i might be completely wrong here but thats my personal opinion and why i believe bzflag "suffers" a bit lately. either you enjoy the sniping style or you go on to the next game!
I would say that you're half right and half wrong there zaph. [btw didnt wanted to quote the whole post, mine would get too large ]
I dont think a newbie would consider the laser/gm camping too much, he wouldn't even know what that means at that time. You are expecting that everyone that tries BZflag out would love it since the first time. But its not like that.
My bro was the one who installed Bzflag, and guess what? He doesnt even play this game, instead I love it.
Btw you were right about the GU thing, my first time was a GU map I think, I would see tanks walking right on my screen, shoots coming all over, me trying to get a hit on all the tanks that I would see on first sight...but mostly people would slaughter me.. ..didnt care about that, would try out till I would get bored.[this is the power of and addicted player]
But let me tell you why Missile Wars is one of the best maps to attract new players. First of all, when you spawn you'll find yourself in your base surrounded by your teammates. You'll learn not to shoot the tanks with the same color as you. You'll learn about flags, you'll learn about the game. GU/Duc doesnt do this, these maps are mostly a slaughter. Instead missile wars offers you a few more seconds to figure out things.
A year ago you would only find me on Missile Wars, and guess what, it didnt really made me camper. It varies from player to player.
Dont know how you oldies progressed your way into BZ, but this is the way nowdays that a newbie follows.
When I then got myself to sorta gu and duc maps, I would see a player dodging bullets and that would drive me crazy on how he was able to do that. I even tried moving forward and backwards trying to dodge bullets by luck. Really noobish.
That's for newbies nowdays, or someone gives him advice on how to do these things, or he tries to learn more on BZ wiki [what I did] or he only plays those maps that he does best.
It's not that these maps drive players away, it's the game that is not interesting to them.