@FtXCommando Your example is actually a difference in tactics that 1v1 doesn't have available though :p.
I thought I'd have a look at my recent astro and 1v1 ladder games to check I'm not going off faulty memory to illustrate what I mean when playing at my rank (around 800 in 1v1 ladder; 1400 global although opponents ranks will vary wildly due to being all welcome games):
Astro last 5 games - notable tactics used by winning team:
- T2 firebase; Sparky drop
- Com+T1 bomber rush; Monkeylord
- T1 land raid with range (no dps) com; Early strat; Nuke
- Range (no dps) com; Mercy snipe; T2 Arti (to counter fatboy); Strat snipe (of SMD) combined with nuke
1v1 last 5 games (winning player):
- T1 land spam; T1+2 land spam with guncom;
- T1 land spam with Guncom
- T1 land spam; T2 turtle (PD, Arti, shield); T3 land spam
- T1 land spam; T2 firebase;
- T1 land spam; T2 bomber snipe
I had to go back 8 games to find one where initial T1 land spam wasnt a winning tactic in 1v1, and it's only if T1 land spam isn't enough to win the game outright that the game opens up enough to allow other tactics. My memory of being a new player to 1v1 was also similar (although then the games would end before T2 because I'd usually be the one dying to t1 land spam)
Probably veering a bit off-topic now though. My initial experience of looking for games I wanted to play was also similar to that of Ask-a-holic's - I wanted to play a game, and was tired of waiting (although I was also getting tired of t1 spam), so joined custom games that seemed popular. Initially that was Setons, but I found I didn't like how games would typically go on for a long time, and could be decided a while before actually ending; I tried dual gap briefly, but struggled both due to not having a great CPU at the time and not liking how the large number of players meant what I did had far less of an impact; Then although put off by the look of the astro map I eventually gave it a try.
However, I'm not sure I'd see the 2v2 matchmaker as a good option for a new player wanting to learn the game. From my own experience it involves very long waits (much longer than 1v1), plays very similarly to 1v1, but you've got the added worry of a teammate being more likely to get mad at you for not playing well. By contrast, dual gap shields you from this due to the large number of players, while astro does to a lesser extent by allowing your teammates to easily take over your old base.
I think the casual party game matchmaker idea (linked by harzer earlier in the thread) has more potential for working, even if it wouldn't be the best way of teaching a new player how to play 1v1 ladder, since it could (if it proves popular enough to allow quick matching games) allow variety in game styles, access to a game where people are more likely to be inexperienced (and hence people may be more forgiving of mistakes/learning the game), and sounds like it'd be marketed as a casual option (so again more relaxed/about having fun).
I'd also favour making 1v1 matchmaking more friendly to new players by increasing the extent to which rank determines the maps available. E.g. players with fewer than a certain numbrer of games and/or below a certain rank (not sure on the best thresholds, e.g. 10 games and <=400 rank?) only get 5v5 maps, and those maps are weighted towards ones with fewer lines of attack/more choke points, lower levels of reclaim, and lower levels of expansion (i.e. lower APM maps).
Then as the rank and games goes up, the larger and harder maps start getting added to the pool (more open style maps; more reclaim; more expansion points; navy based maps; larger sized maps, etc.).
That way, new players should have an easier introduction to the play style, and will still need to get to grips with the basics of using t1 land to do well, without being as overwhelmed.
Another point as well to helping the new player experience - at the moment there are tutorials with build orders for specific maps intended presumably to help newer players learn how to play. However, those maps aren't in the ladder pool, meaning they're of significantly less help to a new player starting out (potential solutions being to include the maps in the ladder pool even if just for lower ranks, and/or pick a couple of maps that will always be in the ladder pool and refresh the tutorials for them, although that would involve more work).