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overwatch Overwatch Beta Live - First Impressions

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October 27 has come and gone, and the Overwatch beta is now available. Here is the official information, as well as some day one hands-on thoughts.

 

As indicated by Blizzard, this beta has a fairly narrow pool of players, and is focused on acquiring design and playtesting feedback for the developers.

 

The post over on the Overwatch website announcing the launch included this video from game director Jeff Kaplan:

 

 

If you are looking for more information about installing the client, providing feedback or reporting bugs, or the general Overwatch beta FAQ, visit that post for complete information.

 

Here are some of my personal, hands-on thoughts about the beta so far:

  1. The game engine runs very smoothly. Online play doesn't feel as refined as some other FPS titles yet, which can probably be attributed to early server testing and other limitations - but the raw feel of the game's smoothness is incredible.
  2. Character design is excellent. Each character currently offers a unique play style and different counterplay options. Roles are varied and flexible enough to make contributions as a defensive or support character feel meaningful.
  3. The client is very much in beta. Game settings are not 100% refined, and features like setting up custom lobbies are implemented but not well-designed yet.

Games were a good length - sometimes feeling just a little long if they went to tense overtime, sometimes feeling just a little short if they were tremendously one-sided. The design decision to allow frequent character switching is rewarded if done smartly and at correct times (without losing significant progress towards important ultimate abilities).

 

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Overall, the beta experience has been great - and, at the time of writing, new players are indicating online that they're being flagged for beta access! Keep checking your accounts.

 

The first day of the much-awaited Overwatch closed beta has arrived. Here's a look at how things went.

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