At an Overwatch press conference at BlizzCon, it was revealed that Season 19 will have some major changes regarding the game’s competitive map pool.
Unlike previous competitive seasons in which players had 21 available maps, Season 19 will only be offering 12, according to an Overwatch journalist present at the panel. They went on to say that Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony would not be in the 12-map pool in Season 19.
These two maps have been consistently critisized by the competitive Overwatch community, including by professional Overwatch League players. Houston Outlaws pro Jeffrey “blase” Tsang replied to the news with a simple, “W.”
“Forget Overwatch 2. This is the real shit,” a Reddit user said in regards to the news.
Competitive players hated Paris so much, in fact, that many went above and beyond to avoid it. Another Reddit user said that he often duoed with a friend with eight accounts, who “took the hit every time” by dodging the map over 20 times in the past season alone.
“A true hero,” they concluded.
Another Redditor said they were banned from the game for doing something similar, all in a quest to avoid having to play on Paris.
In the same thread, an Overwatch player said that Blizzard must have looked at the data and were “well aware” that Paris and Horizon were the “most hated” maps.
“If a map is so bad you have players willing to sacrifice 50 SR to not play it then something has to be done. Paris and Horizon are by far the most dodged maps in my experience. This is amazing news,” they said.
It was also speculated that developers may take into consideration the win-loss ratio on each map. Some maps, like Paris and Horizon, heavily favor defense. Paris in particular has a very tight choke point before Point A, leaving offensive teams often running into an impenetrable bunker composition.
So far, the 12 maps included in the new competitive pool have not been announced. In the Overwatch panel, it was noted that the map pool would change each competitive season.
Other Overwatch fans wondered if players themselves would get to ban maps, similar to how League of Legends players can ban opponents from playing certain champions. This theory was shot down by other players who felt that the choice of map would likely still be out of their hands.
When Sigma was released, Overwatch’s lead designer Jeff Kaplan had a stream with Brandon “Seagull” Larned. He explained that the number of available maps was becoming so large that it would only make sense to have a limited number of maps available each season. He didn’t mention anything about players voting on or banning the maps themselves, though he didn’t rule the idea out either.