In what was perhaps the biggest mistake of the entire game, Heroes of the Storm released Overwatch’s Hanamura map a year ago. The map was much anticipated as Overwatch was still at its peak of fandom and Hanamura was set to be the first Overwatch map to be released on HOTS. However, it didn’t take long for players to become dissatisfied with the map as the objective of pushing a payload proved to be more of a nuisance than an objective – ushering HOTS to scrap the map…until now.
It’s been a year since then and now they have re-released Hanamura with the changes necessary to make it a lasting and funfilled map. These include changes to the core, payload objective details, and camps. Let’s go over each of them to learn what changes have been made to make it better.
Originally the core in Hanamura was set up much like the one in Towers of Doom where players cannot attack the core directly but must do it through the objective of by delivering the team’s payload to the designated spot. By doing so the payload would inflict damage to the core. Other ways to damage the core included defeating the boss in the middle of the map and destroying a team’s keep to release a sapper with your minion waves that can do 1 damage to the enemy’s core upon arrival.
Now the core in Hanamura is only capable of being attacked directly by players like most other maps. No other objectives will do any damage to the core, but the basic rewards of destroying an enemy keep are in play.
Having a payload objective in an Overwatch map was essential, as payloads are a staple of Overwatch. However, the payload gameplay had issues. Basically, there would be two payloads released at a time, one for you and one for your opponent. You would have to deliver your payload to the designated spot while simultaneously trying to keep the enemy from delivering theirs. Part of the issue that arose from this is how long the objective could to complete with all the back and forth between pushing your payload and stopping theirs. This would prompt teams to eventually abandon the objective and focus on other things as the benefits would outweigh the costs of doing so.
Thankfully now the objective consists of only one payload that each team must fight for and then push to their team’s destination. Basic MOBA area control of one item instead of two. It is a much more simple approach and one that team’s are happy to focus on when the time comes.
This was the first time HOTS players were introduced to camps that gave you items such as the healing pulse and fortification turret. There were also recon camps that, once defeating the henchmen, you receive a “dragon token” which once used release 3 dragon spirits to the 3 nearest enemies and reveals their location (an obvious nod to Hanzo’s sonic arrow). And as mentioned before there was a boss that would inflict damage on the enemy core once defeated. These were all great in theory but proved confusing and easy to mishandle in practice.
Just like the previous two, HOTS improved on camps by simplifying it. The recon camps simply secure vision for the area surrounding the camp, the sentinel camp now pushing a lane in lieu of dropping a healing pulse, and only the fortification turret remains.
What seemed to sink Hanamura overall last year was the combination of too many changes and unique objectives. They proved to be too much change all at once. You can see how Overwatch’s next map on HOTS, Volskaya Foundry, managed to strike the right balance between new and old (probably from what they learned from Hanamura). Either way, HOTS has now redeemed itself with this simpler overhaul of Hanamura, leaving myself, and Overwatch fans likewise, content and satisfied.