Jeff Kaplan announced siginificant changes, promising a more pro-active approach to game balance.

20:15, 30 Jan 2020

On Thursday, Jeff Kaplan, vice president of Blizzard Entertainment and lead developer on Overwatch, hosted a brand new developer update that announced some new features coming to the game.  

Kaplan explained that the “Experimental Card” will be joining game modes like Quickplay and Competitive on the home screen of the Overwatch client which he refers to as the “main play cards.” 

This mode will host changes to game modes, game balance, and will be applied to the main client rather than the player test realm (PTR) for both PC and console versions of Overwatch. “You’ll still be leveling up your Overwatch account and earning rewards,” Kaplan said in the video. “We feel like players will be rewarded, you don’t have to change your behavior. It should drive a lot more players to help us test out more changes.”

Kaplan also mentioned that the Overwatch team is changing its approach to their balance philosophy, elaborating that the team is aiming to patch the game more frequently and more aggressively. Kaplan also announced that the team will be balancing the game specifically targeting the meta. According to Kaplan, the team will remain open to feedback and is willing to revert changes made to the game which turn out to be counterproductive. 

Season 21 of the competitive ladder will also be a testing ground for additional changes. Kaplan announced that the team will be adding a feature to the competitive ladder only, which they call “Hero Pools.”

“Like we have map pools, what hero pools mean is for that week--and the hero pool only lasts one week--there will be a new hero pool, there will be some heroes not included in the hero pool.”

In essence, this rotates out heroes week by week. “We know there are some challenges with this concept,” Kaplan admits. “This is what I would consider, something that we would be willing to change if we don’t feel like it’s going correctly.”

Towards the end of the video, Kaplan also mentioned to the team’s willingness and commitment to improving their anti-cheat software. “All of the reports are super helpful, please keep them coming. We really love your help in anti-cheat,” Kaplan stated. The head developer promised major changes in this area in the next two patches.


Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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