StarCraft 2 Gets 2015 Ladder Maps, Retcons Dream Pool

We're going on a Zerg hunt

Blizzard has announced the roster of StarCraft 2 tournament ladder maps for 2015 season 1. It’s only the 1v1 maps at the moment – team maps are being announced “soon” – but below is the list of what you can pick from in the first season of the new year.

  • Foxtrot Labs LE
  • Catallena LE
  • Expedition Lost
  • Secret Spring
  • Vaani Research Station
  • Inferno Pools
  • Deadwing LE

For those unfamiliar with StarCraft, the map pool is a selection of competitive battlegrounds which gets switched around every few months. It generally helps keep the game fresh, forcing players to rethink strategies and allowing a bit of rebalancing in terms of getting rid of maps which turn out to favour one race – that kind of thing. This time around King Sejong Station, Overgrowth, Merry-Go-Round and Nimbus have all been removed in order to make way for community and Blizzard creations while Foxtrot, Catallena and Deadwing remain.

As per the official blog:

As always, we’re looking for a good mix of balanced maps, maps that slightly favor a certain side in a given matchup, as well as maps that play differently compared to what we’re used to seeing.

To give you a bit more information about what the four new maps involve, Expedition Lost is based around choices. There’s an easy but remote third base vs a closer but harder to reach one and a centre highground route with collapsible debris versus a more distant bit wider ramp. With Secret Spring there are ground paths – two blocked, one open – which can be opened up or cut off over the course of the game. Vaani Research Station is pretty standard as maps go, perhaps with a bit more open space, while Infernal Pools is this season’s macro map.

Expedition Lost

You’ll notice that all of the above deals with how the upcoming season will differ from the 2014 Season 3 map pool with no mention of Season 4. That’s because the Season 4 rotation was officially altered after the “dream pool” idea of bringing back seven 1v1 maps from the past – some from years back when the meta was completely different – proved not to work out so well in practice. After a slew of community complaints, Blizzard has reverted the Season 4 map pool to that of Season 3 for the remainder of its run time. An official post on the forum explained:

we still wanted to offer a more competitive experience for the remainder of the season. We know there are a lot of players that have enjoyed the current season, and we’re glad they’ve been able to experience something different these past few weeks. We’ll speak more about our thoughts on the entire season in the coming days.

You can access all four of the new 2015 maps in Custom Games prior to the season start.

9 Comments

  1. Calculon says:

    I stopped playing SC2 two years ago due to balance concerns, and also really not liking the direction they were taking SC2. I came back for HoTS but was gravely dissapointed (zerg player) in the units (widow mine really OP + really weak Zerg units added which was really similar to how Wings of Liberty came out with a really overpowered Terran faction steam rolling Zerg and Protoss), and overall game-play. I recently decided to fire up SC2 again – hoping things had improved only to find out that in fact they were worse from a balance perspective – window mines continue to be a major problem (over 13 changes have been made to try to balance the unit) – its now mainly a Protoss and Terran game – Zerg isnt even a contender anymore, a dwindling population and a hostile community. Most of the visible Pro players have left the SC2 scene, and active streams have dwindled significantly. Its sad what Blizzard has let the game de-evolve into. I really have to wonder what’s going on over at Blizzard with the Diablo 3 debacle, and the long running disaster that is SC2

    • Stijn says:

      Well, one thing that hasn’t changed is people complaining about balance ;)

    • kael13 says:

      Well Life, a Zerg player, won the WCS this year 4-1… So maybe learn to play? :)

      But you’re right. SC2 needs some serious renovation to draw the big crowds like the moba games. I’m excited for LotV personally.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Yummy Zerg tears.

      There are some tweaks incoming to make life a bit easier for Zerg, and it’s true they are somewhat underrepresented at the highest levels (with a few exceptional players like Life and Snute standing out)…

      However, as is usually the case, if you aren’t competing in Code S then any sort of balance changes are going to be just about completely inconsequential on your level of play. There’s at least 100 things you’re doing wrong or inefficiently each match, and fixing those problems is what would make you move higher on the ladder.

      • jrodman says:

        I think what’s wrong with the game is that it’s just too demanding. But that’s another thing altogether.

        • Reefpirate says:

          Well I think the demanding part is a large chunk of its appeal. I don’t play as often as I used to, but of all the competitive games SC2 is my favourite to watch and follow. I’m still convinced it’s the most impressive e-sport in terms of skill.

          • jrodman says:

            As a *sport*, it’s fine. As a game for me to play, I can’t handle it.

    • australopithecus says:

      Well, if I took a two year break from Starcraft 2, I wouldn’t expect to win many games when I started playing again for a loooong time… Starcraft 2 is too skillful and complex a game to be able to stop playing for so long and not lose.

      The stats on number of players per race and wins per race at various skill levels all contradict what you are saying about Zerg.

      The pro players who lose cease to be visible. They are replaced in the public’s eye by the players who win. So it has always been in all sports. Foreign pros have been losing and dissappearing, but that is as it should be in the Starcraft Universe, where the Korean supermen have always been unstoppable. For those sad and deluded fans who cling to their narrow, old-fashioned patriotism, the changes in the WCS regional selection criteria should allow more of the foreigners to play pat-a-cake with each other for longer in the regional comps, before they go to the Finals and are once more annihilated by the Koreans. ;)

      And finally, as someone else has mentioned, it’s ridiculous to blame balance issues for your loss unless you are at the very highest levels of play. The fact that you were supply-blocked for 20 minutes in your last game just might have more to do with your loss than the imbalance of widow mines. ;P

  2. australopithecus says:

    Map pool seems good: balanced yet catering to a variety of play styles. I’m looking forward to the new season.