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Overwatch Q&A Panel

by - 6 years ago

Team up with your fellow BlizzCon attendees and check in with the Overwatch developers. Come armed with questions for this full-length Q&A session.


Q: When are we going to get a story mode that we can actually play through and get more background?

A:Junkensteins revenge event was a test to kinda see if you were really interested in pve content instead of pvp like you are use to. We are definitely open to it. We have to find somewhere to fit it in.


Q:Will there be a competitive 1v1 and 3v3?

A:We want to kinda see what happens when you guys get your hands on the arcade and what directions you want those modes to go in. There made be rule tweeks needed first.


Q:Are we going to get an animated short for every hero, particularly Mercy since we haven’t learned much about her since launch?

A:I think it would be amazing if every hero got there own short. I think basically our approach is we take one hero at a time. Luckily we have all these other ways to get some of these stories across. Nothing to announce but you can definitiely look forward to learning more about Mercy in the future.


Q:The petras act disbanded Overwatch, In King’s row we have Petras brand champaign, whats the relation there?

A:Great question for Bill Petras: If ever someone on the dev team wants to use your name you want to get a few details about it before you say yes. Yes they are both named after my last name.

Jeff Kaplan: Our biggest hope in the overwatch league is that there will be a Pitsburg team and they name it the Pitsburg Petras.


Q:When are you guys going to bring back true wide 21×9 monitor support?

A:We spent a fair bit of energy to dig out what works for the 21×9 with respect to fairness from to the game fob performance constraints we put on the artists and you have to take all those tradeoffs together and the solution we ended up with is the one we ship the game with now is the one we thought was the best to take all those trade offs into consideration right now. It is entirely unsatisfying answer I can tell by the look on your face.


Q:What alternate solutions do you have to abilities performing weirdly(Hanzos arrow not hitting you but hitting you, Roadhogs chain hooking you overtop roofs)?

A:I think if we did the lumberjack skin from Hanzo and he shot actually logs the clarity would be there. Roadhogs hook could be replaced with a giant cage. I suggested a trans dimensional hook. Tradeoffs are made between what is fair to the person shooting the arrow and the person receiving the arrow. I imagine we will continue to balance that with Hanzo. With Roadhog we are investigating what we are calling hook 2.0 or Ihook if you are apple branded.


Q:Sombra and the Los Muertos gang have been working together since she was little and the Los Muertos and the Junkers have obviously bumped into each other from the soldier 76 little short so does Sombra know about Junkrats treasure and is she after it?

A:They may have bumped into each other after robbing the Banko de Dorado. However Roadhog and Junkrat come from the junkers I sometimes think of them as something completely different. I think they would have probably had some interaction during that time


Q:In competitive if you take the first point as attacking in the first 2 minutes theres always the fear someone on the other team will quit because they think it is a loss and it turns into a frustartating experience is there anyway you guys can fix this?

A:It’s definitely something that needs fixed. We haven’t figured a way that makes the leaver situation not bad in the majority of cases. That situation is pretty rare as we are seeing it. So even though its not a good issue and it is definitely something we need to fix. It isn’t happening that frequent and right our bigger concern is to thwart leaving as much as possible so it one of the down sides of the leaving situation in generally the more heavy handed we are the more time it will open for these non abuse cases to feel punished by some of the rules, but we will continue to talk about it. It does blow.


Q:What plans do you guys have to address toxicity especially in competitive mode we run into a lot of situations where our team is partied and a group will not go into team chat with us or run into players who don’t speak our language. Are you thinking of implementing a system where you can avoid a player or a reward system for players you want to play with them?

A:We have a couple of things we would like to do. I don’t have an eta on these. They are features we have talked a lot about. first off you talked about the team voice chat vs party voice chat issue. This one comes up a lot. The problem here is I wish everyone was my best friend and I could say just trust me on this one. The common request is to just force everyone to team chat. we had it working that way and it felt terrible. It is very jarring. You don’t want a conversation your having with seemingly in a private situation then to move against your will to a public situation. so we very deliberately don’t force everyone into team chat against what the community is asking us. However we agree with the reason they are asking for us to do it. That we need to encourage more people into team chat. we are really trying to go the encourage route to get people into team chat. There is this great idea that we are working on. the idea of having a group you are enjoying playing with but not necessarily want to add to you battletag list. But if you could create a party a play a few more games that would be great. and naturally roll into that. The toxicity issue is one we have to hit on many levels. To mitigate with not only positive rewards progressively encouraging people to do the right things and behave in the right ways. But then also looking at the negative aspects. We are currently working on a report player system. We think it has been okay but it does weird things. We are seeing players who play Widowmaker a lot getting silenced because they get reported. You know that’s not cool. So we are looking into that system and you can even see those changes on the ptr. We want to have a more robust way of saying not only is this person being a jerk but here is why you were being a jerk. Punishments should be different. AFK or you are Mei walling silencing is not going to solve the problem. So we are looking at the punishment we are looking at the rewards. And we are trying to make better social interface system.


Q:With the huge success you had with the Halloween event is there any plans to make more changes to existing maps?Not just day night But Rain on the kings row map or snow on the route 76 map or fog on another map?

A:We talk a lot about taking existing maps and adding a new element. I think a lot of us by heart are world builders. Yes that is something we are definitely interested in and keep an eye out for more.


Q:Is there any plans for us to make our own map and game modes and like competitive?

A:Actually there is. What we don’t want to mess with quick play too much. Quick play and match making works best when put as few filters on it as possible. So players aren’t dividing themselves up too much, same with competitive. We want to keep competitive kind of pure, directing players into the same ort of areas. Now the arcade was kind of built with that idea in mind. In early iterations we had one card that said payloads only. We have big plans to do more with custom games and add new modes. We are actively working to bring the arcade modes to custom games. We also some day would like have a server browser added to the game.


Q:What inspired you to create a game that places such a value on diversity?

A:Diversity and inclusivity are something that’s very important to us. early on when we were deciding on that we wanted the Overwatch to take place on Earth, I think it was a natural inspiration. If we wanted to make a game that took place on Earth, it was just natural for us to take inspiration and to draw ideas from the diversity and was a natural fit. We just feel that is something we want to do. Something that we value a lot, and we will continue to try to do.


Q:Are there any plans to bring in those skins or loot(you may have missed from events) into future loot boxes?

A:I think it is an awesome idea. We are still working on what to do with our events. We are listening to the players in regards to what they want.


Q:What are your plans to reveal what existing characters are LGBT or to introduce new LGBT characters?

A:We definitely haven’t forgotten what development had said. It is very important to include diversity and inclusiveness in all forms and LGBT characters. There are multiple LGBT characters. We want these stories to come out in familiarity stories that do them justice. So with the stories we have done so far we haven’t had a chance to shine the light on that. But with that said we do have a story coming out soon that will address this.


Q:Why is it that Reaper and Mercy who only have the ability to see and interact with the spirits of the dead?

A:Hmm that’s interesting. Mechanically there was one time that If reaper collected those souls Mercy couldn’t resurrect them. That only lasted a week. Yes that was a trying time for Mercy players. I feel that Mercy seeing souls and interacting with them is mainly a game mechanic not something that is echoed in reality.


Q:Season based sign up for a team a game a week on a certain map. at the end of say 8 weeks there is a play off for the top teams in the league

A:Overwatch league is the top of the pyramid the bottom is super important as well. Nothing to announce today but we will be announcing a new grass routes based. If you hit a certain rank in competitive we will have an avenue for you to take the next step. Let’s say I made master or grand master and I want to experience what it feels to play in competitions. We are going to work on ways to get you that.


Q:Are we ever going to get a solo only que for competitive play?

A:That is a very great question. And we see where it is coming from. Right now the truth is Overwatch is a team game. It is not a solo game. You are going to win or lose as a team. I understand the frustration, when you play with ungrouped players and in worse case you playing against a complete group of other players. Now statistically that does not happen very frequently, but antidotally  any time it happens to any of us it feels really terrible. What we have been trying to preserve is the sense of social grouping in the game and as soon as we start separating the ques into different ways it runs the risk of not enabling some of that group play to happen any more and we value the group play a lot. Our biggest desire is to get you to que as a group more and make more friends. We don’t want to say there will never be a solo que, we would just rather focus on solving the match making issues


Q:Are we going to get map callouts in competitive? Are we going to fix competitive match making?

A:In terms of map callouts one of the things blizzard has always strived for is to make our maps very unique in the locations. So you have a ramen shop in Hanamura. it dates back to Arathi basin if you look at the design of Arathi Basin we had the farm lumber mill and mine because it was very easy to call out where the location was. Now our goal with Overwatch was to have the same level of identafiability with locations. T where players can call those stuff out. I don’t think we got all the way there. One of the thing that frustrate me the most about Dorado is every time I am playing everyone is screaming out church church. And I am correcting my team cause I am like it is a courthouse it is not a church. And the community at large is all calling it a church and I call it the courthouse because that is what we designed it to be. And of course we failed because everyone thinks its a church. The worse case scenario is when you are in the courthouse and you need help and are calling out I need help I am in the courthouse nobody ever comes to help you. But if I said I am in the church but its like a moral battle at that point I am not going to stoop down and call it a church when it is a courthouse. Perhaps we need a better call out system we didn’t quite get all the way there. In terms of matchmaking, matchmaking is the hardest thing to do in a competitive online game. We have never left it behind. We have a full time engineer working on the issue. It is very complicated.


Q:What are your plans concerning skill rankings next season? cause I find even with a win rate above 50% I find I can’t gain noticeable amounts of sr unless I go on a win streak. But I will lose sr if I win a game and lose a game., and I will lose a lot of sr if I play against a hacker a few rounds.

A:That is an excellent question and I am going to answer it partially. Also I highly encourage you guys on the overwatch forums there is a competitive section and it doesn’t get a lot of traffic there is a really great hardcore community that goes to that competitive forum, but Scott Mercer has a sticky post at the top that really goes into more detail on this question. First off Season 3 will start on December 1st depending on where you are in the world. There will only be a week break between season 2 and season 3 this time. There will be a competitive practice mode between seasons available. I can’t think of the diplomatic way to say this, in season to we screwed up with placements. We compacted the player base too much between season 1 and season 2. The skill ranking are suppose to be a bell curve, but it is a very compact bell curve. We also misplaced way to many players into platinum and not enough into gold and silver. So for season 3 we want to move more of the player base into gold and silver. The reason so many people were getting very slight gains and dramatic loses when they lost a match was because we had misplaced people and the system is trying to calibrate them lower. So we are looking at their Match making ranking and their Skill Ranking is closely attached to this number. When you are misplaced there is a bigger chase to get those two numbers more aligned. For season 3 our biggest hope is to calibrate and redistribute players across that curve in a better way. And if it is wrong we will work on it and fix it more.


Q:Are certain characters actually amputees or if they just have some kind of mechanical thing on their arm mainly Lucio, Symmetra Pharah and Hanzo?

A:Lucio no, Symmetra Yes, Pharah No, Hanzo no he has delicate ankles


Q:You mentioned there was jump pads in the new map, did you experiment with them in existing maps? If you put Symmetras teleporter on its side it could act as a jump pad. You could use that in her rework

A: That is a great idea. We actually have worked with a hero who could build jump pads it may still be possible. Symmetra is an interesting character that just recently we are looking at redesigning her a little bit. As we started tackling her problems we decided okay we are going to want to do some more serious stuff here. Her two biggest problems are 1 how fun and interactive is she with that shield ability to place shields on people. It is definitely a powerful ability. We have seen that over time we have actually had to nerf it. Even though it seems that ability doesn’t do too much, but statistical it has changed dramatically by changing just that one thing. But it isn’t great to have this really powerful ability and it doesn’t feel that good to have. We are seeing a lot of people playing symmetra on certain points she might be great on point a and hoping she works out but when point b happens she isn’t so great. We are using the new map to test how players like jump pads. we didn’t want a map with 50 jump pads and it turns out the players don’t like it, and we are stuck with a map that no one likes. If it is a real cool fun thing we will add more of them.


Q:So in an esports situation it is great you are getting cheering for both teams the announcer is saying when awesome things are happening to both teams, in the traditional American sports experience you’ve got the home team everyone is cheering for and the announcer isn’t really saying something is awesome when the away team is doing them. How are you going to make it so the American sports culture doesn’t leak into the current e-sports experience?

A:I think as we think about teams being based in cities that doesn’t mean we will have homer announcers that are disparaging other teams, I think we still want to create an awesome experience from a content standpoint and celebrating both of the teams. So the fact we haven’t thought about that as being a problem makes me think we will make content that never goes down that path. At the end of the day this is about making sure that we are celebrating our players celebrating the teams creating an awesome experience for the fans. But I will keep my eye on it.


Q:1 can you make it possible for Hanzo to pin people to the wall when they get shot by an arrow kill style? 2 on the kill feed rather then the just generic die death whatever can you have a weapons icon see if you can kill them? Damage numbers when you hit someone you can see some numbers?

A:We had damage numbers in for awhile super early pretty contentious point. (1)That is pretty cool it might be a little too violent.(2)Jeremy is looking into trying to get a little more content sense to that so you can understand critical shots, what ability was used, even Mercy resurrect is a big piece of data for the kill feed for the players also really good for esports too. Just to give you more data to understand why that team is back now. (3)We had them in a real early build for awhile. It is a constant fight between we want more information and on the other side we get that the game is too cluttered on the screen I can’t see what is going on. So we want to get information out clean as possible and a very easy way to understand and see it without blocking the action because you really need to see a rocket coming at you or something so you don’t want to miss that. We are always trying to fight that. It is possible that it might come back someday.


Q:In the future is there going to be more hotkeys for status updates? For example when I am playing Mercy and there is people saying I need healing but I am dead I think it might be helpful to have a key that says I am dead or I am on my way.

A:You can target an ally through a wall or something and tell them to come back to me for heals that was like my own personal thing I play a lot of Mercy and it is kind of a similar thing. Guys stop going around the corner just come back here you are dying for no reason come back over here. So Stuff like that we are definitely trying to help communication as soon as possible.

The communication wheel in general has been working out great, players are using it a ton we have a lot of requests to offer some customization on the wheel. Something we would like to look into in the future is can we give you a way to trigger more lines or maybe you don’t like some of the lines that we have provided for you and they seem kinda useless to you, so maybe we can swap in lines and swap out lines. That is something we have been really actively talking about and hopefully we will be able to work on that sometime soon.


Q:I was playing Sombra earlier and her health pool feels really low she gets totally shredded by Winston and we should give her some like regenerating shield and have a little boost but can get it back if she gets damaged.

A:Winston is probably her hardest counter. The camos hardest counter when ever you take damage by yourself it breaks and you can try to escape using your translocator but he can jump after you. She is an interesting character really tricky to play. I was talking to the guys earlier and she is a real tricky character to just drop onto you guys on the show floor. especially the people who played before our first panel and no idea like whats going on. I think the real trick to surviving with her is using the translocator really carefully. I have seen people hack a health pack so only she can use it and throwing the translocator onto it and then for 15 seconds you can run around and cause all kind of chaos and at any point you can hit that button and teleport right back on top of that health pack and be right back at full health. It is almost like a mini Tracer aspect there. I think As players play her they will discover tricks like this. And she will be on the PTR proabaly real soon. It will be real exciting to see what people come up with.

One of the mistakes I was making as a Sombra player when we first introduced her was I would use the translocator almost like a Tracer blink. Like I am going to get in there and then I would also try to use the stealth as my getaway and it is actually the exact opposite how you want to play her. I mean you can occasionally use the translocator as an aggressive instigate move. but I find more often then not it is more useful as a get out of jail card. So if you haven’t set up your attack ahead of time you might get caught in a precarious situation. So I think just adjusting playstyle a little bit will help too.


Q:If she hacks someone who is bionic or like Genji who has cyber agility it should shut that down so he can’t double jump.

A:We talked a lot about that. Wouldn’t it be great if he couldn’t double jump. It’s double jump and also Pharah’s jet boost being able to hold space. You know it is still possible to do that in general the line has been drawn at passive abilitities and things that are kinda intrinsic to the characters mobility basic mobility like that wall climb is not shut down or stuff like that are still allowed. There is definitely a world were that could change. I think right now the way to think about the hack ability is kinda every time you see an icon bottom right of your hud all those ability icons all those get shut off, anything not represented by an icon you can’t do anymore.


Q:Certain countrie did certain things during the omnic crisis the Germans made the power armor, the Russians made the mechs. Do we know what the UK did what was their trademark do to survive the crisis itself?

A:I think maybe we will see that in a story in the future


Q:With motion sickness I can’t play bastion. I was wondering why with all the stability options you have for Warcraft and some in Overwatch, why you don’t have a camera stability option in your accessabilities?

A:You are not the first person to give that feedback. Not even that your not the first person to give feedback about Bastion. So I think that is a very good suggestion and I will figure a way to get that on the schedule. That is very good insight. We have a few people on the team that really get motion sick and things so yeah I think it will make sense. No that is a great suggestion. We will try to do better.


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JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.

0 responses to “Overwatch Q&A Panel”

  1. Shrinivas says:

    I dont think it worth it lol