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Overwatch 101: Maps


There are many things that make Overwatch such an enjoyable game that I am so passionate about, and one of them are the maps! Not only are they stunning and beautiful and full of lore and life, they are an essential part of what makes up the gameplay and knowing about them is key at winning games. I want to talk about what I think are some of the most important features of maps in Overwatch!

Map example – Busan!

One of the first things that struck me about the maps is that they’re tailored made for an objective; you will never play two different objective games in the same map. They are designed this way to maximize the enjoyment and gameplay around that objective. For example, Escort maps will have a clear route for the payload and Assault maps will have two areas to capture/defend. Know how the map is designed around the objective, and remember to GO.FOR.THE.OBJECTIVE always!

Each map has also been designed to be balanced for each individual hero and for both teams. There are areas in a map where a particular hero might have an advantage thanks to their abilities, but other areas where they are at a disadvantage. Likewise, the maps are balanced so that neither of the two teams have an unfair advantage over the other. Game statistics are continuously monitored and regularly tweaks are made to the maps in order to achieve and maintain this balance, so be on the lookout for changes!

Something which I find extremely cool about the maps is that there are infinite flanking possibilities. There are hallways, passages, buildings some heroes can jump over, high grounds… As an attacker you have a ton of options to choose from to reach the objective and as a defender this forces you to be on your toes and ready for an attack that can happen at any time from anywhere. You get one of the best feelings from the game when you successfully flank and surprise the enemy team or stop them from flanking!

Finally, every map gives you two options to recover your health: your base and health packs. The base is where you start the game from or where you spawn when eliminated. A few things about the base:

  • A base can be divided into two areas: the inner and the outer base.
  • The inner base is where you spawn, heal very quickly and are invulnerable from any enemy attack. The inner base is separated from the outer base by a yellow frame with a hologram yellow cross that you can see when looking from outside of the inner base. You can also change your hero in the inner base.
  • The outer base is a small area between the inner base and the rest of the map, but where the enemy team is not allowed to enter. You are vulnerable to attacks in the outer base and being eliminated here is very painful!
  • The base in Assault, Escort and Hybrid maps moves along the map as you reach objective checkpoints. It moves forward for attackers and (in most cases) backwards for defenders.
  • If you have a few hit points left and the base is nearby, go back and heal up! This is always better than being eliminated.

Health packs are found in fixed locations at every map and there are two types of health packs: large and small. The locations of these health packs have been picked to balance the game for attackers and defenders. Whenever you pick up a health pack there is a cool down before it regenerates and can be picked up again. Knowing where these are can help save your life, use them often and try to block the enemy team from using them!

It all boils down to this: know the map layout and your hero’s abilities and use this to your advantage to win the objective!

Thanks for reading!

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