The Overwatch World Cup is set to begin in just a few days. Teams have packed their rosters with their country’s best Overwatch players, all of which will travel to their respective group stages in four different countries.
First up is the Overwatch World Cup group stage in Incheon, South Korea, where Japan, Finland, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea will compete for two spots in the Overwatch World Cup main event.
Just a few days ahead of the event, Blizzard’s made public that all maps will be entered into the Overwatch World Cup map pool, a switch from predetermined pools in the Overwatch League. That means there will be 16 maps to choose from, and the teams will have to practice all of them before their groups.
In a blog post detailing the Incheon stage, Blizzard wrote that each match will start with a “predetermined control map:” Nepal, Lijiang Tower, Ilios, or Oasis. From there, the loser of the map before will pick from a set game type. The second map will be Hybrid, while the third will be Assault, the fourth will be Escort, and if a tiebreaker is needed, it’ll be Control—but a different map than the first one played.
Predetermined map pools are popular in the Overwatch League because it makes practice a bit simpler for teams. Overwatch has 16 maps available, which makes practice a challenge—teams will have to prioritize certain maps, which will leave vulnerabilities on others.
Overwatch League analyst and Team Sweden tank player Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson is one participant that spoke up about the implications of the large map pool.
“Since it’s now official, not happy about having to practice all 16 maps in the game for World Cup,” Reinforce wrote on Twitter. “Since beta, the entire competitive community has been very vocal about it just being too much to practice all maps in the game and it decreased the competitive integrity.”
Some fans in Reinforce’s comments, however, believe that a large map pool is more interesting for viewers.
With the Overwatch World Cup’s first group stage just days away, it’s far too late to make any changes to the map pool. Teams have already begun preparations, regardless of the challenge.