Map/pick is good for tournaments and the game

‘Chiu on This’ is a regular and short opinion blast

There has been controversy lately over Blizzard’s insistence to remove pick/ban from tournaments and to enforce certain maps to be played. Others have covered the topic extensively such as this article here. So I’ll just go over points I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

No one knows what the hell the positives are. So far, the best people could come up with is there are more maps shown (based on what’s being played at MLG, this is already proven false), players should know all the maps (how the hell is this an argument?), and map selection lowers viewer count.

I’ve covered the first, so let me cover the second. They do know all the maps, and like every other competitive esport in the world, they gain specialties on certain maps. By doing this you are ruining your own narrative since now no Overwatch team will get some super sick run like SK had on Train with 17 straight wins on LAN.

The third point is bunk. The most popular games in recent years for the past four years have been StarCraft 2, League of Legends, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike. All of them have either a map pick/ban selection or hero pick/ban selection. If pick/ban was so important to viewership, other games would have abandoned them by now. Hell, even games with limited character selection like Street Fighter have had their most hype moments come from the pick character screen (Infiltration picking Hakan vs. Balrog at EVO comes to mind).

Here are the negatives: It hurts team identity, practice, strategy, preparation and overall gameplay.  You are making your game worse

I’ll just cover the part about making your game worse since everyone else covered the other reasons. In 13 maps, some of them are bound to be shit. There, I said it. Some maps a developer makes will be 100 percent Grade-A shit. Don’t believe me? Go down to the SC2 division and ask them what players thought about such great maps like Steppes of War, Incarnation Zone or Kulas Ravine. Tournaments need pick/ban because some of your maps are anti-fun or anti-competitive. The tournament pick/ban gives you direct data on what maps are bad, why people don’t want to play them and tells you what you should change. Not only do you need a pick/ban for tournaments, you need a pick/ban for your ladder system so you can get direct feedback on what maps people hate to play.

Usually this ends in some compromise piece, but that’s not going to happen here. First, because compromise has to happen between two parties of relatively equal parties. We all know Blizzard has all the powers and they could ignore every criticism and do whatever they want. Secondly, all of the reasons that have been given are shit and to compromise I have to at least some merit in your argument and there is none.

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers. You can reach him at Stephen@Slingshotesports.com

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