You know what you did. Your team knows what you did. That Reinhardt play was awful, but how are you supposed to express remorse? Open the chat box? Plug in a headset? Nonsense. Until now, Overwatch had absolutely no way of letting your team know you messed up. Today’s PTR update changes everything, letting you customise your chat wheel with new voice commands to drive plays, count down ultimates, say goodbye, and yes – even apologise for that terrible, ill-planned charge.
The change was announced by Jeff “from the Overwatch Team” Kaplan in a very normal developer update, filmed on a phone taped to the back of a box in his home.
Overwatch’s comm wheel is a reliable substitute for voice chat. But it’s been somewhat stagnant since launch, and as Kaplan notes, rather limited in its current form. While it’s often handy to let your team know when your ults are up or you’re low on HP, there were plenty of gaps in its coverage – gaps that this update hopes to fill by dramatically expanding the chat wheel’s vocabulary.
The new chat wheel now lets you put together a sort of chat loadout of your favourite phrases, picking from a bank of 26 fully-voiced lines for each hero. Keybinds can also be set up for lines that aren’t included on your current wheel setup, similar to the game’s current shortcuts for readying your ultimate or requesting healing.
These include being able to say “goodbye” after a good night’s fighting, telling your teammates to “press the attack” or “fall back” during a skirmish, or even initiate a “3-2-1” countdown for timing plays. More importantly, I can now say “sorry” after my fifteenth foolhardy Reinhardt charge off a cliff – even if (read: especially if) I don’t really mean it.
Still. In the time since Overwatch hit the scene, we’ve seen steller voice-less comm tools like Apex Legends‘ ping system. More lines definitely broaden the wheel’s usage, but I’d be keen on seeing some experiments that bring more interactive play into Blizzard’s chat tools.
The update is currently live over on the Overwatch Public Test Realm, with a full rundown of everything that’s changed over on the PTR patch notes. That includes, funnily enough, the client’s new feature for showing patch notes in-game.