I'm just wondering, how much of a burden would it be on the creative team to create a big, but empty map?
By that I just mean a map that takes up a large chunk of Tyria's real estate, but that isn't as crammed full of little details as we've come to expect from a GW2 map. I get that making a map on the scale of the Desolation would take a lot of work, which is why they tend to make slightly smaller maps more often, but would it be possible to make a map that is mostly just "not much going on here?"
Maybe take a place like the empty gap between Ebonhawk and the Highlands. Have little communities and activities that happen right along the top and bottom edges of the map, enough to entertain people, but have most of the middle of the map just be "rocks and trees," placed perhaps not as painstakingly as some of the other maps, maybe scatter some generic mobs for flavor, but with no particular reason to fight them. All the "content" would cluster in the relatively small communities on the edges, but it would give the world more "depth" to still connect these routes physically, even if they can't justify building an entire story around that region. The "empty" area in the middle would at minim be a fun place to ride or fly through.
Again, if this would still take a ton of work, then fine, not worth pursuing, but if it's something that could be knocked together relatively easily using spare parts, it's better than leaving some of these areas off the map entirely.
(and also, just as an aside, I'm still hoping for a desert map that that is like 80-90% "nothing but sand dunes," with only a few islands of actual rock and life. I wanted that from the PoF expansion, but the closest we got was some tiny dune regions in Oasis and Riverlands.)