Screenshot of the Overwatch Hanamura map

While most Overwatch maps are well designed and enjoyable to play, no matter the skill level, there are some that are a bit... questionable in terms of balance. As you can guess from the title, these are the Assault (2 CP) maps: Hanamura, Volskaya Industries, and Temple of Anubis. The reason for this is the simple fact that Point A heavily favors the offense by staggering defenders for ~30 seconds after each death, while Point B favors the defenders by so much it practically makes them spawn on the point itself.

What this means in gameplay terms is that Point A is relatively easy to assault, while Point B is a prolonged stalemate that requires the offense to combo their ults in such a way that they kill the entire defense at the same time. And even then the defenders have plenty of time to pick D.Va, Mei, Tracer, Winston, or any other mobile heroes and just dance around the point until they either run down the clock by a full minute, or turn the fight in their favor - something that really shouldn't happen given how many advantages the defense has on Point B.

With all of this in mind it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that these Assault maps are the worst offenders when it comes to draws, and given how relatively easy Point A is to take its safe to assume the bottleneck is Point B. And if you're wondering how bad things really are, according to Overwatch's Jeff Kaplan the percantage of Hanamura games that end in a draw can occasionally reach as high as 18%, which is completely ridiculous when you consider the other modes have either 0% odds of a draw, or as low as 5.75%.

Thankfully, it does appear that the Overwatch team is well aware of these issues as Kaplan's latest post clearly states they are trying to figure out a way to make Assault maps less prone to draws, and conversely, much more enjoyable to actually play. Here's the full quote:

"We appreciate the feedback on our Assault maps.

We've had a lot of discussion about the mode this week. We're talking about some potential changes but we still want to talk things through for a bit before making immediate changes.

One of the problems we're interested in solving is lowering the rate that draws occur in Assault. The worst offender is Hanamura. On a bad week, the map can draw as much as 18% of the time. To put the number in perspective, Control maps draw 0%, Payloads draw 0% and Hybrids draw on average 5.75% of the time.

Your overall chance of a draw in competitive mode is 5.45%, which seems more than acceptable to us.

I wouldn't go so far as to say draws happen every time on Assault or even that draws are rampant. Statistically, that is false. But we think we have some strong ideas to try out when it comes to reducing draws in Assault.

We have some other problems we are taking a look at as well.

But overall, we like Assault as a mode and we think the maps provide a lot of exciting Overwatch moments. We're always looking to improve all parts of the game and Assault is included in that."

While I'm obviously not a game designer, there are two relatively sensible ways to address these problems:

1) Create two spawn points for defenders - one that is closer to Point A, and one that is further from Point B. This will mean that the defense has a slight advantage on both points, but since the offense requires only one good battle in order to grab the point I think that's perfectly fine. And since Point B is no longer a giant stalemate where nothing happens, it would also be a good idea to reduce the time attackers have to capture the entire map, just to stop it from endlessly repeating.

2) Make it so invulnerable characters aren't able to contest the point. In other words, make Mei's Iceblock, Reaper's Wraith Form, D.Va's ejection, Zenyatta's ult, and a couple of others I can't think off unable to stop the attackers from capturing the point. The defenders could still trickle back and attempt to regain control of the point, but they would no longer get freebie time by using uncounterable invulnerability mechanics.

Personally I'm a fan of second suggestion as it keeps the Assault maps challenging, while also removing the frustration of watching Mei stall for 15+ seconds because you got distracted for a moment and let her through. But at the end of the day I'll be happy with pretty much any change, because with the advent of Symmetra Hanamura has become nigh unbearable to actually finish completely.

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