Geoff Goodman clarifies Overwatch movement updates
Overwatch recently implemented some movement changes in game, which altered the way some heroes feel when being played. The changes were put in place to fix bugs on a couple of heroes, but they affect every hero being played. Two issues were specifically being addressed with the update. First, a change to how heroes move on inclines. This was to address an issue where heroes traveling on inclines would end up slightly strafed left or right, even while simply trying to move forward. Obviously, this increased the chance of aiming issues for some heroes. In addition, moving up and down inclines previously varied in speed between heroes.
Second, there were changes to how acceleration works. This change was specifically intended to address in-air acceleration issues. Players were accelerating backwards to make turns mid-air, which was a little counter-intuitive. The changes were intended to address the issue and allow players to turn mid-air using the acceleration they already have, instead of having to come to a stop first.
Response to the changes has been mixed — some players have adapted to the changes with no issues, while others feel that their favorite heroes are now slower or less responsive than before. Overwatch Principal Designer Geoff Goodman hopped on the forums to explain the changes in detail.
We wanted to take some time to explain the recent movement changes in depth (with examples). Hopefully this will help everyone better understand what changed, and what did not.
There were two persistent issues with movement on inclines that we wanted to clean up.
First, while moving diagonally on inclines you would end up being slightly strafed left or right even if you were only attempting to move forward. This can be a subtle source of aiming issues for many people, and now the player will properly move forward in this situation.
Second, movement up and down inclines had inconsistent speed as compared to the ground. Running both up and down an incline would be faster than walking on flat ground. However faster movement (e.g. McCree’s Combat Roll) would be slower when going up and down inclines. Having consistent character movement speed is important for many reasons, the biggest of which is it allows you to be able to reliably know how to aim your hitscan shots or lead your projectile fire.
The characters in Overwatch have a fixed acceleration (how fast they can change their movement velocity) depending on if they are in the air or on the ground. Previously, this amount would get reduced if you were attempting to change your direction by 90 degrees or less, and was more pronounced if you were going faster than normal (e.g. Winston’s Jump Pack or Doomfist’s Rocket Punch). One of the consequences of this was that if you were in the air travelling forward and wanted to move directly right, you could reach full speed to the right faster if you accelerated backwards to a full stop and then moved to the right, as opposed to simply pressing to the right. Having to do a non-intuitive movement to reach your desired direction as fast as possible is less than ideal, so we made a change to allow you to more consistently use the air acceleration you already had to reach the direction you’d like to be moving in.
The new acceleration can feel like momentum is no longer conserved like before, but the forward velocity is just more efficiently being converted into sideways velocity. The direction is changing faster but your overall speed isn’t being slowed down.
If you’re flying as Pharah, you can now just press forward and you will properly accelerate moving forward, instead of having to counter accelerate to stop sideways drift.
If you’re leaping as Winston, you can more effectively redirect your velocity around corners. Prior to this rework it was possible to achieve similar mid-air turns by always facing your current velocity while strafing, but this was also unintuitive.
You can now press forward and right directional inputs after a Winston leap and you will actually move some to the right, whereas previously you would have to only hold right if you wanted to get any acceleration to the right.
It does mean getting used to the new strafing power. No longer do you have to hold strafe for a long time to get a small adjustment to your movement, you can simply short hold or tap it as needed, and pressing forward with a left or right command will do smaller adjustments than if pressing left or right alone.
This does not substantially affect movement when trying to change movement direction by >90 degrees.
Additionally, left and right strafing on the ground and air will be the same along with attempting to accelerate against a knockback will be the same.
We’re keeping an eye on these changes to make sure everything is working correctly. Any feedback would be appreciated, and would be especially helpful with any screenshots or videos.
Although these changes are meant to correct unintended issues with movement, there are some players unhappy with how they affect the way their favorite heroes feel. Lucio players in particular report that he feels “heavier” to play — like his speed boost isn’t quite as effective as before. But this could just be a case of needing to get used to the new adjustments and modifying play-styles accordingly. In addition, there have been reports that the camera doesn’t seem to be adapting well to the new movement — some players are reporting the camera feels jerky and disjointed. Blizzard is keeping an eye on how everything is working, however. If there are any major issues with the movement update, I suspect we’ll see them addressed in due time.
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