Overwatch's New Map Is Easy To Defend, Hard To Attack

Overwatch's new map, Eichenwalde, is now live on the game's public test server. It's set in a village next to a big ol' German castle. The map, however, is smaller than it looks. I've played a handful of matches on Eichenwalde now, and I've found it to be a briskly paced payload map that favours defenders maybe a little too much. For every main path, there's a side path, and a side path to counter that side path. It is to flanking what that game where you try to forever put your hands on top of somebody else's is to, you know, hands.

The map unfolds as an alternating series of narrow corridors (with branching paths into dishevelled houses and taverns) and wide open spaces that happen to be payload points. It also has a surprising number of insta-death ravine ledges on main and side paths, so be careful. Look before you strafe. By and large, though, the map is a funnel, and it moves quickly. Matches — even tightly contested back-and-forths — don't tend to last long.

Even the map's wide open spaces are relatively enclosed and dotted with flanking paths and sniper perches, making for some highly defensible points — especially the first and last. I've had a few matches where the ebb and flow felt just right, where one team would hold the first point for a bit, only for the attackers to gain momentum and push past the second point, to a crazy showdown at the last one. Afterward, "GG's" flowed freely, like so much celebratory Winston peanut butter.

But more often than not while on attack, I've lost. The final point is the only one inside the castle, and it's among Overwatch's most constrained pushing locations, even more so than the final point on King's Row, by my estimation. There are two tiny entrances, both easily stopped up by defenders.

Once teams make it inside, it's like a battle of two opposing sardine factions trapped in the same tin. Also the sardines are magic. Ult after ult after ult flies, and many hit their mark because of how little manoeuvring space everybody has. But while defenders spawn right back into the action, attackers have a bit of a trek ahead of them.

This makes sense, because, you know, it's a castle. Defence is kind of the whole point of the structure. And don't get me wrong: All-out ult wars — where you're getting blasted by ghost dragons and exploding robots and black holes and other ghost dragons, but you're hanging on by a thread because your team's Lucio and/or Mercy are darling angels — are thrilling. But I worry that, right now, the balance isn't quite right.

Despite that, I'm still really enjoying playing on Eichenwalde. It's so packed with treacherous cracks and clever crevices that it's a tactician's dream. I'm interested to see how people will make use of it once they have had more time to dissect it. Right now, I'm just enjoying skulking around as Roadhog and hooking everybody from behind their own lines.


    So it plays a bit like Hanamura point A? Where all but 4-5 characters have to get through the front door guarded by unknown numbers (read 6) of torbjorns/Bastions? I guess this is what the PTR is for so they can iron out this stuff.

    I hope it's more like Kings Row at the end of the payload run, because I feel like that's balanced pretty well in terms of you can win on offence and defence. I cant say I've noticed it lean to far either way.

      I find that once you get around the last corner in King's Row it is easier for the attackers, but from the middle checkpoint to that corner is easier for the defenders. Hanamura and Volskaya final points I find pretty balanced because they allow the attackers to encircle the defenders if the defenders don't push out.

      On Hanamura one of my favourite attacking tactics is going straight through the window and then around to the left behind the buildings with D.Va. It'll usually either draw some of the defenders after you or have the defenders retreat to where the big bell is to stop you from taking the point from behind. First point on Hanamura is also pretty great for Reaper's death blossom ultimate.

        I agree with you and I use that tactic a lot as I main with D.Va. Only problem with it is if your team isnt switched on (which the normally arent :P) you can be just running to your death. But from a balance perspective, the problem I have is that unless you go D.Va/Genji/Pharah/Reaper, you're stuck going through the front door. I suppose this is the same with Volskaya, but the main arch is wide enough to allow you to sneak through, and there is that crashed truck providing some cover. Hanamura is just a killing floor unless you can fly round to the left, or the defence is incompetent. Most of the other levels dont have this problem imo. You arent necessarily restricted in which route to take. Once you take that first point though, it is a lot harder to defend the second point because there are so many options for attackers to utilise.

        I have to disagree with Kings Row, I dont think it naturally favours either team too much. My experience has been that the distance you have to run back from on the last push is quite far, and so unless you can get a good push going its hard to get the payload moving. There are also plenty of places for a good defence to setup. Having said that, there are plenty of flanking positions for attackers to use, and because you have to run around the walls from the defensive spawn, it makes it difficult to get back to the payload defence at the end of the game. I just feel there are worse maps that Kings Row overall.

      There are actually a number of ways around (or over) walls, doors, etc, at pretty much every point of the map. It actually feels a lot less restrictive than most of the maps, and definitely not as restrictive as Hanamura point A.

      It's honestly a really good map in my opinion, and there are a few very open areas I can see snipers having some fun with.

        Nice, sounds promising then. Hopefully I'll get time to check it out.

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