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Archive • Mar 03, 2018

Jeff Kaplan Comments on Potential Changes to Overwatch Mystery Heroes

Jeff Kaplan has commented on potential changes to the “Mystery Heroes” Overwatch mode. While Overwatch’s Quick Play and Competitive modes share a rule set, there are plenty of other ways to play the game, and several are offered as playlists in the Arcade. These extra game modes are usually taken a little less seriously, and designed to be quirky and fun, rather than competitive or even balanced.

One of the modes that best embodies that atmosphere is Mystery Heroes. The mode pretty much does what it says on the tin – each player is assigned a mystery hero, and to add to the potential madness the one-hero-limit is removed. As a result, it’s possible to get randomly assigned very bizarre team compositions, the sorts of things you’d never see in a regular game – not least because of the potential hero duplicates. In extreme examples, people have even ended up playing games in which their entire team is randomly assigned the same hero. The trouble, of course, is that many times this can lead to extremely one-sided matches. If one team has no healers, for example – or conversely, so many that they lack damage. In some scenarios, it can simply feel like a quick-play match in which team-mates refuse to play composition that is even vaguely sensible, except in this case there’s nothing they can do about it. In order to avoid the most extreme examples of this, one player suggested on the official Blizzard forums that certain restrictions be added to the playlist. Ensuring that the team gets at least one support hero, for instance, and limiting each hero to a maximum of three per team. Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan responded to the post, stating that it was something the team had considered. He also stated, however, that the truly extreme cases were often what could make the mode most interesting and different from standard play, and so they’d never pulled the trigger.
We’ve discussed putting logic like this into the mode numerous times. Every time we get close to doing it, someone argues with us that the point of the mode is to allow for “broken” comps and that’s what makes it fun for them (i.e. 5 Mercys and a Bastion). I’m really torn because I understand both arguments. For me, personally, it’s frustrating that the game doesn’t build better comps. But I also understand the fun in “whacky” comps in this arcade mode. Perhaps we can try an alternate game mode to Mystery Heroes at some point… “Slightly Balanced Mystery Heroes” or something along those lines.
The Arcade has seen all sorts of different playlists over the course of its existence, and so it’s very possible that a new variant of Mystery Heroes could eventually appear.