New Map: Eichenwalde
Blizzard has recently added a large update to its team objective game, Overwatch, kicking off its competitive mode’s season 2, as well as several balancing changes. Most notably, however, a new map has been added to the selection: Eichenwalde. The map is a “hybrid” map, wherein the attacking team must first capture an objective point and then transfer a vehicle through the rest of the map to its destination. Many players currently feel that the map places a heavy advantage on the defensive team, with a particularly brutal chokepoint funneling the attackers through a small area, though Blizzard firmly believes that as players get to know the map and its many flanking routes, it will balance itself out. I also believe this to be true, as in my own time playing the map I’ve felt that I just don’t know the layout well enough to play it effectively yet, but will almost certainly improve. Time will tell if this imbalance is just due to a lack of map knowledge or if the map truly does favor the defense this heavily.
Image Source: Blizzard
In other news, several of the games heroes have been altered. Mercy’s healing beam’s power has been increased by 20%, and Mei’s ultimate’s range has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters. These are definitely good changes in my opinion, as they turn Mei’s ultimate into much more of an objective clearer, and solidify Mercy’s position as the strongest singular target healer. The largest nerfs are towards Genji and Lucio’s, with Genji receiving a reduction to his ultimate’s duration and his mobility, and Lucio’s speed boost being reduced from a 100% increase to a 70% increase. Again, I feel these are necessary changes, as Genji’s ultimate and high maneuverability allowed him to get in and out of practically any situation, and Lucio’s extreme speed boost made him a complete must have for every team.
Competitive Ranking Updates
Image Source: PlayOverwatch
A few other alterations have been made, with a complete overhaul of competitive mode being one of them. I certainly rejoiced alongside many other players at the news that the “coin flip” was completely removed from the game, and is instead replaced by a time bank system as well as the possibility for a match to end in a draw. The ranking system has also received a massive change, with player skill ratings now ranging from 1-5,000 instead of 1-100. Players are also now divided into skill tiers based off their rating, and cannot drop out of their skill tier once they have entered it, with the sole exceptions being the Master and Grandmaster tiers. These changes have been met with a mixed reception by players, though I feel it pushes Overwatch’s competitive mode in a more balanced direction, and no longer harshly punishes players for having one bad day of play or getting unlucky too often.