Overwatch seems destined for a huge 2017.
Developer Blizzard has been hard at work on the game, which is one of the year’s best, in an effort to evolve and improve the experience from what it was at launch.
The last month alone has seen perhaps the biggest change to the experience, with the addition of new characters, a revamped Competitive Play, new maps, the addition of Arcade Mode, and an improved Quick Play.
There’s still a lot more on the horizon, with Blizzard lifting the lid on its plans in its Year In Review video.
You should definitely take the time to watch the video, because there are some really interesting tidbits to take out of it.
Game director Jeff Kaplan is never one to hold back, even frequenting the forums and responding to fan feedback.
Here are some of the important points to take from the video:
New Map – Oasis
Oasis, which is currently in the Public Test Realm (PTR) is scheduled for release to the broader Overwatch-playing public in early 2017.
The map is set in the Arabian desert in Iraq, and is considered as one of the world’s most advanced cities, a “shining jewel” as Blizzard calls it.
Blizzard is working on other maps as well, with Kaplan saying they are at different stages and still in prototype phase.
There is one map that the team has a lot of confidence in, that plays in “a traditional game mode”, with more information coming on that later in 2017.
The sultry Mexican hacker is set to get some minor tweaks in 2017. Blizzard however is waiting until people master her before making big changes. Kaplan says that players seemed hesitant to play as her initially, although he put this down to people simply taking the time to learn about her abilities.
Kaplan says the development team has had a blast making the seasonal events, such as the Halloween Event and the current Christmas event.
He says players can look forward to events that are to be expected, as well as some that “you won’t have any idea that we’re working on.”
Communication Wheel Customisation
There are some big changes coming to the communication wheel. More customisation options will be integrated, with up to four voice lines set on the wheel. It will also allow you to access up to four different emotes. Custom bindings are also being considered, so as to allow setting a particular trigger to voice lines and emotes.
Blizzard is working on a spray wheel, in which players can select up to four sprays to bring into a match. You’ll still only be able to have one spray active at a time, but Kaplan says players will now be able to add a bit of variety to the sprays they use throughout a match.
Kaplan says that despite the community being vocal in wanting Blizzard to force players into team chat, the development team doesn’t want to forcibly remove someone from party chat. However, they want to encourage players to join team chat from party chat.
Similar to the new “Stay in team” feature, there will be a button prompt to join team chat where players within your team are already communicating.
Blizzard is working on “multiple new heroes”. Kaplan says that Blizzard is always working on more stuff than it releases, because it prototypes a lot of stuff that fails and doesn’t fit into the game.
There is one hero that Kaplan says is well on the way to being added to the roster, and there are also some “really fun” prototypes being worked on, which he hopes will be added in 2017.
Check out the full Year In Review video below.