July 7, 2020
Can we test experimental card changes in a practice range?
12 May – we’ll try to figure something out. i understand where you’re coming from on this one.
Jeff said they were going to be more crazy with experimental
12 May – you’ll see a mix of changes on the experimental card. we have some more “interesting” things planned but those things usually require a lot more effort. it’s still useful for us (and for the community) to test balance changes as well.
Updates to Hero Pools
1 May – thanks for all of the feedback in the thread so far! just as a reminder, we’re always open to iteration. we’ve changed this system quite a bit since we first implemented. if someone is causing issues, we’ll keep a close eye on it and make sure to address it.
Ping system in the new wheel
23 Apr – we’re still experimenting with ping concepts. junho has been championing this idea for some time. we wanted to get the communication changes out as soon as possible though rather than wait on the ping experiments to yield something. we’ll keep trying.
Prefer over Avoid?
23 Apr – we actually had a “prefer” system in the game. because of the population size, it worked less than 1% of the time. we ultimately removed it to reduce UI and matchmaking code complexity. obviously, we like ideas like this – that’s why we tried it. we’ll continue to brainstorm along these lines.
Upcoming experimental card
22 Apr – later this afternoon we will be deploying changes to the experimental card (hopefully)
i wanted to give a little insight to the changes that we are trying. the term “crowd control” or “cc” is used to refer to abilities that heroes can do to other heros that cause them to lose control of their character. examples include mei’s ability to freeze you, reinhardt knocking you down with earthshatter or getting stuck in junkrat’s trap.
in overwatch, we need to walk a fine line with crowd control abilities. on the one hand, we are a highly competitive first person shooter. on the other hand, one of the defining things about overwatch is the fact that our heroes have amazing abilities and mobility. we understand that crowd control abilities can cause a lot of frustration. any time, control is taken away from you it generally doesn’t feel good.
so these experiments are targetted at certain heroes, specifically at their crowd control abilities, with the intent being that they will affect you less and have a lower overall impact on the game.
the one exception on this round of experiments is roadhog. we actually want to try to buff his ult a little bit to make it more impactful. it’s not as much of a pure buff as it might seem at first – while you will knock enemies back more, you’re also likely to push them out of damage more (unless you corner them).
internally, we have some bigger ideas about crowd control for overwatch 2 and are trying some experiments we are not able to bring to the experimental card (more fundarmental and larger changes).
we’ll see how this round goes and we’d love feedback. hopefully we can put some of these changes live if the test goes well.
HERO CHANGES (ONLY IN EXPERIMENTAL)
Whole Hog knockback increased 20%
Earthshatter knockdown duration lowered from 3 to 2.5 seconds
Knockdown duration is now a fixed 0.8 second instead of scaling with distance
Cast time reduced from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds
Flashbang stun duration lowered from 0.85 to 0.7 seconds
Endothermic Blaster freeze stun duration lowered from 1.5 to 1.3 seconds
Blizzard duration lowered from 5 to 4.25 seconds
Sleep duration lowered from 6 to 5 seconds
Shield Bash stun duration lowered from 0.75 to 0.65 seconds
Can all 2CP Maps and the Gamemode be Reworked?
17 Apr – we discuss 2cp all the time. it’s one of the top discussions we have in the design group. we’ve spent more time trying to address that gamemode and trying changes than any other mode. we’ve also reworked the maps the most.
the mode has some fundamental flaws, depending on the context you’re coming from (professional play vs. comp vs. quick play).
contrary to what some communities would have you believe, not everyone dislikes the modes or the maps.
we’ll continue to try solutions for both the mode and the maps. it’s definitely something that’s top of mind for us. there just aren’t easy silver bullet solutions.
Group Players Based On Rank
17 Apr – you should try the LFG system. it allows you to do exactly what you’re asking for.
I don’t want a gold border
17 Apr – currently our plan is to change this system for ow2. we’ll find a way to recognize your accomplishments for those who care but the current plan is for those borders to go away and be replaced with a different system.
Blizzard please keep classic comp
16 Apr – glad you’re enjoying it. we’re discussing the future of the mode right now.
it’s interesting to see what regions and platforms are responding to the different modes in the game.
i know you all enjoy stats so have fun theorycrafting with this chart (keep in mind this is just data from one day):
I wonder what the reaction will be when
14 Apr – Comixfan: ho is banned from Comp in a week’s time as part of Hero Pools. we debated this but did not want to interfere with the algorithm. worst case, if she is removed from the pool, she’ll be back a week later. plus there are always plenty of ways to play a hero outside of comp.
Experimental card for Bastion?
14 Apr – the next experimental card changes are targeted at CC reduction across multiple heroes. we’re not currently working on bastion changes but are happy to listen to any feedback you have.
A voice line request “Retreat”
14 Apr – we’re working on a cool update that will address this feedback. more info in the next dev update (sorry no ETA because… world)
Thank you for Competitive Open Queue!
14 Apr – Bisalissy: (Btw: Why is it called Competitive Open Queue and not Competitive Classic? Do we get an ACTUAL classic mode for Anniversary? ^^)
glad you’re enjoying the mode. we were excited to at least try it out and see how it goes.
we struggled a lot with the name. “classic” has a lot of weight/baggage and means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. and the meaning will change over time. so we thought open queue was a more accurate representation. to be honest, quick play classic isn’t the best name either…
Issues with Echo, will update as they come up
14 Apr – Kierkegaard: Sombra hack does not interrupt flight ability. Sombra emp does not continue through the end of duplicate if duration goes past ult time. these are both intended
Remember these? Only true overwatch players will
10 Apr – old school?
OFFTOPIC: My job, Covid-19 and OWL
25 Mar – thanks for sharing your amazing story. it’s very heartwarming for all of us to read. times are challenging right now so i am glad people are finding ways of “being together” however we can in our own isolation. i think we all needed to hear something like this today. thank you.
Can a dev clarify QPC Achieves?
16 Mar – yes. confirmed. achievements can now be earned in quick play classic. it was an oversight that it did not get listed in the patch notes
Unfortunately, it’s best for matchmaking to sometimes substitute you into a match as a backfill. With that said, we would like to make some improvements. These are tricky and take time.
We did recently fix an issue that has not gone live yet. Once you serve as a backfill, there is supposed to be a cooldown on subbing you in again. But currently if you switch modes a lot (i.e. from quick play to mystery heroes), you can be backfilled multiple times in a row. In an upcoming patch, this will be fixed.
Again, we want to do more improvements to backfilling over time, but simply removing the system is unlikely to happen.
OW2 + Orisa + OR-14 Blade =?
16 Mar – perhaps OR16…?
25 Feb –
We’’ll probably leave this up for a few days. A week at most. We want to cover a few “prime times” in each region as it will help with data collection. For example, at the time that I am posting this it is prime time on the east coast in the US.
Once the card comes down, the next changes coming to it will most likely be balance changes (things as extreme as 3-2-1 will be rare). I would expect the card to come up “every few weeks” and stay up for a few days, if that answers the question.
A bit confusing… but the PTR will also be coming up, possibly even during the duration of this current experiment. There are certain things that can only be tested on PTR and cannot be tested in an experiment. For example, if we wanted to make a change to Mei’s Ice Wall collision we would need a PTR for that. Purely random example… um yeah.
Main vs Off Tank Separate Role Q
10 Feb – It’s an interesting suggestion but the more “buckets” we add, the slower matchmaking will be. Overall, we want to reduce queue times, not impact them further. Hope this makes sense.
It’s both. For PvE we add a full story arc told through story missions (even though it’s a linear story I am reluctant to all it a campaign because it’s co-op, not single player). We’ll also have Hero Missions (which are highly replayable PvE backed by a progression system). The closest analogy (although neither is quite accurate) is Adventure mode in Diablo III or World Quests in WoW (again, not a great analogy but indicative of the level of replay we’re hoping for).
For PvP we’re adding a completely new pool of PvP maps including a new game mode called Push.
For both modes, new heroes will be added.
Hero pools is a brave and holistic change
30 Jan – Persevere: Blizzard kept saying that this game is about being able to play several heros and flexing between them, but this is basically the first time when Blizzard supports this statement with an in-game mechanics. Which, I think, is good for the game overall.
Thanks for the feedback!
Oddly, we’re not viewing this change as dramatic, scary or impactful as the decision to pursue Hero Limits or our decision to implement Role Queue. Hero Pools will be introduced for Season 21 of Competitive Play only. Unlike Role Queue or Hero Limits, Quick Play and the Arcade will be completely the same as they are today with Hero Pools. This alone already means the number of affected matches is FAR less than those two prior systems.
Also, we’re super open to change with Hero Pools. If we (the dev team and the community) don’t feel like it’s a positive change during Season 21, then we won’t bring it back in Season 22. We get a lot of feedback asking for Competitive seasons to feel “different” from one another. Season 20 and Season 21 will certainly feel different!
Also, something we talk about a lot in game design is the that there is often no one, correct answer. Design is all about tradeoffs. If the thing that the community decides is “the most egregious” is a “static meta” and they “want the dev team to do something about it”… we’re going to take steps towards change. We can’t force the meta to move and not make the game work differently. Last year was great proof that player creativity and balance changes alone weren’t enough to move people off of 3/3 fast enough for the community to feel satisfied. The meta would have moved on it’s own… just slowly.
We’ve decided to help you move it along. If there are things we don’t like about Hero Pools, we can change it. Maybe they don’t come back for Season 22? Maybe they rotate faster? Maybe more or less heroes should be in the pool? We’ll all find out in Season 21.
But really this should be viewed as a fun an exciting change to Season 21 (we wanted Seasons to feel different, right?). And time will tell what happens after…
Either way, hearing your thoughts and feedback is really helpful to us.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about hero bans the past few days and I just wanted to offer some perspective on the topic. As always, the OW has a wide variety of opinions about the concept. Interestingly, we don’t have many people on the team vehemently arguing for the feature. More of us, including myself, are reluctant to add hero bans to Overwatch. As I’ve said before, we’re not of the mindset that we’re opposed to the idea entirely and will never add them. But overall, there are a number of issues that make us want to proceed carefully.
Coming at this from a game design focus, the number one thing we ask is, “what is the problem that we’re trying to solve?” We’re not fans of just adding ideas that are in other games “just because”. We call this bottom-up design. Sometimes the right design decision for one game, is a terrible decision for another game – even if the two games are very similar. For example, with World of Warcraft we did not impose forced grouping, a slow leveling curve and a punishing death penalty with level loss “just because” the other successful MMO’s had those features at the time. And as a player of those other MMO’s, I thought they were the correct decision for those games. But not for WoW.
When I hear why people want hero bans, the conversation usually revolves around a few reasons (I’m sure there are more):
People do not like that the meta stagnates. They believe with hero bans, they will be able to “ban out” the meta heroes thus moving the meta. In general, the meta not moving is perceived by the player-base as bad
People are frustrated with the balance of certain heroes. With hero bans, they feel like they can “ban out” the heroes they are frustrated with
People do not like playing against certain heroes. With hero bans, they feel like they can “ban out” a hero they don’t want to play against
As a team, we agree with and understand that players want the meta to be more fluid and move more frequently. Even though the vast majority of players only experience the meta through OWL, feedback from GM’s, streamers and YouTubers, we get that the perception of a stale meta is not good for the game. We absolutely have plans to help move the meta more and we’ll be talking about these in an upcoming developer update. We get it. We agree. Make the meta move faster. Ok.
But just implementing hero bans does not mean the meta will move. Studying other games, the end result is usually a “ban meta”. The downside of a ban meta, is that players are often at odds with each other when someone on their team bans an “off-ban-meta” hero. The same frustrations that players experience with the meta exist in a ban meta. Hero bans are not a silver bullet solution to making the meta move. If the problem we are trying to solve is that the meta needs to change more, hero bans might actually make the problem worse, not better. We do a have a solution in mind – an actual system – that we’ll talk about (next week’s dev update) but it is not hero bans.
In regards to players wanting to ban for balance reasons, the way we plan to address this is with more frequent balance updates. The upcoming dev update will go in depth into the plan and shed light on how we’re going to accomplish this. So we agree that there are balance issues. We agree balancing needs to happen more frequently. We disagree that hero bans are a good solution to balance problems. To us, removing a hero from play because of balance reasons feels like a sledgehammer.
The other reason I listed was that people do not like playing against certain heroes. To this, I am going to give an answer that is not going to be very popular. Basically, it’s a PvP game. You don’t get to pick what the enemy team does. The challenge is overcoming the enemy team with teamwork, ingenuity and skill. It feels really off to me that the other team dictates how or what I play. So if your reason is that you don’t want to play against certain heroes, I think we’ll agree to disagree on this point. We’ve changed out minds in the past. But that’s where we’re at for now.
I hear a lot of people attack hero bans because they only want to play one hero, or “one trick”… To this, I think our stance is pretty clear. Overwatch is a game about mastering many heroes. We don’t expect you to master them all, but you should play a few of the characters. Now, we don’t explicitly prevent you from only playing one hero. But we also don’t encourage it. We think the game is more fun for everyone involved if you play at least a handful of the heroes. That’s how the game is designed. So defending “one tricking” does not factor in for us when it comes to our opinion on hero bans. We want the meta to move more and one tricking contributes to meta issues. Again, we’re not against one-tricking but we’re not going to overly enable or encourage it. That’s our stance.
There are a few other reasons, we’re reluctant to pursue hero bans at this time as well. We’ve been really pushing for faster match times (there’s a lot going on under the hood on this one). Our philosophy is the game is better if you have quicker matches. The sting of defeat is much less if the match took less time. We’re constantly talking about ways to speed up rounds of OW to allow you to play more. Introducing a “ban phase” to the start of every OW round would add significant time. Your overall time spent on an average night of OW actually shooting stuff would be less. This concerns us a lot. There is also a huge development cost to adding the feature as well (the time commitment would be significant). This last reason is not the one that’s driving our decision making. If we thought it was right for the game (like with Role Queue) we would absolutely make the investment.
I’m looking forward to sharing next week’s development update with you all… I think it will clarify things a bit. But in the meantime, I wanted to tell you where we’re at with hero bans specifically since so much misinformation is being spread right now. I hope those of you in favor of the system don’t go too “doomsday” over this news without having the full picture. Information will be available next week on the plan to balance faster and keep the meta moving. We agree on the problems. That’s the important thing.
It’s time for a new Developer Update. It’s been 6 months
21 Jan – we recently recorded a developer update. it is scheduled to come out toward the end of the month. we’ll try to do them more frequently.
Wow, it was super weird to stumble on this thread.
In early December, we were brainstorming ways to shorten DPS queue times and the idea was proposed to try changing the role queue team composition to be 1 Tank, 3 Damage, and 2 Support. Our matchmaking engineers did some modeling around queue times, expected behaviors etc. and all indications pointed to an overall positive improvement to all queue times under a scenario like that.
From a design perspective we were reluctant for a number of reasons. Before implementing 2/2/2 role queue, we had done experiments with the team compositions being 1 Tank, 1 Support and 4 damage. The playtests under a 4-1-1 comp were terrible. The problem was the solo support. As a solo support, you felt unable to keep the rest of the team alive. Added to that, at all times, you had 5 very aggressive players prioritizing you as the target every time. As soon as the support player on one side died, the entire team would fall like a house of cards.
So when the idea of trying 3-2-1 came up, we were hesitant because of our poor playtests with 4-1-1. But we did something interesting in December and I am really proud of the team for sticking with it.
Internally, for the past two months, we changed the game to be based on 3-2-1 composition. When we queue for our playtests, we only get 1 Tank per team for each match. We decided to “live with it” for December and January because we felt like the easy and natural thing for us all to do, is just say, “hey this is different and here are all the problems with it” and dismiss the system. But by forcing the team to try it out and live with it for so long, it’s challenged us to try to solve some of the problems that have surfaced.
And there are a number of challenges.
First, there is the issue of what players have come to call “off tanks”. The biggest issues center around D.Va, Zarya and Roadhog. The current playstyle of those tanks (if you’re adhering to various metas that have existed) is to pair them with other “main tanks”. Obviously, if we were to change the distribution of roles from 2-2-2 to 3-2-1 it would require some balance changes. But possibly more than that. Roadhog is a great example. Is the correct thing to do for Roadhog under that design to try to make him more “main tanky” or is the correct thing to do to simply move him to the Damage role and balance him as a damage character? We’ve tried both in our months of testing. If you were to come and play Roadhog today with us in our 3-2-1 experiment, he’s moved from the Tank to the Damage category, he only has 400 health, Take a Breather only heals and does not do damage reduction and there were a bunch of DPS changes to his scrap gun. Now, don’t freak out. We’re not doing this for 2-2-2… I am only sharing the design experiment that’s going on here. Maybe a better direction for Roadhog under 3-2-1 is some sort of team damage reduction ability? How do you take what is essentially an “off tank” and make him a “main tank”? That is what we would have to explore with any of these tank characters. Since the Tank roster is already one of the more limited character selections, we’re obviously not crazy about removing choice from Tank players. And if our stated goal is to improve queue times, did going to 1 tank actually remove a bunch of otherwise tank players from the queue? Or were some of these “tank” players actually damage players who wanted a faster queue time so they picked Roadhog? Obviously, complicated questions and it is even more complicated to be confident in an answer.
The other fear around a 3-2-1 comp is the importance it places on the Tank player. In our playtesting, this has manifested itself in two notable ways. 1) Some players feel a lot of pressure to choose the “correct” tank. If there is only one tank, the team has a very strong opinion about who that tank should be. Another fear around this issue is that metas will be even more limited as players tend to take the “path of least resistance” towards their hero choices. If Reinhardt is deemed meta, do we only see Rein from now on? Are we all mad at our tank player if they play the hamster? 2) Some tank players felt a tremendous anxiety about their performance in the match. They felt like being the lone tank put a lot of pressure on them and if they died, it was a really big deal. Some of our tank/support players who would occasionally play tank stopped playing tank during 3-2-1 and only gravitated toward support because they felt intimidated to be “the main tank” and have so much focus on their play. Conversely, there are a number of main tank players on the team who actually enjoy the added spotlight. Traditionally in video games there are different personas that are attracted to roles in games: Tank, Support, Damage etc. We saw this in WoW and we see it in OW. While these are stereotypes (and you have to be really careful assuming too much here), there are many Tank players who love being the “lone tank” and carrying the team to glory. Watching this play out in our weird, internal experiment has been fascinating.
Our support players have given mixed feedback on the experiment as well. On the negative side, people feel bad when the lone tank dies. On the positive side, many support mains have commented that they feel like they have more freedom to focus on other players and not just “try to keep the big bags of hitpoints alive all match”. In general, these matches are more chaotic and (I’ll touch on this later) feel “more FPS-y”. The result is good or bad, depending on the type of player you are. For some of our support players, this makes matches more exciting. EVERYONE is taking a lot more damage under 3-2-1. for some support players, the chaos causes negative anxiety and they prefer just healing tanks.
The damage experience has been overall positive. For one, for those of us (like me) who usually queue for all 3 roles, we’re often pleasantly surprised to actually get to play Damage. Also, many on the team have cited that with 3 damage dealers they feel far less pressure than they do in the current live game with only 2 damage. The compositions have been very interesting. For example, you can have a 2 sniper comp (maybe Widow and Hanzo) AND have a flanker (Genji/Tracer). It’s really opened up the game. If you’re evaluating plusses and minuses, it adds to the chaos, makes the game play more like a traditional FPS (less barriers/damage mitigation going on) but also detracts a bit from teamplay.
Speaking of Teamplay, one of our testers who did not like the experiment made a comment that he felt like 3-2-1 detracted from teamplay too much. I found this fascinating because in 2013/2014 every decision we made was to embrace/encourage/force teamplay at all costs. We put so much effort into putting the focus on team victory/defeat rather than individual performance. But in 2020, I feel like the over-emphasis on teamplay (while great for hyper competitive players and situations such as OWL), causes a lot of psychological pressure for your average player just looking to blow off steam in a video game. I guess what I am saying is, that in 2020, feeling like you can deviate from teamplay a little bit in OW and have some success feels like a good thing, not a bad thing to me. The other analogy I’ve used (and I know you all hate my sports analogies) is that OW – in it’s current evolved form – feels like a football game (American) to me where every match is 4th down on the goal line. The amount of team synergy and execution required to pull off a victory is exciting… but also a little intense. There is something nice about a more loose/skirmishy version of the game – but again, it’s all opinion and perspective. Not everyone on my team agrees with me and that’s a good thing.
The other odd thing about testing this, is that when we started, everyone treated it like this was “one of Jeff’s crazy experiments” and was a super different, challenging (and possibly stupid) idea. I tried to calm people down by reminding them that MOST of the matches in OW history since launch up until the release of role queue, were actually played with one tank… or less. After a few of the early playtests in December, I remember one developer giving feedback that “the game felt like old school Overwatch… like when we first launched.” I tried to point out that the reason they felt that way is because we used to play the game this way all the time… it’s shouldn’t be that surprising or different. Let’s all remember, the surprising thing back then was actually having two tanks…
So it’s been a really interesting and fun experiment. We’re not really confident that it’s the correct thing for the game. It solves a lot of problems but it also introduces a lot of problems (like most things in the world of game design). I am really proud of the OW team for experimenting with it for the past two months. We’re really conflicted on it so it was cool to see you bring up the idea. We’d love to hear your thoughts on and opinions on it. We’ve also been brainstorming if there is a way to bring this experiment to the community somehow (either through the PTR or the live game somehow). We don’t want to freak people out though. Usually when stuff hits the PTR, we intend for it to go live (or some version of it). But this is much more of an early experiment more than anything else.
Anyway, thanks for proposing ideas like this.
Both the introduction and outro that we showed at Blizzcon were not the final pieces. The planned introduction is a little bit longer. The planned outro (which is still in development and we were reviewing yesterday) is much longer and not intended to be a cliff hanger. Spoiler alert: Lucio doesn’t die. For Blizzcon, we could only final so many shots… so we did an abbreviated cliffhanger for the demo. The final piece is much longer and shows Lucio’s rescue as well as “more awesome story stuff” that sets up the next mission.
We appreciate the feedback and glad you’re asking for more and not less ;]
Patch 1.43 clarification
Dec ’19 –
We’ve been seeing quite a bit of misinformation being spread about our December patch (1.43).
The patch is scheduled to go live next week. Short of some unforeseen circumstance causing a delay, we’re expecting to go live with the patch next week.
I’m guessing everyone is as excited as we are for the changes to go live as soon as possible along with Winter Wonderland.
Workshop Stats – 5/30/19
May ’19 –
Wow, the response to the Workshop has been overwhelming. You all are creating some amazing content!
We just got some stats that I figured you’d all be interested in.
Thanks so much for all of this great content!
First off, here are the NA/EU Charts:
|link||duration hours||num matches||avg players||desc|
|9DFF3||1246||899||8.2||floor is lava parkour|
|9J4NE||1048||1261||8.2||mcree hot potato|
|TGT12||681||823||9.0||floor is lava|
|0V9FF||598||657||8.5||emote to kill|
|W2ZMG||596||843||9.0||dva space battle|
|Y1S15||586||817||11.3||play as two heroes|
|7KR0G||519||641||8.2||top down overwatch|
|8E1CK||503||708||8.2||bastion turret ffa|
|NVFTS||423||753||9.0||3rd person mode|
|2SQKT||394||574||8.2||super smash bros|
From our Global Insights group:
“In NA, someone has managed to recreate UNO, the card game. Surprisingly, it has the most hours played out of any link. This may be a result of consolidation; there is only 1 version of UNO floating around, but hundreds of accuracy trainer variations.
Workshop has been extremely well received in KR; the most popular game mode in KR has a total of 5667 hours played so far, more than 4x the top link in NA. It is called “High Blood Pressure Marathon” (혈압마라톤) which is a mode with no cooldowns, infinite ultimates, and some other crazy things mixed in.”
And here are the KR top charts (forgive any localization issues or typos here):
|link||total hours||num matches||avg players||english||korean|
|BJFYV||5447||4870||18.6||High Blood Pressure Marathon||혈압마라톤|
|XSC7P||4858||8994||21.0||RPG w/shop||RPG 상점모드|
|NMJZD||3098||3129||14.0||Infinity Stones||흙수저 맥크리|
|1T630||2873||2996||15.1||Crossy Road||길건너 친구들|
|9H9N7||2245||3814||20.6||RPG w/shop, no cheat key||RPG 상점모드 키트키X|
|V42EB||1813||2205||12.8||Death Jump Rope||죽음의 줄넘기|
|YD66G||1640||1674||18.2||Cop and Thief||경찰과 도둑|
|9YV2E||1640||2628||12.0||battle royale||battle royale|
Why punish people for leaving at hero selection?
May ’19 – If you’re in Quick Play and you leave during Assemble Heroes you’re not punished.
Hi there! I think it’s awesome that you enjoy Total Mayhem so much. I am extra critical of it because I literally implemented that mode (I don’t get to do a lot of implementation on the game anymore… and I miss it!). I made the mode very early on, when our technology was nascent. We didn’t have a lot to work with and it was a very simple thing to put together. All in all, I don’t think it plays well and has a host of problems. I feel like it’s the type of mode that belongs more in Custom Game. I get that people enjoy it – and that makes me happy… but if it weren’t for it’s legacy, I would simply retire it permanently to a Custom Game mode.
Lots of people like a lot of different modes and we try to make space for as many of them as we reasonably can. Hopefully more people will go to Custom Game for these type of modes.
What happened to the Developer Updates?
Apr ’19 – Sorry we haven’t been doing these as frequently. We do have more planned for this year. We recorded one last week that will go live next week (I think?)…
Role Queue Compromise
Feb ’19 –
Thanks for the suggestion! It’s actually one we’ve debated on the team. One concern we have is anytime we – the OW team – make assumptions about what you want to do without giving you some agency in the situation. Our concern is, we believe there are a number of players who want to or like to play different roles but because they are thinking of “the good of the team”, they flex to needed roles. A player like this, under your design suggestion, is going to end up always having to play tank or support. We really want to avoid design solutions that further reinforce players being forced to play roles they don’t intend to.
I hope this explanation makes sense. To use myself as an example, by your suggestion, I am a “tank main” because most of my play time is on tanks. But I really love playing healers and damage heroes as well. I would be worried if the game just assumed I should be playing tank all the time, because I did it so much previously (mostly to be a good teammate, not because that’s what I wanted to do).
Hope that makes sense.
Quickplay and Comp Disabled on PTR?
Feb ’19 – We’re testing some under the hood changes on the PTR that affect the matchmaker. These changes are only enabled in the Arcade. We needed to put load on Arcade modes to load the matchmaker. Quick Play will be up soon. In the meantime, you can join a custom game. Thanks for your patience.
Unpopular Opinion: Rialto
Feb ’19 – Rialto balance stats for the past month: 49.35% Attackers, 50.65% Defenders
Respawn did such a good job with the Ping System in Apex Legends. It works really well.
Back in early development of Overwatch, we actually had a very similar ping system. Ours was inspired from MOBA’s like League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm.
We eventually removed it because of a few issues.
- With 6 people on the team, it got very spammy if more than a few people were using it
- The geography of Overwatch maps as well as the engagement distances is fairly constrained. This made pinging upwards challenging and often frustrating. An example is standing at the gate of point A of Temple of Anubis and trying to ping the upper ledge above the gate entering point B. Our engagement distances tend to be in the 10-30 meter range (for perspective it’s about 45 meters all the way across the entire dojo in Hanamura B). In Apex, you have very long engagement distances and very big maps… it makes it easier to ping below you
It would be fun to revisit the system and see if we could make something like that workable. We do have some designs for improvements and customization to the communication wheel that we’re trying to get in. But we’re always appreciative of feedback and suggestions.
Genji’s pick rate in a tank meta proves he’s OP
Feb ’19 – We don’t currently perceive Genji to be a balance problem.
When the pros play Overwatch at the Blizzard Arena, it looks just like it does for you and me at home. They don’t see the team coloring of the HUD or the Visual FX. They don’t even see the team uniforms. It’s the spectator functionality and the broadcast that makes the game look that way.
You can use some color blind settings to adjust the way things look for you at home, but it’s not quite like the OWL view.
We actually tried a mode we called “411” because it limited comps to 1 tank, 1 healer and the rest DPS.
It was not fun and we didn’t enjoy it. The way the game is tuned, the importance it placed on the lone tank or lone support was too significant. Also, we’ve all evolved as players since 2016 and we’re much better these days at melting the tank or melting the healer than we used to be. Once your lone tank or healer died, it felt like you were forced to completely regroup with no chance of pulling out a win.
It was a good experiment for us to try and led to a lot of good discussion. But yeah, wasn’t fun…
We actually tried falling damage in early development of Overwatch. We ran into problems with characters like Widowmaker, Reaper and Pharah. With Widowmaker, it felt strange and unintuitive to be able to grapple to high places but not be able to jump down without taking damage. We found ourselves grappling back down to lower points, which was awkward. Pharah was really odd. If you didn’t feather your jets right before touching the ground you would splat. And with Reaper, we kept teleporting to high locations with no ability to get safely down.
For awhile, we kept exempting characters from fall damage. But pretty soon, it felt arbitrary who would take fall damage and who was immune so we removed the mechanic completely.
We worked on a balance patch this week. We’re hoping to put that patch on the PTR next week. The last time I said that, it was late and everyone flipped out. So please, don’t flip out if things slip… they often do.
Also, there’s another cool little surprise coming next week. Excited!
(sorry no details at this time as changes are still in flux… the PTR will get notes when it goes out… no dev update)
“I’ve been playing OW so long, I can remember when ___ ” (Fill in the blank)General Discussion
Jan ’19 – I’ve been playing OW so long, I can remember when…
…Tracer used to shoot laser beams out of her eyeballs because we did not have a VFX system (or artist!) to render bullets yet.
I dont like developer silence
Dec ’18 –
We don’t like being silent… that’s not our intention. we’ve been trying to show up more on various streams (we have our creator’s residency now here at Blizzard where streamers hang out with us) plus we did a bunch of streams at Blizzcon. maybe you missed those?
We’re also in a bit of a “head’s down” mode trying to get a lot of work done. we also had a few people traveling over the thanksgiving holiday (we’re based in the US) and took advantage of the slow week to allow developers to work on whatever they wanted. the end result was pretty cool. we explored new game modes, new features and new engine tech. it was all really rough but some of the prototypes will actually turn into features someday.
I guess, mostly, we don’t have a big newsworthy thing to announce or talk about right now so we’re more focused on “getting stuff done” rather than anything else.
Roughly, this is a sample of some of what we’re working on:
–top secret stuff i’m not allowed to talk about
–hero balance (i actually think we’re in a better spot than these forums will have you believe)
–quality of life features (UI updates etc)
–new hero prototyping and development
–new game mode prototyping (don’t expect to see these soon)
–ongoing event support (skins etc.)
–more top secret stuff i’m not allowed to talk about
–top secret stuff i’m not supposed to talk about
Will PTR be on console?
Nov ’18 –
We would really love to be able to host a PTR on console. Unfortunately, it’s very logistically challenging for us. Keeping PC/Console patches in synch is a big logistical challenge and the PC PTR actually makes that possible for us (during PC PTR our builds are undergoing certification processes with Microsoft and Sony).
In order for us to enable PTR for console, the end result would most likely be a delay in the release of all content by 1-2 weeks.
We talk about PTR on console often and we revisit the concept every few months to see if anything has changed. We never consider it a closed-door conversation. But under current circumstances, a console PTR cycle is unlikely at this time.
New PTR patch nerfed Reaper, not buffed him
Oct ’18 – We’ve changed the spread pattern and adjusted the distribution of the bullets. This will go to PTR with the next update. All of the changes to Reaper were done with the intention of making him more reliable. None were intended as nerfs.
Sooo… the Hog changes?
Oct ’18 – Hopefully this week.
I understand that you’re having some frustration with something. But saying we hate tanks is a bit hyperbolic. We love this game and pour everything we have into it. For example, these are my top tank heroes played with hours listed…
We play and love all of the roles and all of the heroes. A more helpful discussion would focus on what you like and don’t like about playing different heroes or roles and less about making assumptions about the people who make the game and are here as your allies to make OW better. We’re in it together…
How did Rialto ever make it past playtesting
Aug ’18 – In the past week, Attackers win 42.88%. We always try to balance toward a 50/50 win rate. We have some minor tweaks we can make to bring the map more in line. We were looking at it late last week and early this week. While it’s not perfect, it’s also not hugely out of line.
That’s every post from the man himself.
Thanks for watching Game Watch Today
I’m Big Fisch snoop a loop and good high noon to you all.