While the Overwatch gameplay structure adjustments implemented in Overwatch 2 have received generally excellent reviews, one new feature—map pools—has proven to be quite divisive. The nine-week seasons of the game have rotated a number of maps in and out of both casual and competitive matching since the game’s introduction in late 2022.
With map pools, game developer Blizzard Entertainment hopes to encourage “seasonal identity,” make each season feel new and increase the likelihood that games will be played on more recent maps. The Overwatch 2 map pool system has drawn near-unanimous criticism from players, who contend that the game lacks enough stages for such an approach and that the loss of variation vastly outweighs any notions of seasonal identity. Aaron Keller, the Overwatch 2 game director, has confirmed that Blizzard has agreed and will eliminate map pools in Season 4. (expected to arrive in April 2023).
“As of Season 4, Map Pools are no longer used. We intended to increase the number of playable maps and inject some novelty into each season. However, player perception of map pools was poor, the map roster lacked the necessary number of maps, and their influence on the seasonal identity was minimal “Keller penned. “The time it took to update the maps did not coincide with the cadence of the maps leaving and returning to the pool. Gibraltar was planned to return in Season 4, but while we were playtesting and iterating the map, we began to doubt that timeline.”
Notably, Keller stated that when Overwatch 2 has a wider variety of maps, map pools might return in the distant future. If they do come back, they’ll come and go considerably more regularly.
When the game has many more maps, he added, “there’s a chance that we’ll bring map pools back then.” “They would likely rotate more quickly if we brought them back, possibly every week. Set a reminder for two years from now and let us know if you don’t like the idea!”
The developers are attempting to resolve complaints that the same Push maps appear too frequently, Keller added. Since Push is a new mode with few maps and the matchmaker currently tries to prevent players from playing the same maps and modes too frequently, players frequently find themselves playing the same stages over and over again if a Push game is selected. Players who resurrect just before their adjacent objective is taken will no longer be “spawn stuck,” according to Blizzard, who also has plans to make gameplay challenges less event-focused during limited-time advents.
The third season of Overwatch 2 will debut on February 7, and the entire game is currently playable on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. It’s undoubtedly among the best Xbox shooters currently available, and since it’s free to play, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. The Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack, on the other hand, offers access to a Premium Battle Pass, in-game money, and more.