Overwatch 2 level designer gives 3 reasons for the game’s new map pools

Why not just throw everything in at once? Here's why.

A member of the Overwatch 2 development team has explained why the game includes seasonally-rotating map pools.

In a Twitter Spaces conversation yesterday with esports caster Soe Gschwind, Overwatch 2 lead level designer Ryan Smith discussed developer Blizzard Entertainment’s philosophy on the game’s map rotations. He explained that there are three reasons why all maps aren’t available in quick play and competitive every season: variety, seasonal identity, and map updates.

Variety is fairly self-explanatory: Smith revealed that the development team wants players to feel as though they have the opportunity to play a wide swath of maps and have a fair shot at experiencing Overwatch 2’s new battlegrounds. The first season’s map pool gave players about a 33 percent chance of playing on a new map rather than one from the first Overwatch, which the team believed was a way to introduce players to these new spaces without overwhelming them. Incorporating a map pool allows the team to tweak the rate at which players play future new maps without having them get lost in a sea of existing maps.

Seasonal identity is also an important part of the map pool decision. Each season of Overwatch 2 has a loose theme: season one’s theme was cyberpunk, while season two’s is Greek mythology. Map pools allow the development team to choose the maps they want to showcase and that they feel best represent the season themeand any new heroes that may be released. (It was previously revealed that going forward, new heroes will be released on even-numbered seasons while new maps will be released during odd-numbered seasons, generally speaking.)

Finally, rotating some maps out of the live game allows the development team to update them without the added stress of having them be playable at the same time. Some of the game’s older maps will be receiving updates in the future to make them feel more balanced and fun to play. Smith stressed that these updates won’t be simply to change old maps for the sake of change but to improve them. He gave the example of Blizzard World, which has had some cover areas added and adjusted to better fit Overwatch 2’s new design philosophies, among other reasons.

Gschwind and Smith’s full conversation, which covered several topics relating to level design and the new map Shambali Monastery, can be listened to here.

Latest comments
No comments yet
Why not be the first to comment?