By Emily Barnes
Overwatch is an immersive and fast-paced team-based shooter with a character roster of 31 heroes that all have different abilities and playstyles. The maps of Overwatch are based on both fictional and real places around the globe, and there are multiple types of maps: assault, control, escort, and hybrid. Assault maps have two objectives that must be captured, escort maps include a payload that must be pushed to three separate objectives, control maps have one objective to be captured, and hybrid maps are a combination of assault and escort. Control maps are unique in that they are the best two out of three, having three separate playable maps inside of each control map. Having such a variety of playable maps and characters make Overwatch an interesting and ever-changing gaming experience.
Blizzard Entertainment is known for creating amazing games that are widely popular and Overwatch is no exception. With the creation of the professional Overwatch League with teams all around the world, Overwatch shows no sign of slowing down in popularity and playability. Keep reading if you want to know more about the map locations, names, and strategy.
Oasis is staged in the Arabian desert and appears to be a technologically advanced city, and it happens to be one of the earliest maps in Overwatch, shown at Blizzcon in 2016. This map is one of the control maps, and Oasis contains three separate maps: City Center, Gardens, and University. Some of the most notable parts of this map include a road with cars, a jump pad to the high ground above the point, and an elevated walkway above the point perfect for surprise attacks on the enemy team. Oasis is meant to be a technologically advanced city filled with scientists and researchers much like the support class character Moira.
The map of Ilios is set in the beautiful country of Greece, and the design and visuals of the map have a striking resemblance to the real thing. Ilios is one of the control maps in Overwatch and has the following maps in its rotation: Lighthouse, Ruins, and Well. Ilios is known for its ample opportunity for environmental kills especially since the Well map has a big hole right in the middle of the point. Heroes with abilities like Lucio’s boop, Orisa’s pull, and Roadhog’s hook can easily put an enemy in a bad position and secure some easy kills. Lucio may be able to pull off swift movements and wall rides, but his ultimate ability is very powerful and protects from significant amounts of damage. Ilios is the perfect map to fine tune your wall riding skills and practice boops.
8. Lijiang Tower
Lijiang Tower is another Control map available to play. Lijiang Tower is set in an advanced metropolitan city in China featuring shops, markets, restaurants, and more. The three stages are named Night Market, Garden, and Control Center. The map has a bridge where enemies like Pharah and Junkrat can use explosives to send enemies flying off of the map. Pharah can be very hard to counter as she can shoot herself into flight, but heroes that have hit scan abilities like Soldier 76 and Mccree can counter her effectively. Lijiang Tower’s three stages are all close-quarter and advocate for a brawling style of team composition.
Eichenwalde is the first Hybrid map to appear on this list. The map is set in Germany and features beautiful castles with stone exterior and towers. Introducing hybrid maps means it is necessary to stress the importance of “chokes” in Overwatch. Eichenwalde’s choke on attack can be difficult to push through. Lucio’s speed boost is a great way to get through the choke efficiently and quickly while keeping your team grouped together. The second checkpoint is on a bridge meaning environmental kills are definitely possible. The open atmosphere also allows snipers to easily pick off multiple enemies who aren’t properly shielded, precise aiming here is a must!
Hollywood is not surprisingly set in Los Angeles and is also a Hybrid map. The map follows the theme of Hollywood closely by including movie sets and propaganda in the map and multiple buildings that players can walk through for cover or for flanking purposes. The first point of Hollywood has a main entrance and a back entrance that teams can push as a flank into the enemy’s backline. Throughout the three checkpoints, you will pass through multiple movie sets until you enter an enclosed area in the last checkpoint.
Numbani is a hybrid map set in Africa. Numbani is known for having a first point that can be very difficult to attack and capture. Teams can either go around the first building to the left completely to reach the point, through the building on the first floor, through the building on the second floor and up the stairs, or down the main choke. With so many options you will see a wide variety in strategy making this map one of the most interesting to play. Dive compositions with characters such as Winston can be highly successful for your first push, but the standard Reinhardt and Zarya tank combination can perform just as well.
Dorado is the first Escort map to be included on this list, meaning your sole goal as attackers are to push a payload to three points. Dorado is set in the country of Mexico, and it’s first two objectives are set in wide-open spaces with plenty of sniping and hit scan opportunities. However, the final point is inside of a building that is closer together, but the high ceilings allow for dive characters and Pharah to be effective throughout the entire map.
Nepal is another Control map that is set in the country by the same name. Nepal features three stages: Village, Sanctum, and Shrine. The stages of the map all have points inside buildings both big and small. There are opportunities for environmental kills and heroes like Pharah are very successful on this map with open spaces and high ceilings allowing her to fly and fire rockets freely. Heroes that fight in a brawler style like Brigitte and Reinhardt will be very powerful here as well.
Hanamura is the one and only Assault map that will be included on this list. Hanamura is set in the country of Japan complete with beautiful cherry blossom trees and shrines. Hanamura is well known amongst the Overwatch community for its contribution to the backstory of the two characters Genji and Hanzo. Their battle from the lore took place on the second point of this map, complete with Hanzo’s arrows and Genji’s shurikens permanently placed in the walls.
1. Kings Row
Kings Row is without a doubt deserving of the number one spot on this list, and I wouldn’t doubt the majority of the Overwatch community would agree with its top placement. King’s Row is located in London and is another one of the Hybrid maps. King’s Row features tight-knit hallways to push the payload through allowing heroes like Mei and Moira to prevail. Moira’s orbs bounce easily and quickly off of the close walls and Mei can easily completely isolate an enemy with her wall.
The first point of King’s Row really has one push point that is very visible to the defending team. You can take different routes to reach this choke, but all are most likely going to make you visible to your teammates. There is a large statue that allows for cover, and defending teams need to be wary of an attacking Widow. The spawn has a separate door that is placed high on the building providing a perfect sniping window.
One of the most enjoyable parts of Overwatch is the developer’s effort in incorporating many different cultures into their game. The maps in this game are very detailed with props and varying architectural styles that reflect many country’s cultures and historical buildings. You have the opportunity to strategize freely with ample hiding spots, vantage points, chances for environmental kills, and more.
Overwatch developers continue to add to the experience with new characters, new cosmetic items such as skins, new maps, and even holiday or season based visual adaptations to maps. Characters are always being buffed and nerfed in order to ensure the game is balanced and fair at all times. Players can also buy special golden weapons for each character, they just have to pay with 3,000 competitive points, which are earned per win.
Different heroes are more effective on different maps, so it can be very fun for players to learn what heroes work best. Seeing places from around the world being imitated in maps is visually appealing and the incorporation of celebratory cosmetics for holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, Mardi Gras, and more provide the players with customizability and something to grind for. If you enjoy team-based shooters that prioritize communication and strategy, then Overwatch is a game you will definitely love.