The new Hereford looks fantastic, with the old, bland concrete blocks being scrapped in favour of a WWII aesthetic that gives the map a far more distinct visual style, full of fighter planes, antique cars and crumbling brickwork. The map will still feature plenty of nods to the old Hereford however, something that the developers hope will retain the “soul” of the map, while making it far more visually interesting.
The rework will overhaul more than just the skin of the map. Hereford Base was the first map ever prototyped for Siege, and since then the game has shifted significantly, leaving Hereford behind. Nowadays, it feels clunky and bland to play on, in stark contrast to newer maps like Villa or Theme Park. Compared to the rest of Siege’s maps Hereford is tiny, leaving defenders very few options in terms of objective locations, and it’s far too easy for attackers to lock down the central staircase, preventing rotations and bottling defenders into the site, where they can easily be picked off.
Changing this imbalance is the main focus of this rework. The map has been made bigger, opening up the cramped interior spaces to allow for more free-form firefights, and new rotation paths have been added, including a new set of interior stairs, which should make the map far easier to defend, with roamers now having far more options to set up flanks and ambushes. Overall, these changes are so significant that it looks like the new Hereford base will feel like a totally new map. It’s not yet confirmed whether or not the map will be heading straight into the ranked rotation like Villa did last season, but based on the confidence expressed in the blog post I would imagine it will be.
Also interesting is what this new map rework might mean for Siege in the long term. Ubisoft has differentiated this full rework from the “map buff” that Clubhouse got last season, which added some new passageways but left the map relatively in tact. These map buffs are expected to come every season from now on, but the rework clearly involves much more work than the buff, so it’s unclear when we can expect to see another one, especially if Ubisoft wants to return to the one new map a season format we’ve seen in the past. Many of Siege’s maps could benefit from major changes, especially maps that have been relegated to casual, like Yacht, Tower and Presidential Plane, or ones removed from matchmaking entirely, like Favela. These maps are some of the most interesting available in Siege, so making them more viable by adding new objective sites and rotation lanes for defenders, or by adding extra protection against spawn peeking and entry locations for attackers, could really help in making these old maps fun again.