Overwatch Updates Make Esports Easier To Watch

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I believe in the future of Overwatch esports, which isn’t always easy. A game of Overwatch is extremely hard to follow in its current state—cameras are only controlled manually, which means players can miss most of the action. Overwatch heroes also blend with one another without distinct skins to tell them apart. It makes it difficult for casters to communicate without accurate knowledge of what’s happening on screen. Thankfully, a new update from Blizzard intends to fix a lot of these issues going forward.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan shared the latest changes made to combat these issues in a Developer Update. According to the announcement, his team spent a lot of time tinkering with the spectator experience. Each team will now have color-coordinated skins so that fans will actually be able to tell which Winston is on the team they’re rooting for. On top of that, the red and blue outlines that have become a staple of the Overwatch experience will change colors as well—the hue turns lighter or darker depending on who’s on attack or defense. This might seem like a tiny change, but it’s going to breathe new life into watching Overwatch as fans that haven’t hit Grandmaster will actually be able to follow along with what’s happening on screen.

On top of that, Blizzard will add an overhead camera and a new replay system that allows spectators to grab a clip from a fight and replay it from any angle. Being able to see a flank path or a well-coordinated team fight in high-definition sounds almost too good to be true. For casters and spectators, the people responsible for what esports fans see on a stream, there’s a new overlay that will say when and where abilities are used. This will allow for quicker and more accurate commentary and quicker views of action rather than dead bodies in Hanamura.  

Spectators are one of the most important parts of an esports experience that rarely get their due credit. When I visited the Blizzard Arena last week, there was a whole room filled with computers and giant monitors just for this specific job. You have to be at least Diamond ranked to apply as a Spectator and have to know as much about the game as possible. Games of Overwatch Contenders require at least 12 spectators that follow every player to make sure nobody misses even a moment of the action.

These updates are long overdue and make me slightly less worried about the future of the Overwatch League, Blizzard’s first foray into franchised esports. With a better fan experience, it will be easier for those with little knowledge of the game to understand what’s actually happening on screen. My girlfriend dabbles in the game, but if I show her a team fight from APEX , she’s going to be really confused. I hope these changes keep coming and Blizzard continues to evolve the esports experience without sacrificing content updates and patches.

How do you feel about the future of Overwatch esports? Tell us in the comments.

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