I see the phrase "King of the Hill" in Overwatch content very often. When you google what is "king of the hill" maps overwatch there are tons of results. Everyone speaks about it, but no one defines it. So, what are "King of the Hill maps" in Overwatch? And, if it is known, where does this terminology come from?

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    The Control maps? It's probably people just calling it King of the Hill since that's a more commonly known game type. Control sounds very KoTH to me.
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:21
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    where does this terminology come from I remember as a child playing "King of the Hill" and it was just about trying to stay on top of something (like a hill or a playground) and keep other people off of it. There weren't really formal rules, kind of like tag and other playground games. I don't think the term came from this but it seemed kind of relevant. Feb 28, 2017 at 16:29
  • Adding this: youtube.com/watch?v=DV0TKAdEWAQ because it's "King of the Island" lol
    – n_plum
    Mar 1, 2017 at 2:09

3 Answers 3


According to this thread, Timmy Jim's comment is correct that Control is what people refer to as King of the Hill.

Control is KOTH


KOTH is King Of The Hill, so it's control.

The term is defined here as the following:

King of the Hill is a popular game mode where the players have to stay in a designated area of a map to gain points. This mode is becoming increasingly popular in shooters.

In terms of Overwatch, Control is described here:

Once the match has started and both teams have left the spawn, the control point takes 30 seconds to unlock. Once it unlocks, the objective area can be captured by either team. To capture the checkpoint, members of only one team must stand on the point for a given time, speed increasing with the number of teammates present. Once captured, the team must defend the point, while the other must gain control of the area by driving the enemies out and capturing it themselves.

Thus, Control very much fits into the King of the Hill definition. The maps used for this game mode are Nepal, Lijang Tower, Ilios, and Oasis.

As for where this term came from, Wikipedia says it is a children's game, including an excerpt from this panel created in 1560. Thus, "King of the Hill" is quite an old term.

  • Since he's marking this as the accepted answer (just in case people just look at that only), maybe add a couple maps that are played during Control games in Overwatch.
    – n_plum
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:42
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    The other thing is that Overwatch's Control mode uses identical game mechanics to Team Fortress 2's King of the Hill mode. Those of us who came from TF2 naturally called it that.
    – Powerlord
    Feb 28, 2017 at 23:20

As Timmy Jim mentioned, it is related to the control modes. It's any of the maps where it is a best of 3/5 (depending on competitive vs quick play) and the objective is to hold a point to 100% each round, without allowing the opposing team on the point. Hence, being "king of the hill" (hill being the control point).

  • Some maps that use this are Nepal and Illios.

It's a common game term that's been used countless times in other big games such as Halo.

You can argue it was coined by games but there was also a kid's game referred to as King of the Hill where one person would try to stay at the top of a large hill (as King) and prevent others from getting to the top. (Usually shoving kids back down the hill).

The game is also sometimes referred to as King of the Castle or Control.

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    I think it's worth stating that across video games, KoTH can come in many flavors, such as Territories in Halo. They all bare similar and different characteristics, but usually incorporate capturing a defined zone and defending it. Some games move the hill around the map, other games do not. All of these flavors are often just called King of the Hill in their respective game.
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:34
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    Yeah it's definitely got it's own tweaks in every game it is made in, Halo has done territories and a simple control point, depends on which game. And most of the time it's all just referred to as KoTH in the end.
    – n_plum
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:40
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    @TimmyJim I would quibble that Territories is a different game mode inspired by King of the Hill, with multiple hills, especially since there's actually a separate Halo mode called specifically King of the Hill. But you're right, as long as there's a point that teams are fighting over controlling, it might be called King of the Hill.
    – DCShannon
    Feb 28, 2017 at 17:04
  • ^ That's what I meant saying there are tweaks to all the modes that get made. Territories is a bit more skewed from the normal Control/KoTH they tend to have, and I believe it's a newer mode compared to the others.
    – n_plum
    Feb 28, 2017 at 17:09
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    @DCShannon It may have been better to say that territories is more of a spin-off of KoTH.
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 28, 2017 at 17:09

King of The Hill is a type of gameplay where your objective is to control a defined section of the map while not allowing your enemy to overtake and control said section themselves.

In Overwatch, King of the Hill is called Control. This is due to the style that Blizzard uses. If you've watched some of their most recent Developer Updates, you'll hear Jeff say "we at Blizzard like to call things a little differently" While talking about their "Capture the Flag" game mode, which they called "Capture the Rooster".

Most content creators are old school gamers and are very familiar with the "King of the Hill" games. That's why this term is so widely used, while referring to the Control game mode.

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    Capture the Rooster was named that because of the Chinese New Year and it being a play on words, allowing them to theme the game mode - not just because they wanted to be different.
    – n_plum
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:26

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