Just weeks before its release Overwatch had a huge presence at PAX East this year. We got the chance to play a few games which is always fun, but also we had time to sit with the development team and ask a few questions going into launch. Fans certainly lined up in droves as happens with most Blizzard games, but this year Overwatch has added depth to the game right before release. Something the fans had been asking about.
We asked the team how feedback has gone since the early closed beta this fall. In working directly with their community the team has been able to implement feedback much faster than expected. It has maintained a very positive attitude from the fans and devs working together. A lot of highly competitive tournaments have begun as the team keeps very close watch on statistics. These tournaments and the huge level of metrics the team captures have really led to a fine tuning for balance that is required in Overwatch.
Progression is something the team takes very seriously. Fans of the game did not want to see a power progression creep into the game. The team felt strongly that once you added levels it would quickly eliminate playing with your friends. They did not want tiers of players based on power. So all of the progression is about customization. Rewards are given through loot boxes which drop to surprise players will different rewards.
The lore of Overwatch has also been something that continues to expand. Blizzard has plans for more animated shorts, digital comics, and even a graphic novel down the line. They want the world to continue to grow and create a more in depth future as players build up within the game.
Next we asked about what goes into building a hero. There is basically a three prong approach to hero builds. Sometimes the team has a great story they want to put into the game Hero ‘76 was this type of character. He also fills the need of bringing in a certain player type who might like shooters. Other times heroes may appear in a piece of concept art. The character has such a great look, they suddenly are scrambling to find the right abilities and story that fit such an amazing work of art. Last way is that they have a list of abilities they really want to add into the game and need to find the right character to pull them off.
Once they have a hero balanced they keep a close eye on how well the hero does and what role they play in the game. This allows them to keep balance on certain heroes and watch how well they do with team combos. Overwatch wants to make sure players have a lot of options. They do not want to see just one team winning all the time, so they are very mindful of making sure the combinations remain open.
Right now the team is focused to ship the game. Once done there will be plenty of ideas for characters and maps coming in the future. Overwatch is now a solid game ready to hit the masses. We’re excited for launch.