Overwatch’s next hero is being tested, says Blizzard

overwatch-2018-plans

Overwatch, aka The Shooter You Proposed To In A Fit Of Passionate Desperation And Who Rejected You, has had its 2018 plans roughly drawn onto a napkin by game director Jeff Kaplan. By that I mean there’s been another developer update video. The 27th hero is going through “internal testing”, he says, but we are to receive no more information about this shooty man/woman/robot just yet, nor are we told when to expect the new hero. “The release date is less important to us than getting the hero right,” he says.

Here’s the update in full. It’s more or less a round-up of last year’s additions (like the introduction of heroes Doomfist, Orisa and Moira) along with a reassurance that, yes, they are still pressing buttons on their Overwatch machines.

All that’s said of the new fighter is that they are “very needed”. I have been absent from Overwatch too long to know what gaps exist in the fiery cocktail of stratagems and team compositions but perhaps they are making a hero that dissolves the mouse and keyboard of any player who selects Genji. That could work.

They’re also looking at future heroes, beyond this one, says Kaplan, as well as working on their esports scene. Blizzard set up the Overwatch League in the summer of last year, introducing teams from the US and Asia as well as London.

More animated shorts and comics are also coming up, he says, which is no great surprise. Likewise, there’s going to be another event for the Lunar New Year. Last year it was the Year of the Rooster and this time it’s the Year of the Dog. There’ll be other events too, as expected, including some continuation of last year’s PvE Uprising do-dad. A lot of previous events will be repeated too, giving players another chance to get any time-limited skins they missed.

In other words, it’s a vague round-up vlog with no concrete news. But you were just sitting there rocking back and forth wondering why Jeff hadn’t said hello to you for three whole weeks, so I thought I should put you out of your misery.

18 Comments

  1. Don Reba says:

    Looking forward to the free weekend. 👍

  2. Excors says:

    This isn’t the first we’ve heard about hero 27 – Jeff spent ten hours on Christmas Eve sitting in front of a fire, and he announced the new hero at around 9:21.

  3. TeePee says:

    I’m intrigued to see what the meaning is behind ‘very needed’, as I don’t really know if there are any massive gaps in the roster at the moment. The only thing I’d really like to see is a tank with a bit more of a ranged threat. All the ranged threats at the moment are somewhat ‘glass cannon’ in nature, which can be frustrating in an uncoordinated pub game where a good Pharah can run riot. Will be a tricky balancing act though – particularly with also trying to make it fun to play, which isn’t always easy with tanks.

    • Horg says:

      Orisa pretty much has that ranged threat tank covered. You can’t do Soldier 76 DPS but you have a large mag hit scan primary, a short cool down shield and a damage reduction ability, more than enough to force a Pharah to retreat.

      What the game really lacks is a spread of characters who can get a team mate back into the fight quickly. Right now, that’s limited to Symmetra (who sucks) and Mercy, who is far too dominant as a support (best single target heal, alternate damage amp, hero res., high mobility). They need to spread critically important abilities, such as res / teleport, around the roster so more varied compositions can become competitive.

      • goodpoints says:

        They need to spread critically important abilities, such as res / teleport, around the roster so more varied compositions can become competitive.

        This. I been saying this since I started playing. It makes no sense, especially coming from a dev team with a lot of people with MMO experience, to put multiple healers in the game yet only give one a rez ability. Imagine if only Priests could rez in WoW, it just doesn’t make sense. Though lately I’m more inclined to think that the game would be better without any rez abilities.

        Also they implement a system similar to Leaver Penalties that gives players -75% XP gain if they pick a DPS hero more than 3 games in a row.

        • TeePee says:

          Also they implement a system similar to Leaver Penalties that gives players -75% XP gain if they pick a DPS hero more than 3 games in a row.

          I’d love to see something like this, but sadly it’s just never going to happen. I’m a support main who can play tank if needed, and whilst I enjoy both roles, there’s no doubt they’re ‘work’ to DPS heroes’ ‘fun’.

          If I feel like I want to kick back in QP and play a little Genji or Pharah (I’m nowhere near good enough at either to want to ruin a comp team’s chances by playing them in comp), I have to make a decision between selecting them and probably ending up with an unbalanced team where I’m not going to get to play a ‘proper’ round, or switching to tank halfway through to give the team a fighting chance because xXD3vIlSn1P3R666Xx is playing Hanzo on Attack for the 27th consecutive round and won’t budge ‘BECAUSE IT’S QUICKPLAY LOL’

          I know it’s just pissing in the wind, and people are going to be people no matter what, it’s just… ugh. Sadface.

          • goodpoints says:

            Pissing in the wind indeed. Mine was just a little snide remark I had to slip in. Here’s to another year of DPS maining filth ruining the game for everyone else!

          • TeePee says:

            Hear hear! :P

      • TeePee says:

        Eh, I know that was what they tried with Orisa, but for me she doesn’t quite hit that mark – the spread on her weapon means that you struggle to reliably do enough damage to scare off a competent airborne threat even at the tail end of mid-range – for me, she’s become the go-to choice for a barrier tank though, the speed with which she can churn out those 900-hp barriers is frightening.
        Although I guess you’re right in that maybe we don’t need a whole new hero to achieve what could be feasibly done with tweaks to existing heroes.

        Your raising of Sym definitely reminded me of something I’d like to see – some kind of reliable counter to those god-awful LMB=die auto-lock beam weapons. A W+M1 Sym player is a genuine threat to pretty much anyone, which seems kind of out of kilter with her role as a support, and Moira’s right click combined with that damn bouncing ball’s reach have led to me muttering more than a few curses under my breath…

        I know they made a few significant changes to Sym a while back, but I still think she’s all kinds of broken, and might well be a candidate for some kind of regular ability to expedite travel to the frontline (in the same vein as Mercy’s single-use Rez) instead of having to wait for her ult.

        I guess the fact that it’s not immediately obvious to everyone what the big gap is should be a pat on the back to their balancing to date, I’m just super curious to see what it is that they feel is such an essential addition!

        (Also, you leave my Mercy alone – I’ve stuck with her since long before the buff, and it’s nice to be halfway competent with a useful character for once! :P)

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Anti-heal? The current rampaging monsters of Overwatch are Mercy and Moira. Mercy picks win games, and Moiras tend to greedily homf up five gold medals to themselves.

      Of course, Lucio and Ana (and arguably Zen) are weak enough as it is, so any kind of anti-healing ability being introduced would necessitate hefty Lucio and Ana (and arguably Zen) buffs.

  4. Maxheadroom says:

    Did I read somewhere one of the concepts for a new hero they were working on was a tall, thin man with an ipad-like device and rather than jumping into the fray himself would control a number of drones via an overview of the entire map? Or was that a dream I had?

    either way its an interesting new approach for a character. Might even get me playing it again. Whats the toxicity like these days anyway?

    • Ghostwise says:

      We need a SI measure of in-game toxicity. I suggest calling it the Barrens.

      • TeePee says:

        “Captain, we’re approaching 10 megabarrens and rising, she’s gonna blow!”

        [insert generic ‘your mom’ joke here]

    • goodpoints says:

      Whats the toxicity like these days anyway?

      Depends a lot on your level, rank, and game mode.

      In Quick Play and Arcade, I think that the perception that Blizz is cracking down has made people more hesitant to do the obvious stuff like hate speech. But you’ll still find plenty of salt like this. Everyone seems to have decided to not auto-join Team VOIP anymore as of about 4 months ago though. So while you won’t hear VOIP Tough Guys or pubescent mic spam anymore, you’re pretty much SOL if you’re solo queuing QP and looking for teamplay.

      As for levels in QP/Arcade, being under Bronze 1 Star (lvl 101) will have you matched almost exclusively against other no stars, so it’ll be full of kids, aspiring one-tricks, and smurfs. Once you’re Bronze1, you tend to get matched with a much broader player segment that ranges upward to about Silver3’s, so I think the overall experience improves. Supposedly your Super Secrete MMR affects all this in QP, but I regularly see players with comp ranks of Bronze to Diamond in the same game. (it does seem to be more discriminating about Masters and GMs but this could also have to do with the lower population of players in those ranks)

      As for Comp, unless you’re already placed Gold or above, don’t even consider queuing with anything less than a 3 stack because you’re going to have an awful time and your SR will plummet. Almost every pickup game in Bronze will have griefers, throwers, leavers, hackers, instalockers, ReinRockets, Torbanzomaker one-tricks, etc. Silver is not much better, though I think people tend to build up reports a bit faster there. In both cases, nobody will be in Team VOIP and nobody will attempt Ult-combos. (“No Benji I’m not playing Zarya and spamming that my Ult is ready for fun, I want to know what yours is at. Oh great you got it, toblestein away! Or you can not pop yours, I’m sure you know best and will get a sick Team Kill when you use it reactively against Primal Winston.”)

      Since nobody uses Team VOIP anymore, unfortunately you’re not likely to meet nice/good teamplayers in matches anymore. I met all my OW pals through people I had friended before everyone stopped using Team VOIP. If you don’t already have some good OW friends to group with, the only suggestion I can think of is try to find good people in one of the big OW discords. The only time I can have any fun solo queuing anymore is in Mystery Heroes or 3v3 Lockout.

    • Excors says:

      There is now a top-down map overview in spectator mode for esports broadcasts. But beyond that, I think you are hallucinating. Blizzard doesn’t discuss work-in-progress hero concepts at all, except for old abandoned ones like Jetpack Cat (who did not have an iPad).

      People seem to have widely varying experiences of toxicity. It probably depends a lot on your region, location within that region, time of day, day of week, rank, level, whether you instalock Hanzo, etc – some people will tend to have better teams, some will have worse. My personal experience is that it’s fine – it seems rare to have someone being annoying in chat (then I just mute them and carry on) or trolling in the game (then I try to play properly anyway, report them, don’t look at the SR loss, and forget about it before starting the next match), and most matches are fun.

  5. FeloniousMonk says:

    The only new power I want is one that automutes any Genji from requesting healing more than twice a round.

    I need healing! I need healing! I need healing!

    (Healer obligingly attempts to heal Genji, who is on the opposite side of the map from everyone else. Genji runs up wall, leaving healer alone. Healer dies.)

  6. Cloak says:

    Yawn* Is this game going to take as long as Dayz did with it’s promises? Nobody plays competitive cause its toxic, they are trying to fix characters that don’t need fixing, competitive ranking is turning into a joke, they ban anyone that speaks out against them, etc. OW is like League of legends and Dayz combined. They can’t balance their game and they ban anyone that criticize them. I’m looking forward to OW death this year. It was a little too liberal for me anyways with it’s “diversity”.