If you've ever played the space station Where's Waldo for SC1, then you can better visualize where I'm going with. This map does not have a genre yet, and will be as different as AOS was, giving us "Dota" type maps. Sort of Like a D&D map, minus the DM's innate ability to squash you at any point.
This map was inspired by the famous Peter's Evil Overlord List a while back just before SC2.
High Concept: A 1 vs 3-5 player game with ample NPC's of changing alliances. A Game set in the Kingdom of Kohl: A land who's monarchy has recently been overthrown by the new corrupt King Zordak(Player Controlled). The only thing keeping him awake at night is an unaccounted for prince, and his rag-tag band of allies(Player Controlled). They are no match for the powerful King Zordak, but finding them will be no easy task in the massive Kingdom Kohl. If left unchecked for long enough, could the prince actually amass enough power and/or support to take back the throne, and claim his inheritance?
Setting: The 256x256 medieval Kingdom of Kohl. An age of of swords, arrows, horses, and magic. News has already spread of their new king, but so have rumors of his ruthlessness. Peasants struggle between the factuality of his cruelty, and his threats against disobedience. In the east, the simple farming town of Chester is struggling to stay afloat after the new king's tax increases. To the north, the town of Aysel - a politically detached city that keeps churning regardless of who the ruling class may be. Down south, ruined temples sit vacant in the Forgotten City; but haunted with echoes of ancient magic. In the west lies the mining town of Clubbard. In the center of it all sits the Capitol, armed to the hilt with the finest guards, but may have a few secret weaknesses...
Gameplay: An enormous game of hide n seek.
For King Zordak - Scour the country side for the prince and his companions. How exactly? Unfortunately, you are but one man. Still, you have a scared court of advisers at your disposal. Get a general idea of their location from the Court Gypsy's crystal ball. Send your various generals to execute them, or at least corner them until you arrive on your black horse. Order the Court Witch to curse their luck, or send disasters their way. Or perhaps you are a paranoid turtle player, and want to stay locked up in your castle of doom, fortifying yourself with endless traps. You can spend your kingdom's resources to either make an unstoppable armada, spread propaganda smearing the wandering heroes, or selfishly plunder everything to enhance your magic and strength, becoming a demigod. Also, a bunch of this.
For the prince - From the start, you are given the freedom to march in the Capitol and reclaim your birthright, but you will surely die before the first gate falls. Wander the towns, searching for anything that would bring the unjust king down. Grind in the forestal paths that lead between the 4 cities, and match the king in strength. Perform mini-quests to help the plighted peasants, give them courage, win their trust, and encourage rebellion. When you feel ready to confront the king, you can storm the castle with brute force, use trickery and secrets to sneak in, ambush him traveling; the hunted become the hunters, or even immerse yourself in the lore to employ secret one-shot game ending weapons.
Forgiveness - In a gameplay sense. Optimistic game designers like to think of their game's qualities working like Diablo stats; they can all go up. Realistic ones know certain parts of game design work like a teetortot; one goes up while the other goes down. This is easy to see in complexity vs balance, but I believe in another one: Competitiveness vs Forgiveness. Truly competitive games have to penalize you for every mistake you make, it's only fair. I'm not really going for that. Being an evil overlord can be hard at first, so there will be a trusted adviser guiding you (experienced players can smote him). Of course that won't be enough; it never is. The invisible tipping point will be a long way down the road, as opposed to say Cat n Mouse, where it's one way or the other in the first 3 minutes even though the game actually takes 30 minutes. It won't be completely fair that the king gets so many chances, but I, and you, can live with that.
To be continued...