It was a big week for Overwatch! From hero fixes to playlist updates, the new year started with a series of news surrounding Blizzard’s award winning first person shooter. Here are some of the announced, implemented, or rumored changes for Overwatch after its December developer update.
After months of outrage from players, Roadhog’s hook mechanics were finally nerfed. In response to a post on the official Overwatch forum, principal designer Geoff Goodman confirmed the changes. Complaints about this ability, which pulls distant enemies toward the player, concerned the hook’s ability to strike and reel in characters from frustrating angles.
Roadhog’s hook is now effective only when the player maintains a line-of-sight with their target. The line-of-sight check for the ability previously required the hook itself to remain unobstructed from its victims. This made it possible for Roadhog players to hook enemies from behind corners and obstacles. This update transfers line-of-sight checks to Roadhog himself, so that a hooked enemy who runs or falls behind a wall, payload, or obstruction cannot be pulled from their position. Roadhog’s “Hook 2.0” only pull players to a position directly in front of him, rather than in a straight line. This fixes an exploit that allowed the character to turn while hooking, causing victims to land in a defenseless spot.
Mei Glitch Fixed
Game director Jeff Kaplan reached out through the Overwatch forums about an issue with Mei’s ice wall ability. Several players had used the ability to climb into otherwise unreachable areas, where they could fire upon enemies without being damaged. Exploits like this can be laughable, or even likable, when players combat AI opponents. However, Overwatch is a competitive multiplayer game that is spoiled by unfair advantages. Though no details were given as to what the fix would entail, Kaplan also informed players that Blizzard would be “taking action against those who abused this exploit. Overwatch is a PvP experience so that means exploiting game mechanics like this comes at a cost to those you are competing against.”
Just after the Winter Wonderland seasonal event wrapped up its holiday cheer, Overwatch‘s latest map launched on all platforms. Titled Oasis, this new control mode map takes players to an Arabian desert. New features in Oasis include a jump pad and moving traffic. These jump pads, the first seen since summer’s Lúcioball brawl, allow players to leap high into the air, adding a new sense of vertical play to the game. Rushing cars appear on the map’s City Center stage to act as environmental hazards.
The Overwatch official website describes Oasis as:
“One of the world’s most advanced cities, a shining jewel rising from the Arabian Desert. A monument to human ingenuity and invention, researchers and academics from around the region came together to found a city dedicated to scientific progress without restraints. The city and its inhabitants are governed by the Ministries, a collection of brilliant minds who possess many secrets that have attracted the interest of powerful organisations from around the world.”
1v1 Matchmaking Suspended
Overwatch‘s arcade playlist changed in response to its Oasis map. After the map’s release, the Mystery Heroes game mode was removed from matchmaking and grouped into All Brawls. Mystery Heroes was cycled out of the playlist to make room for an Oasis matchmaking option. However, this decision has confused players. Despite being more popular than modes like Mystery Duel and No Limits, Mystery Heroes was cycled out of the playlist because of matchmaking complications, explained Jeff Kaplan. He went on to clarify that Mystery Duel requires its own matchmaking queue, meaning its removal would render the mode unplayable outside of a custom match. Of course, Kaplan weighed upon the importance of player feedback during the change, adding “if it seems that the community would rather have Mystery Heroes be in the rotation and something else be out, we can make a change.”
Kaplan’s promise was kept when Mystery Duel was replaced with Mystery Heroes. The game’s director assured fans that a Server Browser feature will be developed to allow matchmaking for game modes that cannot be found in the Arcade. Until then, Mystery Duel will be playable only through custom games with friends.
This action sets an interesting precedent for Overwatch, as it marks the first removal of a game mode from a playlist. Blizzard’s goal with the Arcade playlist is to limit its size, ensuring that player queue times remain viable across locations. A Server Browser, however, will still allow players to find cycled-out game modes in public matches.
Terry Crews as Doomfist?
Celebrity and cinema icon Terry Crews made a recent visit to the Blizzard studio, where he met Overwatch‘s development team. This news excited many fans who have been campaigning for Crews to voice the unrevealed character Doomfist. Not long after, Crews posted an image on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, asking “Who wants to hear me do the voice Doomfist for real??” Fan response was unsurprisingly positive, with fellow celebrity Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson embracing a Terry Crews voiced Doomfist. The wrestling star turned blockbuster actor showed support by saying, “Known [Terry Crews] for years and this man’s voice even has bad assery muscles.”
Who wants to hear me do the voice of Doomfist for real?? https://t.co/l4aszRrDYE
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) January 4, 2017
Crews has grown popular among gamers in recent months. After enjoying EA’s Battlefield 1 at E3 last summer, Crews built a powerful PC to play more games with his son. Casting Crews as a character in one of his favorite games is a highly supported decision by members of the Overwatch community. Though Crews is willing and excited to become Doomfist, Blizzard has yet to confirm him as a playable hero. Still, it would be difficult to pass on Terry Crews as a voice for the character.
A fanatic of all things human, Steven spends an alarming amount of time researching untrue facts. Did you know that the Trojan horse was nicknamed “Tro-jo”? Just like you, he loves video games, movies, “the telly”, and all sorts of wacky thingamajigs. Though writing about games is his current side hustle, Steven hopes to create an impacting journalism career by turning his thoughts into words, sounds, and images.