For those of you that may not know me, let me do a little introduction. My name is iCCup.Diamond and I am the CEO of iCCup TV. iCCup TV is the largest Non-Korean E-Sports live streaming networks in the world. We have a staff of over 20 members and output over 50 hours of casting minimum a week., almost exclusively in Starcraft II. Our events are of the highest quality, and we work hand in hand with some of the greatest minds in the SCII on a day to day basis. We have a wealth of experience in everything from pioneering new rules to running the first ever Starcraft II league with the ITL.
That being said, Starcraft II is the best game I have ever played, and I LOVE being a strong part of the E-Sports community. Starcraft II is remarkably balanced for being such a new game, and I think you guys did great on everything but one thing.
While Blizzard has always been a step above and beyond every single other game publisher there is one area you have lacked in. Map making. Now I cannot blame you for this. When you release a game, the maps are bound to end up being sub par in the long run. You don't know all the variables of play and how people will abuse the map features.
For those that do not know, one of the very main things that made Starcraft Brood War have such a long life cycle was the maps made for it not from Blizzard (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Maps). In Brood War they were made by KESPA. And there was A LOT of them (http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Category:Maps). It allowed the game to remain fresh and was one of the things that brought ME in when I first started following the competitive scene. I was amazed by all these cool and unique maps. I had been staring at maps like Lost Temple for the better part of 8 years at that point, and if games were still played on these maps I would have been NO WHERE near as interested in BW as an E-Sport.
However with Starcraft II the situation has slightly changed. Starcraft II was born as an E-Sport from day one. Within hours of the beta going live people were already figuring out the best build orders at the time, or cool micro tricks (such as when Louder created Sentries force fielding their own ramps to buy extra time). This game has been pushed to every single limit besides one since March, maps.
Blizzard maps are very creative, but it is obvious they were designed when the game designers had no idea how games would play out when mass distributed to all the players across the world. They just don't hold up anymore. They are GREAT for newer players, but to push Starcraft II forward as an E-Sport it is time to start catering a little bit towards the competitive scene and a little less towards the casual scene.
The E-Sport side of Starcraft II has already grown to the proportions that it needs your attention. I realize that in a recent interview you have said that Patch 1.2 will be the "E-Sports patch" but I have a feeling that is mainly entailing ladder seasons and chat channels. As great as both those things are, the current map pool threatens to stifle the growth of Starcraft II.
The maps promote a dangerous and risky style, and have positional imbalances that favor spawning at certain locations. They punish expanding, a core part of the Starcraft experience.
For example in ZvZ on Scrap Station the player that spawns on the right needs an extra creep tumor for their creep to reach his ramp for Spine Crawlers and for mobility, this also extends to Xel'Naga Caverns (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=155163#1) . They start the game essentially behind by spawning on the right.
For Protoss, on Steppes of War the bottom base is much harder to attack with Colsi then the top base due to a difference with the cliff structure (http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=155101#1). This is most evident in the PvP match up where the mid to late game entails mass Colsi vs. mass Colsi. One player gets an advantage for free.
Blistering Sands highly favors certain match ups like PvZ, and always punishes expanding.
Delta Quadrant has too many possible exposed attack paths for Reapers, and Protoss can warp units right into the opponents main base. Also the cliff above the in base expansion can be abused with more then Reapers. Tank and Thor drops become death to a Zerg player in most situations.
Lost Temple's cliffs over the natural expansions make Tank or Thor drops almost unstoppable. It's a damn good map, but at this point the cliff has become a highlight flaw in the map.
Metalopolis is a great map but at this point is OLD. I've been playing that map for like 7 months now, it's just so blah...
(5000 char limit >_>)