Blizzard’s Team 4 has hit us with a blog and a video to tell us the current state of Competitive (or “Ranked”) Play, which was introduced in last night’s patch. Here’s the Crow’s Notes version: There are four tiers, each with five divisions. Winning games gets you into higher tiers and divisions. At higher tiers, losing games will push you back into lower divisions. Blizzard is looking at month-long seasons, with ranks resetting every season. If this sounds a LOT like how seasons and ranks work in Hearthstone, you’re absolutely right, complete with the highest tier of play, called Heroic, that switches to a unique numeric ranking rather than the tier/division ranking. It’s exactly like Legend in Hearthstone, no? None of that is a bad thing, mind you. The competitive system in Hearthstone keeps things fresh and compels people to log in every month. And while we don’t know exactly
The second in a series of Overwatch animated shorts has got a release date of April 3rd, and this time it’ll be hosted on Playstation.com. This time, we’re focusing on Widowmaker on a job in King’s Row. We’ve got a couple more hints about what might be involved here, based on some previous information, including the animated shorts teaser reel we saw at BlizzCon last year. We can probably expect Tracer to show up, and for us to get an answer to the question “do Tracer and Widowmaker have some kind of history?” That specific question, raised by their interaction during the original Overwatch cinematic, was also raised in a Q&A at BlizzCon this year, and either the Metzen or Overwatch story boss Michael Chu hinted that an answer would be forthcoming. No guarantees, of course, except for this: Widowmaker is in King’s Row. Read the full post below.
Coming in slightly after the patch started hitting beta servers, we’ve got some notes on what’s going on in this new build. Genji’s health is up, but his shuriken damage is down. Quick Melee doesn’t hit for as much, but we can use it more frequently. Bastion’s Ultimate mode is shorter. Hanzo’s Scatter Arrow doesn’t get to cheat anymore. ;P And Mei is being brought down a bit from the devastating ice goddess heights she started to hit after the last patch. Seriously guys, she went overboard. Overall, these are all pretty standard “beta is beta” changes, principally in the fine-tuning space of things, and having the added bonus of developer insights into why these changes are being made is a huge benefit. Read the full patch notes below.
CM Zoevia has dropped patch notes on us, revealing a more complete list of changes and what new skins have been added into the game. There are also some notable balance changes brought into play as well. New Control Map, Ilios. Imagine what a nice Mediterranean island tourist trap looks like and you’ve basically got a good idea. Zarya and Roadhog bots are now available. Mercy has a new VO in English. You can apparently get in a hand of Hearthstone in the Temple of Anubis attack spawn room. (See header) Read the full patch notes below.
CM Lylirra gave us a bit of advance notice about some impending activity on the Closed Beta, including a wipe on the career profile (which won’t impact anything else, thankfully) and an incoming beta patch. As of press, we know that the patch has got several skins for a bunch of heroes, a new map, and we’ve been informed that patch notes are incoming. So it’s going to be a busy night. Read the full post below.
All right, let’s set the record straight here. To get everything from the beta FAQ in one place, check this out: Closed Beta for Overwatch will run from now until some TBD time before May 3rd. And closed beta testers will get advance notice when the closed beta is going to come down. Early Access Beta Period will be May 3rd-4th, allowing everyone who has pre-purchased or pre-ordered the game before April 29th to log in and play. They’ll also get a code allowing a friend to get in as well. Closed Beta testers will NOT be included (unless they have pre-purchased/pre-ordered the game as well.) Open Beta picks up on May 5th and runs through May 9th. There will be no restrictions on who can get into the beta during this period: everyone can jump on and play, regardless of pre-order status or previous beta participation. At all points
UPDATE LITERALLY TWO MINUTES LATER: OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION Biggest part of this aside from the dates: pre-ordering gets you early access for you AND A FRIEND. Full post below. Go. Now. GO. UPDATE: 9AM 3/7/2016: Playstation’s Twitter feed just posted this. Still awaiting confirmation from Blizzard. The world needs heroes. Overwatch launches May 24 on PS4, with early access starting May 3: https://t.co/XOCHhnpRUR pic.twitter.com/2UYdVCIBCH — PlayStation (@PlayStation) March 7, 2016 ORIGINAL POST: A big banner ad over on IGN.com may have spilled the release date for Overwatch. Overwatch out on May 24, open beta early access on May 3 pic.twitter.com/Ixw1q20UJv — Wario64 (@Wario64) March 7, 2016 That date is May 24th, but the real kicker is this: apparently, pre-orders will get early access to an open beta that starts on May 3rd, effectively three weeks of additional play before the game’s broad release. Clicking on the ad went nowhere, which was odd,
So today is Monday, the 9th of Fall (really the 26th of October) and tomorrow is when the Overwatch beta will begin in earnest. Maybe you’ve played the game at a demo station at a convention like BlizzCon or PAX or gamescom over the course of the last eleven months, or maybe you’ve just been watching the gameplay videos released by the dev team to showcase particular characters. You might also be here because of the beta stream event a few days ago, when a couple of prominent Twitch streamers joined the devs for a couple solid hours of gameplay to build steam for tomorrow’s beta. The bottom line is that there are some features about Overwatch that appear to be completely fresh in the version we’re going to see played here shortly, and we wanted to run some of them down for you so you know what’s going on.
Blizzard has updated their blog on the upcoming beta to indicate that the EU region will be online as well when the beta begins next Tuesday. This is great news for EU players and an indication that Blizzard really wants to get this game in front of as many people as is feasible for testing purposes. Now the only trick is to win the lottery of beta invites… Read the update to the blog entry below or check out the full entry if you need to get hyped once again. UPDATE (October 23, 2015): We were able to complete setup and testing of our beta servers for Europe sooner than anticipated. As a result, we’re happy to report that we will be launching the Overwatch Closed Beta in both the Americas and Europe gameplay regions on October 27.
At gamescom 2015, Soe and Frodan kicked back at the press desk with Game Director Jeff Kaplan, as well as Senior Game Designer Michael Chu and Senior Game Producer Matthew Hawley to discuss Lúcio and the new maps. Lúcio He’s emblematic of the optimistic and energetic world of Overwatch. He’s the response to Tracer’s call of “the world could always use more heroes.” Heroes Some heroes start from the design side (Tracer started from wanting a hero who could blink across the map), some start with a piece of compelling concept art (Zenyatta came from a really neat piece of omnic concept art). New players probably start to understand how to play a single character after a single match. Players don’t seem to be gravitating towards particular characters when they start out, but instead they seem to be gravitating towards something inspiring about the character. Chu: We want the characters to be popping