Welcome everybody to another developer update. My name is Jeff I am from the Overwatch development team. We’re going to talk to you guys about a bunch of popular community topics today. And I sort of wanted to go into what is the team working on right now. I know a lot of people are wondering, you know what’s going on. We don’t always get to hear from the Overwatch development team as often as we’d like to.
I need to preface this by saying, not everything that I’m going to mention is coming out immediately. Some of the stuff will come out in weeks if not months and then some of the stuff that I mentioned might not happen at all. Sometimes in game development, you get pretty far along with some work and then you realize it’s not working out the way that you want it to. So you end up removing it.
So I’ll do my best to be clear about what is definite versus what is maybe. Anyway let’s start.
[Jeff Kaplan:] Source: LYBIO.net
First of all we have a lot of cool changes that are on our PTR right now, which is our public test region. Some of those are balanced changes, I know one of the things that almost all of our players are always wondering about is you know the balance of the game and the balance of their particular favorite hero. So there’s a lot to look at on the PTR right now.
We have some changes to Widowmaker, we’ve increased her scope speed. You know we got rid of that old animation counseling issue with her scope that was very controversial in the community but we felt like it was very important that we didn’t have the ability to min max power level on a character based on something obscure like animation counseling.
So we’re trying to speed up the scope to make it feel better without having something that’s not quite understandable to everybody, which is you know the scoping in and out as quickly as people were doing before for that, you know minimal power gain and the sort of situational awareness.
So far the feedback we’re hearing is that from Widowmaker players that she feels a lot better. We’re really hoping that she becomes more viable and more played. Obviously if she’s not. We’ll continue to look at her and we’ll explore further changes, we have some changes coming to Junkrats trap as well.
Ganji can no longer dash through it. It used to be that Ganji would dash and destroy it. Now Ganji will get caught in the trap very similar to how Tracer gets caught in the trap. This is both to help with Junkrats viability, we hear a lot of interests in defense heroes being played more and then also people wondering you know how exactly am I supposed to counter a character like Ganji, not that Junkrat type perfect counter in every situation but the trap change should help as well. We’re also speeding up the activation time of Junkrat’s Ultimate.
Now there’s other questions, there’s more changes in that on the public test region. You can read about them on our website or on our forums, if you go to the community section. There are a lot more changes than that going on, but there are other heroes not immediately getting change that people ask us about often and I wanted to talk a little bit about them as well.
So for example we hear from a lot of players you know what about Symmetra. It feels like she’s being left behind. I don’t see her as much as I want to I want to play her more. But when I do my team, you know yells at me to change.
So we are looking at Symmetra, I don’t think changes for Symmetra are as easy as some minor number tweaks that will have her available and ready for play in a changed fashion very soon. I think the types of changes that we want to look out for Symmetra might take us a little bit longer than something like the Widowmaker scope change, which was relatively small and easy for us to do.
[Jeff Kaplan:] Source: LYBIO.net
I don’t have details, I know more than anything. People want to know, well what exactly is Symmetra going to be when we come out the other side with her design iteration. It could be changes to some of her mechanics in just changing her overall feel through things like numbers and cooldowns, that’s always a possibility. But we’re going to look at some other changes and we’re going to explore some other things as well that might be a little bit more dramatic, in terms of design vision for her.
Now what this doesn’t mean, and I’ve seen a lot of this discussion going on in the community, there’s a lot of pushing for Symmetra to be something that she’s not. So a lot of times, we see feedback about you know make it so Symmetra to heal people make it so people get healed if they’re near the teleporter, make it so as Symmetra’s weapon also heals allies.
We’re not really interested at this time in exploring Symmetra as a healer.
We know that she is being categorized as a support character in Overwatch but that doesn’t necessarily mean to us that she needs to be a healer, if that means that we have to move her out of the support category, we would rather do that then completely shift the character’s design to something she was never intended to be.
So we’re not looking to make Symmetra a healer, what we are looking to do is make her more viable in more situations I think right now she’s perceived as being okay, or acceptable if you’re playing on defense on a first point or early in a match.
Other than that we really don’t see Symmetra as being super viable in a lot of other situations. We know that she can be effective.
We’ve seen her play it very effectively and she has an incredible win rate but for the most part we want to make her less of a situational pick and more of a you know hey I really like playing this character I want to play on offence or defense and I wanted to play her in multiple different situations not just defending the first point.
So Symmetra is something that we’re looking at, I would anticipate the earliest we would see changes in Symmetra would be about mid-November but it could be much later than that because we don’t want to rush it. We’re probably going to do a lot of internal play testing and then we would go to the PTR with her after that.
So we are looking at Symmetra, I realize it might not be as quick as you would like for changes but she is definitely on our list.
There’s a lot of other stuff going on.
[Jeff Kaplan:] Source: LYBIO.net
So we’ve also been looking at our spectating mode this. I’m largely talking about for the e-sport broadcasting, I know we have a ton of eSports fans and a lot of people watching the community tournaments that are happening right now in the professional tournaments that are happening right now. And there’s a lot of requests for spectating the features. There’s a lot of exciting ones on the PTR. For example a commonly requested feature was to be able to bookmark cameras. So you can go through the maps and you can set camera locations as a spectator. These are static locations and then you can use a hot key to instantly switch between these different bookmark locations.
We also have added a camera that’s always focused on the objective. So if it’s, if it’s an assault map it will always be focused on the capture point whichever one is active or if it is a payload it will focus on the payload and follow it. So this should be really useful for people who are broadcasting or professionally spectating to be able to follow the action more.
We’ve also done a lot of work on the camera to make it much more steady and fluid. It’s very jarring for those of us who’d like to watch a lot of e-sport. If the camera is kind of jittering or moving around too much, so we’ve added a lot of smoothing to the camera that will make it easier for observers to follow the action. And then we’ve also added hot keys for the observers to focus on specific players.
So for example, if somebody is playing Tracer in slot two and you hit shift two on the PC you will now, whether you’re looking at a static camera or that objective camera. It will look through the eyes of that camera and then be focused on that Tracer and follow her and if you switch cameras it will also you know stay on that Tracer, which is pretty cool.
So we think those will be pretty great improvements. Now looking out way far past the immediate stuff that I’m – that I’m talking about right now, a lot of people are wondering like well what else is in the pipe. So we are – we are actively working on more heroes right now, one hero is very far along. It’s coming together really well we’re play testing it internally across the entire company and we believe this hero will see the light of day sooner rather than later.
We also have another hero prototype that we’re extremely happy with right now. This one is in, in very internal developer form is the best way I can describe it. We’re using all placeholder models and effects and animations just to prove out that the hero is fun, but we feel like we found another really great Overwatch hero that will see the light of day, probably sometime next year on that hero. That one’s further out than this one.
We’re also working on a lot of maps. And we – maps are interesting to talk about because we work on a couple of different kinds of maps. We work on maps for pre-existing modes and we have one of those that’s very far along right now. To the point where we’ve play tested it enough where we’re putting art into that map now. So that means at our level of confidence in that particular map is very high. Like I mentioned that one is for an existing game mode.
I think players will really like both the map itself and then also the way it looks and the story behind it is going to be really cool. We have another map that is in prototype form that’s an existing game mode map. That’s much further out, that we’re looking at. And then we have a number of maps, like I think about four maps that are prototype developer only stages of new game modes that we’re experimenting with.
And it’s very important for me to mention on these that I don’t think all of them will become actual maps that we will end up launching. We make a lot more stuff internally on that Overwatch development team than we actually release into the game. Oftentimes we find that these prototypes that we try don’t work for various reasons. The main thing that sort of steers us away from releasing some of these maps and modes that we have internally is when particular heroes are broken on them.
You know, for example if somebody says you know on this map. You know Tracer is useless or in this game mode there’s no reason to have Tracer, there’s no reason to have McCree or whatever hero might be the problem. We’ll usually move away from that game mode, if we can’t solve the problems. We want Overwatch to first and foremost be about our heroes and not be about gimmicky game modes.
[Jeff Kaplan:] Source: LYBIO.net
But we are really excited and really actively exploring working on other game modes and along with them comes new maps, so that’s been a lot of fun for us. I’m hopeful that at least a couple of those new maps and game modes will see the light of day eventually they will take us longer to get to than some of the other stuff. But it’s something that the team has a great passion for, and wants to see more of, there’s a ton of great ideas both on the team and in the community.
So we’re chasing all of that, obviously there’s a lot more being worked on than just these things that I mentioned but I really want to talk about the things that I see the most passionate community, which is you know new maps, new heroes, new game modes. Kind of wanted to reassure you guys that we’re focused on all these things in addition to other stuff like the spectator mode.
And then there’s just some small quality of life things that we want to provide for the community, in an upcoming update our hope is to allow you to unlock things like more voice lines and more of modes. So that’s just one example and be able to use them all at once and have them equipped. So we think that would be a lot of fun. It’s a common feature that we see requested in the community and we want to be responsive to stuff like that as well.
[Jeff Kaplan:] Source: LYBIO.net
So we’re not only working on the big stuff like new maps and new heroes but we’re also working on small quality of life features like that and then we want to pay attention to our eSports community and do stuff like the spectator improvements as well.
So there’s a lot of stuff going on. We know not all of that comes as fast as you would like, I just hope you trust us and are reassuring the fact that the reason it takes so long is because we want it to be very high quality. We want it to be right when it comes out and we hope that you know that if it’s not right when it comes out whether it be a new feature or hero balance that we’re working on this game full time and we will go back and we will make it right eventually.
So that’s the update for today. Thanks so much for putting up with my lengthy explanations of everything and I look forward to talking to you guys again in the next one.