Jeff Kaplan, Game Director on Overwatch, took to Blizzard’s Battle.net forums to give an update on what the team is working on right now. “We’re working on content patches throughout the rest of the year and into early 2017 currently,” he wrote.
Their immediate priority is Competitive Play. “Competitive Play is quite a big effort for us this time around—almost as much work as the first version. But it’s really far along,” he explained. Blizzard has been beta testing it for some time and they may do open public testing at some point. “Even when it goes live, I anticipate our first few seasons will require iteration on the feature,” Kaplan wrote.
In addition to Competitive Play, “maps and heroes are being worked on daily.” They have several new heroes in various states of development, some which may be scrapped entirely. None of them have entered full production yet, so it may be some time before we see a new hero. As far as maps go, “One of them is “officially” in our production pipeline as it has passed through enough prototyping and playtesting that we feel confident in it,” Kaplan wrote. All the heroes and maps will be “live updates that will come in a patch for free.” It’s nice to see Blizzard bucking the trend of charging for new multiplayer maps, which often ends up dividing a community.
In the longer term, Blizzard is working on improving spectator and observer functionality in Overwatch. “We feel like some of these improvements will also benefit things like PoTG (Play of the Game) and Highlights as well once we get to them,” Kaplan noted.
Kaplan also discussed improvements to Custom Games. “In our dream world, you could play Custom Games with 11 other people (friends or strangers) with fun rules in play and gain EXP while doing it,” he wrote, which has us very excited. This could lead to custom games being more popular, which could produce some very interesting and/or weird game types from the community.
“There is more we want to do with the progression system eventually (this is more long term—not immediate),” Kaplan wrote. “We want to give you more customization options (we know people want to have random option for Poses for example). We have some cool ideas of how you could equip more than one spray or voice line.”
Blizzard is also continuing their fight against cheaters and hackers, as well as fixing plenty of small bugs. Kaplan also acknowledged that Blizzard is aware of some latency issues, writing, “we’re putting a lot of effort against our high bandwidth Custom Game option.”
Kaplan ended the post by emphasizing that a lot of the details aren’t set in stone: “I can’t stress this enough: some of this stuff might not happen. The reason developers usually don’t give insight like this is because if something changes or doesn’t happen, players get very angry at us. I would like to change that dynamic but we need to do that together,” he wrote. It’s nice to get an inside look at where Blizzard hopes to take Overwatch, even if not everything pans out.