The first Developer Update for Overwatch of 2018 was all about the game plan for the coming months, including the next hero and the upcoming Year of the Dog event. Now, we have a more specific Developer Update with the lovely Jeff Kaplan going into the hottest community topics that have inspired the most debate and discussion over the past months.
First up is toxicity, with the Play Nice, Play Fair initiative paying some big dividends. Abusive chat in live games is now down 17%, which isn’t a bad number at all. Player reporting is up 20%, which may lead to these good results. Kaplan refers to the process as “restoring faith in the system”, and hopes that things will further improve in the coming months. One way that the team is hoping to do that is by tracking social media sites like YouTube to find in-game examples of high profile, negative behavior and acting accordingly.
The next topic is hero balance, which is described as a balancing act between taking feedback between thousands of smaller sub communities (while using Blizzards own internal opinions and metrics). The Mercy changes currently on the PTR are described as “experimenting”, suggesting they won’t be going live just yet, and Kaplan acknowledges that Mercy is “the most played hero in the game” and a much-loved support. The goal remains to make Mercy viable, not to nerf her out of pro play or the competitive meta.
The next hero to receive a larger scale rework might be Hanzo, especially since his Scatter Arrow can often feel unfair and punishing. Mei is also noted as a hero who might need “slight adjustments”, but the goal is to keep her as a situational hero who doesn’t feel oppressive to play against.
The Developer Update ends on a high note, as Kaplan notes that things feel “pretty good” right now. With Hero 27 approaching and balance changes in the works, hopefully its possible to get Overwatch into an even better state.