Raziaar, I think why you haven't seen starting locations addressed is because of the limitations of the map selection process. This isn't like some strategy games where you can click a starting spot or line up numbered starting location to select where you and opponents will start. From what I've been able to gather, starting locations are controlled by some sort of placement algorithm.
Case 'n point Epic's "Epic" failure UT3. They forgot the golden rule. Or wait, maybe it WAS pirating that sunk their triple-eh title. No, sorry, quick look at gamespy stats says BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM has more players online right now. Looks like even the pirates aren't playing...
Yep, all 40+ million (Epic's number, not mine) of those pirates have elected not to play UT3. Last time I played UT3 there were so few people online that stats were being tracked for bots. I wonder if they're still inflating the online numbers by counting bots as people...it used to be that way back in January. Epic has the gall to ban veteran modders off their forums though...and that's something only EA has managed to match. The firing of Jeff Morris may help serve some justice, but that's unlikely to happen.
Its actually even more simple than that: its their game, they can distribute the patches however they feel like it. So long as anyone who legitimately owns the game can get the patch, they (SD / IC) are perfectly ok. The only argument you can make about this is the individual who has to use public computers for internet access, to which a satisfactory solution has not been given. Argue from that point and I'll support you; argue from some "this is the way things are now, so they should stay that way!" point and I'll point you over at the simple non-GUI games of eras past and say "enjoy!" -- while laughing in your face.
Wow. First, at no time have I intentionally denigrated Impulse (except with the shovelware comment, which I corrected as soon as I realized the internet definition, not the local industry definition here, contains a negative annotation to it). I continue to maintain that Impulse is a good idea, but changing the patch delivery method is a bad idea. In a different thread I've even said that I would do exactly the same thing Stardock is doing with Impulse (that exact statement did not apply to doing the same thing with the patch for Sins since prior to this thread I did not know it would be Impulse-only). To equate my position as not wanting to step away from command prompt text games is pure madness.
Second, yes, Stardock/Ironclad can distribute the patches the way they want -- they are in the driver's seat like I said before. However, the whole point of registering on this site with a cd-key was to lock down the patch to registered users. For some reason, Stardock/Ironclad has stood silent as numerous big-name download sites have copied the patch for download from their own servers, which do not require the cd-key linked user account required for updates from this site. Effectively, the system in place was deliberately disregarded for the past 5 months as each of the 5 patches came out.
Third, with the ever-increasing importance of social networking, content syndication, and instant communication, the presence of a minority of consumers upset about Impulse could hit the Epic Fail-effect thus generating so much negative buzz it cripples the longevity of the product. In the case of UT3, Epic really doesn't care because they've already got your money, but the negative buzz sends sales into a irrecoverable nosedive, discouraging modders, and driving away player and fan bases. In the case of Impulse, if the same thing happened it would depress the platform into a state that might not allow it to get fully off the ground. It's also particularly damming if the argument of Impulse being de facto DRM introduced by an anti-DRM ever gets going. I don't subscribe to that way of thinking, but it's come up here more than once.