Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

OVERWATCH 2 – Season 2 look-back and the road forward

By Ira James Feb1,2023 #Press Release

The Overwatch team today released a blog post reflecting on Season 2 and to give players a sense of what to look forward to in Season 3 and onwards:

Ramattra stormed the hero lineup 

We watched Ramattra closely when it was first released, including community gameplay and conversations. We started asking ourselves some challenging questions about his kit’s performance based on your feedback—What were the community’s first impressions of his kit? Is his kit approachable? Which abilities and moments are resonating with our community? What are the sore spots? 

The next set of questions focused more on his viability—How’s he performing as players learn how to play him? What compositions is he fitting into? Are there early dominant strategies? Answers here help us decide if we want to make any changes to the hero within the first two weeks, before they enter competitive play.

Ramattra’s initial release was met with a lot of positive feedback in terms of fun factor. We saw a lot of great conversation around his kit and the overall design, but it was clear that you felt Ramattra wasn’t viable in enough situations. At this point, there are many different factors that go into making balance decisions including player feedback and hero performance— though this is limited to quick play data (which can differ from Competitive).

With our learnings, we chose to increase his power while in Nemesis form by upping his armor and speed. Alongside the Nemesis Form changes, we also decreased the cooldown on his Void Barrier to create more overall uptime with his abilities. Overall, this set of changes had a large effect on Ramattra’s effectiveness and he entered competitive as one of the stronger Tank picks – a big shift from his lower performance leading up to the changes.

As we wrap Season 2, Ramattra remains a strong Tank choice and the previous changes helped achieve some of Ramattra’s overall design goals. Going into his release though, there was one ability we knew would be a risk – his ultimate ability, Annihilation. While an ultimate lasting as long as enemies are in it is very exciting, it can lead to some unhealthy gameplay scenarios. We want Ramattra to feel imposing and intimidating but not feel hopeless to fight against. 

In Season 3, we’ll be changing the timer on Annihilation so that it will tick down slower if enemies are in it (previously paused the timer entirely) and adding a cap of 20 seconds. That should eliminate many of the extreme uses and enable more counterplay while keeping Annihilation a strong and impactful ability.

Battle for Olympus and other Season 2 Limited Time Events

We set a goal in Overwatch 2 of having more frequent in-game events and unique limited-time game modes. As we gather your feedback and look at whether you enjoyed different events, we expect to improve and bring many of them back in the future. Generally, we want to craft different ways to play the game and give you fun new modes and events to experience. And we want to be more willing to take creative risks for these limited-time game modes. 

We debuted the Battle for Olympus during Season 2. We’re generally happy about this mode and player feedback around it, but we do think there’s room for improvement. Specifically, we did not expect that players would pursue all hero titles during the event. We think some challenges were too difficult to complete in aggregate. Based on your feedback, we also plan to make a team deathmatch version and enable the mode in custom games the next time it runs. Our amazing community discovered we did not include environmental kills in our leaderboard tabulations by mistake – Zeus fights dirty at times with a giant statue on the line – but this will be corrected for any future battles.

We also brought back the Winter Wonderland and Lunar New Year events. Millions of new players have come in to play Overwatch 2 and been able to experience these events for the first time. However, we’ve heard and understand the feedback from Overwatch veterans that these events don’t feel as exciting when they come back around, particularly if you already own the event reward as was the case for some players in the Lunar New Year event. We are working to offer rewards that are new for all players more consistently. In Season 3, one of our new events will offer players an all-new legendary skin. And starting in Season 4, our goal is to offer new items as rewards for most of our big events.

Ranked updates and changes 

Our team is aware of some community pain points with competitive mode and matchmaking, specifically matches with wide skill variations, inconsistent games, and too few and infrequent competitive updates. We have a set of improvements coming to matchmaking, and we’re also working on updates to the competitive system. 

You can learn more information in Part 1 and Part 2 of our matchmaking series.

(Re)Introducing Credits and Hero Gallery Update

In Season 3, we’re bringing back Overwatch Credits, which had been previously shown as Legacy Credits and been unearnable in Overwatch 2. Now, all players can earn up to 1500 credits as free rewards and another 500 credits as premium rewards spread throughout Season 3 Battle Pass. We are also adding more uses for your Credits so you can choose from many potential rewards.

Specifically, we are making two related updates to our Hero Gallery. First, nearly all the epic and legendary-tier skins prior to Overwatch 2 launch will always be available in the hero gallery for purchase with either Overwatch Coins or Credits. This includes skins from the seasonal event modes, so now you can finally pick up Witch Mercy, Surf ‘N’ Splash Torbjörn, or Snowman Wrecking Ball any time of the year without waiting for the event to roll around! Second, we’re lowering the standard price of these legendary skins to 1500 Coins or Credits. 

Taken together, these changes mean all players can earn a legendary skin of their choice each season from the Hero Gallery skins just for playing normally and without needing to make any purchases. 

We understand that some players already have very large balances of Credits. To ensure that all players feel rewarded for the time they spend playing, we’re looking into additional ways for players to use Credits in the future. 

These changes aren’t the end of our journey to make Overwatch 2 a more rewarding game to play – they’re just the beginning. We have more updates coming in future seasons, and we’ll be reading your feedback to understand what’s working, and what isn’t, for all of you.

As we continue to move forward and grow

We think it’s very important to share long-term plans about game features and updates, but it’s possible that some of these things may change as we continue to develop and test these plans while listening to player feedback

Generally, we want to add or improve systems that better celebrate players match to match as well as across seasons. One angle we have been exploring is revamping our “on fire” system to highlight when you’re having a particularly impressive performance within a match. And while still in the early stages, we have begun design work on a hero-based progression system that would showcase the energy players put into playing each hero and mastering their different capabilities.

We know this is an area that you all care about deeply, and we will look forward to providing more updates as we continue our work here.

Thank you for sharing your support and feedback—It’s what enables us to make positive changes to the game. We can’t wait to hear from you in Season 3! 

By Ira James

Computer nerd who has been writing tech reviews since 2016. Contributor for the tech pages of Manila Times, Chief Editor of GGWPTECH. Loves hardware, anime, and Star Citizen.

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