Overwatch – What We Learned From The Q&A Panel

Overwatch – What We Learned From The Q&A Panel

BlizzCon has officially wrapped for 2016!

And what a show it was (that Sombra reveal had the crowds going batshit crazy) It was awesome to see just where the company is taking the various franchises next (Necromancer in D3? Yeah Boi) Overwatch was generating a majority of the hype at the convention. In between the World Cup shenanigans, Crispin Freeman doing his Winston impersonations for the Play by Sound panel and general Sombra madness we had a really good Q&A with some of the key players behind the game.

Take a look below at the transcript of what went down!

When are we going to get a story mode for Overwatch?

Junkenstein’s revenge was a test to see if people were interested in PvE content. We are definitely open to it. We have to fit it in somewhere.

Will there be competitive 1v1 and 3v3?

The arcade was meant to be a way to blow off steam, but by the end of the tests, it became a very competitive thing. We are waiting to see what direction the community goes, and what rule tweaks are necessary. Over time, if there is a real strong desire from the community to make those modes competitive, we would love to do it.

Are we going to get an animated short for every hero?

I think it would be amazing if every hero got their own short, our approach is to take it one at a time. Particularly interested in Mercy.

What is the relationship between Petras champagne (In Kings Row) and the Petras act

Both are named after Bill Petras.

In Beta, there was true 21:9 support, when is it getting brought back?

There are many tradeoffs we had to make, the solution in the game currently is what we believe to be the best solution.

What alternate solutions do you have for hit-boxes, especially with odd abilities, such as Hanzo and Roadhog Hooks?

A lumberjack skin for Hanzo (laughs)

Once again, its tradeoffs. We have to make it fair for both the person shooting the arrow, and the person getting shot at. We are working on hook 2.0. Some concessions are made for effects, latency, and other issues. Roadhog is coming pretty soon.

As Sombra has been working with Los Muertos, does Sombra know about Junkrat’s treasure, and is she after it?

No, I don’t think so. Actually, I’m going to contradict myself here. Obviously Junkrat and Roadhog robbed the Banko de Dorado, they probably had some interaction during that time.

When attacking, there is always a chance for defenders to leave if the first point falls quickly. Is there a fix?

Its definitely something to fix, but we haven’t figured a solution to make it work in the majority of cases. Its a pretty rare situation, our bigger concern is to thwart leaving as much as possible. The more heavy-handed we are, the more times non-abuse cases get punished.

What plans do you have to address toxicity, especially in competitive mode. Is there a system to avoid or reward players you play with?

First off, team and voice chat, the common request to force everyone into team chat worked terribly when it was tested. We agree with the reason and to encourage players into team chat. More can be done with the interface to help. A system to start a party without being friends, allowing you to keep a successful group for multiple games easily is being considered. The report player system has been okay so far, but does wierd things, such as players that play Widowmaker getting silenced. The punishments should be different.

The punishment for playing Widowmaker? It just says “Defeat” on your screen (laughs), Guess she needs to be buffed on the PTR. We all know how much everyone loved Widowmaker when she was super powerful.


Jeff Kaplan. Roasting Widow players since 2016.

Are there any plans to introduce environment effects to current maps?

We love the idea of taking existing maps and adding weather or other new elements. Yes, we are really interested, keep an eye out for more.

What happened to Ireland during and after the Omnic crisis?

Ireland is definitely still there. We will probably find out. The United Kingdom was hit pretty hard during the Omnic crisis.

Are there any plans to allow us to pick our own map in competitive?

We don’t want to mess with quick-play too much. Quick-play works best with as few filters as possible. Competitive needs to direct players into the same areas. The arcade was designed more with that question in mind. The idea of something like that existing, we have big plans to add more modes to custom game. We are actively working on bringing 1v1 and 3v3 to custom games. Someday, we would like to have a server browser to the game.

What inspired you to create a game that places such a value on diversity.

Early on, when we decided to make Overwatch take place on Earth, we wanted a game that represented Earth. There is so much in different cultures and histories we can draw upon. Its something we value a lot, and will continue to do.


Blizzard. The Justin Trudeau of gaming

Are there any plans to allow the holiday skins that we missed into new loot boxes?

Hopefully the change to allow credits for Halloween skins helped. We want to keep watching what the community likes.

What plans do you have to reveal LGBT characters?

We haven’t forgotten what we said about diversity. There are already LGBT heroes, multiple heroes. We feel strongly about stories coming out in a form that does them justice. We haven’t had a chance to shine light on that. A story is coming up soon that will address this.

Why are Mercy and Reaper the only ones that can see and interact with the souls of the dead?

Super-Mechanical answer, at one point in time, if Reaper collected souls, Mercy could not resurrect them. That lasted for a week.

The collection and seeing of souls is a game mechanic, not echoed in reality. They have interaction the abstract.

How do you plan to bring team-based competitive play to players not in the Overwatch League?

Overwatch League is the top of the pyramid. The bottom is super important. Nothing to announce today, but we have more plans for amateur and grassroots programs. We want there to be an avenue for you to experienced more organized play. More to share in the next few months.

Are we going to get a solo-only queue for competitive?

We understand the question, Overwatch is a team game. Its frustrating to play as ungrouped players verses grouped players. Statistically, that doesn’t happen frequently, we have been trying to preserve social grouping in the game. As soon as queues are seperated, it runs the risk of not enabling some of that group play happening. We want solo players to group, rather than enable solo play.

Map Callouts?

Blizzard tries to make the maps unique in locations. Arathi Basin is an example of our goal in overwatch, with the same level of identifiability with locations. We didn’t get all the way there. Perhaps we need a better callout system.

Any plans for matchmaking balance?

We havn’t left matchmaking behind. We have a full-time engineer working on matchmaking. Its a very complicated system. Even when you have 2 perfectly even teams, you will have some really close games, and you will have some steamrolls. Its easy to get steamrolled and assume its the matchmaker, teammates, tickrate (the tournament ran on 143 tick), or other reasons.

What are your plans for the next season? Even with a winrate over 50%, and can’t gain SR.

I highly encourage you guys to visit the competitive forums. Scott Mercer has a post detailing this question better. Season 3 will start December 1st. There will only be a 1 week break between season 2 and season 3 this time. In between season 2 and 3, there will be a competitive practice mode, allowing you to queue for the competitive ruleset, with no skill rating gain or lost, and no competitive point rewards. We screwed up in Season 2 with placements. The playerbase was too compacted, and we misplaced way too many players into platinum, and not enough into gold and silver. Season 3 will have more of the playerbase into silver and gold. We fear the rage as many of the players get moved to gold and silver from platinum. We need to improve on Skill Rating. The heavily misplaced players caused skill rating to not gain and fall the right amounts.

Lucio, Symmetra, Pharah, and Hanzo; are they amputees?

Lucio: No

Symmetra: yes

Pharah: No

Hanzo: No, he has delicate ankles.


The quiet, silent type

Have jump-pads been experimented in current maps? Maybe Symmetra could put a teleporter on its side (laughs).

We had talked about a character that could build jump-pads. Its hard as a core ability. Symmetra’s rework has taken a little bit longer. The 2 biggest problems with Symmetra is her interactivity and how fun she is to play, her shield doesn’t feel fun, and Symmetra is good for certain points, and by the time you get to a different point, she has lost viability. We have the Oasis Jump-pad coming, and we are just now taking a step into it. We want to see how players interact with the one we have before we add more of them.

How will you make it so the American sports culture experience doesn’t leak into the eSports experience. I want to be able to cheer for either team without people feeling like I am betraying my home town.

We want to create an awesome experience and celebrate both teams. The fact that we havn’t thought about that as a problem makes me think we will not go down that path. I’ll keep my eye on it!

Can it be possible to have Hanzo pin people to the wall when shot by an arrow? Can the kill feed include a weapons icon? Can you add damage numbers?

The first question might make it too violent for a Teen game. We are working on more context in the kill feed, such as Mercy ressurects. Damage numbers were in an early build, its a constant fight between too much clutter, and getting information. Its possible it could come back someday.

Will there be more hotkeys for status updates?

We are trying to help communication, the communication wheel has been working great. We have received lots of requests for customization. We would like a way to swap in and out lines.

Sombra’s health pool is extremely low. Can she get more? 

Winston is one of her hardest counters. Sombra is tricky to play. The trick to surviving with her is using her translocator really well. As players play her, they will discover better tricks.

What did the UK do to survive the Omnic Crisis.

I feel bad about giving the same answer 2 years in a row. Maybe we will see that in a story in the future.

With all the options, are there plans to have more camera stability options?

Good question, we have a few people with motion sickness on the team. We will try to do better.

Transcript source: Overking

To the future of Overwatch!


DYEGB's co-founder, news and esports guy. You can usually find him playing Overwatch until 4am, drinking a ridiculous amount of energy drinks and eating too much lasagne. Btag: MysticPizza#11134 / Twitch: thatmysticpizza / Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/thatmysticpizza/