Jeff talks possible upcoming character changes
Wed 19th Apr 2017 - 1:16pm
For those of you who don’t know, April the 6th was the BAFTA Games Awards. These are the British Academy Video Game Awards, where Overwatch took home this year's Best Multiplayer Game Award. Overwatch won against Battlefield 1, Forza Horizon 3, Overcooked, Titanfall 2 and Tom Clancy’s The Division. It was also nominated for the AMD best eSports Audience Award. Last year this was won by Smite, a game I felt deserved the award. This year the best eSports audience award, beating Overwatch, CSGO, Dota 2, LoL and Street Fighter V went to Clash Royale. React to that how you wish. I’m not a mobile games expert, so I won’t comment on that game's scene. Ovewatch was also passed over for the Best Original Property and Game Design awards for Inside, a game deserving of the praise that I do recommend.
Jeff Kaplan himself went to attend these awards, meaning he was in London. While he was there, he sat down to speak with IBTimes UK about Overwatch and the future plans for the game. They spoke about a lot but for this article, we will focus on changes and discussions about characters.
IBTimes asked if Reinhardt being "essentially a must-have for most Overwatch teams" was a problem for the game. Jeff states that in the pro scene right now he’s not a must-have. The OGN Overwatch APEX tournament in South Korea saw a lot of usage of Zarya, D.Va and Winston. Winston (even before his buff) was seeing a lot of play over there. Jeff says that Reinhardt is "not necessarily the must-pick that players perceive him to be." The pick rates they are seeing out of the pro scene are not 100% Reinhardt. In fact, their only concern at the moment is Lucio. Yes, players seem to think Reinhardt is picked the most and is ‘essential’, but Lucio has a way higher pick rate according to Jeff. He didn’t go into any further details on that and then stated that balancing Reinhardt would be difficult. They need to be very careful not to swing the balance too far or quick. The shield is important for the team and provides moving cover so they want to be very careful about balancing him too aggressively. In short, no actual information about changes for Reinhardt, but it is important to note they have been looking into it. Jeff is tight lipped…. but for Soldier he did have a little more to say.
Reaper and Soldier were the next to be brought to Jeff’s attention. Jeff says they expect to see more Reaper as the meta shifts around and that he is not in a bad spot right now like some are making him out to be. They’re trying some stuff internally on Reaper at the moment, but it’s unclear whether it will see the light of day or not. Jeff reassures it was "very minor, just a little bit of quality of life issues that we’re trying to pick up with him." However, Jeff says this regarding 76:
‘He's very dominant right now and he’s very prevalent in the meta, but we don’t think he’s too far off. If anything, maybe his damage is a little too high. I would hate to knock 76 back so far that he drops out of the meta.’
He then speaks about player perception of balance being more important than actual balance. They don’t want people being like "76 is useless, we won’t play him anymore" and that that happening would be "devastating". So it’s clear that they see how common Soldier is, being a lot easier to learn as a DPS over someone like McCree. He’s very strong right now but they don’t want to make him not viable, so is a damage nerf the best choice? Possibly, it does seem fair enough as Soldier (well a good/high-level soldier at least) almost always will have the Gold DPS in the match. He has a really good damage output and is almost a must have on defence. McCree can be a headshot master, a real Cowboy that can tear up the enemy as a DPS, but he is multiple times harder to play at a reliable level than Soldier. Soldier has a healing aura of 40 healing per second and can be very lethal with good positioning, especially on defence when set up. 20 damage a shot at close range isn’t weak and since his spread doesn’t matter, he can melt tanks down. However, at long range, his current spread isn’t that brilliant which is why we do see Pharah beating him at longer ranges, even if most people expect it to be his ‘job’ to deal with her. Never the less a lot of people have suggestions for changes they want. Making his gun a burst rifle, making his damage at closer ranges less and further ranges more, decreasing clip size, etc. If you have any suggestions for changes, please tweet me @DanteDemonZ. I’d love to hear other people's thoughts.
The last question they asked was about exploring the possibility of giving more characters additional ultimates. Jeff replied with "If it was ever appropriate to the kit of that character, I think we would absolutely explore doing it."
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