“An island brimming with gold in the center of a caldera lake. Steep elevation and lack of trees make it hard to build there.”—Map description
Crater Lake is a multiplayer-only random map in Age of Empires II. It features a large lake with a single, gold-rich island located near the lakefront.
Crater Lake contains a massive lake in the center of the map, reminiscent of the body of water found on the Baltic map. However, the water of Crater Lake covers about a third of the map, with a comparatively smaller land area. Players generally start on differing sides of the lake - if there are more than 2 players present, jutting peninsulas are formed that are incompletely separated from other players by an "arm" of the lake.
The most notable feature of the lake is a single, off-centered island that contains a large amount of gold. This island can vary greatly in size and shape, but is always located near a lakeshore. The island typically contains no other resources, though it frequently is populated with wolves. On bigger map sizes, scattered trees and (more rarely) stone can be found on the island.
When it comes to the resources outside of the island it can be said that the map is rather average. Wood is plentiful and stone can be found with ease. The lake contains plenty of fish to provide food, not to mention the sizeable amount of sheep, deer and boar. When it comes to gold the map isn't particularly lacking, though it remains advisable to try and control of the island, as most gold on the map is concentrated there.
Crater lake comes in temperate and snowy variants. Sometimes the lake is generated partially frozen, which could lead to a shift in focus from naval warfare to ground-based combat. As sheep and deer are positioned closer than usual to the middle of the map it might be possible for player to snipe away other players' deer by scouting; while guarding against other scouts is advised. Small rushes are a good way to bring the enemy out of balance, especially when coupled with a bit of boom.
- Civilizations with strong navies (Vikings, Portuguese, Malay)
- Strong end game civilizations (Spanish, Byzantines).
Civilizations that might struggle:
- Civilizations that lack strong cavalry (Mayans, Aztecs, Goths, Celts, Britons)
- Civilizations that lack strong navies