Infiltrators to sneak in and cause havoc. Basically, it appeals to everyone.
- In GoldenEye Wii, expect to play a lot of Jungle and Outpost. Seeing as they're basically the only high-visibility maps with plenty of levels and indoor/outdoor play, it's justified. Try playing Sewer for a few minutes—your eyes will literally hurt from strain.
- In Americas Army 2, the vast majority of online servers ran the Bridge map. Possibly because it was a simple map with simple objectives. And on that map, Defense was the preferred team of choice, since all they have to do to win the round is prevent the other team from crossing the (narrow) bridge. Assault, on the other hand, only had a handful of minutes to make it across or they lost.
- Metroid Prime: Hunters has Combat Hall being the most played level in multiplayer because the arena is tiny and there is almost no place to hide. The map is also popular with people that use the Weavel character because a glitch allows them to send the character's lower half inside a wall and have it shoot at anyone that wanders by while it can't be shot back. If Combat Hall isn't picked, at least half of the players will leave the game.
- The Alinos Gateway map is also popular in multiplayer for its sheer size and open spaces with a mix of some small halls to hide in. People who usually play as Spire will always pick this map since he can get to a certain spot that other hunters can't reach, thus he can easily snipe everyone while generally staying out of harm's way.
- PAYDAY: The Heist has First World Bank and Diamond Heist as the most played levels online because they have something that makes it easy to level grind. First World Bank is played the most due to it being the easiest level even on the highest difficulty and the secret vault containing a ton of gold bars that allows players to level up several times in one sitting. Diamond Heist offers quite a lot of money from the sapphires you steal (if you can get them before being spotted by the guards) plus the jewels in the vault you are aiming to steal.
- PAYDAY 2 has or had several heists picked over and over for various reasons:
- Ukrainian Job was played by nearly everyone non stop because it was incredibly easy to use shaped charges to blast open the safes, get the tiara, and escape before the cops arrived (there's even an achievement for doing this in less than 30 seconds), which meant that people could quickly farm loot drops and gain experience points at a fast rate. The developers quickly nerfed the exploit by introducing safes that can't be lockpicked or blown up and reworking the experience point system to be more rewarding for heists that have multiple days.
- When the experience points system was changed, players quickly flocked to the Rats heist because not only it had a massive experience point payout (over 300,000 points on Overkill difficulty!), but Rats was also the quickest heist to play if you botch the meth cooking on purpose on day 1, quickly use shaped charges on the safes in day 2 to get the intel, and then kill the Mendoza gang on day 3 and leave without getting the money on the bus. The heist got changed slightly in the Death Wish update where the van on day 1 won't show up until you cook 3 bags of meth (he shows up in less than a minute) or blow up the lab (he'll take 3 minutes to arrive). Blowing up the meth lab on the Death Wish difficulty makes the entire map go up in flames, creating a Total Party Wipe; should you somehow avoid this, the van will never show up, so you're stuck until you reset.
- Nightclub runs in a similar way to Ukrainian Job and was played in nearly the same way until the developers added 2 more rooms that could appear and added an extra safe that could contain the money needed to finish the heist or contain some coke for bonus loot.
- Firestarter, like Rats, is played by everyone looking to level up quickly.
- Ace of Spades suffered from this rather badly at times, with one particularly controversial, totally flat and featureless map by the name of "Pinpoint" dominating for a long time. Its main redeeming feature was that it limited the utility of the otherwise hideously unbalanced rifle and generally cut down on the camping a bit, but it wasn't especially pretty and had little scope for actual tactics. The rifle got nerfed after a while and it pretty much disappeared soon after. And then Jagex happened.
- Several courses in Albatross 18/Pang Ya got whored out at some point; North Wiz and Ice Cannon are two such examples. Both courses had plenty of icy shortcuts to gain lots of overdrive Pang from; a single 18-hole round of Ice Cannon can easily net you over 1,000 Pang in a single round.
- Newest courses Lost Seaway and Ice Spa now hold this role, partly because they're easy to generate pang on, partly because they're the two easiest courses to start getting very low scores (less than, say, -22) on.
- On the other hand, because of the way Season 4 calculates XP gain (giving bonus XP for playing on harder courses), four-player three-hole VS. games on Deep Inferno are now very popular.
- In City of Heroes, you can start in one of two zones: Atlas Park or Galaxy City. The marble block under Atlas always has at least 20 Level 1 characters hanging out underneath it, while Galaxy City is a dead zone. Even the addition of the Arena in Galaxy didn't help (and if anything hurt the adoption of Arena Mode). City of Villains seems to have recognized this, with everybody starting in the same spot (with an alternate starting contact 500 feet away patched in later), and the Rogue Isles' Arenas are literally abandoned, falling apart from disuse.
- As a result, a surprising number of players start in Galaxy for some peace and quiet.
- As of Issue 21, Galaxy City has been destroyed, and serves only as the tutorial zone for both heroes and villains.
- Final Fantasy XI has this to the nth degree. Parties seeking experience points always go to the same zone based on their level - and to specific "camps" within that zone are better than others. These are always the easiest and safest places to gain experience, learned through trial and error.
- In Everquest, out of the many dozens of zones, only a couple see much action. For example, players in their teens and early 20s, level wise, hunt in Paludal Caverns. Period.
- Phantasy Star Universe suffers from this. Throughout its run, the players would seek out the Free Missions with the most efficient EXP gain, and the lobby for that mission would similarly be packed. In Vanilla PSU, this first happened to "Plains Overlord," then to "The Mad Beasts," then "Endrum Remnants." When the Expansion Pack Ambition of the Illuminus was released, this honor went to "White Beast," and remained so whenever an event wasn't going on—to the point that PSU itself was derisively nicknamed "White Beast Universe" as no one seemed interested in running any of the other missions in the game. This tendency prompted Sega to introduce the "GUARDIANS Boost Road," encouraging players to run chains of other missions for greater gains rather than simply spamming a single mission over and over.
- In Classic World of Warcraft, the players would always congregate around the high level zones and for awhile, a good 70-90% of the playerbase would hang out in either Orgrimmar or Ironforge, especially in the areas in and between the auction house and the mailbox. However, as for leveling, most players would either hang out around the Barrens (For horde), Westfall (For Alliance), Hillsbrad Foothills, then Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, then the Plaguelands and Un'goro, and later on, Silithus. Very very rarely you'd see somebody in Loch Modan, Wetlands, Silverpine Forest, Feralas, Stonetalon mountains, Azshara, Desolace, or the Hinterlands. Most of the time they were in places like Desolace it was because the only other option was Ganklethorn Hell, Hellsbrad Foothills, or Ganklestan and on a PvP servers for awhile, you were very very likely to be ganked. Stranglethorn Vale was a common questing hub because there was just so many quests for both factions, and they all covered a huge range. Now there are more options, thankfully.
- Justified with Silithus because at first, the area was not even finished and only half the map could be explored. The only way to get a quest chain that lead into Silithus was a rather obscure quest line.
- Vashj'ir in Cataclysm. You'll not find many people in that zone because at launch, it left a bad taste in many peoples' mouths. It's completely underwater meaning that the mobs can have a 360 degree aggro radius, the environment could often conceal hostile mobs as well. Combine these with that at launch, so many people flooded the new leveling areas that the mob respawn rate was out of control and cause the player to be attacked by mobs that they just killed three minutes ago or for mobs to respawn and attack them while they were looting. So in all, it becomes a bit of a Scrappy Level. But that doesn't mean you can't just go there for peace and quiet.
- It also loses players because since the Firelands patch, you need to go at least halfway through the other zone of choice to unlock the new questline, vendors and daily quests.
- It also doesn't help that the zone is painfully linear with only occasional quests on the side. Many hated the linearity of Cataclysm but Vashj'ir is probably the most linear. Not helping is that to get around quickly you have to get an underwater mount which while free takes about a dozen quests and at least a half-hour of gameplay to get the mount when the plot hands it to you and you have to repeat this on every character who you want to do anything in Vashj'ir and since there is a faction vendor in Vashj'ir...yeah.
- Even worse, the Vashj'ir storyline involves many subplots that do not seem particularly relevant to the overarching story (though there are many hints that the connections were planned but scrapped for unknown reasons) and it ends on a Cliff Hanger, due to the raid intending to cap the story not being in for launch. The raid was eventually canceled entirely...
- The Wayward Lobster in Stormreach Harbor of Dungeons & Dragons Online seems to be the only area that players PVP in. In fact, another tavern in the Marketplace, which is much bigger and better suited to the sheer number of people, almost never has anyone battle there. It can get to the point where slower computers can't even handle all of the spells being cast by other players when you're in the service area.
- The Lord of the Rings Online goes through fads, generally those instances that are dropping whatever gear is currently regarded as "the best". Good luck pulling together a fellowship or raid for anything else. You'll occasionally find parties running instances where you can bypass a lot of the area by making a beeline straight for the end boss, ignoring everything that doesn't actively try to stop you along the way.
- In Dragon Nest, the only map you'll see people use for 1v1 is Lost Temple. The commonly cited reason is that this map has good walls for comboing with, few paths for kiters, and no major obstacles to get in the way.
- In Guild Wars 2, the devs employed the use of scaling so that the game is feasible in any possible zone, meaning you can still gain experience even if you're level 40 and backtracking to a level 10 zone. However, once you leave the starting zones (Which everyone zergs for dailies), the population of zones drops fast, only to rise again when you start getting high level.
- On Initial D Arcade Stage Ver. 2, few multiplayer races were played on courses other than Irohazaka.
- Mario Kart players tend to pick the basic "straight" courses in order to Snake easily. Baby Park as well. The Wii version included bikes, which resulted in most people in always picking bikes over karts since bikes could wheelie almost anywhere to get a boost while karts can only boost from power sliding.
- Mario Kart (as well as other games that allow you to pick where you want to play in) also suffered from people who would refuse to play any track other than the ones they keep voting for. Rainbow Road (DS and Wii), Grumble Volcano, Figure-8 Circuit, Sky Garden and GCN DK Mountain are some of the the most voted tracks online due to them either being easy to snake on, have lots of straight roads so bike users can spam their wheelie ability, or is difficult for the general gaming public. If the difficulty is set to Mirror mode, expect nearly everyone to pick Rainbow Road or a similar difficult track just because of how hard it is; basic rule of thumb in stage picking is the harder the level, the more likely it will be picked just to weed out the players that are not good at it.
- Averted for Mario Kart 8 where you can only pick one of three randomized tracks to vote for when playing online (or you can choose random and hope the game picks something else). Friend only games do not have such a restriction.
- Battle mode isn't immune to this either. Funky Stadium (Wii) is always picked because it is huge and easy to stay out of everyone's reach. Wuhu Town (7) is picked the most due to the buildings giving players cover, thus they are harder to hit.
- As for actual modes, good luck finding anyone online in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed who wants to play Arena (this game's Battle Mode equivalent) or Lucky Dip (chooses between race and battle modes randomly). This game was designed by veterans of arcade racers and has attracted such an audience, who are in it for racing and aren't quite as interested in more eccentric modes like these.
Real Time Strategy
- In Starcraft, various versions of Fastest Map Possible, hacked maps that place whole stacks of resources mere pixels away from the start points.
- For the competitive players, there's usually one map that sticks out for overuse. First it was Lost Temple(so popular it showed up in War Craft III as well, and has many strategy guides), then Python, and now it is Destination. The prevalence of this has led the primary competitive server to make certain maps give extra points for a week, to encourage players to play all the maps.
- Big Game Hunters (BGH) is a popular 8-player map (likely the only 8-player map you'll find being played, besides Fastest Possible maps).
- In Supreme Commander virtually all 4v4 games are played on Seton's Clutch; likewise almost all 2v2 games are played on Fields of Isis.
- Well over 50% of the custom map Warcraft III games on Battle.net are for Defense Of The Ancients. This map is so popular it's inspired several seperate Video Games (Heroes of Newerth, Demigod, League of Legends) and its own theme song ("Vi sitter i ventrilo och spelar DotA" by Basshunter).
- There are some people who got Warcraft III just to play the custom maps and have never touched the unmodded game.
- Warcraft II. Garden of War.
- The Space Needle seems at times like the only map played on the World in Conflict public servers.
- In Age of Empires III, finding a game that isn't on Great Plains is a challenge in itself.
- MechWarrior Living Legends has TSA_Sandblasted, which is best described as "trench warfare". Two sides sit on opposite sides of dunes and occasionally pop up to shoot missiles and lasers at each other. In version 0.3.2 of the mod, servers ran a grand total of ~3-4 maps, and Sandblasted was always one of them (The other maps in the rotation weren't exactly lacking trench warfare and sand, either) - and it ran for ninety minute rounds. Newer versions of the mod have lessened the issue as it introduced objective-based Battlefield-esque gameplay and extensive support for community maps, but server owners still seem to get a hard-on for running hour long matches on the map.
Third Person Shooter
- In Gears of War, get used to playing on Blood Drive, Security and Jacinto. River gets voted on a lot too, though the jury's still out on whether this is actually desirable.
- In the first game, there were pages and pages of matches on Gridlock.
- The Gears 3 Beta had four playable maps, but whenever it was an option Checkout was winning the vote about 80% of the time likely because it's set up really well for shotgun fights.
- Epic's map rotation algorithm has been changed several times since launch, each time kicking off an Internet Backlash amongst the group that liked the old way better.
- In Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode, the choice of map determines which one of the five sectors gets the most Galactic Readiness for winning; always playing on the same map will quickly max out the rating in one sector, but slow the growth in all other sectors down to a crawl. This doesn't stop most people from playing Firebase White endlessly.
- As the saying goes, WGG—Firebase White, Geth opponents, on Gold difficulty. The old version of the map had a fantastic place for camping and geth opponents initially had no grenadiers (and thus no good way to flush players out of cover), making it about the easiest way to get through a Gold-level match there was. Updates to the map and new enemy types have made the Firebase White camping strategy more difficult, but it remains a popular tactic.
- Grand Theft Auto IV has several multiplayer modes, many of which fit this to some degree.
- Deathmatch is seemingly limited to three maps: Happiness Island, Charge Island and, as of The Ballad of Gay Tony, Vespucci University. For a game where cars are such an integral part of the experience that it's even in the title, the fact that two of the most popular maps are either too compact for vehicles (in the case of Vespucci University) or eschew them entirely (Happiness Island) says something. What that is, we don't know.
- In the racing modes, the most popular track by far is Taxiing, presumably due to the long airport runways allowing players to go very fast.
- Similarly, many players in Free Mode are content to hang around the airport, primarily because that's where the attack helicopters can be found. This is especially pronounced in The Ballad of Gay Tony, where the choppers come with rockets.
- GTA Online features a large amount of matches for each match mode, trying to avert this. Since "Verified" player-made matches first got out a bit after Creator Betanote , it still shines through. One of the examples, "Down The Drain", was hugely popular to its simple track and how players would get shot up into te air if they ran over a piece of cardboard. Sadly, the cardboards were patched to either not appear or not work, chopping down some of the popularity of it.
- Story Missions in Online. When the player gets to meet Martin Mandrazo, he gives the highest pay out for missions, even more than Lester. Because of this and a few of his missions bordering on That One Sidequest, it's not too frequent to hear players talking to each other about calling Mandrazo until one of them gets the desired job with the highest payout and lowest amount of effort needed.
Turn Based Strategy
- Battle for Wesnoth: Isar's Cross is a very popular despite being hideously unbalanced. Even when the developers wanted to remove it in version 1.6, they just couldn't because of its popularity.
- Valve Software, developers of Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, and Day Of Defeat, recognized this trope coming into play in these games' original incarnations, where of the plethora of maps they packed with the game, only one map would see play on over half of the servers, with maybe two or three others rotating on some of the others, and custom maps taking up the rest. As a result, the one repeated professional criticism of their multiplayer games since Half-Life 2 has been the low number of included maps.
- Team Fortess 2 even came with a map explicitly designed for people who would want to play the same map over and over: Hydro. It's probably the most hated map in the game, due to its tendency to either A) Be over in the blink of an eye due to one team steamrolling the other, or B) Drag on forever with Sudden Death after Sudden Death.
- Dark Souls II has some:
- The Iron Keep bridge. A combination of high traffic (the bonfire there is the only one before the end of the area before you defeat the Smelter Demon, ensuring there are always players running through there) coupled with the excellent location (a fairly long, slightly arcing bridge with no immediate enemies) and the fact that the Dragon Remnants covenant's leader is just a short distance away (in other words, where one of the biggest PVP covenants congregate) ensures that there will always be someone to fight in the area, meaning that many PVP players congregate there as a matter of course.
- Heide's Tower of Flame is a common PVP hotspot mostly because the terrain effectively divides the entire area into a bunch of small arenas. The enemies are also easy to clear out, and the area is accessible right from the start of the game, making it very popular for players who have just started a New Game+ and want to fight before reaching other, later areas. The fact that the Blue Sentinels covenant/arena is close by only adds to the popularity.