It could have been a little grander
Although Moira has already made some waves in terms of how I’m going to approach Overwatch (more on her soon), I didn’t have quite the same reaction when playing Blizzard World, the upcoming map that doubles as an assault and payload level.
Although it’s a well-crafted recreation of various facets of Blizzard culture, it doesn’t really feel like the epic theme park that was portrayed in the opening ceremony. It has a real Call of Duty expansion map modus operandi (ha, way to scare away people, me) — you know, the good Treyarch ones with the actual park maps on them, with themed zones? Yeah, those.
For those who are wondering, the Heroes of the Storm arcade and the Hearthstone Inn are mostly relegated to sideshows, as they’re the staging areas. The main focal points are Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft, with Stormwind, Leoric’s Manor, and Pylon Terrace representing each franchise respectively.
Nearly every area feels like a love letter of sorts, outside of one — the Diablo III bit. Sadly, it’s just another castle (which Overwatch already has with Eichenwalde), and the eerie green glow that radiates from the zone gives way to a lackluster layout, minus one unique little spiral staircase that has a level of verticality that will make for some awesome replay videos from flank-heavy heroes. For Payload matches, it all begins near Stormwind and ends at Leoric’s throne.
Even if I’m not stoked that the map doesn’t offer anything new, I can certainly respect all of the care that went into it. As per Blizzard, multiple teams worked on the map itself, loading it up with little Easter eggs and lore-based objects that will illicit a chuckle from a hardcore WoW raider or a grind-prone Diablo fanatic. For me, too much of it is happening in the background — and some of the coolest elements (like the Hellscream rollercoaster) will be lost in the fray while you do battle in two fantasy-scapes.
Still, I’ll take it, especially for free, and doubly so if it’s coming alongside of some Blizzard skins. Blizzard World will arrive sometime in “early 2018,” and as always, will be included in the base game as free content.