Missiles are way too powerful. Not just talking damage, but their ability to just home in on anything despite initially moving in the completely wrong direction is not how I envisioned them.
Gyrocopter can't be targeted when he's flying up in the stratosphere.
In general he covers a little too much ground too quickly, and at too early of a level. I thought WC3 latency would sufficiently hamper this, but that wasn't the case.
Things I am thinking of doing:
Disable Gyrocopter's abilities whenever his height exceeds a certain point (i.e. when he's offscreen, don't know exact Z-value for this and it's probably a wide range given WC3's isometric view. augh)
Restrict missile homing to whatever is within a cone region infront of it.
Probably make his hopping ability a penultimate or something. I didn't mention this before, but Gyrocopter's hopping is tied to its move speed, so Steak was properly crippled whenever he picked up a rune and broke his back. I can easily turn its hopping into an activated ability like Dervish's penultimate, then give Gyrocopter a normal move speed amount and make the hopping use a factor of that. Or maybe I just need more slows in the game. It just now occurred to me that Lich is the only evil-side hero with slow and disable.
I think I prefer the overall lack of CC, which tends to make stuff like map tong hop really frustrating. The dong knight's charge ability definitely counts as CC, too (though not a traditional stun/slow). That ability is also still way too strong imo. Though it showed moreso in that game due to the huge level advantage we had.
The missiles were mostly a problem during MLG. The full wipes were all from MLG rocket spam. I think homing changes alone will fix that in part.
The movespeed is probably just too high for the gyrocopter in general.
I think this can work, but in late game there is already some pathing/crowding issues. Maybe, when a spawn is bought, it replaces some existing spawn in the wave. e.g. you buy tanks/bruisers it replaces grunts/footmen, siege replaces catapults, etc.
construction options -
Shipyards are useless and will die immediately when a lane pushes and other than infernals and the rare chimera/frost wyrm backdoor the construction options for either side are nearly worthless especially for their cost.
Other than non-optimal team situations, the biggest thing about this map that really stands out to me is how ending the game is only possible after a large period of time passes and the enemy team allows you to make repeated attempts at the queen/king of austria.
When I thought about this I momentarily considered several points...
1 - The flags serve no purpose at level 21. By then you are usually full build or close to it (unless you get very lucky RNG on runes but runes are opt-in.
What could be done about that?
* You suggested AB-styled respawns. This doesn't really solve the issue of the king being a fortress with the right heroes behind him, or that the gyrocopter has a huge siege advantage (you said it was getting reworked but I'll touch that in a moment so hold this rod)
* Attacking minion spawns. To me this would have to very carefully be designed to avoid a moba thing since that is what you are probably trying to avoid. But if a team has a lasting commanding presence on the map it could help put more value in the objectives once they otherwise have nearly no use other than vision.
* Environmental advantage/disadvantage - Maybe a longer term thing. Currently, advantages are mostly accrued around the first ten minutes in the game by the first fights snowballing a gold/level advantage off of early caps. But since you can't actually hope to kill the king or really do anything, this advantage doesn't really peter into anything meaningful. Maybe being able to build stuff around flags (with gold or something) or having particular effects in the areas around the flags will give them a bit of value. Think the water around blacksmith in AB.
2 - Items.
So you said you didn't really like how the item system currently was working out. I think the big issue is the one shop is specific recipes and the second shop is a bunch of hidden recipes that share combo items with the first shop (every time I try to make the MS gloves I invariably end up with some other combo item because of the order I did this in).
In LoL I planned to make a specific item require reagents from neutral minions (or bought with exceptional gold) to combine with that item, possibly at a specific location (helm's deep for example).
If you decide to associate respawn points with flags this is going to fuck with item balance a lot (those stones will become even stronger because you will be able to make more use of them before the mid/late gold starts to outscale in terms of cost-reward).
You mentioned something about dual stat distribution always being dumped in favor of sole stat distribution and maybe some auto attack benefit passives might help. Something like a bleeding dot or something that stacks with AA would help some heroes like warrier man x stay relevant against the very high CC on the loladin side. Or things like a mana shield item.
There is not a lot of incentive in building defensive because of high damage/utility abilities and the safety net of the long distances and comparatively short respawn timers. Late game only a few select heroes pose serious king siege threat and even then you are likely to die to sheep with the exception of the gryocopter. Which brings me to 3.
3 - siege heroes.
The Gyrcopter currently is capable of killing the king without ever really needing to put itself in danger. The caveat of this is that it takes quite a long time and other players can stop it.
While I consider the missiles in themselves pretty toxic since they do a ton of damage and are unavoidable in most cases (not to mention the safety), I don't necessarily consider the role that this playstyle imposes bad in itself. Indeed, I sort of imaged my hydra as a psuedo siege-capable hero with fair range and some summons and aoe built into it for this sort of purpose. Right now the map is mostly about 1v2's, 2v3's and rarely team fights for aforementioned reasons. As it is, siege really can only show itself in a form like the gyrocopter because anything close to the king will get reamed by respawning players and really can't hope for much support besides warrier man x's recall which is only one person.
Making long-range weapons have some counterplay, like arcing projectiles you can avoid or missiles you can destroy (my preferred approach in apex) opens up the possibly to reach out and touch stuff like the king or his defenders without needing to die for that 200 hp of damage on him. But also both teams having access to these kinds of tools opens up options. Previously the Nerubian served this role because he could safely attack the king/the teleport point which effectively served the same purpose but without the range.
(This is for cockfighting arena)
To give gold more value, you could add in workers that can build things in your spawn area that can either counter other enemy heroes (say spellbreakers vs aoe casters, priests with chain dispel for mass summons) and have things that can deal high damage to the king/queen but get demolished by heroes requiring escorting.
Or something like the objectives in hots, where you can have people gather around at some central, temporary objective so team fights are forced in some central area, and then it can send an attack against the king/queen or give them some form of de-buff forever/temporary amount of time (like every objective you win, the enemy king will lose 10 armor forever, or lose health regen, stuff like that)
CFA definitely needs a Homo Demon hero, as inspired by David Manning.
Homo Demons are supposed to be white, else I'd have said to use the rock golem. Maybe flesh golem?
Q - American Express Card
Throws out an American Express Card like a boomerang. Flies out in a full circle-like pattern (so where you click is the end of a "crescent" path, then it flies back to you in another crescent). All enemies heroes hit by this get pulled along its path back to you. Levels increase range and damage or effect radius maybe. This could perhaps bounce off of walls or something and still try to find its way back to the caster.
Could also let this hit allies.
W - Take Out To Dinner
Creates a column of rainbows at a distant location. When it finishes channeling, any enemies in it are teleported to you. (Reverse Recall). You can move while the column channels. It's like a delayed effect. The teleportees appear where you currently are or were? Both have merits...
E - Theater???
Not 100% sure about this one yet.
R - Long Legged Mac Daddy
Causes the caster to leap to a target location. Any active American Express Cards will follow you to the new location. This means you can potentially drag enemies to locations with you. A lot like the Gryocopter but less powerful. Also, when you land, you knock up any enemies you land on, snaring them as they fly up and then hit the ground.
This is probably too similar to the Firelord dash so I'll consider what else.
X - Gym Brawl
Creates a vortex with an intense gravity-like effect that sucks enemies and allies into it. If they are stunned or airborn the effect is significantly increased. Once trapped inside they cannot escape. After a few seconds the vortex explodes and hurls any encased units outwards. The more units it sucked into its center the greater the force of eruption and the greater the damage it deals. The Homo Demon can also be sucked into the vortex, but he has to manually move into it. (e.g. it doesn't have gravity on him, but if he walks into the center he gets stuck inside.)