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.
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.