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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:08pm 16/06/16 | 7 Comments
With Overwatch being out for a few weeks now a lot of people have been wondering what's next for the popular hero shooter. And some of them out loud too, with Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan responding to a community post on the official forum outlining what the team is currently working on and what's in store for the future. Spoiler alert, a lot of new content.

The open and honest response is refreshing and it's great that fans get to hear this sort of insight into what's happening behind the scenes at Blizzard HQ.

First up, a bit about the long overdue Competitive Mode. Which should be coming very soon, but will be tweaked and adjusted as time goes on.

Our big focus right now is Competitive Play. We did a big push on this feature in beta and got some really amazing feedback. We were hoping that from the beta version of Competitive Play, we would need to do some polish and iteration and then release the feature but we felt like the feedback we got was basically asking for a different direction. So Competitive Play is quite a big effort for us this time around -- almost as much work as the first version. But it's really far along. We're playtesting it multiple times a day. We're also looking into/debating putting up a Public Test Realm for this feature so that we can test it in a larger environment before putting it live.

Even when it goes live, I anticipate our first few seasons will require iteration on the feature. We're working very hard to make it awesome at release but there are some things you need to see and feel along with a large population before you can properly sign off on the feature. I anticipate Competitive Play will require a few season's worth of iteration before we're in the place we want to be.

The team is also hard at work on new heroes and maps for the game, all of which are being worked on daily.

We're also working on new heroes right now. We have some that are very far along and others that are just getting started. We also have some prototype heroes that may or may not ever see the light of day. We do a lot of prototyping... I don't think we're at a point where I can really talk openly about the release schedule for the new heroes because I don't want to set expectations and then have something come up and suddenly we're backing out on a "promise" we never really made... if that makes sense.

We're also working on a few new maps right now. One of them is "officially" in our production pipeline as it has passed through enough prototyping and playtesting that we feel confident in it. So that map is in the hands of our art group at this time. They are busy making it look awesome and while they do that, we keep going back and playtesting it to make sure nothing changed between the early level design blockout and the final "artified" version of the map.

The response is quite lengthy, and also goes into detail about bringing social improvements to the game, more customisation options, and improving the Highlights and Play of the Game features. So if you're an Overwatch player, be sure to read it in full.

overwatchblizzardgame directorcommunityfeaturesnew content

Latest Comments
Posted 04:15pm 16/6/16
Yeah, I think I'd like new maps before new characters, give them a chance to buff/nerf/balance the ones that are in there before adding new ones into the mix.

Super keen for competitive mode too, I honestly thought my days of playing multiplayer fps games were behind me and I didn't think I'd ever be excited for a competitive ranked mode in an FPS, but this has its hooks into me deep
Posted 07:36am 17/6/16
Didn't Blizzard/Activision buy out MLG? I'm surprised Overwatch didn't have a competitive mode at launch to be honest.
Posted 09:37am 17/6/16
Blizzard like to perfect these things they weren't ready for it at launch.

Heroes of the Storm didn't have ranked at the start either.
Posted 10:34am 17/6/16
Yeah, it had one during closed beta, but they weren't happy with it so they went back to the drawing board
Posted 01:02pm 17/6/16
I'm not entirely sure I want new characters and maps yet. Overwatch is a very rich game, and extremely broad in what you can spend time learning and mastering. It already has 12 maps to learn, each with an offensive and defensive component, and it already provides 21 heroes, which many are choosing to stick with the easy ones. I would be happy to see new content 12 months after launch, but the game has only had 4 weeks in the wild. Can't they give it some time to mature and for people to master the game as it is before introducing more volatility?
Posted 01:36pm 17/6/16
The one thing they need to add are better servers...

Seriously 20 tick servers? I can't even play tracer without raging out at how useless it is to try and dodge things...
Posted 02:41pm 17/6/16
Probably lag and the "favour the shooter" style of the networking more than 20 tick, I mean its something they need to address and it can be the deciding factor in real edge cases sure but the difference between 20 tick and 60 tick is like 30ms at most, and I highly doubt 30ms is enough to even make a difference for the vast majority of people who play who aren't playing at a pro level.

The way the network code works though, is that it favours what the shooter sees, so if on the shooters screen you're under the crosshair when they fire, they're more likely to hit you. If you've got a 40 - 50ms ping, and the shooter has a 40 - 50ms ping, that means what they see and what you see could be at least 100ms out of sync (if not more), and they can hit you when you think you've ducked behind a wall, or you could use an ability and when you see the kill cam your ability never went off. As the ping goes up for you, or for the shooter, the disrepency becomes even bigger (though it does cap not much past 100ms I believe).

Because its the internet, and we're not playing on lan, theres going to be times where latency gets in the way and you need to make a choice how thats handled. If you favour the person getting shot at, then the shooter is going to miss at times when they feel they should have hit, and if you favour the shooter then you're occasionally going to get hit by things you thought you had avoided. I'm paraphrasing and hugely simplifying it, theres all sorts of interpolation and prediction that comes into play at different times as well, and theres exceptions for favouring the shooter, but theres a video the Overwatch network engineers put out explaining exactly how it works if you want the nitty gritty.

No tick rate in the world can entirely reduce that stuff happening though because its a hard physical limitation on how fast the data can get from you -> server -> shooter. Unless increasing the tick rate also increases the speed of light, then that stuff is still going to happen. Tick rate just seems to be the popular scapegoat that gets strung up whenever theres a problem with latency or the network code. I'm not defending 20hz tick rate, it really does seem a bit un-necessarily low in 2016 and I'm not sure why they even went that way (maybe to make it playable over crappier connections? less bandwidth needed?), I'm just saying not EVERY problem is the tick rate.
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