I have always been a fan of 1v1 and small teams games(2v2-4v4), strongly preferring them over big games. I often cite having a larger impact on the team as my primary reason for liking small teams. I recently thought of another aspect that significantly differs between small and big teams: the economy curve.
In smaller games, particularly 1v1s, if you look at metal income over the course of the game, the curves typically show an exponential shape, throughout most, if not all of the game. In contrast, the team income for large teams games show a similar initial exponential shape, but much more quickly flatten out to plateau.
I'm not trying to start some deep, intense math debate over the exact shape of the curves, but the main idea behind this is that in large teams games, all of the mexes are quickly taken by one of the two teams. Any additional income comes from overdrive, which has a much lower payback time, as well as a diminishing returns effect, when compared with income from mex expansion. In contrast, in (high skill level) 1v1s and to some extent small teams, often times there will still be never-claimed mexes by the time the game ends via resign. As a result, we can conclude that there is open territory available throughout the game for players to expand into.
This phenomena is also impacted by map size, and typically, large teams games have a much higher player density compared to 1v1s, resulting in the faster expansion over the whole map discussed above.
I personally find the constant ability for expansion into unclaimed land, while simultaneously trying to defend my own claimed land and raid the enemy, one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of Zero-k. This experience is lost in teams games, where a rather static frontline between the two teams forms, and the expansion phase ends early in the game. At that point, players typically begin building excessive porc, arty, and superweapons. When this happens the interesting and unique unit interactions/counters are lost in the sea of heavy weapons fire. For example, skirms rely heavily on kiting, which requires open ground to perform. With strong frontlines, kiting rarely happens.
Thank you for listening to my essay, please leave comments below. :)TL:DR
Big teams games have a less interesting economic expansion profile and the high density of players results in frontline-centric play which limits unit interactions and pushes players toward less active porc/arty/superweapons plays.TL:DR with extra salt
Big teams games are boring and autohosts should be limited to 16 players, especially after the most recent poll indicated that the majority of players prefer small teams.