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The Overwatch development team has posted a blog with more details about post-launch updates on gameplay, maps, and competitive.
Overwatch 2 developer blog: Post-launch updates on gameplay, maps, and competitive
Today, we want to look back at our first week in this brand-new chapter for Overwatch and share with you our team’s current thinking on hero balance and gameplay.
Since the launch of Overwatch 2, we’ve welcomed millions of both new and returning heroes to the game. While most of our updates so far have been about our efforts to address game servers and stability, we also know players are eager to hear about what we are working on for gameplay and other topics. We’ve seen Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko completely rock the landscape of the game, blasting and slicing their way into many victories on the battlefield. Today, we want to look back at the first week of this brand-new chapter for Overwatch and share with you our team’s current thinking on hero balance and gameplay.
While some heroes are performing better than others, and there are differences across player skill levels, we have been happy to see that no hero’s overall power level is far out of line with our goals. Every hero on the roster has a win-rate between 45% and 55%, and we are not planning any immediate balance changes based on what we are seeing, with the exception of a targeted adjustment to Zarya in Total Mayhem which should go live with our next major patch on October 25. Instead, our team is planning to make a series of balance changes for Season Two that are in line with our design goal of ensuring the overall game feels balanced and fair while giving each season a more distinct identity. While we’ll continue looking at hero performance and listening to player feedback prior to finalizing any specific changes to balance for Season Two, we want to share more about what we are seeing so far.
Tanks fighting on the front lines
Since shifting to a 5v5 format, we see many players focusing more on the tank role given the heightened importance of a single tank in role queue modes. One of the most talked about heroes on the roster right now is D.Va. With buffs after the last Beta to her Defense Matrix and Micro Missiles, she can put up a fight longer than she could before the launch of Overwatch 2. Despite many players saying she’s one of the best tanks in the game, Reinhardt, Sigma, and Zarya actually currently lead up the competition with an average 53% unmirrored win rate. Zarya’s new ability to choose where to place each of her two Particle Barriers often allows her to build up to high energy quickly, which is something we’re currently keeping a close eye on for potential changes next season.
Junker Queen was a dominant force during the last beta playtest. Because of that, we applied changes to her Commanding Shout to reduced how dominant the brawly, “death ball” team compositions were at the highest skill levels, including the Overwatch League Summer Showdown. We’ll keep an eye on her performance in the upcoming weeks to ensure she’s an effective tank and fun to play.
The team is also monitoring Doomfist’s performance and play rate compared to other tanks. As we look to Season Two, we think it makes sense to evaluate his overall tanking ability and potentially make improvements to Power Block and Meteor Strike.
Slicing through the competition
The damage role has seen many hero combinations across all ranks, but we’ve noticed some popular picks among our players. Genji and Sojourn started as the most popular heroes when Overwatch 2 launched, but they’ve since leveled out to the rest of the damage roster. Genji started off with a dominating win-rate, and although it’s lowered slightly since launch (currently at 52%), we want to make sure he’s not dominating the playing field. We’ll watch Genji carefully throughout the season to ensure he doesn’t slice up the competition too much and may make adjustments in Season Two. One way we are considering doing this is through an adjustment to the damage role passive, which has particularly benefited heroes like Genji.
Sombra is also hacking her way through the back lines in many games. We adjusted her damage potential to be optimal on targets that she hacks. However, we want to ensure her targets have a reasonable time to fight back, so we’ll continue to look to balance her hack ability-lockout duration when we approach Season Two. We’ve also heard feedback that tanks feel oppressed when a Sombra is focusing them with hacks, which will also be something we will look to control next season.
Symmetra and Torbjorn are two other damage heroes that we are keeping a close eye on now. Over the course of the first week, their win rates have been gradually increasing, and they are showing the highest win rates now at some ranks. Both heroes can be effective counters to Genji and may be enjoying their success due to his popularity. When we look at potentially making changes to them we need to keep in mind the landscape of the rest of the hero roster. For example if Genji is tweaked and possibly played less these heroes might see less success and not need adjustments themselves.
Sly as a fox
Kiriko has been well-received by the community, with an initial play rate of over 75% in most matches when we first launched, making her an instant favorite among many players. This play rate has since balanced out compared to other support heroes, however, her win rate increased from 48% to 52% as players learned her kit and playstyle over this past week. Her healing averages in the middle when you compare it to the rest of the support roster, and her damage output right now is about even with Ana which is relatively low compared to heroes like Lucio, Moira, and Brigitte. Kiriko gets a lot of value in her evasiveness with Wall Climb and Swift Step to get out of harm’s way, allowing her to stay alive longer in team fights and making her the most survivable support hero on the roster currently. We’re keeping an eye on how she performs in the weeks ahead of the Overwatch League Playoffs next month.
Missions around the world
With new and returning maps based on locations worldwide, we want each season in Overwatch 2 to feel refreshing and exciting for new and returning players. To support that goal and also to allow our team, when we think it’s appropriate, to make adjustments to our maps, we have begun to run a map pool featuring all-new locations and many original maps. For season 1, we’re playing on the following maps for both Quick and Competitive Play:
Control Ilios - Evening Lighting Lijiang Tower - Dawn Lighting Oasis - Night Lighting Nepal - Morning Lighting Busan - Night Lighting Escort Circuit royal – Night Lighting Dorado - Evening Lighting Route 66 - Night Lighting Gibraltar - Morning Lighting Junkertown - Morning Lighting Hybrid Midtown - Morning Lighting King’s Row - Evening Lighting Eichenwalde - Evening Lighting Hollywood - Morning Lighting Paraíso - Morning Lighting Push New Queen Street - Morning Lighting Colosseo - Evening Lighting Esperança - Morning Lighting Each subsequent season, we will rotate some maps out of the map pool and bring back others that had been previously out of rotation. As we continue to rotate maps in and out, we’ll be looking at improving and tweaking them, so for example, when Rialto returns in Season Two, players will notice a few spots where we have added additional cover which should help the map play better in the 5v5 environment with reduced shields. For players who want to play maps not currently in the map rotation, hop into a custom game or the occasional arcade mode.
Climbing the ranks
Our team would like to apologize for ranking many players too low during the first week of Overwatch 2. We discovered a bug that was impacting player skill ratings, which is what contributed to many players being placed in Bronze 5 when they should have been placed higher. Our most recent patch included a fix that will help you get back to your true rank quickly, and that will be reflected the next time you receive a competitive ranking update. You will receive a boost as you continue playing to help you get up to the correct ranks. Players who haven’t yet placed in competitive won’t experience this issue after the fix goes live.
We’re also watching your feedback about how we present your skill tier and division and how you celebrate that in-game. While we don’t have any details we can share yet, expect us to make more improvements to Competitive, and we will continue to watch for your feedback.
Thank you for week one, and here’s to many more
Finally, we want to ensure games play out fairly for all players in all matches. In a future patch, we’ll fix an issue that could cause some rubber banding in-game. We also want to be certain that hit registration for shots fired is working pixel-perfectly. We have investigated reports from players about hit registration, and many reports are actually related to how our replay tool works, which does not perfectly capture the alignment of each player’s aim.
There are also misconceptions about how our controller settings on PC work, which does not affect mouse input. As an example, aim smoothing under gamepad does not impact mouse input latency or precision. However, in one report, we discovered a bug that affected the hitbox alignment of our rendered objects for Junker Queen in some specific situations, and we’re working diligently to fix this issue.
We also understand that some PC players have concerns with input responsiveness and recommend trying out these changes to improve how quickly the game responds to player input:
Make sure the in-game resolution setting matches your actual monitor’s set resolution. Set the capped frame rate to a value that matches your monitor’s maximum frame rate. If you have an NVidia graphics card, turn on NVidia Reflex + Boost. Otherwise, turn on Reduced Buffering for other GPUs. Finally, in your gameplay options, turn on Enable High Precision Mouse Input to speed up how frequently your mouse captures position in the game. Thank you to all the players who were a part of the first week of Overwatch 2. While this time has been incredibly exciting for the community and our team, it’s also come with many challenges that we're looking to address quickly. We will continue to listen to player feedback as we strive to make Overwatch 2 the best game it can be, and we are looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks leading up to Season Two. In the meantime, we hope everyone is having a blast in the game, and we will talk again soon!
Blizzard launched some Overwatch 2 merchandise alongside the game. Check out what's new on the Blizzard Gear Store!
The wait is finally over! Blizzard® Entertainment is kicking off the launch of the highly anticipated team-based action game Overwatch® 2, releasing today, with a range of merch and collectibles (press images here) themed around several of the game’s heroes, both new and familiar!
Be daring and clever like the battle-healer Kiriko with the Overwatch 2 Kiriko White T-Shirt and Overwatch 2 Kiriko Fox Ears White T-Shirt. Let the Kitsune guide you!
She’s fierce, resourceful, and there’s Carnage everywhere she goes. Bow down to her majesty, the Junker Queen, with the Overwatch 2 - The Reckoning 30.5 x 61 cm Matted Print.
Overclock your knowledge of the cybernetic commander Sojourn with her riveting origin story as told in the new novel, Overwatch 2: Sojourn, available for pre-order now and releasing on November 8!
Power up your collection with a statue of Reinhardt in the midst of generating a rocket-propelled attack swinging his hammer with the Overwatch 2 Reinhardt 25in Premium Statue, available for pre-order now and releasing in November!
Never sacrifice comfort while you game! Pre-orders are available for the gorgeous and ergonomically refined Overwatch 2 Tracer TITAN Evo 2022 Series Chair and Overwatch 2 Genji TITAN Evo 2022 Series Chair from Secretlab. Fans are also encouraged to check out other exciting Overwatch 2 themed products on the Blizzard Gear Store today!
Blizzard commented on the recent Overwatch 2 launch issues, as well as detailed the fixes they've already made to combat them, fixes that are still coming, and more, from removing SMS Protect for a majority of existing players, to the steps taken to address the queueing issues and missing items, and more.
OW2 Launch (Source)
Hello, heroes. Yesterday was an exciting day for the Overwatch team—a day that we know you have been looking forward to for a long time. While millions of people have been enjoying the game, the launch has not met your, or our, expectations.
First, we want to apologize to our players. We expected the launch of Overwatch 2 to go smoothly. We hold ourselves to a higher standard and we are working hard to resolve the issues you are experiencing.
We want to provide transparency on the issues, fixes we have made so far, and give you all insight as to how we’re moving forward.
We are keeping a list of known issues here 2.5k, but here we’ll take a deep dive into the top issues.
We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.
We remain committed to combating disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2—accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.
As a team, we will keep listening to ongoing feedback and will make further adjustments in this area if it is required.
Queue Issues, Server Crashes, and Stability
Tl;dr: We have addressed some issues and are in the process of addressing others, but players should still expect to see queues.
Login queues, server crashes, and stability problems are intertwined, so we’ll talk about them together. Players may have been seeing their queue numbers jumping around, going from a small number to a larger number. This is due to there being two queues for players—one through Battle.net, then one through the game itself. This process is usually invisible to players, but was being seen in real time. We have made changes to simplify the queuing process, so players should now only be experiencing the one queue before entering the game.
There are several areas where we’re working to improve stability. Today we’ve patched a server that is critical to the login experience, and this change has increased login reliability. Beyond queues, we’re in progress with another server update that will reduce the occurrences of players being disconnected once they’re already in game.
Finally, the player database is being overloaded, which cascades and causes a backup in the login system, which eventually leads to some people being dropped out of queues or being unable to log in at all.
We’re continuing to add nodes to ease the pressure on the player database. The process of adding nodes requires replication of data, which inherently adds pressure to an already stressed system, so we’re doing it slowly to not cause any further disruption as devs and engineers work through separate issues. We are also currently throttling queues in order to protect the player database as much as we can while we scale—this feels bad in the short-term, but once it’s done, will greatly improve the experience for players across multiple fronts moving forward.
Problems with Account Merge (Missing Player Items/Data)
Tl;dr: You have not lost any items or progress, though some players are logging in and seeing some/all elements missing from their collection.
We’ve received a number of reports from players that their inventory in-game is partially or totally reset. We’ve determined that the cause for this discrepancy in approximately half of reported cases is players having not yet completed their account merge 1.9k. This is understandable—one cause for this is due to a bug with the launch build not providing an account merge prompt on some consoles. We rolled out a partial UI fix earlier today to help some console players progress through the account merge flow, however, we are still working on fixes for additional UI issues.
In the other half of reported cases for this issue, things are just taking longer than expected for items from the original Overwatch to transfer and populate in Overwatch 2. In all cases, no player data has been wiped or lost. We have a client-side fix for this that cannot be deployed until next week, so we are exploring server-side fixes and will provide updates as more information becomes available.
There was a separate issue with account merge where players who had merged their console and PC accounts were experiencing problems logging in. This bug is now resolved. If you watched any community streamers on launch day, you might have noticed some had more trouble logging in than others; this bug was the primary cause for that.
Incorrectly Locked Heroes and Items for Existing Players
This is an issue separate from account merge but the player experience is the same as the above, where heroes and items that should be unlocked for existing players are appearing as locked. These cases are almost certainly related to our new First Time User Experience (FTUE) flow incorrectly being applied to existing players. We have seen relogging into the game resolve this issue in most cases. If you’re still experiencing this issue after taking these steps, please open a support ticket 625, that data is very helpful for our team.
On the day of launch, these issues were exacerbated by DDoS attacks—while they did not directly cause any of these issues, they made the environment in which we work on these issues more challenging. We have not suffered any further attacks.
We are committed to keeping you all informed, and will provide more information as it becomes available. Please keep an eye on @PlayOverwatch 334 for additional updates.
Thank you, heroes,
The Overwatch Team
Overwatch 2 is now live and the game is available as a free to play experience for all players.
WELCOME TO OVERWATCH 2
We’ve created Overwatch 2 as a new, free to play experience for new and returning players. Pick from our cast of 35 incredible heroes and team up in epic 5v5 action on 22 global maps across 6 distinct modes. Whether you like to lead the charge, ambush enemies, or aid your allies, there’s a hero for you.
Added Sojourn, Kiriko, and Junker Queen – Check out our heroes, new and old on http://overwatch.blizzard.com 7 Added Role Passives for Tank, Damage, and Support heroes 1000s of new voice lines and improved narrative reactivity across all heroes With over 44,000 lines of dialog, you’ll always be hearing something new Revamped combat sound design for all heroes Updated skins and VFX for all heroes FEATURE UPDATES
Accessibility Features Battle Pass starting with Season One Updated Competitive mode Cross-Progression First Time User Experience New 5v5 core game mode format New Challenge System New Cosmetic Types: Charms Name Cards New Skin Tier - Mythic - Cyber Genji Souvenirs Titles New History tab in Profile including Game Reports New in-game currency - Overwatch Coins New Push core game mode Ping System Shop 2.0 Six New Maps - New Queen Street, Circuit Royal, Midtown, Colosseo, Esperança, Paraíso, and many existing maps received new daytime and nighttime variants SMS Protect Updated Endorsement System If you want to check out more information on some of these features visit http://overwatch.blizzard.com/news 7 DELAYED FEATURES
OWL Hub will not be ready at launch Workshop creation and editing will not be ready at launch MOVED FEATURES
Highlights can now be found in the History tab of your Career Profile Role Queue is removed for all game modes except for Quick Play - Role Queue Patch Notes moved from the Main Menu to the Pause Menu RETIRED FEATURES
Assault maps have been removed from rotation in all playlists (can be found in Custom Game) General Chat has been removed Looking For Group has been removed Loot Boxes have been removed Player Levels are retired (your level prior to OW2 can be viewed in your Profile) ENGINEERING CHANGES AND UPDATES
3D audio systems across all platforms Dynamic render-scale support for PC HDR added for PC, Xbox Series X, and PS5 Raised max frames to 600 fps