Overwatch beta is back online with all new content [Updated]
It’s official, the Overwatch beta has returned! The beta has come back online with a brand new patch featuring a new progression system, two new maps, a new game mode, balance updates, new progression skins, and private game updates. Our favorite Overwatch update? Definitely the patch note “Jeff Kaplan’s beard progression has been reset” — and indeed it has, as you can see clean-shaven Kaplan in the latest developer update video.
For those hoping for beta access, we are still in closed beta and the Overwatch team currently has no dates for the next Beta Test Weekend, when more players will be invited into the game. In the meanwhile, make sure your account is opted in for beta access for a chance to get it.
Check out all the details, including today’s patch notes and a new developer update video under the break.
New Game Mode: Control
In this update, we’re introducing a brand new game mode: Control. On Control maps, two teams fight over a series of objective areas in a best-of-three format. When a team is in control of the round’s objective area, they will make progress toward capturing it, and whichever team gets to 100% first wins the round. Each round (up to 3 total) will feature a new objective area located in a different part of the map.
Two Control maps are currently available for testing: Lijiang Tower and Nepal.
New Control Map: Lijiang Tower
Lijiang Tower was built in the heart of a modern Chinese metropolis, its busy streets lined with stores, gardens, restaurants, and famous night markets, where foods from around the region are available at all hours. The tower itself is home to one of the leading companies in China’s state-of-the-art space industry, Lucheng Interstellar, an organization with a long pioneering history that is currently pushing the boundaries of space exploration.
New Control Map: Nepal
Years ago, a group of omnic robots experienced what they described as a spiritual awakening. They abandoned their preprogrammed lives to establish a monastery high in the Himalayas of Nepal, where like-minded omnics could gather to meditate on the nature of their existence. Led by their spiritual leader, Tekhartha Mondatta, they took over the ruins of an ancient monastery and turned it into the home of the Shambali, a place where omnics and humans alike make pilgrimages in the hopes of finding a greater truth.
New Play Mode: Play vs. AI
No interest in playing against humans? No problem! Players can now team up and battle against A.I.-controlled characters in our new, aptly named mode: Play vs A.I.
To join a Play vs. A.I. game, select “Play” from the main menu and then select “Play vs. A.I.” You can queue up solo or in a party, and you’ll be matched into a 6 player vs. 6 A.I. game.
New Feature: Player Progression
While we strongly believe that playing Overwatch should feel exciting and rewarding on its own, we also know how fun it can be to work toward long-term goals. To this end, and as a way to thank you for your time invested, we’ve added a brand new progression system to the game.
Progression in Overwatch is built around earning earning experience and leveling up your account. Moving forward, you will now gain experience by completing Quick Play and Play vs. A.I. games. Earn enough experience, and you’ll level up. Level up and you’ll receive a Loot Box!
Loot Boxes contain a random selection of items that can be used to customize the look of your hero and express yourself in-game, including skins, animations, emotes, custom dialogue options, sprays, and more. In addition to collecting these items from Loot Boxes, players can also unlock them by spending a new in-game currency called credits.
Players can customize their heroes, view items they’ve unlocked, and spend credits to unlock new items in the Hero Gallery.
To learn more about player progression, click here.
- Private Game has been changed to Custom Game
- Players can now right click on a friend’s name to join their Custom Game
- Players can now alter the following rules for a Custom Game:
- Map Options:
- Map Rotation (Random, List Order, and Single Map)
- Return to Lobby (Never, After a Game, After a Mirror Match)
- Players can now customize which maps are enabled for their Custom Game
- Map Options:
- Hero Options
- Hero Selection Limit (None, 1 Per Team, 2 Per Team, 1 Per Game, 2 Per Game)
- Role Selection Limit (None, 2 of Each Role Per Team)
- Allow Hero Switching (On, Off)
- Respawn as Random Hero (On, Off)
- Player can now customize which heroes are enabled for their Custom Game
- Gameplay Options:
- Players can now set their Custom Game as a skirmish
- Players can now set modifiers for the following stats: Health, Damage, Healing, Ultimate Charge Rate, Respawn Time, Ability Cooldown
- Players can now enable or disable the following options: Skins, Health Bars, Kill Cam, Kill Feed, Headshots Only
- Team Options:
- Team Balancing (Automatic, Off)
- When Balancing Occurs (After a Game, After a Mirror Match)
- Custom Game A.I. options have been improved:
- Players can now add friendly A.I. to their team
- Players can now select which A.I. they want to play against
- Players can now set the difficulty of each A.I. in the game
- A.I. can now play in all game modes
- Several small quality-of-life changes have been made to Custom Game spectating
- Scrolling the Mouse Wheel will now zoom you in and out of third-person view
- When spectating in third-person, right-clicking will now detach the camera at its current location
- The third-person camera will now orient based on where the spectated player is aiming
- A new work-in-progress Training mode has been added: the Practice Range
- A new work-in-progress profile system has been added (under “Career Profile”)
- Initial support for AMD Crossfire and NVIDIA SLI has been added
- Jeff Kaplan’s beard progression has been reset
HERO BALANCE CHANGES:
- All healing effects now work on shields
- Quick Melee now pauses weapon recovery time while active
- Ammo will now reload in the middle of a weapon’s reload animation, instead of at the end of it
- Several adjustments have been made to in-combat visual effects:
- Enemy team ability colors should now be more clear
- Muzzle flash has been re-tuned for several weapons
- Several adjustments have been made to in-combat audio:
- It should now be more obvious when you are being healed by indirect healing sources like the payload or Lúcio’s Crossfade ability
- It should now be more obvious when you are attacking invulnerable players
- Explosions at a distance should now be more audible
Ultimate Charge (All Heroes)
- Players no longer gain Ultimate charge from taking damage
- Ultimate charge will now generate slowly over time for all heroes
- To accommodate for these changes, many heroes’ Ultimate cost has been rebalanced
Developer comments: Allowing heroes to generate Ultimate charge when taking damage created several balance issues. For example, it was often a bad idea to attack an enemy hero if they were being healed, since that would charge up the enemy’s Ultimate and their healer’s Ultimate much more quickly. To help address these issues, we’ve removed the ability for damage taken to generate Ultimate charge and made it so that all heroes will now generate Ultimate charge at a slow and constant rate.
- Base health increased by 50 armor (now 200 HP/100 Armor)
- Configuration: Recon
- Minimum weapon spread has been removed
- Maximum weapon spread increased by 10%
- Weapon spread will now start to recover more quickly
- Configuration: Sentry
- Transforming from Sentry to Recon decreased from 1 second to 0.5 seconds
- Aim restrictions have been removed (Bastion can now aim in 360 degrees)
- Weapon spread decreased by 20%
- Weapon reload speed decreased from 2.5 seconds to 2 seconds
- Bullet damage decreased by 33%
- Bastion’s survivability in Sentry Mode has been rebalanced:
- Now grants 300 armor
- Frontal barrier has been removed
- Bastion’s core is now exposed when deployed in Sentry mode, located on its back. All successful attacks to the core will deal triple damage.
- Now heals 25% of total health per second, instead of a flat value
Developer comments: While we love the way that Bastion can turn the tide of battle, the hero felt too powerful against less experienced players and too weak against more experienced players. The goal of these changes is to make Bastion more viable at all skill levels, as well as provide more flexibility in how the hero can be played and supported by a team.
- When D.Va’s mech is destroyed due to damage taken, it will now despawn immediately instead of a few seconds after D.Va is ejected
- Defense Matrix
- Size decreased by approximately 50%
- Shape changes to be more cylindrical than conical
Developer comments: Previously, D.Va could become a problem when there were multiple people playing her in a game, especially when they were crowded around a small capture point or escort objective. Between the size of her Defense Matrix and the fact that her destroyed mech could be used to block line of sight, she was often simply too difficult to kill. These changes are designed to reduce her overall defensive footprint and give players more ways to counter her.
- Scatter Arrow
- Now has a fixed spread pattern
- Sonic Arrow
- Can now stick to and move along with enemy targets and barriers
- Hanzo can now turn while using Dragonstrike
Developer comments: These quality-of-life changes are intended to make some of Hanzo’s abilities work a little more intuitively.
- Guardian Angel
- Can now target the souls of dead allies
- Ultimate charge cost decreased by 25%
- Activation time decreased from 1.5 seconds to 1 second
- Range decreased from 40 meters to 15 meters
- No longer locks aim during activation
Developer comments: Mercy is a very strong support hero with a very strong Ultimate, so it’s no surprise that many teams consider her mandatory. We don’t want any hero—or any hero ability—to feel like an “auto pick.” Our goal with these changes is to tone down Resurrect by allowing opponents to counter it, but still make sure it can feel game-changing.
- Jet Pack
- Will no longer refuel while Pharah is sliding on an un-walkable surface
Developer comments: Players discovered a way to make Pharah hover indefinitely across some surfaces. While we initially allowed this neat trick to persist, it ultimately proved detrimental to map balance, so it needed to go.
- Damage decreased by 50%
- Cone width decreased by 40%
- Reinhardt can now turn while using Earthshatter
- Now renders Reinhardt immune to Zarya’s Graviton Surge
- If Reinhardt activates Earthshatter while trapped inside a Graviton Surge, he will now be dropped to the ground and the ability will activate at that point (rather than it activating in mid-air)
Developer comments: Ideally, players should be using Earthshatter as a setup move for their team. However, this ability was doing so much damage that Reinhardt could use it as a setup and finishing move, eliminating multiple enemy heroes without much assistance. These changes are intended to bring Earthshatter more in line with other heroes’ Ultimates, while still allowing Reinhardt to be the big playmaker he has been.
- Chain Hook
- Stun duration after being hooked has been slightly increased
Developer comments: It’s always been intended that, after successfully hooking a target, Roadhog would have a chance to act before his target recovered; however, there were some situations in which this wasn’t happening, particularly at higher latencies. We’ve slightly increased the stun duration following Chain Hook to compensate.
- Heavy Pulse Rifle
- New reticle added
- Long-range damage falloff added
- Spread recovery now begins instantly, instead of after a delay
- Spread now has a curve, which makes it more accurate at the start but then quickly becomes less accurate
Developer comments: These changes are aimed at making Soldier:76’s weapon feel better when firing, as well as provide more experienced players the opportunity to gain accuracy at longer ranges (via burst-firing). To ensure that Soldier: 76 doesn’t become too powerful as sniper, however, we also added some long-range damage falloff to compensate.
- Symmetra’s turrets will no longer generate Ultimate charge when dealing damage to barriers
- Ultimate cost reduced by 40%
- Symmetra no longer gains Ultimate charge while her Teleporter is active
Developer comments: These changes have two primary goals. First, we want it to be easier for Symmetra to get her first Teleporter up. Second, we want to eliminate those frustrating situations where Symmetra is able to immediately deploy another Teleporter as soon as it’s found and destroyed by an enemy team.
- Torbjörn’s turrets will no longer generate Ultimate charge when dealing damage to barriers
- Maximum Scrap increased from 100 to 200
- Amount of Scrap per pickup decreased from 30 to 20
- Indicators have been added to help players locate Scrap more easily
- Rivet Gun
- Primary Fire
- Damage increased by 25%
- Fire rate decreased by 20%
- Alternate Fire
- Damage increased by 50%
- Damage falloff increased at minimum range
- Fire rate decreased by 33%
- Now shoots projectiles that need to be aimed
- Primary Fire
- Build Turret
- Upgrading the turret no longer costs Scrap and occurs more quickly
- Level 1
- Damage increased by 15%
- Health decreased from 250 to 150
- Level 2
- Damage increased by 15%
- Health decreased from 425 to 300
- Can no longer be upgraded to level 3 with Forge Hammer (see Molten Core changes below)
- Level 3
- Bullet damage increased by 15%
- Bullet fire rate increased by 25%
- Rocket Launcher damage decreased by 50% but now fires in bursts of 4
- Rocket Launcher fire rate decreased by 33%
- Rocket Launcher explosion radius decreased by 40%
- Rockets no longer cause knockback
- Health increased from 600 to 800
- Armor Pack
- Cooldown has been removed
- Armor granted increased from 50 to 75
- Packs are no longer visible to enemies
- Molten Core
- No longer fills Scrap meter
- No longer makes abilities cost 0 Scrap
- Can now be activated while moving
- Now automatically upgrades level 2 turrets to level 3 turrets while Molten Core is running (turrets will revert back to level 2 once Molten Core ends)
Developer comments: Similar to Bastion, Torbjörn was a hero that often felt too powerful against less-experienced players, but underwhelming against more experienced players. In particular, we found that less-experienced players had a difficult time figuring out how to deal with Torbjörn’s level 3 turret. On the flipside, more experienced players could easily prevent Torbjörn from setting up a level 3 turret or otherwise getting too established, which in turn made him feel helpless. To help solve these issues, we’re making his Rivet Gun stronger; improving the damage output of his level 1 and level 2 turrets, but reducing their health; and linking his Level 3 turret to his Ultimate, Molten Core (thus limiting its duration).
- The game’s Main, Social, and Options menus have been redesigned
- An “Always Skip Kill Cam” option has been added
- A “Kill Feed Display” option has been added
- Volume sliders have been added for Music, Sound Effects, and Voice Chat
- Scoreboard statistics have been reworked for all heroes
- New commendations have been added for several heroes
- Players can no longer receive more than one commendation during end-of-round voting
- Voice Chat
- An on-screen notification will now appear when players are speaking in other channels
- Having a controller connected no longer prevents menu navigation
- Made improvements to how the game handles widow creation and transitions between Fullscreen and Windowed modes
- Performance improvements have been made for all maps (most significantly on Numbani)
- Player collision improvements have been made across all maps
- Interrupting Hanzo’s bow draw should no longer prevent the bow from being re-drawn if Mouse Button 1 is still held down
- Junkrat’s RIP-Tire should no longer fall through sloped surfaces
- Reinhardt’s Fire Strike damage can no longer be calculated as a headshot against an enemy player
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