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Heroes of the Storm to Start Map Rotations Capped at 9

With the launch of Heroes of the Storm 2,0, and the continued additions of heroes and maps, some players have started to complain that there is too much to memorize and remember as they prepare for seasons. Blizzards have heard the lamentations of the community and will be making some changes to the map selections going forward, limiting the Battleground choices from 13 down to nine.

"When Heroes first launched, it only had a handful of Battlegrounds," John Deshazer, lead Battleground designer for Heroes of the Storm, said in a post on the official site. "We began to debate the possibility of a rotation in earnest about the time the map pool reached double its original size. Longtime players may have noticed that whenever we’ve introduced a new Battleground, we’ve reduced the size of the map pool to funnel more players into the Nexus’s latest challenge. With the launch of D.Va, we decided it was time to formalize our approach to keeping the game fresh without overloading players by introducing regular Battleground rotations."

In the move from 13 down to nine, there will be three rotations per season, but that could change. "These should be considered living numbers that we are constantly monitoring, and can adjust according to what feels best for the game while still feeling impactful," Deshazer said. "If we raise the number of maps in the pool, for example, rotations won’t feel meaningful." The team consider limiting the number even more down to six, but the team agreed with the community that that felt like too few.

The move is obvious a boon to eSports teams, which allows them to hone their skills on a limited set of maps during specific segments of a season. With Blizzard constantly releasing new Battlegrounds, limiting the number is a good way to increase the level of competition and expertise as they focus on only the maps available.

Season 4 started in March and will end on June 13, so although no date has been announced for this to be implemented, it is likely Blizzard will wait until Season 5 to kick this off in mid-June.

Here is the complete breakdown of what is planned:

  • Reduce the number of Battlegrounds available in matchmaking game modes from 13 to 9.
    • We agree with community feedback that six Battlegrounds felt like too few, and will be running nine, instead.
  • Create moments in our ranked seasons for the meta to shift due to Battleground rotation.
    • We’re starting with three rotations per season and nine Battlegrounds per rotation.
    • These should be considered living numbers that we are constantly monitoring, and can adjust according to what feels best for the game while still feeling impactful. If we raise the number of maps in the pool, for example, rotations won’t feel meaningful.
  • We’ve updated our multi-tiered map introduction system to help alleviate information overload for newer players.
    • New players will always play their first game on Cursed Hollow.
    • They’ll then move into a sub-pool of Battlegrounds drawn from the current rotation.
    • This sub-pool will open up to all nine Battlegrounds in the current rotation, gradually acclimating newer players to the game’s full range of strategies and experiences.
  • We’ve also heard lots of feedback about the map selection process. We’ve spent time reviewing and have come up with some ways to improve this process moving forward, which should result in a healthy and fun map pool with each rotation.
    • Our first consideration is the reward aspect of the Battleground mechanic and its layout. Examples of this are the Curse or Punisher. We want to offer strong variety here. Layout often ties into the Battleground’s mechanic and helps decide how many lanes it has.
    • Next, we consider the gameplay aspect of the Battleground mechanic. Examples are Tribute collection and killing skeletons. Variety is the key here, just like the reward aspect.
    • Our final consideration is visual. We have lots of beautiful Battlegrounds, and we’d like to have a healthy representation across different themes, so from game to game players shouldn’t see the same tile sets.
  • Lastly, there are improvements we’d like to make to some Battlegrounds, and we can make those improvements while they are out of rotation. The rotation creates a nice moment for us to reintroduce reworked Battlegrounds. You’ll never know where our Battlegrounds will grow.
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