CP_Junction is a horrible, horrible map. As in, super horrible. As in, if it pops up on map rotation, I recommend ditching immediately. It’s a disaster of a map for anyone who isn’t playing Engineer.
The first thing you notice about Junction is how boring it is. Junction is indoors. It’s dark, gloomy, and overly grey. It’s cramped and tight. There are tight spaces everywhere. The whole thing just doesn’t work. It’s not appealing to look at in any way. The other indoor map, Turbine, makes up for it by having the large middle room which looks somewhat interesting, and having space for vertical mobility. Junction has none of that. It’s a grey maze of grey corridors and the occasional colouring to indicate where you are.
Gameplay is horrible as well. Being a maze of corridors, Engineers can place sentries without any real competition, and Pyros follow them like fleas. Soldiers and Demomen can’t use their advanced mobility and the cramped spaces mean that self-damage is a huge issue no matter what. Tight corridors also deny mobility for Scouts and straight paths and few alternate routes mean there are few places for Medics to hide. Snipers are rendered useless except around C. Speaking of C, an Engineer’s life is incredibly simple as there are so many optimal places to throw your sentry, and since spawn is so close, should you die, you’ll get back in no time and there will most likely be a nearby Engineer to help you anyway.
Basically, Junction is Stalemate heaven. Even more so than the likes of Dustbowl and 2fort, because there is simply no real way to flank or move around.
But the thing is, I still like Junction. If it wasn’t for Junction, I probably wouldn’t be playing Team Fortress 2. Why is it? I’ve been trying to work that out myself, and I finally have an answer.
You see, the average game on Junction is one of two things – either BLU manages to organize itself and capture incredibly quickly with well-timed Ubercharges and high levels of coordination, or RED gets their sentries up on C and stalemates until time runs out. The former is incredibly rare. The latter happens most matches. But the thing is, BLU still has a chance of winning by very, very slowly pushing forward, capturing more and more ground, until RED only controls the area directly around C.
This incredibly slow gameplay was pretty much perfect for newbie 2010-2011 me. Whether I was on RED or BLU, I could try out each class. It may not have been the idea environment for most of them, Junction never has been, but that didn’t matter. I could pick Soldier and work out how much damage my rockets do, learn a very basic rocket jump from the ground to the windows/ledges around C and work on shooting sentries. I could pick Medic and learn when the best time to use an Uber is. I also worked out how to actually play Engineer and Spy because back when I started, there were no tutorials for the class.
On top of that, Junction was never as hectic as the classic Dustbowl. Obviously because it was never as popular. That meant I could learn even more. The down times between pushes, failed or otherwise, were perfect when it came to reflecting on what had just happened, and the up times helped me learn about surviving, particularly as light classes.
At the end of the day, Junction is still a god-awful map. But I appreciate its existence, I thank it for being there, teaching me how to play Team Fortress 2.
I love Junction. Despite its stupidity, its inherent design flaws, all the shit that’s bad about it, it has been good to me. Maybe one day, someone will take Junction and turn it into an indoor map that actually works…