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News > Overwatch 2Dec 16, 2015 5:00 pm CT

Overwatch: Jeff Kaplan talks progression systems

Game Director Jeff Kaplan sat down to discuss Overwatch progression systems in a YouTube video released earlier today. First and foremost, Kaplan discusses progression systems which won’t be coming to Overwatch anytime soon — early development experiments which ended in disaster. Among them is a system where you leveled up individual characters for cosmetic rewards, which provided to be an impediment to gameplay when Overwatch is meant to be a game where you can quickly and easily switch characters to counter your opponents — who then counter your counter, and you counter their counter to your counter, and …

The second failed progression system mentioned is something akin to the progression you see in an RPG: talent-like customization for your individual heroes. An example cited is Reaper healing to full health after using his Wraith form. Ultimately, with Overwatch being such a fast game, increasing the sheer amount of knowledge you need to have at all times didn’t work out well. When there are two Reapers in your game and they both have completely different talents, that’s hard to track. And, theoretically, once you’ve internalized what those Reapers were capable of, they could switch to new heroes, and someone else would become Reaper, having another completely different set of talent choices. The speed at which Overwatch plays made that nonviable.

When the Overwatch beta returns, hopefully in January, we’ll catch a glimpse of the developers’ latest iteration on the game’s progression system. While details were vague, the system will include the cosmetic rewards created for the individual character progression system. Sprays were datamined in an early beta build of the game, and those sprays will no doubt be among the rewards — and while Jeff Kaplan didn’t say so, we suspect we may see new skins, too. Or just hats.

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