‘Overwatch’ Developer Update: In-Game Features And Customization Coming Early 2017, Says Game Director Jeff Kaplan

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Lucio glancing at the majesty of Overwatch's newest map, Oasis.
Lucio glancing at the majesty of Overwatch's newest map, Oasis. Mic

Overwatch has had a tremendous year so much that Game Director Jeff Kaplan is back with another “Developer Update: A Year in Review.” What’s more, Kaplan also looks ahead and shares what players can expect for 2017 including updates coming early next year.

Starting with Sombra, while she is the newest hero to join the ranks, players are still experimenting and so is Blizzard. Kaplan explained Sombra’s balance changes aren’t coming in hot just yet. Remember the quick tweaks they made to Ana? Blizzard has decided to pump the brakes with Sombra and ride it out a bit longer – they’re keeping an eye on players’ “mastery curve” for the hero.

During BlizzCon, Blizzard announced a new DLC map coming in early 2017: Oasis, which is in PTR currently, is right on track to make its live appearance in early 2017. Those of you that are enjoying Oasis on PTR, get ready, it’ll be here soon.

Overwatch had a couple seasonal events this year including the current Winter Wonderland. While Kaplan confirmed we can expect to see more seasonal events continue throughout next year, Valentine’s Day and Easter are probably out of the cards.

In-game features are getting changes as well including customization to the communication wheel. Blizzard is adding a control scheme with access to up to four voice lines of your choice using the unlockable voice lines via Lootboxes. There will also be four additional emotes that players will be able to customize and will have the ability to set key bindings. Lastly, “Sprays” will now have their own spray wheel. Up to four sprays will be allowed and again, using the unlockable sprays from player Lootboxes.

As always, Blizzard is working on more Overwatch heroes, but Kaplan mentioned some of these prototypes might “not see the light of day.” However, there is one hero who may be appearing in early 2017, who shall remain nameless until Blizzard confirms.

Kaplan wrapped up the developer update by shining some light on one of the top requested features for Custom Games - a “server browser”. Coming in early 2017, the server browser will make it easier for players to join and find Custom Games. On top of that, 2017 will be the year of experiments, starting off with expanding on traditional game modes and new things in maps.

For the Overwatch esports community, after receiving an abundance of feedback from the Broadcasters from Overwatch esports events, Blizzard is working on improving spectator modes by adding a “viewer map” and other things.

While Blizzard remains to be vague, we’re thankful they’ve kept the community to up to date and will continue to do so well into 2017. For now, enjoy Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland event.

'Overwatch' May Not Be Perfect, But It's Damn Near Close
Overwatch doesn't care if you've ever tried an FPS before, it holds your hands and makes you feel okay while you shoot rocket launchers, icicles and sound waves.
  • Amazing Art Style
  • Balanced Mechanics
  • Characters Keep You Coming Back For More
  • No Single Player
  • Overwhelming At First
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