In this past Thursday’s Developer Update, Overwatch’s Game Director Jeff Kaplan outlined major content coming with Overwatch Patch 1.45 in early February. Here’s your guide and breakdown to the experimentation and hero pool stuff that was announced.
Balance Philosophy Update
- The team is looking to implement more frequent and impactful balance updates with the intention to deliberately change the meta.
- Additionally, with more impactful changes planned, the team is open to the idea of reverting changes when necessary.
- There have been a lot of requests recently for the game to undergo more rapid change to keep the game fresh, so this is Blizzard’s attempt to fulfill this request.
- The team will be introducing a new main card to the Play screen known as Experimental Card. This card will allow us to test major changes to the game that may or may not reach the standard game modes
- Because the Experimental Card is in the live version of the game, this mode will now allow console players to participate in experimental content testing
- Players will still be able to progress and unlock Loot Boxes when playing in the Experimental Card, offering even more incentive for testing unreleased content
- Unlike the PTR, the Experimental Card is not for bug testing. Instead, it will be used to experiment with balance updates, game modes, or changes to rules that we are investigating internally. While some of these features will reach live, the content within this game mode is not guaranteed to be released.
- During Season 21, we will be implementing a new system called Hero Pools, where a few heroes will be disabled from Competitive Play for a given week. Each week will feature a new pool of heroes.
- We’re trying Hero Pools for Season 21, and depending on how it performs, it may not persist past that season. We are also going to keep a close eye on this system to see if the hero pool rotation cadence should be changed (e.g. weekly, daily, by match).
- The selection of heroes will be curated by the design team, rather than random assortment chosen by algorithm
- This will only affect the Competitive Play and will not be seen in the Arcade or Quick Play.
- The goal of this system is to allow the meta to change weekly and see more hero diversity in matches.
- Expect more information on how this affects the Overwatch League via blog soon.
- This update will be beefing up Overwatch’s anti-cheat efforts. Please continue to send over any reports and any information you have on the subject to aid in Blizzard’s ongoing efforts to improve Overwastch’s anti-cheat systems
- Workshop quality of life updates
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