Blizzard's Overwatch development team continues to do an astounding job at listening and communicating with its user base, and one of their preferred methods to address the Overwatch community's concerns is to provide developer updates via YouTube. Today we got the latest Developer Update segment wherein game director, Jeff Kaplan, shares everything that's currently in the pipeline for Overwatch.
The first thing that Kaplan mentions are big character balance changes to Widowmaker and Junkrat that are already being tested in the Public Test Region. For Widowmaker the biggest change is that her scope speed is being increased by getting rid of animation cancelling. Meanwhile, Junkrat's ultimate activation is being sped up and his trap will now be able to catch Gengi rather than being wrecked by his dash.
Noteworthy is that Kaplan made sure to address the elephant in the room, which is the buzz surrounding changes to Symmetra and he assures us that first and foremost she will not become a healer as proposed by many community members in the forums. He also promised that a lot of thought is going into how to revise Symmetra's design vision so that the end product is a character which will go from being merely situational to one that's viable for full matches. No specifics about the changes were given but the earliest these changes could happen is by mid November, and they are pending on internal and PTR testing first.
The Overwatch dev team is also being considerate of requests by live streamers and E-Sport broadcasters to add certain features to spectator mode. Therefore, some really cool changes are coming to spectator mode and are definitely going to make it easier for observers to follow the action. On PC, the use of certain hot keys will allow spectators to select between cameras focused on static, bookmarked locations such as objectives and capture points, and cameras focused on specific players or moving payloads.
Next, Kaplan talked about active work being done in the development of new heroes. He teased that one such hero is already very far along and is even being play-tested internally across the company, so we might see that one sooner than later. My money is on the obvious so I'm guessing that he's talking about Sombra there. Additionally, he revealed that they found another concept for a hero that they really like but anything on it is super preliminary.
There was also mention of development of maps that are near completion as well as prototype maps for pre-existing game modes. Kaplan mentioned that many new maps and modes are being tested internally but that they also may never see the light of day. Although he didn't provide any specifics on these maps, he did provide insight into why some of them never make it past internal testing, the main reason being that a character may become broken, completely ineffective, and even unnecessary in a certain map, at which point the map is discarded.
Finally, Kaplan talked about quality of life features such as more voice lines and emotes which will be made available for players to use all at once, meaning that you'll be able to have them equipped and switch between them, which will be a really nice option to have.
I'm glad to see that Blizzard continues polishing the Overwatch experience, and I'm very intrigued to see what they have in store for Symmetra, but what takes the cake in this developer update is the reveal that what could potentially be Sombra is almost ready!
You can watch the full update below: