Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan says popular Apex Legends feature possibly coming to Overwatch

by Michael Gwilliam

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Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan has hinted that a ping system similar to Apex Legends' could be making its way to Overwatch 2 on launch.

At BlizzCon, popular streamer and Contenders player Sam ‘Samito’ Dawahare was broadcasting Overwatch 2’s PvE story mission demo when Kaplan suddenly sat next to him to talk, surprising the DPS main. 

After introducing themselves, the two began talking about the game, and Samito asked about if there were plans to add a ping system to the PvE mode.

Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch 2's PvE missions will feature unique items.

“Do you have plans to add an ability to mark a target in this game mode?” the Contenders pro asked.

“Yes,” Kaplan replied. “We have a fantastic lead UI (user interface) designer. His name is Junho Kim. And he was talking to me last week that he wants to do experiments again with a ping system.” 

A ping system would allow players to mark targets for focus, alert others for position, and other tools that make a team-based game easier without the need for vocal communication on a microphone.

“I know when Apex Legends came out, everybody loved their ping system and thought it was fantastic,” Kaplan added, reminiscing back to when the team actually experimented on something like that with the original Overwatch, but were ultimately unhappy with it. 

“Expect experimentation from us,” he continued. “We’ll see whether it sees the light of day or not.” 

Respawn Entertainment
Respawn Entertainment
The Ping Wheel is a key part of the feature that gives players a variety of different pinging options.


Even OWL players couldn’t beat the demo on expert 

Samito did note that he could see some people spamming it too much in ranked play, but with four-player co-op, he could see it working out well with how challenging the game is. 

“Some of these bigger enemies on harder modes, having good target priority could be really good,” he explained, later expressing how he was talking with players on the Atlanta Reign Overwatch League team - and even they couldn’t beat the mode on expert difficulty. 

“They were struggling on expert!” Samito exclaimed, something that Jeff seemed to relish in with a pleased response of “nice."

“Any game is way more fun when you play it on a really high difficulty,” the game director stated. “It’s punishing and you’ve got to learn.” 

Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch 2 even crushes pro players on its expert difficulity.

What is Jeff looking forward to the most in Overwatch 2? 

When asked what his most anticipated new feature in the sequel title was, Kaplan gave a surprising answer.

“It’s Push,” he replied, before discussing the new game mode. “As excited as I am about the story missions, and hero missions, and the talent system - all that’s wacky wild fun, as its core Overwatch is a PvP game.”

“To see Overwatch 2 get played with Push and to see the Overwatch League with Push, I can’t wait.” 

Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Toronto is the first Canadian Overwatch map.

Push is Overwatch’s newest game mode, and the first since launch that will actually be played in competitive seasons. The objective of Push is to take control of a robot and get it as far into the enemy’s base as possible. 

Similar to Control, Push’s maps are symmetrical meaning both sides have the same style of map geometry, albeit mirrored.

One of the Push maps, Toronto, was playable on the show floor - and according to Kaplan, the map wasn’t even finished.

Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Push is Overwatch's fifth standard game mode.

“It will look even better when the game finally launches,” he proudly said. 

Overwatch 2 is shaping up to be an exciting new title, but unfortunately there’s no release date in sight. It will be fun to see just how different maps like Toronto look when they’re finished and playable for everyone.