Overwatch 2 Map Pools are Going Away in Season 4
Overwatch 2’s Season 3 starts tomorrow, with its first trailer debuting today. In terms of new content, there’s a new Battle Pass with Kiriko getting her first Mythic Skin, Amaterasu. A new map, Antarctic Peninsula, is also coming and will be the first new Control map since Busan in 2018.
However, big changes have already been announced for Season 4. Map Pools, which limited the number of maps available each season, will be going away. In a new article by game director Aaron Keller, he explained, “We aimed to provide a bit of freshness each season and concentrate the number of maps people were playing. However, player sentiment around map pools was pretty low, the map roster doesn’t have enough maps where we truly need them, and the impact they had on seasonal identity was fairly low.
“Additionally, the cadence for maps leaving and returning to the pool didn’t align with the time it took to make changes to the maps. Gibraltar was supposed to return in Season 4, but the playtesting and iteration we were doing for the map started calling that deadline into question.”
Map Pools could return in the “far future” but only when the team has a “lot more maps in the game.” “If we were to bring them back, they would probably rotate at a faster rate, potentially every week. If you hate this idea, set a reminder for two years from now and let us know!” said Keller.
As for map frequency, he clarified that there’s no “special code” for one map to appear more frequently over others. “However, it’s not entirely random. We have been looking into this based on player reports, and there is a detail of the matchmaking system that does elevate Push maps a bit. The matchmaker tries to avoid people playing the same map as well as the same game mode over a short period.
“Since Push has fewer maps than other game modes this could cause those maps to come up more frequently than game modes with more maps. We’re looking into a way to mitigate this, targeted for a future season. This is even more important considering we have another new game mode with new maps scheduled for a seasonal release later this year.”
Another issue that involved spawning on defense before the opponent reaches the first checkpoint is also due for a fix. “Do you ever spawn on defense in Gibraltar right before the first checkpoint is reached and wonder whether you’ll get back to your team alive without getting caught outside of spawn? This problem has gone on too long.
“We’ve looked into level design changes to fix this problem in several maps, and will probably use that in a few places, but those have the possibility of opening new flanking routes for the offense that we’d prefer to avoid. So, we’re talking about solutions that don’t necessitate map changes. This probably won’t hit Season 4, but it’s in the works.”
Finally, players can expect more challenges for events that let them play how they prefer. “Some of the event challenges will reflect these changes in Season 3. We’ll continue to monitor this and change it in the future if it doesn’t feel right.”
Other changes coming in Season 3 include revamps to the matchmaker, reducing the number of wins required in Ranked play, the return of Overwatch Credits and more. Stay tuned for patch notes and other details when they eventually hit.
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