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Overwatch: Jeff Kaplan Interviews

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Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan had a couple of sit-downs with PCGamesN. He also had a chat with Eurogamer. We have recapped these three interviews in this article.

 

In the first part of his interview with PCGamesN, Jeff talked mostly about ranked matchmaking/play. He said that they want to make ranked matchmaking available in the Beta, so it can be tested properly. However, they aren't sure if it will be available with the release of the game or if it will be added later. In the latter case, Kaplan estimated that it wouldn't take more than a few weeks after Overwatch's release to implement ranked matchmaking in the game.

 

He added that the team's priorities are ranked matchmaking and tutorial games (practice and vs A.I.), while they are also working on matchmaking in general. He revealed that the current queue system is called a rolling match queue: if no-one leaves the game, you will keep playing with the same people. If people aren't partied up, they will be shuffled around teams after each game. If, however, things get too one-sided after a few games, the match will be disbanded.

 

overwatch5.jpg

 

In the second part of his interview with PCGamesN, Jeff Kaplan discussed the new progression system. He mentioned that you can only buy Loot Boxes with real money, not credits or skins individually; there's no word on their pricing yet. Moreover, the team is still considering weighting crates towards characters that players are more active on. Jeff added cryptically that "there is no such thing as a random loot system" in all Blizzard games.

 

As far as progression is concerned, the Overwatch team wants players focused on winning or losing, not farming objective time or kills, since these factors can prove problematic. Furthermore, Jeff said that they want to add medals for support players, since they are especially concerned about Mercy's rate of acquiring medals.Lastly, he teased again that legendary skins are coming, while he warned that gained items will be wiped at some point before release.

 

Most of these issues were raised in Kaplan's EuroGamer interview, as well. A piece of new information is that the team is keen on adding more rewards in Loot Boxes, if the playerbase reacts positively to them. Jeff also clarified that there is no intent of selling heroes or maps. In regards to ranked play, Jeff explained that he expects it to be implemented in the Beta in late March or early April. It takes time to develop it, because the word "competitive" has a different meaning to different people; that's why they want to find the best possible iteration for ranked play.

 

Lastly, Overwatch is still set to be released in spring 2016. A useful thing to know is that Beta might be brought down another time, after its long Christmas break. Jeff finished by saying that there will be more Beta invites in the future!

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