“What happened to Numbani?” “Where is Numbani???” “When was the last time you played on Numbani?” These are just a handful of the many thread titles that have popped up on the Overwatch subreddit since the game’s “Storm Rising” update in the middle of April. Players, for some reason, could no longer bless the rains on African map Numbani. Now, weeks later, the map is back—alongside a puzzling explanation from Blizzard.
Players first noticed that the map had gone missing just a few days after “Storm Rising” kicked off. Many said it’d disappeared from competitive mode, while others chimed in to say they weren’t getting it in the game’s quick play or arcade modes either. Some thought it might be a bug, while others proposed lore-based theories. People continued to speculate until yesterday, when the map suddenly returned as part of the update that also introduced Overwatch’s newest map, Havana.
After the update went live, Overwatch senior game producer Dan Maas explained Numbani’s disappearance on the game’s forums. Sort of.
“Since the arrival of Efi and Orisa to Numbani, it has required some minor care and handling in the Overwatch universe,” he said, referring to tank hero Orisa and the non-playable character who built her. “We recently neglected that care, and regular service to Numbani international was interrupted. However, with the arrival of the sunny Havana destination, service to Numbani (just as it was before) has also been restored.”
That, you might notice, explains basically nothing. What, exactly, does “care and handling” entail, and why did it require that Africa be yeeted off the face of the future-earth on which Overwatch takes place? Some players have speculated that perhaps Blizzard took the map offline to clean up the remnants of Nigerian hero Doomfist’s assault on its airport, but as of now, the debris still remains.
For now, I’m partial to redditor Riggler2's translation of Blizzard’s explanation.
“In other words: oopsie!” they wrote.
Update: 5/6/2019, 7:15 p.m. ET - Shortly after publishing, a Blizzard representative replied to my inquiry. “Dan was just being a bit cheeky,” the rep said in an email. “Numbani was out of the map rotation due to a technical error and nothing else. We apologize for the confusion.”