ETF2L have decided to announce their next season of HL, but with some changes that are being met with mixed feelings.
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The league is planning on a pre-season Cup to test out some weapons and maps for the upcoming season. This test whitelist has unbanned the Beggar's Bazooka and the Red-Tape Recorder. Expect to see more big meme-spoon plays and spys driving engineer-mains to uninstalling.
The Cup also is scheduled to test three new maps:
Sign-ups for the Cup remain open until the 13th of January at 20CET.
The proposed details of the main Season — alongside the Cup — have been met with a large outcry from the community, with many taking to the ETF2L comments on the announcement post to voice their concerns. Many players are confused why a newly updated Badwater and maps that are common in North American HL (Vigil and Ashville) are being tested in the Cup, but Lakeside isn’t.
The “confirmed maps” for Season 23 are:
However, after such a large outcry against Lakeside, it will be interesting to see if it remains in the map-pool. For reference, koth_lakeside was first played in Season 2 of ETF2L's Highlander, with koth_lakeside_final emerging in Season 3. The last time Lakeside was played in a season was during Season 11, which was also when Highlander had a 7 week structure instead of the 5 week one we know today.
Speaking of history, Coalplant has been replaced with Ashville. koth_coalplant_b8 has been one of the standard KotH maps in ETF2L for a long time, this exact version has been played during every season since Season 14. It made its first appearance during Season 8, as koth_coalplant_b6, and was played alongside maps such as Gravelpit and Barnblitz. Warmtic also has a similar story, the exact same version being in every season since Season 15, and being introduced as koth_wamrtic_rc4 in Season 11.
These changes are likely to be less unpopular, although not completely uncontested: as Coalplant is a reworking of Ashville and functions in a similar enough way, and Warmtic has been criticised for its ridiculous sniper sightlines, some of which are intended and, and others seem more like exploitation of map design.
ETF2L has also brought over some plugins from their recent Season 37, dubbed a “test Season” by some. These plugins have the following effects:
- Winger Jump Bonus only applies when fully deployed – Similarly to the Atomizer, the jump bonus from the Winger will only apply when fully deployed.
- Gunboats Always Apply – Gunboats currently do not apply the damage resistance when shooting enemies. With this plugin enabled they do.
- Projectiles Ignore Teammates – Projectiles consistently pass through teammates.
These changes come after ETF2L tested the waters in Season 22 of Highlander, by adding a config to fix some bugs, such as: random fall damage, crossbows not connecting with teammates, sticky det delay, and slopes being inconsistent. While the Winger and projectiles changes have been met mostly with positivity, the Gunboats change is less clear-cut, receiving some pushback. ETF2L may be using this Season to test out the plugin in different areas.
Signups for the Season will close on January 20th at 20CET, with Premiership sign-ups closing on the 16th at 21CET, and the Season will begin on the 24th of January.
To read this information in ETF2L’s own words, check out their news post here.