Natalie Abrams for ew.com
There’s always an overarching plan, but it generally has to go season to season. Like, I don’t think we knew at the beginning of the season that at the end of season 2, Oliver would end up in Hong Kong. We don’t necessarily know that stuff, and that’s just the nature of episodic television in 23 episodes a year.
I think we can all assume that they didn't know they were going to Hong Kong. It's pretty clear they had much more of a developed plan for the first two seasons as opposed to 3 and 4. Thankfully things seem back on track currently in season 5.