Overwatch 2 map pools to be removed as Blizzard plans new game mode

Blizzard says Overwatch 2 map pools are going away from season 4, telling the community for its multiplayer FPS game, “You were right. We were wrong.” The change will also see alterations made to map frequency in rotations, aiming to address Push maps showing up more often than other types. While this change to Overwatch 2 maps won’t be here for the season 3 release date, it arrives in season 4, with more tweaks planned beyond that.

Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller shared a blog on the Blizzard website – the latest in the team’s planned efforts at more frequent Overwatch 2 dev updates to keep the community clued in – talking about its plans for maps moving forwards. Keller admits, “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.”

As such, Overwatch 2 map pools will be removed altogether from the start of season 4. In response to a query on Twitter, Keller adds that this change didn’t make it into the season 3 build, which was already locked prior to the decision being made to remove pools, which is why it won’t arrive until the following season.

In addition to this, Keller notes that the planned cadence for maps rotating in and out of the pool was hit by the timeframe for adjustments. Escort map Gibraltar, for example, “was supposed to return in season 4 but the playtesting and iteration we were doing for the map started calling that deadline into question.”

Keller adds that some potential map tweaks are in the works, pointing again to Gibraltar as an example. “Do you ever spawn on defence 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,” he explains. The team is aiming to find “solutions that don’t necessitate map changes” but will consider them if necessary. Keller notes that these changes probably won’t arrive by season 4 but are in the works.

Map frequency in rotations is also addressed. Keller says the game doesn’t prefer one map after another, but “there is a detail of the matchmaking system that does elevate Push maps a bit,” which leads to them showing up slightly more frequently. This is then exacerbated by the fact that there are fewer Push maps than there are for other game modes, meaning those will likely appear more often. He reassures players, “We’re looking into a way to mitigate this, targeted for a future season.”

Overwatch 2 maps: An overview of the Antarctica Peninsula control map in the free PC game, featuring an icebreaker ship.

Overwatch 2 new game mode

Excitingly, Keller also teases that this rotation will be important “considering that we have another new game mode with new maps scheduled for a seasonal release later this year.” There are no details yet on exactly what this mode will entail, but it’s good news nonetheless. Personally, I’ve been a big fan of the back-and-forth dynamic of Push, but it’s certainly not to everyone’s tastes, so more ways to play are always interesting.

Finally, Keller signs off with a brief chat about event challenges. Speaking to the Overwatch 2 Lunar New Year event, he remarks that “event challenges focused too heavily on playing the event’s game mode.” Blizzard has “changed our values here,” he explains, with plans to “include more challenges that let you play the way you prefer, while still introducing event game modes.” These changes will land in Overwatch 2 season 3, though Keller notes that more alterations may be forthcoming “if it doesn’t feel right.”

As the new season arrives, be sure you’re up to date on the Overwatch 2 tier list so you know the best characters in the current meta, along with refreshing your knowledge on how Overwatch 2 competitive ranks work. Season 3 is also set to see the arrival of new Overwatch 2 map Antarctic Peninsula. If you just can’t get enough of real-life competition, we’ve got more of the best multiplayer games on PC to keep the challenge coming.

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