Jeff Kaplan responds to backlash over new Overwatch Experimental Card

Published: 13/May/2020 8:04 Updated: 14/May/2020 6:50

by Brad Norton


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. 

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.”

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.

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

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.


Widowmaker and Ashe skin concepts take Overwatch fans back in time

Published: 21/Jan/2021 11:52

by Lauren Bergin


Widowmaker and Ashe are two of Overwatch’s most popular DPS characters. The villainous duo have been given a makeover in a recent skin concept that transports us to their academy days. 

Overwatch’s extensive lore is one of the things that sets it apart from its FPS competitors. Only a thin line in the sand separates the villains from the heroes, making us fall in love with them even more.

This is something we hope to see carry through to the game’s mysterious sequel, Overwatch 2, where fans went wild over the possible reveal trailer for a new character and were just dying to learn about this ominous Asa Yamagami and what the situation is with her husband.

Digging into the lore is exactly what this new skin concept does. Posted on Reddit, the artist has imagined two of the game’s most iconic DPS villains back in their youth in a stunning piece of fan art.

Blizzard Entertainment
Widowmaker has become Overwatch’s most iconic villain.

Academy Widowmaker and Ashe skin concepts

Taking a deep dive into the history of the two iconic villains’ past, artist Sparrow has depicted them as the two bad girls that you wouldn’t want to mess with in high school.

Entitled ‘Academy Widowmaker and Ashe,’ both girls are seen donning super cute brown tartan skirts with a pink polo shirt with their respective logos. Widow’s shirt is fastened by an adorable red bow, whereas Ashe on the other hand has a loosely tied tie swishing in the wind.

Importantly, the artist has remembered that the French huntress’ blue tinted skin is a result of her later Talon trauma, and so we get to see Amélie Lacroix before her transformation into the navy skinned menace that she’s become.

Ashe is also shown wearing her iconic cowboy hat, with her trusty shotgun remodelled to look a little more antique slung over her shoulder. It harkens back to a time when her hair was a lot longer too, giving the artwork a real historical dimension.

Academy Widowmaker and Ashe… rendered in Cycles from r/Overwatch

Fans react

Not only are fans obsessed with the high quality rendering of u/Sparrow_21‘s amazing art, but they’re loving this skin concept too.

One fan commented on artist’s “interesting” choice of giving Ashe longer hair, calling it a pretty “casual-looking Ashe skin compared to those in game.”

Another writes that the concept is “wonderfully done,” commending the lighting, poses and clothing used to create the look.

So it’s safe to say that fans would love to see a skin like this in game. They’re somewhat reminiscent of Riot Game’s academy line that appears in League of Legends, but Blizzard has never experimented with this kind of idea. Maybe these could line up with an Academy event, who knows? We’ve certainly got our fingers crossed either way!