Major League Gaming’s first major Overwatch tournament is quickly approaching, but participating professional players aren’t happy about the way it’s set up.
MLG revealed today that it’s forgoing a map drafting phase?—?which has become traditional in competitive Overwatch?—?for a preset map pool during the tournament (Dec. 16–18 in Las Vegas). Maps for each game through group play and brackets have already been determined: Teams will not be able to ban out any maps from the tournament. Given the prevalence of map drafting in the Overwatch tournament scene, many maps simply aren’t practiced by professional Overwatch teams.
“It’s just idiotic to force maps that no one plays and force maps that are permanently banned with drafts that every?—?or nearly every?—?tournament has used in the past,” Rise Nation DPS player Nathan “xRetzi” Telen told Dot Esports. “It’s arbitrarily punishing teams for not choosing to practice certain maps when there was no reason to in the past.”
Control map Ilios will be played at least nine times throughout the tournament, with assault map Temple of Anubus and escort map Route 66 being played five times. From there, hybrid maps Eichenwalde and King’s Row will see play four times. All of Overwatch’s live maps?—?save the new arena map Ecopoint: Antarctica?—?will see at least two games.
“There are too many maps in this game to expect teams to practice all of them, so I think it’s pretty stupid to force teams to play all maps in a tournament,” Jack “Shake” Kaplan, support player for compLexity Gaming, told Dot Esports. “The fact that certain maps are played way more than others makes it even worse.”
Ilios is the biggest problem for many professional Overwatch players?—?which makes its staggering play number at MLG Vegas all the more confusing. “A lot of teams don’t even scrim Ilios, so having that map played nine times is pretty disappointing,” Shake added.
But that’s not the only problem. Ridding the tournament of a map draft takes away from some of Overwatch’s depth of strategy. CompLexity Gaming?—?and many, if not all, Overwatch teams?—?practice specifically for the draft, flex player Anthony “harbleu” Ballo said. “Our team spends hours doing mock drafts to prepare for different teams and bans differently depending on who we play,” harbleu added.
Fnatic tank Faraaz ‘Stoop’ Waris summed up the professional Overwatchscenes thoughts perhaps most succinctly: “Everyone hates it and it’s a bad idea.”
But despite the scorn for MLG Vegas’ Overwatch map plan, it seems unlikely that organizers would change the format so close to the event.