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Overwatch Developer Update: Evolution of Progression

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Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan is back yet again in a new video, where he is talking about progression. We have made a recap of that video for you.

 

Jeff Kaplan had already shared some information on Overwatch's progression system in his interview on Eurogamer. In a new video, he discusses thoroughly the two progression systems that were tried in the past, why they were scrapped and what the future of progression in Overwatch looks like. Here's the video; we have summarised Jeff's main points below it.

 

 

Blizzard Icon Jeff Kaplan

 

The first progression system

  • Similar to WoW or HotS talent system.
  • Leveling up would unlock different abilities, and therefore various different builds and play styles.
  • For example, Reaper had a talent which would fully heal him when he entered Wraith form.
  • This system caused imbalance and it was scrapped. Other reasons why this system didn't work were:
    • Ovewatch has a fast-paced nature.
    • Unlike Heroes of the Storm, where you need to worry only about heroes you see in the beginning of the game, in Overwatch you need to be thinking about every hero that could possibly be in the game.
  • Player power through the progression system wasn’t good for the competitive nature of Overwatch.

 

The second progression system

  • This system didn’t work well at all, but it wasn’t obvious to the team in the beginning.
  • Nothing to do with player power, only cosmetic rewards.
  • Each hero had a level. The more you played matches with a hero, the more you leveled. Wins were worth more XP than lossess.
  • As you leveled up a hero, you unlocked cosmetic rewards.
  • The Hero level cap was 20.
  • Alpha testers wouldn’t switch heroes because they were close to a specific unlock, and this resulted into losing games.
  • They did come up with lots of different cosmetic rewards from this system.
  • To sum up, a system overly rewarding you to sticking to one character was bad and wrong. Players need to be versatile and swap heroes. In the future, you still get to have a ‘main’ hero and be rewarded – but not over-rewarded – for it.

 

Future progression system

  • If a game isn’t about progression, then there shouldn’t be too much focus on it.
  • They would like the progression system to be light, cosmetic, and feel like a token of appreciation for playing the game.
  • Your main motivation for playing Overwatch should be that the game is fun, not for player power.
  • They will use the time until the end of January to work on the progression system.
  • The new progression system will be introduced, when the Beta is back.

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