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Usual 2D world map alternatives for strategy/rpg?

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I'm working on a strategy/rpg where most of the action happens on the world map. For that reason, I want to make sure it evokes the most immersive feeling I can muster.

First of all, the locations are grid based, so some kind of usual 2D tile map is the first idea (Sorry about all these examples being from really old games):


It's possible to make a perspective view from that flat map, in this manner:


Allowing buildings to "stand up" on the flat map improves things a bit.


The above can be tweaked a bit, more specifically, making sure that the buildings don't look that strongly like paper cutouts.

OR one could use the "chinese perspective" and get a perspective close to this:


I'm interested in hearing the experience of people playing with any of these other perspectives. How did it turn out? Which one did you end up using?

(I'm deliberately excluding isometric, since I want to avoid diagonal compass directions. I'm also ruling out a 3D map, since the map is needs to be more representational than realistic).

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