Since debuting in 2016, Overwatch’s map count has swelled to an outrageous 20 different maps, each with unique virtues and flaws — but sadly, not all maps are created equal. Like the game’s diverse cast of heroes, different maps reward different playstyles, but some maps offer more opportunities for gains both for offensive and defensive teams, while others are unbalanced and can be pretty frustrating for even the most coordinated teams. We’ve ranked each map, from best to worst, based on design, balance, and viability for a large range of heroes.
20 Blizzard World
Bottom of the barrel. Blizzard World combines aspects of much better hybrid maps, like King’s Row and Eichenwalde, and completely squanders them. While its design is interesting and colorful, its fourth-wall-breaking aesthetic confuses the game’s already messy canon. Long distances from the point for defenders and a difficult first point for attackers make for an overall frustrating gaming experience, and too much high ground in the middle favors heroes with mobility while leaving others, like Soldier and McCree, hopelessly overpowered. In short, Blizzard World is an unbalanced mess.
19 Temple of Anubis
One of the more impressive maps design-wise, Temple of Anubis heavily favors defenders, especially on the second point — a lack of viable routes to contest mean that a well-balanced team can hold off attackers pretty much indefinitely. You pretty much need a Reinhardt or D.Va to try pushing the middle route, and both side routes are easily countered by capable heroes. While Anubis avoids the bottom spot for a relatively enjoyable first point, attacking on this map can be a death sentence.
18 Horizon Lunar Colony
Notorious among casual fans and pros alike, Horizon Lunar Colony has gone through significant changes to increase its enjoyability, to no avail — it’s simply not a very good map. Whereas Anubis favours defense, Horizon skews towards attackers, having at one point sported the most uneven win rates of any map, owing partly to its practically indefensible first point. Its drab design and purposeless additions — seriously, who even goes into the zero-gravity area — pale in comparison to the game’s more engaging designs. Horizon earns its reputation as one of the game’s worst.
17 Volskaya Industries
Another map with an overly long distance between the spawn room and the second point, Volskaya suffers from uninteresting design and frustrating choke points. Anyone who has been gunned down by a Bastion or Torbjorn turret on the floating platforms above the second point knows how frustrating defending the second point can be, while a lack of viable entryways for attackers in the latter half of the map pretty much constitute a figurative meat grinder. It beats out Horizon and Temple of Anubis, but only slightly, proving that assault maps are generally the weakest in the game.
Another assault map and the newest map in the game, Paris offers little strategy for more stealthy heroes, as all routes towards the first and second points are easily defended by even the most amateur teams.
A capable tank and flanker is all it takes for a defending team to wipe the floor with attackers, as the openness of the map increases visibility of the opposing team and ensures that defenders maintain the advantage. Paris gains points for design, but sadly it suffers from the same issues that plague all assault maps — they’re just not very fun to play.
Maybe the most difficult to take point in all of Overwatch is the second point in Hanamura. Trying to power through the middle route is pretty much pointless, and quicker heroes like Tracer and Genji are easily caught trying to infiltrate both side routes. And the spawn point for defenders is so close to the point that eliminating team members is like playing whack-a-mole. Hanamura gains significant points for its design, especially its attention to detail like the arrow in the ground recalling the Dragons short. But both winning and losing on Hanamura just doesn’t feel as good as it does on other maps.
Sure, you can play the Futurama theme on the bells at the spawn. Other than that, what’s memorable about Dorado? Its playstyle tends towards the aggressive, and pushing the payload through the game’s relatively narrow streets pretty much requires a Reinhardt. Team comps on this map tend to be the same from game to game, with Lucio as a primary healer and a capable flanker like Genji or McCree sneaking through corridors. Perhaps the most damning factor of Dorado is how forgettable it is — its design simply doesn’t live up to the standard set by other maps.
Wide open maps tend to favor a certain type of hero, and Junkertown is one of the largest maps in the game, with little place to hide or flank. A Pharmercy strategy is likely to work well on most teams, while heroes like Tracer and McCree are left vulnerable to sniper fire and Bastions behind Rein shields. Trying to get behind the enemy team can take forever, leading to a grind that can make many playstyles feel obsolete. And while the design is interesting and tells a story, it doesn’t include as many character clues as maps like Nepal and Hanamura.
Rialto can be fun with the right team, but it’s definitely an easy one to defend. The tiny choke point at the end is a common place for the payload to get stuck, and the sharp turn at the beginning of the map can mean that attackers become dead on arrival.
Design-wise, it’s a little derivative, and not the most creative that the team has come up with. Snipers will have an easy time here, and it can be frustrating to feel like you’re one wrong step away from getting shot in the head. All in all, Rialto is a slightly below average map.
Numbani is solidly middle-of-the-pack. A lack of viable entryways to some of the map’s objectives can make it frustrating for attackers and defenders alike, and its design isn’t the game’s most engaging. It favors flankers and close range enemies as there’s very little high ground, but this can be easily remedied with a change in strategy. It’s not a bad map by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Busan is still pretty fresh in people’s minds, so don’t expect this one to top anyone’s list. Overall, it’s a decent map, with relatively good design and appealing visuals. The standout is the sanctuary, which includes plenty of nods to South Korean history and spirituality while offering a claustrophobic and high-stakes gameplay experience. The other two maps don’t quite inspire the same praise, especially the MEKA Base, which is skewed heavily in favor of long-range heroes. But on the other hand, Reinhardt can sing karaoke.
9 Route 66
One of the game’s uglier maps, Route 66 saves itself by virtue of its game design. The second point is difficult to take with the twists and turns of the payload, while the first and third points slightly favour attackers.
It’s not the most balanced map in the game, but its middle portion is engaging and creative, and welcomes a variety of different playstyles. Fights can break out inside the large central building that can completely change a match halfway through. And while there is lots of high ground for snipers, they can be easily dispatched by talented players.
One of the game’s newer maps, Oasis sports one of the most creative locations in the game, the city center. Rather than a square, this control point is a giant circle, meaning that teams have to constantly monitor invaders from all sides. Also, it has jump pads, which gives heroes like McCree and Zarya more mobility. The other two maps on Oasis are almost as impressive, and don’t heavily favor any particular hero. The lavish and technologically advanced design of these maps is engaging and easy on the eyes, and its storytelling is subtle and engaging.
Nepal is an Overwatch classic: varied maps, plenty of entryways, chokepoints that are never too frustrating. The village map is probably Nepal’s weakest if only by virtue of its tiny control point and bottleneck entry, but even that is nitpicking. The sanctum, on the other hand, is an excellent map that ensures an engaging back-and-forth between both teams. Landing a concussive blast with Pharah on the central platform, plummeting your enemy to their doom, couldn’t be more satisfying.
6 Watchpoint Gibraltar
One of the most memorable maps in Overwatch is also one of its most simple: there are no bells and whistles here, just good, old-fashioned FPS gameplay. Gibraltar benefits from its role in Overwatch lore, being the group’s home base before disbanding. This makes for some interesting voice lines from heroes as well as a familiar feel to its corridors and bridges. While some might say Gibraltar’s gameplay is too straightforward, this gives heroes room to get creative with its open spaces and high points. The drama in the game’s last push can become the stuff of legend.
5 Lijiang Tower
Some of the most dramatic battles in Overwatch history have been fought at Lijiang Tower. There’s nowhere to hide on any of these maps — Lijiang constantly pits players against each other in close combat, making it one of the least forgiving maps for snipers.
Heroes like Junkrat and Mei are very useful on this map, as they can slow down teams from bowling over the competition. It never hurts to bring Lucio to a map with a pitfall, either. Lijiang’s nighttime design only elevates the tension, and clever strategies — like a Graviton Surge near a bridge — have become mainstays for amateurs and pros alike.
No matter how many times the Omnic director inside the limousine you’re escorting complains that you’re not going fast enough, Hollywood never loses its glitz and glamour appeal. I mean, you get to fight it out in the Wild West and on an alien planet. Come on! As far as gameplay goes, Hollywood is one of the most balanced maps in the game — there’s plenty of high ground for snipers and turrets, but no vantage point is without its weak spots, and even the stealthiest characters have to be clever to survive. Almost every hero is viable on this map, and it’s not biased in either team’s favor.
When it comes to storytelling through design, Eichenwalde is easily the strongest Overwatch map. The site of a crucial battle against the Omnics, Eichenwalde has been abandoned for years, and plant life has slowly begun to sprout out of the buildings. The stage ends at the resting place of Reinhardt’s mentor Balderich von Adler, and the progression of the payload tells a story in a way no other stage has managed. Gameplay-wise, Eichenwalde is similar to maps like King’s Row and Dorado, but adds elements like a bridge and secret tunnels underneath the ground to add new strategies. It’s one of the most effective maps in the game.
One word: boop. Control maps in general benefit from the variety of having three maps, and each of Ilios’ three locations are unique and well-realized. Maybe the best of the three is the lighthouse, which offers myriad avenues for attacks, both low- and high-ground. The well location is also a highlight, as the central pit increases the tension and drama of drawn-out matches. The joyful design and ancient twist in areas like the ruins supplement the already strong and streamlined gameplay, and it’s always fun to push someone off the stage. This is basically Lucio’s playground.
1 King's Row
The runaway winner of Blizzard’s best map poll, King’s Row is the ideal Overwatch map. Its design is excellent, its sense of progression and high stakes make for interesting and dramatic matches, and its lack of large open spaces — something that hurts lesser maps like Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony — mean strategy is that much more tight for both attackers and defenders. Each part of the map favors different heroes, meaning that most picks are viable in one way or another and can be easily countered. It’s friendly to all kinds of comps, and the inclusion of pits to fall into add new strategies for heroes like Lucio and Orisa. In short, King’s Row is the perfect Overwatch map, and the best the game has to offer.