For online gamers, the release of an expansion pack is always a joyful moment. Patch 1.12 - available beginning June 20th, 2017 - finally lets them explore the Horizon Lunar Colony. This is an attack-based level and one designed to perfectly fit with the other competitive maps the game offers.

Yet, there's just a bit more to this moon base than meets the eye at first glance. Horizon Lunar Colony, being an extraterrestrial environment, introduces new core gameplay mechanics. Fragments of lore are also scattered throughout the structure, with players free to look for them and learn more about the world of "Overwatch".

Non-verbal level design at its best

Hopping from one room to the next, it's not uncommon to feel at a loss. Designers planned each location to ensure that it would somehow resonate with the players. One room is clean and tidy, the following one features overturned desks, cracked windows, and scattered notes. Horizon Lunar Colony tells a story that many of us wanted to hear, that of Winston's past!

That's not all, though. The main structure within the Map is indubitably the powerful telescope next to one of the spawn points. All characters can interact with it. Every time the button is pressed, heroes will look into the glass and utter a few words. These brief sentences give us a glimpse into the lives and minds of the people we've been commandeering for the past months.

Only Bastion and Winston himself seem to prefer silence.

A new way to play 'Overwatch'

Perhaps even more important than the telescope and the props scattered throughout the base is the so-called zero gravity mode. Moving the action outside of Earth's gravitational pull has some major effects on the way each character plays. Free from the shackles that once held them to the ground, players can now freely move around.

Obviously, these design choices make for some pretty exciting, albeit hectic, matches. It is one thing to try and pierce a running Tracer while playing Hanzo, but try doing that when she's jumping 6 meters into the air! Long-range snipers and melees become useless, with most players opting for constant damage dealers like Bastion or Soldier 76.

It's unclear whether these new mechanics will stick around for long. Data miners have discovered a possibility of two other upcoming maps, but little is known regarding their types and characteristics. Nevertheless, Horizon Lunar Colony feels like a breath of fresh air. If you have the time for it, you should definitely give it a go!