With Hanamura rework recently being released and a Garden of Terror rework now coming, is the design team just rehashing old ideas?
Old Hanamura was one of the more unique maps, with the core being protected from attacks in the same vein as Towers of Doom. To deal damage you had to get your teams payload from its start point to a designated endpoint on the other side of the map.
The payload would deal damage to the core equal to the number of forts or keeps you had destroyed after the last payload was complete.
If you took all the forts in a lane down special minions would spawn with each subsequent wave that would take one health from the core when they reached the end of the lane.
This led to the winning strategy being to disregard the payloads and just push the lanes hard. Teams usually consisted of three solid pushing heroes (Sylvanas, Sgt Hammer, Zagara etc.) supported by two heroes who could contest the payload.
The contesting members didn’t have to win the payload, they just had to stop the opponent’s payload for as long as it took for the forts to go down.
This has changed with the update. Now the cores are open to attacks and both teams fight over a single payload that spawns in the middle of the map.
Teams have to push the payload to the opponent’s side where it becomes a cannon similar to the Blackhearts Bay objective, locking onto towers and forts and firing off shots that deal damage in a small area.
With the payload now being a two-team affair, you have to commit more bodies than the other team to have a hope of winning it. This means we should see a shift into more of a team fight meta with picks like ETC, Thrall and Whitemane being more favourable this time around.
At the time of writing, the Garden of Terror rework was just announced and no public playtesting has occurred.
Garden of Terror was originally a ‘vehicle’ map (ie. Volskaya and Dragon Shire) where a player controls the objective (Triglav Protector and the Dragon respectively) after winning the objective. It is now a hybrid of Cursed Hollow and the newest map, Alterac Pass.
Players fight over saplings that function similar to Alterac Pass’ camps with a few defenders. Get three of these, like Cursed Hollow, and you will spawn smaller versions of the previously pilotable Garden Terrors which run down a lane like the cavalry in Alterac.
These smaller versions still have the disabling plant that the controllable version was famous for, which presents a challenge to defending them and may make the map more momentum based. The team that wins the first plants can push as five, while the defending team has to commit people to deal with the other terrors because of the disable.
With the objectives changing, poke heroes should become more popular to delay and deny easy captures for the opponent. Hanzo and Genji especially come to mind as their range and mobility allow them to poke and disengage as they need.
Controlling the area surrounding the objectives is also of key importance so heroes like Blaze and Dehaka can force the enemy team away while their teammates capture it.
Overall, while old Hanamura and Garden of Terror weren’t particularly good maps, they did have a sense of uniqueness to them that I feel has been lost with this update. For people looking for a break from current meta, this might not be for you.