Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan responds to backlash over new Overwatch Experimental Card

by Brad Norton
Blizzard

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Jeff Kaplan has responded to backlash facing the new Experimental Card system in Overwatch, as particularly avid players appear to have been expecting more from the feature.

The new Experimental Card feature in Overwatch has indeed been used to test a few fundamental gameplay changes. However, it has more prominently been used to tweak hero balancing, similar to the Public Test Region. 

Following a balance tease in the latest Developer Update, May 12 saw the introduction of the latest Experimental Card. With a major focus on Support heroes, once again the new Card focused entirely on balance updates. This has left certain players wanting more from the testing mode. 

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The first Experimental Card allowed for three Damage heroes at a time.

“The tweaks are just so small you barely notice a difference,” a member of the Blizzard forums said. “It's called ‘Experimental Card’ for a reason, they need to… experiment.”

Arguing the feature should be used to “stretch the boundaries” of what’s possible in Overwatch, this particular player suggested Blizzard “try out new things.”

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Drawing the attention of the Overwatch Director, Kaplan responded to the backlash and outlined the real benefits of the Experimental Card feature. 

While the developers do “have some more ‘interesting’ things planned,” he explained that “those things usually require a lot more effort.”

“You’ll see a mix of changes on the Experimental Card. It’s still useful for us (and for the community) to test balance changes as well," he continued.

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Kaplan's response indicated that more big ideas are in the works.

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The first few experiments saw the 2-2-2 structure upended. Instead, three Damage, Tank, and Support heroes were allowed in each passing test. Since then, the feature has mostly been met with random balance adjustments, much the same as the Public Test Region.

Bigger ideas could soon be hitting the experimental mode, according to Kaplan, but only time will tell what form these tests will take.