On Friday morning, Blizzard held a special 3-hour developer livestream, where the dev team led by game director Aaron Keller talked about the upcoming changes coming into Blizzard’s popular hero shooter, Overwatch 2.
The livestream led off with possibly the biggest change that’s coming to the Overwatch 2 PvP with Keller officially announcing that the game will be trimming down from 6v6 multiplayer of the original game to now just 5v5 for the sequel. The change comes by dropping down a tank role from the traditional team composition whittling it down to two damage characters, two support, and just one tank.
Keller mentions that the big decision was made in order to make the oftentimes, fast-paced and chaotic in-game action easier to understand which in turn he believes, makes for better gameplay:
“…We have always tried to make our combat easy to read and very understandable. And even with all the work we put in to all of that, sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing.”
“Removing two of those, simplifies everything and it allows players to understand everything around them and allow them to make better choices. ”
It appears that a significant chunk of the sequel’s additions to its PvP all course through this major change. Tanks, seeing as there can only be one of them, will become more powerful as well as more fun to play and Maps will have more tight corners and cover spots which players can use to protect themselves from incoming damage
Overwatch 2’s incarnation of our favorite tanks, as the dev team has stated during Blizzconline, will be much more of a brawler. Lead Designer Jeff Goodman echoed his previous statement saying that each of the tanks will be tweaked to become more of a hybrid class and “less raw protection”. Some of the big changes to the tanks that were demoed in the stream are already reflecting the new mandate with Reinhardt’s Firestrike now having two charges and the ability to cancel his Charge attack while in motion; Zarya having 2 shared Particle/Projection Barrier charges and Winston having an alternate fire charges electricity then shoots it forward.
The livestream also showed off five new maps coming to the game. Each were set in Overwatch versions of real world locales, such as:
and Monte Carlo.
The livestream also showed more of Push, a new game mode that was originally in Blizzcon 2019. Push, which is played in Rome and Toronto is much like a variant of Payload where each team fight for control of a robot automaton. When under a team’s control, the robot moves from the center line, pushing a large heavy marker towards the opposing team’s goal line. When the opposite team gains control, the robot leaves the marker behind and pushes another marker on the opposing side. The first to push the marker to the end line wins.
As the 3-hour stream drew to a close, Aaron Keller offered up his gratitude to the fans for the constant and active communication that the community has shown ever since the first game. He reassured the viewers that the dev team values the community value and always considers them a key point in the development process:
“We are still listening and we are taking feedback on game. We just want it to be the best version of itself that it can be. We’re committed to making it that. We come into work every day passionate and excited to work on this game.”
While the shift to 5v5 is a huge leap, there seems to be very little about the gameplay that has significantly changed and that is possibly the most worrying thing. From an observer’s standpoint and without actually playing the game, everything looks and appears to play extremely familiar. Heroes skills, guns,and roles are all almost exactly the same, albeit with some minor tweaks. The rambunctious, kinetic gameplay still looks like what we have in the original game—even the sounds and voicelines are the same.
I’m concerned that Overwatch 2 may not have enough big changes that will actually warrant being called a proper sequel. I wish they would go for a massive shake up to their own formula, in the same innovative, game-changing spirit that the original came out with. Then again, the devs did say a lot of what was shown was work in progress and that community feedback will be heard so there’s still some hope. But as of now, I’ll just have to wait and see if I’ll be back out there.
How do you feel about the changes in Overwatch 2? Let us know in the comments below! For more Blizzard stuff check out Every Skin in Overwatch Archives 2021 Is Fire and The Best Skill In Diablo Immortal Is A Horse
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