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The New Heart of the Swarm Maps

Updated on December 2, 2012

Knowing about maps can help you with positioning your army and even dictate your army composition, in Heart of the Swarm new maps will be used instead of the Wings of Liberty maps to accomodate the new units and ensure balance to the game.

The following are the new maps Blizzard has made for HotS:

  • Akilon Wastes
  • Howling Peaks
  • Korhal City
  • Star Station

Update! - The old Wings of Liberty 1v1 maps are currently being incorporated with the Beta Test Maps!

1. Akilon Wastes


Important Points

  • 2 Spawn Locations (top left and bottom right).
  • Natural has a very wide ramp (difficult to protect with forcefields)
  • Direct path to third is blocked by a rock and contains a collapsable rock (a rock that you damage to drop another rock blocking the entrance) at the far entrance.
  • Contains many line of sight blockers and choke points in the centre of the map.
  • 4 Xel Naga Towers in the centre give great vision of the many wide spaces around them.

Favoured Race: Protoss

With a relatively short distance to your opponent's base protoss have a distinct advantage on this map. Air units can quickly retreat to defend the base after harrassing. In addition, the main, natural and third base all are entered via a small choke point making it easy to forcefield and inflict AoE damage to your opponent. Lastly, having such a protected third base makes Protoss vs Zerg a lot easier than on most maps.

Strategies that benefit this map and those that don't

  • Phoenix play because of the short distance to the opponent.
  • Mutalisk play for the same reason as well as the fact that the third base and the main base are very close in air distance but very far in ground distance.
  • Early aggression from zerg with speedlings and roaches because the natural ramp is very large (so Terran and Protoss cannot block quickly). Even after the ramp is blocked, there is another entrance into the natural which zerg can swiftly abuse.

A Video Explanation

2. Howling Peaks


Important Points

  • 2 Start positions (bottom left and top right)
  • One xel naga tower at each side of the map giving side map view.
  • Long rush distance.
  • The main open to the natural is very easy to block as Protoss and Terran.
  • There is another way into the natural however, but this is very far and takes a long time for most units to travel the path - making it an unviable option for attack except for speedlings and hellions.
  • The third in HOTS fashion has one entrance that is already blocked by a rock which gives easier access to the defender.
  • As per usual it also has a collapsable rock which gives extra defence when taken down.
  • Thus the third has three ramp entrances in total.
  • The area in the third is very large and from my own experience is where a lot of battles are fought.
  • It is especially easy for zerg to set up swarm hosts at the top of the collapsable rock entrance and let in streams of the free unit locusts.

Favoured Race: Zerg
With easy expansion options and a stress on speedy units, zerg has some great advantages on this map.

Strategies that benefit this map and those that don't

  • Using swarm hosts in well positioned areas is an excellent (and therefore very predictable) strategy since although there is a lot of space, there are only a few paths that your opponent can travel.
  • Phoenix play is here to stay in HOTS and will be featured heavily on this map which gives plenty of space and air-escape routes. Watch out as a Zerg and Terran player - map control is key.
  • Because there are only two sides you can come in at with Medivacs and the rest of the map is given vision by the expansions themselves, it is really easy to prevent Terran drops which are not advised. Added to this is the two well positioned xel naga towers at the sides of the map.

Video Explanation - Howling Peaks

3. Korhal City


Korhal City

  • Four spawn locations - one in each corner.
  • A favourite by many, Korhal City is the only map so far with an in-base natural and therefore is very macro-heavy.
  • The third is free but has a collapsable rock that can be broken to block the third temporarily.
  • The fourth is blocked by debris.
  • The rush distance diagonally is very large and the majority of the map is open space.

Favoured Race: Terran
With easily defendable expansions (tanks or planetary fortresses) and almost no choke points to be force-fielded at, Terran have an easy time being both offensive, defensive and taking map control. Added to that, Terran drops are very easy to perform at the crucial natural and third expansion (but not the main and fourth).

Strategies that benefit this map and those that don't

  • Because of how large the map is, strategy depends a lot on your position in relation to your opponent.
  • Since there aren't that many actual features to the map (except perhaps for the lack of features - open space) the strategies you use will be the standard ones in your chosen race.
  • Of course, as a Protoss and Terran player it is very much advised to take an early expansion.
  • Zerg players will then take an early third to make sure they are one base ahead as they should be.
  • Making use of this fact and faking an expo and crushing the zerg third and then taking your expo (or doing an all in) is also a good tactic.
  • Faking a third expo as Zerg and then cancelling (or at least not droning and going full out units) can counter this.

Video Explanation - Korhal City

4. Star Station


Star Station

  • Perhaps the most popular map of all, Star Station gives a very easy natural expansion.
  • Thus, macro games are a lot more common on this map.
  • 4 spawn locations (each corner).
  • Large space in the centre.
  • Some choke points and ramps around the map.
  • The third is in an open space making it vulnerable to attack (especially from zerg).
  • Four symmetrical xel naga towers make observing the neutral bases and incoming attacks very easy.

Favoured Race: Random
Having an easy natural and a variety of features this map is pretty well balanced for all races.

Strategies that benefit this map and those that don't

  • Air play is very good since the rush distance is very far.
  • Terran Mech and Zerg Swarm Host play is fairly weak because of the amount of space available to run away and counter attack.
  • Fast units and harass play is very possible and so: ling harass, hellions, storm drops (but not zealot/gateway drops) and infestor play are strong strategies.

Video Explanation - Star Station


Which is your favourite NEW HOTS map?

See results


4.3 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of the new HOTS maps


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    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Thanks a lot OrangeBlob! Hope you get a beta key and make some hubs of your own! Will be sure to check them out :)

    • OrangeBlobOValor profile image

      OrangeBlobOValor 5 years ago from California

      Very helpful, especially to those of us who haven't recieved a beta invite yet