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Ask Us Anything! - Join the Overwatch development team for the celebration AMA

Reddit | Overwatch
30-07-2020 22:32:33

how's the lore coming

we're in a really great place to move forward right now. over the past year we were lucky enough to get jeff chamberlain to become our new creative director. jeff was the director of our original announcement piece for overwatch back in 2014 (as well as some amazing blizzard cinematics over the years -- WOTLK intro for example). we've also added some really amazing narrative designers and are partnering with our story and franchise development group (they make the animated shorts, origins movies, comics, statues etc) at an insanely intense level. there are some very cool lore developments coming.


30-07-2020 22:37:29

Appreciate the AMA! If as you guys say that you’ve been trying out a bunch of reworks to the 2CP mode, what other changes did you guys try? What worked and what didn’t?

we've tried a number of things over the years:

  • changed the capture points to work like control points (meaning KOTH points)
  • added defenders spawn rooms closer to point a
  • added a "middle" capture point between a and b
  • moved the defenders spawn point back on b
  • made it so that capture happens regardless of if defenders were on the point

those are just a few off the top of my head. lots of level design changes.


30-07-2020 22:41:27

So, I’m a young kid and just wondering something about the development of Overwatch and OW 2. Does the Overwatch 1 team also work on Overwatch 2? Or did you hire separate people, and once OW 2 is out, OW 1 devs find another job? If the OW 1 team works on OW 2 as well, how do you maintain and keep that work schedule, especially during these times?

the same team that works on and made overwatch is also making overwatch 2. we did find the need to grow the team quite a bit in order to do both and also because overwatch 2 is a much larger game than overwatch. the team that shipped the original game was approximately 70 developers. the team is closer to around 160-170 now. it's a very tricky balance and often very stressful working on two projects at once. the reason we chose to do things the way we did is because we wanted to maintain consistency of vision and direction over the game and the franchise and not make things feel too splintered. for an individual developer, they usually have a clear task that's either for the live game or overwatch 2. but we often find ourselves context switching between the two games.


30-07-2020 22:42:49

Will there be a summer games this year? Since the first one held was based heavily on the Olympics and that this years is canceled will there still be a summer games event and around what time would it be held since it’s the end of July and starting into August my thought is that I will be held at the beginning week of august and run until the end of august

yes the summer games are returning this year. information is coming very soon


30-07-2020 22:44:33

How much of the Overwatch universe lore do you want/plan to show the world? I find every single hero very much amazing in their own regards, but I don't see enough background stories or interesting details. :(

we have many years of lore planned for the overwatch universe. there are so many aspects that we're excited about -- far reaching plot lines and individual character arcs. there are also a lot of heroes, places and world groups we want to tell more stories about. we're also excited about telling stories in new ways and using new mediums.


30-07-2020 22:46:35

if you were to give percentages, how much do you listen to pros feedback vs the casuals?

well there are about 200 pros and 50 million casuals.... but we both know you're not asking for that percentage breakdown =]

we listen to everyone's feedback. it's all important. when it comes to balance, we primarily balance the game around owl, gm/masters.


30-07-2020 22:47:09

When is Summer Games happening?



30-07-2020 22:50:20

What is the biggest current priority in terms of game design right now, are any more class reworks coming like for tanks a while back? Is it 2cp and Horizon/Paris reworks? Will there be changes to the current double shield meta?

the most immediate priority is a balance patch aimed at the double shield meta. this will show up on the experimental card in the next few weeks.

we don't have any reworks immediately imminent for any hero, although we are discussing some.

2cp is more of an ongoing exploration for us. we've tried many, many things and have yet to be satisfied with any of the results.

paris has gotten some attempts at a rework but we weren't pleased with our results, so we paused. we haven't started looking at horizon again yet.


30-07-2020 22:54:05

What is Torbjörn’s favourite food?


30-07-2020 22:57:23

How often do you each actually play the game these days, if at all? Do you Main any character in particular or just go Mystery Heroes and let RNGesus decide?

i play the game everyday. we have multiple playtests daily plus we play for fun on our own time. i love to play all of the heroes but some i really struggle on (doomfist, sombra, sigma). i play a lot of reinhardt, symmetra, mercy these days. i also love hanzo and mccree, although i'm not so great with them.


30-07-2020 22:59:25

Have you ever considered expanding the Overwatch ip into media other than the game? E.g movies, ect.

I know comics and short stories exist but I mean like a major push to the big screen or full novels

we are very excited to explore the overwatch universe in a number of mediums. nothing to announce at this time but we would like this very much.


30-07-2020 23:05:18

Will cross play ever be a thing with overwatch?

this is something we're passionate about and exploring.


30-07-2020 23:06:50

Has the team ever experimented with making 2CP/Assault "ticks" every 25% instead of 33%?

we've tried all sorts of balancing points, including 6 ticks. it solved some issues but created others. the more ticks, the more the defending team feels obligated to sit on the point....


30-07-2020 23:10:33

How much testing goes into new maps, is it all internal or do you guys ever bring in outside opinions, how many maps have been created but never gone to the live game?

we test the maps a lot. for a very long time. usually if we're patching a map into the live game, we'll do an extended ptr period for testing (same with heroes). for maps that shipped with the game, we tested some of those for years. we don't openly bring in outsiders to test maps early as we have a pretty comprehensive play test and map testing process. sometimes, depending where we're at in a dev cycle, we might bring a map to a trade show (i.e. blizzcon, gamescom etc.) before it goes live.


30-07-2020 23:12:07

Have any solutions been looked at for "border bullying"? My friend is max rank and is constantly being picked on because of how much he has played. Possibly a system where you can choose what border you would like to have displayed if you've already passed that border in levels? Thanks so much for this AMA! Looking forward to the future of OW!

the border system will go away with overwatch 2. we want to make sure to recognize your accomplishments but we'll be doing something different for the sequel.


30-07-2020 23:14:51

2CP is often viewed as the most controversial Overwatch map. Was there ever any plans to allow players to "skip" 2CP or perhaps avoid certain map types like they can avoid players?

I often hear people say "well, if you could skip 2CP then no one will play it" isn't that just a sign that 2CP is poorly designed? What can be done about it in the now?

our first goal is to make the mode something that everyone enjoys. you can see by today's experimental card that we try various things to iterate on the game -- just some of them don't work.

for ow2 we have some ideas that will allow for more player agency but nothing is set in stone yet so i don't want to commit to any promises.

and in the spirit of being open, i think the criticism of 2cp is fueled a bit by the echo chamber of certain communities, when overall the maps and modes are not as universally hated as some would have you believe.


30-07-2020 23:19:24

Scoreboards? Guilds?

the tab screen was an almost religious debate during the development of the game. i think many of us feel like there are other options for us to explore. a big fundamental change is more likely for ow2 than the current live game. but in general the team is interested in giving players more/better ways to examine their own performance. again more likely on an ow2 timeframe.

guilds is a feature that we've always been excited about. many of us worked on world of warcraft and specifically worked on the guild system there. so it's something that's near and dear to us. we have some really cool ideas of how something like that could work with overwatch. unfortunately, from a tech and design standpoint, the feature would be an extremely heavy lift (at least to do it right -- the way we'd want to do it). so not on the near horizon but definitely on our wishlist.


30-07-2020 23:21:33

is there any possibility of overwatch to have an event with any non-blizzard game ? ex:with street fighter where doomfist as balrog and zen as dhalsim and widow maker as crimson viper etc. with a minigame

i think everyone on the development team would be extremely excited to do these sorts of things. they usually get bogged down by business/legal types....

but yeah, if they left it up to the dev team we'd be all over it


30-07-2020 23:30:45

Here are some questions from members of Russian Overwatch fan-community OverFire:

1) Can you share some insights on Paris & HLC reworks? Horizon already underwent a rework in the past, so which parts of this map you consider especially problematic? Any hints on when we’ll be able to test new version of those maps?

2) Long-time players have enormous amount of credits and really have nothing to spend them on. Do you think this problem should be solved somehow (perhaps reset credits/introduce new currency in sequel) or we can safely hoard credits for future?

3) Question for Overwatch art department: what is your opinion on fan-skins, showing “alternative life” of some heroes (ex. Talon Mercy, Overwatch agent Zarya etc.)? Do you think it would be a great idea to introduce something like that in the game or such skins would be too confusing?

4) How do you choose which hero gets new skins for event/promotional challenges like “Maestro Sigma”. Is your choice based on popularity of a hero or how many skins a hero already has?

5) Some players don’t like to be matched against premade groups — have you ever thought about introducing pure solo-queue to avoid such situations?

6) A couple of months ago Jeff Kaplan said that level borders will go away in OW2. Why do you think this system is problematic?

7) Can we see more of early pre-alpha Overwatch footage? Those videos you've shown at BlizzCon 2017 were amazing!

Thank you for the game & your answers!

  1. aaron did a lot of work on paris but we're still not happy with it. horizon is not on the...horizon (oof bad pun)
  2. we always encourage players to spend their credits on things they want. there's nothing on the immediate horizon you need to be hoarding these for outside of event loot boxes
  3. i'm not an artist but we like exploring alternate versions of heroes such as "Junker D.Va" sometimes
  4. for maestro sigma in particular, that actually started with our composers and audio director. adam, derek and scott had all of this amazing music and we were brainstorming ways of getting it to players. we came up with the idea of "albums" that we were going to release (note: plural) and we thought that doing a mini-event around the first album would be really fun. then we thought about which character would make sense to have a musical skin (obviously lucio was discussed). our animation department had done the amazing conductor emote which was going to be a normal event unlock. we decided to use the emote, create a conductor skin and then release them both to promote the album. super fun process.
  5. we've definitely thought about a solo queue but at this time we don't feel like it's necessary or best for overwatch. also, if i were to show you the statistics, you would see that it's an extremely rare case for solo players to be matchmade into group situations larger than 2
  6. it's not that i think the system is problematic, it's just not very cool/interesting. we just feel like there are other opportunities
  7. haha glad you liked. i have a ton. would be happy to share. for now, if anyone wants to see, just look on youtube for the overwatch archives panel with myself and arnold tsang

30-07-2020 23:33:22

Who was the most fun hero to develop/design?

they are all super fun. it's seriously a dream job. most recently, i really liked being involved with sigma. josh and geoff drove the design of the character and qiu was the artist who drew him. but it was a lot of fun to help develop the character. i loved the idea of an absolute genius who is disassociated, who thinks we see what he sees, who thinks we understand physics and the universe the way he does. i loved the idea of a tragic victim who was being used for evil who was not evil himself....


30-07-2020 23:37:23

If there was an Overwatch representative for Super Smash Bros who would be the most well fit for it

tracer plz


30-07-2020 23:45:13

How has work progress been impacted by the overlooming global pandemic and subsequent social distancing and cancellations? Has work been slowed down significantly, and how has a typical work day changed as a result?

i think the suddenness of transitioning to working from home was a shock for many of us. we had been tracking the pandemic for months and making preparations, but i don't think the reality had sunk in that we were going to have to close down as well. we have offices in shanghai and seoul that had been shut down, so it was something blizzard had been dealing with for months. but the call to close irvine down (that's where the ow team is) came very quickly.

of all things, team 4 -- aka the ow team -- was in the middle of a move when it happened. most of us don't even know where our office stuff is... in some box somewhere in a new office?

the first few weeks were rough. there were a lot of tech and communication hurdles. i am sure you all have dealt with that as well. we were really lucky to have amazing technical staff on team 4 as well as really great blizzard it staff to make it go more smoothly.

now, we're all adjusting in our own ways. personally, i like working from home. in particular i like being around my wife for more of the week -- it's really nice. but i miss the team like crazy. some members of the team feel really isolated. it really depends on the person. i'm worried as hell about everyone and hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

as for the game, i honestly think some parts are moving faster and some are moving slower... overall, i don't think we're losing time and maybe have even gained some? but that's my biased view and others on the team might feel differently. as game director, i am extremely pleased with the progress on both games in the work from home situation.


30-07-2020 23:46:10

Have alternative in-game UI's ever been considered as rewards? Or new customizable weapon sounds that only the player can hear?

these are cool ideas!


30-07-2020 23:48:35

Can you give Sigma shoes please, or even socks



30-07-2020 23:49:38

Do characters that exist in the story (like Mauga, sanjay, dae-hyun) have a chance at being heroes in the future?

absolutely. ana, doomfist, sombra are all examples of this...


30-07-2020 23:53:34

What are your first thoughts when you hear someone saying "This hero is bad", "This hero is broken" or the like?

i just chalk it up to the way gamers talk and communicate.

as a culture (meaning gamers), we use a lot of "mean" language: broken, lazy, cancer etc....

i've just learned to filter that type of communication and focus on whether or not there is an issue. i can get sensitive and hurt... or i can just, you know, do my job.


30-07-2020 23:55:44

As someone who’s been on the receiving end of numerous racist and homophobic slurs in the text chat channels, would perhaps censoring some of the words and obvious variants in those be within the realm of possibility to deter that sort of behavior?

i'm so sorry this happened to you. please make sure to report all cases of this. it really does do something and we take this very seriously. we have some ideas we would like to explore to minimize the ability for this to happen. in the meantime, i strongly recommend leaving the profanity filter on.


30-07-2020 23:58:54

What map was the most challenging to make and what made it difficult? In reverse, what map were you guys most excited to bring to life in game?

well apparently paris and horizon are the most difficult...

i think bringing blizzard world to life was particularly special for our entire team


31-07-2020 00:00:24

Will there ever be a option to combine your console account with your pc account, because know I look like a genji one-trick on pc while having lots of hours on tank on console and also I cant use the limited edition skins I got on console on pc.

we really like the idea of cross-persistence. it's something we would love to see for overwatch. the technical and business hurdles are immense but we are very passionate about trying to make something like this happen someday.


31-07-2020 00:05:31

Throughout the development of Overwatch, has there been anything you're willing to share that you've regretted, or wished you had handled differently? Whether it be in regards to heroes, abilities, maps, things you wish you had done, things you wish you hadn't done, etc.

this type of question is very hard to answer because we all now have the benefit of hindsight.

sometimes i wish we had kept offense and defense heroes (rather than merging them into damage) and only allowing offense heroes to be played on attack and defense to be played on defense. i know that idea might sound crazy and stupid but i think it would have allowed us to more "all in" on some "niche" hero designs like Torb, Symmetra and Bastion. much of the issue we face with the hero balance on these heroes is our player expectations that these heroes should be fully viable on all situations, and that really wasn't our intent or vision for the game. we believed that with hero swapping, people would be more willing to adapt to "solve the problem". we're fighting some amount of human psychology and game design, i know.

the sombra arg is another standout... lol


31-07-2020 00:10:18

What are you general thoughts on the power creep discussion?

i think this is a good discussion. but i think a lot of the good points get lost in the echo chamber of the internet. i'll see a good thread, video etc about power creep but then there is a lot of "group think" that happens and you have a bunch of people who think they are agreeing on something, when really they are not.

"power creep is bad!"... "btw buff roadhog, revert rein earthshatter nerf, buff pharah, you should TOTALLY be adding way more new heroes... and they all better do new cool stuff...." ... "oh yeah and power creep is bad!"

personally, i prefer when the conversation is more focused. is time to kill to fast? do we feel like CC is too much? too much/little healing? and then apply all of these to individual heroes....

we've added 11 new heroes to the game since it launched. obviously, the game is going to change when you do that. we just need to evaluate each hero on their own and make adjustments.

my personal feeling is that i would like to see less barriers and cc and see the game trend slightly more in the fps direction than the moba direction


31-07-2020 00:11:09

Does every hero have the same chances in Mystery Heroes? Because I often see Bastion, especially in the initial composition.

it's random


31-07-2020 00:18:25

is there an official way to offer suggestions for new features to be added to the game? sometimes REALLY good suggestions get buried before they can ever reach your team!

we read this subreddit all the time. if it's a great idea, it will get visibility


31-07-2020 00:21:37

/u/blizz_jeffkaplan youre an inspiration, thank you for your work on Overwatch <3

thank you so much for saying that. warms my heart. but i always remind people: overwatch is made by a whole team of amazing developers... i am just one tiny and equal part of that. but thank you.


31-07-2020 00:30:16

Hey! Aspiring game developer here. I was wondering what some of the core aspects of creating a new hero are for you guys. What steps do you take in creating a new hero? Also, what are some of your core balancing values when it comes to heroes in general, or adding new heroes?

creating new heroes is a lot of fun. our process is interesting in that new heroes can come from story (76, ana), design (pharah) or art (winston). we really inspire each other with ideas and we'll add different heroes for different reasons. we're always talking about "what does the game need right now"


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