I voted #3. I find it hard to believe this map has the least votes...
Maps should be a world on their own. They don't have to be geographical, but they must have their own certain way of creating an small universe for the player to get into. To me, #3 is the only map that does this.
#1 is too sterile to move me. I like Oasis and future Winter, but this map seems less adult, and too much should be done to get me excited.
In #2, I think the theme and ideas are great, but these graphics just aren't right to express them. If I'd play on this map, deploying on one of the ships would not in the least bit get me close to yelling "Yarrrr! Full sails ahead!" And I believe it should.
#4 of course has the very refined graphics and wonderfully warm colourwork. If you just close your eyes a little bit, you could be looking at a quenched CC map. But if you try to find something the cartographer wants to bring out, wants you to get involved in, you could be looking for a long time. I think the mapmaker has just been too busy perfecting graphics. All do respect, he honestly did a great job. But I get the impression he wasn't working on something with heart and soul, he didn't believe in his own work's power to create a new reality in the head of the player. Why do so many CC'ers prefer a map that doesn't have a theme? Maps aren't simply supposed to catch the eye. They must catch your mind.
On map #3, I get the feeling the mapmaker takes you along in his story. The graphics are less bright or saturated than others, and yeah, the seas have a brick pattern under them aswell. Are these criticisms? This whole map must have been created following one vision. It IS a wall. Watch the top and bottom borders of the map. Have you ever seen a highly saturated painting on an old stone wall? The pastel colours give it an ancient feel. And because the graphics don't pop out of the screen, doesn't mean they're not skillfully crafted. From every little pyramid-style mountain to the beautiful little animal logos (has anyone taken a decent look at Mashu, The Passes, Karvansara or Uruk?), this map makes me feel the cartographer believed in his work, and I applaud the care he has taken to tell his tale.
And last but not least, this map still carries the gameplay feel our beloved Middle Earth had.
If this map doesn't end up above (or at least close to) #4, I will be very disappointed in CC community...