A week after the start of the Overwatch 2 PvP beta, the devs shared their thoughts in a lengthy blog post. They touched on four different topics throughout the post, each described by how the beta test affected their decisions in that particular area.
Right off the bat, the developers pointed out that this beta test was just the first in a long series. Many of the things you see during the Overwatch 2 PvP beta are work in progress, and their team is constantly trying to improve them.
This ignores the fact that the game largely resembles “Overwatch 1.1” to many fans and players, with the only major change being one less tank for each team. It looks like the base Overwatch game with a different typeface and a dashboard that actually works. The biggest offender in Overwatch 1.1 has to be the support role. The passive changes were frankly not enough and one less tank means less protection for the mounts. Gameplay as a medium is largely similar to Overwatch, and there’s really no reason to bother with the beta if you’re playing medium anyway. However, the post discusses potential changes for the support role to address this, along with new heroes announced.
They also mentioned the possibility of having Quick Play Open Queue in the beta to reduce wait times, which has since been confirmed in the patch notes that followed shortly after. Many 2.0 hero models are also in development, and their beta appearance will not be their final graphics when the game is fully released.
The first beta of a long series
“The main goals of our first beta were to test our move to 5v5, the new maps and game mode Push, overall balance and build and server stability. We believe 5v5 is an important adjustment for players, and we’ve been happy to hear consistent and positive feedback about players having more fun, feeling a greater sense of impact in their matches, and enjoying faster combat pacing and engagements. “said the post. The devs hinted that the rules for the new Push game mode are still not final and will most likely receive some tweaks. They also addressed the issue of hero balance and said that their approach would be to “make quick adjustments to hero power levels” and that players can expect the first beta balancing patch soon.
The developers continue to emphasize that this beta test is only the first in a long series and that the goals of beta 1 are gameplay, balance and stability. With that in mind, the majority of Overwatch 2 is currently in development. They listed UI elements such as menu screens, player profiles, multiple time of day conditions in classic maps and hero 2.0 looks like some of the aspects of the game that haven’t yet been publicly tested. In particular, the golden pistol system, headshot indicators in the kill stream, and audio mixing were reported as “not a deliberate change in design aesthetic, but rather incomplete functionality”.
Between this beta and the full release, the developers said they “plan to add more content, including heroes, maps, and features. There will be a significant amount of tweaking and overall refinement added under form of an improved user interface, bug fixes, and more!
In the Overwatch 2 beta, a ranked mode was not available. The developers said they recognized ranked mode as a great way to keep their players engaged, but refrained from putting it into the beta for two main reasons. The first was that, this being a test for game stability and balance, the priority was to get players into a game. Splitting the limited playerbase into two queues would have been detrimental to testing and would have resulted in longer wait times. The second reason they gave was that “significant revisions” for ranked and competitive systems are currently being tested internally, but not yet ready for beta testing.
Due to the many role changes, waiting times are significantly longer for Tank and Damage players than for Support players. The developers said they understand that playing support needs to be more appealing to players in order to combat the wait time disparity between roles. As a temporary solution to long queue times, the Overwatch 2 beta test might have a fast-paced game classic with open queue enabled.
Game support please
According to the post, a good majority of heroes fall within a healthy range for play and win rate at various skill levels. A balance patch is planned to address the many heroes who are the outliers of these stats. Like the beta tests, this upcoming balancing patch will also be the first in a long series.
A direct effect of having one less tank makes support players more vulnerable to being flanked and dunked. The support role passive has been changed in Overwatch 2, with the goal of giving supports more survivability through more health regen. Despite this, playing as a support feels largely similar to the Overwatch base game, and the development team is aware of that. To change this, they revealed plans to release more support heroes down the line. However, as a more immediate solution to the lack of new content for support players, they are considering reworking several supports. Some of them might ship in this beta test, but “more likely” will ship in the next beta.
Finally, Overwatch has received its most needed dashboard in this beta. The scoreboard contains information on the number of kills, deaths and assists of each player, in addition to the composition of the heroes of the two teams and the ultimate status of your teammates. The Fire and Medal system will be retiring with this dashboard overhaul.
“The original idea with the medal system was to give positive reinforcement for personal performance and to let individual players know how they were contributing to the team; but over time we realized that the information provided by the medals led to varying interpretations by players. The team has seen players incorrectly interpreting the actual performance of the team based on the relative rankings provided by the medals. This was especially true at the start of games when the Statistical amounts were low. These observations led to the decision to remove the Medal and Fire systems and completely rework the scoreboard screen and present more accurate information to players.”
In addition to your KDA, other statistics are also available. Damage dealt, damage mitigated, healing done for each player can also be viewed in the dashboard. It now also follows a more consistent layout with other games and competitive sports, with the aim of giving players a more accurate overall view of the game. There will also be “custom stats” depending on which hero you are playing currently.
The development team has expressed an interest in reworking the Fire system somewhere down the line to deliver excitement to top-performing players. They also pointed out that the dashboard is a work in progress and the layout is not final.
Since the dev post, the Overwatch 2 PvP beta patch notes have been released. It features a plethora of bug fixes, as well as balance changes for many heroes. The audio mix they highlighted in this post has also been adjusted. It also contains a few buffs for Overwatch’s newest hero, Sojourn, as she has consistently underperformed against other damage heroes.
Despite all these changes, the highlight of the patch has to be the fact that Quick Play Open Queue is now live, so no more 5 minute wait time (hopefully!)
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