I don’t know why, but I hate Gullywash. Every time I see it pop up in the map rotation, I roll my eyes. I roll my eyes even more if there’s more than 7 players per team and this map comes up. Actually, I do know why and I’m about to tell you in a moment.
Let’s clarify something first. I like 5cp, or symmetrical control points or whatever you want to call it. It’s a lovely back and forth game mode, and most 5cp maps are nicely balanced to make sure you can’t camp on the last point forever, by making it quick to capture said last point. It focuses nicely on both defense and offense, so everyone does a bit of both. Backcapping means you can’t just throw your whole team in, but you can’t win if you don’t push forward. Gullywash is also a 5cp map, but I just feel it isn’t as good.
Firstly, the location. It seems like a really dull location. There’s some water in it, as a waterfall. But otherwise it feels no different from Badlands or Badwater or any other desert-y map. It’s a location that has been done to death and a location that Badlands had already covered. Granary is more industrial, Badlands is desert-y, Coldfront is cold, Process is rather spring-like and green, despite its name. And they all have a nice blend between RED and BLU areas and all that. Gullywash just seems like a rehash of Badland’s theme.
Secondly, the middle point. I’ve always believed that mid should be easily accessible to everyone, that any class should be able to stand on the actual point itself. Gullywash breaks this rule with its elevated point. Yes, you can explosive jump to it or whatever, but any other class has to run around in a circle around the control point itself. Badlands Spire is also mainly accessible via explosive jump, but there’s a path to the top if you can’t jump or if you miss. This is a mild issue but it annoys me.
Thirdly, the last control point feels like a complete rehash of the last point of Badlands, once again adding to that “Badlands, the sequel!” feel. The spawn is slightly closer and the windows always go funny in Garry’s Mod, making taking screen shots a pain in the backside. But the area seems way too similar, just more cramped. There’s also a back bit, where you can hide and stuff.
The fourth and biggest issue though is that Gullywash just feels overall too cramped. It was designed to be a 5cp map for 6v6. It’s small, got loads of high up places for people to hide and jump to and it’s incredibly tight and streamlined. This is all great if your team consists of Scouts and Soldiers or you generally have very small teams. But unlike Granary or Badlands or Process, Gullywash does not scale at all well. Things quickly feel tight, even if you don’t have 4 Engineers building around last point.
That’s not to say that Gullywash is a bad map, not at all! It is well made and it’s absolutely perfect for the high mobility competitive side of Team Fortress 2. There’s also loads of nice little hidden things, like stickies and hats and stuff. But it was simply not made for 24 player servers.