Since the introduction of Map Pools late last year and Hero Pools in early March, we’ve heard a lot of great feedback from players on both of these systems, including what they like about them and what they find confusing or unclear. Based on that, we’ll be making some changes to both systems starting next week. Here’s what’s in store.
We’ve received a lot of helpful feedback since Hero Pools came to Competitive Play that the system was achieving our goal of shaking up the meta from week to week—but we’ve also heard that some aspects of the system are confusing or unclear, including why certain heroes or roles are rotated each week, or why the exact number of heroes available is inconsistent from week to week. In addition, having separate Hero Pools for Competitive Play and the Overwatch League in the same week led to a confusing or disjointed experience for players who follow the League.
This year’s Archives event brings deadly new modifiers to your favorite missions, challenging you to demonstrate your tactical finesse in Rialto, King’s Row, and Havana. Looking for a story recap before you dive into the action? We’ve got you covered.
SPOILERS ahead for the Retribution, Uprising, and Storm Rising missions!
Eight years ago, an explosive attack by the terrorist organization Talon left an Overwatch facility in Rome devastated and took dozens of agents’ lives. Since Overwatch itself was unable to retaliate in an official capacity, Gabriel Reyes, head of the organization’s covert ops division, Blackwatch, took it upon himself to enact revenge. With a strike team composed of former Deadlock Gang member–turned-Blackwatch-agent Jesse McCree, cybernetic ninja Genji Shimada, and geneticist Moira O’Deorain, Reyes set out to pursue Talon. The target: influential businessman and high-ranking...Read more
You’ve seen her before: a sleek, cyclopean omnic, hovering in the backlines of the earliest Overwatch roster art. You’ve heard whispers of her progenitor: Mina Liao, one of the founders of Overwatch, her expertise invaluable to Jack Morrison, Gabriel Reyes, and Ana Amari against the looming threat of the Omnic Crisis. Now, she’s finally here—Echo, the 32nd hero to join the ranks of the Overwatch roster.
“Echo is a really special character for us in that our players have known about her for a very long time,” ...Read more
Every week when players log in to Overwatch, it should feel fresh and different.
That’s the dream Principal Game Designer Scott Mercer has for Overwatch—and, starting in Competitive Season 21, it’ll become a reality. With the introduction of Hero Pools, a rotation curated by the Overwatch team will be available in Competitive Play, and one tank, one support, and two damage heroes will be unavailable from the roster each week with the intent to keep the meta fresh and encourage hero diversity in matches.
Interested in the philosophy behind the newest change to Competitive play? Mercer provided some insight into how Hero Pools will shake things up in Season 21.
Where did the concept of Hero Pools come from?
Scott Mercer: We get feedback from our players about how the meta doesn’t change often enough. Especially at the highest ranks of the game, like Master and Grandmaster, we’ve seen the meta become mor...Read more
Jeff Kaplan and Michael Heiberg are debating the relative popularity of ice cream flavors.
“I always thought chocolate was the flavor everybody would like most,” says Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director.
Heiberg, a principal game designer, shakes his head. “Statistically, vanilla is more popular.”
“All right, so—statistically, vanilla is the flavor,” says Kaplan. “People have a propensity toward certain ice cream flavors, just like they do toward roles in Overwatch.”
They’re trying to explain how they came up with the Triple Damage (one tank, three damage, two support) team composition set to be tested in Overwatch’s new Experimental mode. It’s a significant change, and the team isn’t sure how it’s going to work out, but that’s the beauty of Experimental mode: allowing players across all platforms to test the dev team’s wildest ideas without leaving the client.
Kaplan and Heiberg laid out the full ...Read more
Grab your beads and join the bacchanalia now through March 9 to earn unique, Mardi Gras-inspired rewards. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
From now until March 9, players will be able to earn two limited-time player icons, 7 sprays, and the epic Mardi Gras Ashe skin, for a total of 10 new rewards.
Don your purple, green, and gold, and enjoy the celebration with special Mardi Gras content available to unlock in-game. Wins in Quick Play, Competitive Play, or Arcade will all earn you two limited-time player icons, a spray, and a new epic skin: Mardi Gras Ashe!
These speci...Read more
At Blizzard, we make games to bring people together, and yet it’s still such a wonderful surprise to learn of the players who stay together. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we interviewed a couple of couples who decided to make their two-stack life-long after finding each other through Overwatch.
After a rough breakup, Katja truly believed she would never find a romantic partner again. Then she met her future husband, Chris, on a fan-art Twitch stream. Katja, born and raised in Germany, says she was brought to that particular stream because the artist was painting her favorite hero, McCree (who she has 600 hours of playtime on), in his 2017 Halloween Terror event skin: Van Helsing.
Katja talked to Chris for the very first time on that Twitch stream, and joined the artist’s Discord server afterward to continue talking to him. What made Chris stand out, Katja says, was how kind he was on an internet that wasn’t always so friendly...Read more
“We’re taking off the oven mitts,” says gameplay engineer Dan Reed.
“What?” says fellow gameplay engineer Zach Metcalf. “You mean like, the training wheels?”
“Like, now you can burn your hand, but you can also do things much more efficiently,” says Reed.
They’re talking about the new patch for Overwatch’s Workshop, the in-game scripting system that allows players to craft their own custom game modes. Along with adding new maps, tools, and quality-of-life improvements, the patch (available now on the ...Read more
An actor, clothed in vibrant, intricately embellished garb, moves synchronously with the beat of percussion-heavy music. A drumbeat and fan-flutter later, they don a crimson face that scowls at the audience; with a wave of their hand, that guise is gone, replaced by a pale, smirking mask, the edges of its lips quirked upwards in an uncanny jester’s grin.
How do they accomplish such feats of suspenseful fun and sleight-of-hand?
That’s a secret the two hundred remaining Bian Lian masters—and, now, Sombra, having joined their ranks with her new legendary Face Changer skin created in celebration of the 2020 Lunar New Year—will never divulge.
Bian Lian, known colloquially in the West as “face changing,” originated in the Qing Dynasty during the seventeeth century as a subgenre of the Sichuan opera. The art used to be simple, with performers only changing a few faces per performance; now, most professionals can swap through more than eighteen masks in a single sh...Read more
We wouldn’t normally instruct anyone to “treat” themselves to an avalanche, but if it comes in the form of Overwatch fan art from the new Winter Wonderland event, bring it on! (Also, we’re based in Irvine, California, so we don’t know what an “avalanche” is but they sound pretty exciting.)
Here are some of our favorite pieces of fan art we’ve seen so far:
We’ll start things off with a piece by Twitter user @nununumunu depicting Ice Fisherman Roadhog making friends (?) with some adorable seals….Read more
When searching for gifts for his family two holiday seasons ago, Morten Skaalvik turned to a celebrated classic: the Ugly Winter Sweater. Skaalvik, a concept artist on the Overwatch team, ended up buying his entire family sweaters based on their favorite TV shows. So when it came time to design Soldier 76’s new Winter Wonderland skin, “Ugly Sweater: 76,” Skaalvik was ready. He’d been training for this moment for years.
“I remember seeing someone from the community changing Soldier 76’s grumpy Halloween spray into a grumpy ugly Christmas sweater,” Skaalvik recalls during our interview. “And it was just such a perfect fit for him. It fits his dad persona so well while still being fun and wholesome. When I got the task to design a winter epic skin for Soldier 76, I knew the stars had aligned, and the time for Ugly Sweater: 76 had finally arrived.”
Over the three years Skaalvik has been an artist on the Overwatch team, he has created many of the game’s beloved skins, i...Read more
As Overwatch players around the world take on Mercy’s Recall Challenge, there’s no time like the present to look back at Dr. Ziegler’s past and explore how this iconic hero became who she is today.
Years ago, when we were exploring ideas for what would eventually become Overwatch, one of the areas the development team had been focusing on was the concept of a class-based online shooter—an idea that stemmed from an unannounced game that had shuttered, codenamed Titan.
"We had a class meeting, where [lead hero designer of Overwatch] Geoff Goodman said something that just really. . .stuck wi...Read more
Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes from the Overwatch team!
Since the dawn of Overwatch, the community has flooded the Internet with amazing fan art, entertaining videos, and incredible cosplay. Your talent never ceases to amaze, and we love being surrounded by your creations. With the holidays upon us, we're hoping that you'll be part of our celebration once again.
For the last three years, we've trimmed our tree with your handmade ornaments, decked the halls with your art, and enjoyed a seemingly endless supply of holiday cards. The community always comes through, and the forecast for this festive season is looking… EPIC!!
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) ...Read more
Fly into action and take up the mantle of the Valkyrie in Mercy’s Recall Challenge! Bring the new Overwatch short story, “Valkyrie” to life with story-inspired content available to unlock for a limited time.
From now until December 2, players will be able to earn a player icon, 8 sprays, and a legendary Dr. Ziegler Mercy skin, for a total of 10 new rewards.
At BlizzCon 2019, we presented a first look at the sequel to Overwatch. With improved visuals, technology, and immersive storytelling, Overwatch 2 is set to build upon the foundation created by the original game and bring the world and its heroes to life like never before. Senior Art Director Bill Petras, Assistant Art Director Arnold Tsang, and Technical Director John Lafleur were on stage to share insight about the team’s work.
The development team set out to evolve the artistic style of the original game for Overwatch 2 with a number of goals in mind: update hero visuals, highlight storytelling, and i...Read more
At the “What’s Next” panel led by Game Director Jeff Kaplan and Assistant Game Director Aaron Keller, BlizzCon 2019 attendees learned about Overwatch 2’s all-new co-op missions, the new map type Push, updates to the original game, new heroes, and even some story details.
In this new map type, players will clash to take control of a robot that starts in a central location and “push” it toward the enemy team’s base. Push maps are symmetrical, and the team that guides the robot farthest by the end of the time limit wins the game.
Jeff and Aaron revealed one new Push map: Toronto. The map aims to be a faithful adaptation of several Overwatch developers’ home country, featuring snow, red maple trees, multicultural storefronts, and even a glimpse of the Toronto subway. The map also has a great number of flanking paths; true to Overwatch form, players of this mode are encouraged to coordinate team-play to achieve victory.
Becoming an Overwatch® agent is easier than ever! Join the fight for the future with Overwatch® on PC available at $14.99 now through November 3rd!
The action is at an all-time high with our newest hero: Sigma. Gravitate into battle as an eccentric astrophysicist equipped with mysterious Hyperspheres, which bounce off of walls and implode after a short duration. Protect your team with the floating Experimental Barrier and freeze incoming projectiles with Kinetic Grasp. Knock your enemies down and out by flinging a mass of debris at your unsuspecting enemies with Accretion. If your find yourself in a pinch, change the spacetime continuum with Gravitic Flux. Take flight then lift enemies in a targeted are...Read more
The launch of Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch is just around the corner! To make sure you're ready for deployment on October 15, we've put together a series of launch-day protocols so you'll know what to expect, how best to prepare, and when you'll be able to jump in and officially begin your fight for the future.
Overwatch will launch on Nintendo SWITCH a...Read more
Updated November 1:
New in-game extras have been revealed, including the Hearthstone Golden Legendary card, Diablo III wings, and the addition of Deathwing the Destroyer for Heroes of the Storm. Read on for more!
The most epic family reunion on the planet is just a month away! BlizzCon® 2019 kicks off in earnest on November 1–2, when the Blizzard community around the world comes together in person, in-game, and online for two days of games, cosplay, contests, esports, and so much more.
Everyone’s invited to join the fun from home, with more panel content from the main BlizzCon stages available to watch live online for free than ever before, along with the opening ceremony and esports tournaments. But if you want to take your BlizzCon home experience to the next level, you can pick up the ...Read more
The Overwatch League may be heading into its final leg of the year, but rest assured Overwatch fans, the fun don’t stop.
The 2019 Overwatch World Cup will be taking place at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, in November. Rep your nation (or your favorite player’s nation!) with our new line of 2019 OWWC merchandise, provided by INTO THE AM.
Jerseys will be available in the style of all 46 teams wh...Read more
Grab your bricks and build yourself up by completing Bastion’s Brick Challenge! Play games and watch streams to earn new content inspired by LEGO® – including the new legendary Brick Bastion skin.
From now until September 30, players will be able to earn five sprays, six player icons, and the legendary Brick Bastion skin, for a total of twelve new rewards.Read more
The Overwatch community is always evolving alongside the game, becoming more in tune with the game’s intricacies and discovering and sharing new high-level approaches to play. Today we’re introducing a brand-new Role Queue system to help ensure Overwatch matches continue to be fair and fun well into the future, and create an environment that fosters teamwork and encourages players to bring their very best to every match.
Currently in Quick Play and Competitive Play, a lot of important decision-making happens in the 40 seconds before a match even begins, as everyone selects their heroes and responds to others’ role choices. It’s not uncommon for players—who may all have different goals and play styles—to feel tension, pressure, disappointment, or even hostility as a team composition comes together. The Role Queue system is designed to help take the edge off this process, ultimately leading to matches that feel fairer and more fun, where players are in roles that they want t...Read more
Jump into action and prove yourself by completing Baptiste’s Reunion Challenge! We’re bringing Baptiste’s war-torn past revealed in the Overwatch short story, "What You Left Behind," into the game with story-inspired content available to unlock for a limited time.
From now until July 1, players will be able to earn a pl...Read more
Heroes, you answered the call, and we can now reveal the top 10 countries that will be participating in the 2019 Overwatch® World Cup, as well as the committees for all countries that have made it through Phase 2: Voting.
Here are the top 10 seeds for the 2019 Overwatch World Cup. The top 5 seeds will receive automatic byes into the Group Stage, while all other countries will compete for the final five spots. These 10 teams will receive full support for round-trip airfare, ground transportation to and from the venue, and double-occupancy hotel accommodation. All other teams that are eligible to compete will receive some support for hotels, but are fully responsible for securing their own travel to BlizzCon.