BlizzCon 2017: Overwatch Heads To The Park With The New BlizzardWorld Map
A long time ago, at a BlizzCon nearly forgotten, when Chris Metzen was still working a Blizzard and heading up Overwatch development, he teased fans with a crazy little idea that had been floating around in the office. It was a simple idea, and one that would remain in the minds of fans and Blizzard staff alike -- a Blizzard theme park.
It would be like Disneyland, only instead of princesses and fairies and a bear that lives in the 100 Acre Woods with his friends, this themepark would have orcs, and Zerg, and a little eatery named Snaxxramas. It would be named BlizzardWorld... and it would only exist in the world of Overwatch.
Because the park only exists in Overwatch, it's important to note that the game is not represented in BlizzardWorld. Blizzard exists in the world of the game, it is even located in Irvine along with the park; but within the context of the game, Blizzard did not create Overwatch. Nor do they have any kind of branding deals with the organization.
During the Overwatch "What's Next" panel, assistant game director Aaron Keller offered players a look at BlizzardWorld. He describes it as a "hybrid map", meaning that it mixes features from various map types found in the game. While playing this map, Overwatch players will go on an "epic journey" through the worlds of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Players will also find references to Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
As with previous hybrid maps, BlizzardWorld starts with a fight over the game's first control point. The defending team will start out in a Heroes of the Storm themed arcade (or Heroes Arcade) and the attackers will be based out of the tavern.
Three areas to fight in
The first control point is in the Warcraft area of the map and can be accessed via Stormwind, or by going through the Lost and Found Vikings. This later option allows players to avoid the choke point in Stormwind. Of course, there are other areas familiar to WoW players in this first section, including the Fargodeep Mine. The first choke is designed to play more like a mini-arena featuring multiple routes for both sides. It offers plenty of cover to players when they enter, as well as health packs scattered throughout.
If the attackers win the fight, they'll take control of the payload and push it into the StarCraft area, going past the siege tank statue and around another little cafe named Pylon Terrace.
Unlike the Warcraft area, this one is designed to be a large circular arena, featuring plenty of high ground that can be accessed by both sides. There are indoor areas that players can take advantage of.
Again, once the attackers manage to gain control of the payload, they will move it into the next area. You guessed it: Diablo-land. At this point the spawn rooms will change, with the attackers spawning in the passenger loading area in the Reign of the Black King ride. The defenders, on the other hand, will be moved back to the park's command center.
As they move, the attackers will push the payload into the throne room in Leoric's manor. Apparently, players will be able to find all sorts of loot and lore to find inside. The area features high spots for players to get into and take advantage of, as well as one hell of a dangerous drop that should be avoided at all costs.
A labor of love for all of Blizzard
While the bulk of this portion of the panel focuses on what's in the map, the developers really wanted players to know that BlizzardWorld wasn't created in an Overwatch vacuum. In fact, developers from all Blizzard teams offered help on this one. They came up with ideas for the park, helped design some of the rides, and even threw their hand in on designing some of the attraction signs.
The map is a bit of a love letter to all things Blizzard, "made by fans for fans". To be honest, I imagine gameplay in this particular map is going to be a bit of a mess starting out -- not because the developers did anything wrong, but because the players are going to be so distracted by everything they've put into it they'll likely forget there's an objective to be met. It looks like a crazy fun map, and well worth the wait we've all had to endure.