Heroes of the Storm players have not been happy with Hanamura. The Overwatch-themed map where players must escort payloads in order to damage the enemy core was introduced in April of this year, but quickly drew the ire of nearly the entire HotS community.
To begin with, the map objectives are radically different than most HotS maps, making it confusing and difficult for new and seasoned players alike to often discern where they should be attacking and defending. But despite this totally different design, the best strategy that prevailed seemed to be that players should ignore the payloads and just push lanes to destroy enemy keeps. There were also some issues with the Mercenary camps providing too much experience, making the Bribe ability (which captures merc camps instantly) too powerful.
A quick perusal of the Heroes of the Storm subreddit and Blizzard forums finds a mountain of Hanamura hate threads over the last few months. Whatever the reason, no one seems to be a big fan of Hanamura. Last month, Blizzard released a handful of changes in an attempt to rebalance the map, but even that didn't seem to be enough. A Reddit thread from just yesterday with more than 2,000 upvotes finally begged the community: Can we just make a Hanamura hate thread, sticky it, and leave it open until the map is removed or significantly overhauled?
Well, that thread's prayers have been answered. Earlier today, HotS lead game designer Travis McGeathy posted that the Hanamura map is being removed from the battleground rotation for all normal game modes while the team works on improving and fixing the map's problems.
"We’re continually trying to push the boundaries with Heroes of the Storm and Hanamura is no exception," McGeathy said. "It introduces new concepts to the game and some of them have been more successful than others. We’ve made a couple rounds of changes since the battleground's release to address tuning feedback, but have identified a number of more fundamental changes we want to make as well."
There's currently no timeline for when Hanamura will return, but in the meantime players who miss pushing payloads can still do so via HotS custom games. Or, y'know, just go play Overwatch.