Blizzard has unveiled the first new map since launch for Overwatch called Eichenwalde (we’ll all pretend we can pronounce it). It’s set in a German castle village and is a hybrid of assault and escort, like other maps already in the game.
You must escort a battering ram through the village, and have it knock down the main castle gate in order to fight over the deceased crusaders’s leader, Balderich.
This map is definitely going to be lore rich, as Eichenwalde hosted one of the most famous battles of the Omnic Crisis. Bastion’s destroyed and overgrown comrades litter the landscape, while Reinhardt’s fallen boss is the second objective. We will most likely get more backstory on these two characters, but for those of you who don’t care about any of that, its still a badass map.
But how does it play is the main question. From the gameplay we have so far, it seems pretty well. When the attackers leave their spawn they’re greeted with a bridge that needs to be taken in order to advance, with no way around it. I expect this to be the biggest choke point on the map, and looks perfect for a classic Bastion and Reinhardt combo.
Once the attackers break through this area though, they’re rewarded with an open area. There are left and right flanking routes, as well as a big battleground around the payload. This makes it easier for the attackers after the choke point, so if the defenders want to win early, they’re going to have to hold that bridge.
The next stage in the level is pushing the battering ram up to the castle entrance. It appears this area favors the defenders, as there are high fortifications they can use to shoot down from. However the attackers can contest, as there are pathways up onto them, but this is the most versatility we’ve seen in such a small area before.
Once the grand doors are broken down the final battle commences over the fallen leader inside the castle. There are again left and right flanking routes, with a twisting center lane. It feels similar to the last push at King’s Row – tight and chaotic.
Overall I think this will make for a great map, and some different gameplay. I can imagine who I would want to play on it and where. For instance there are a lot of nooks and crannies for me to be an irritating Bastion, or explode foes as Junkrat from the tall fortifications. Time will tell if Eichenwalde needs rebalancing, or if it makes a good eSport map, but I’m already drooling over it and can’t wait to play.