Overwatch reveals its biggest official map ever in new PTR update - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch reveals its biggest official map ever in new PTR update

Published: 5/Feb/2020 0:30 Updated: 5/Feb/2020 22:23

by Bill Cooney

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Overwatch has rolled out a surprise new update for the Workshop mode that brings three new exclusive maps to the mode, including one that’s officially the largest to ever be in the game.

Along with the highly-anticipated new Hero Pool feature, Overwatch’s February 4 PTR patch included a ton of updates for the Workshop mode as well.

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The Workshop was introduced to Overwatch in April 2019, and since then fans have created all kinds of game modes to enjoy, including UNO, which has since become a favorite for DPS mains as they wait in the Competitive queue.

Overwatch Workshop Island Map
Blizzard Entertainment
Workshop Island is just one of the three new maps introduced with the update.

Overwatch developers Dan Reed and Zach Metcalf said they hope the new Workshop updates will mean “more power, fewer limitations, and even cooler creations as a result.”

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The big news for most Overwatch fans is the addition of three brand new maps with the update, even though they’re only available in the Workshop mode.

The new maps are Workshop Chamber, an enclosed 40×40 room, Workshop Island, another 40×40 square with no roof or walls, and Workshop Expanse, a blank 900×900 meter plane. Size-wise, it’s the largest map Overwatch has ever released.

Workshop Expanse Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Workshop Expanse looks absolutely massive, and big enough for almost anything Overwatch players can imagine.

Reed and Metcalf said they were inspired to create the new maps by the length that players were going to find appropriate environments for their custom game modes.

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“A lot of the popular game modes actually go to various places out of bounds in maps,” Metcalf said. “Like the roof of Havana, for example, because it’s a nice, flat plane where they can do arena game modes.”

The new Workshop Chamber map certainly seems to resemble to old roof area of Havana, and it gives us some serious Portal vibes at the same time.

Overwatch Workshop Chamber map
Blizzard Entertainment
Symmetra players and Portal fans, eat your heart out.

While these maps might not be available in regular Overwatch matches, it will be cool to see what kinds of modes creative players use them to come up with.

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To get all the nuts and bolts on the major Workshop update and all the details on the new-release Hero Pool feature, be sure to check out Dexerto’s full February 4 Overwatch PTR patch notes.

Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals his ideal competitive Overwatch meta

Published: 8/Oct/2020 3:13

by Theo Salaun

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Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President and Overwatch’s beloved Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed what he thinks is the ideal competitive meta for the expansive title.

Overwatch exists in many forms, from its highest ranks to its lowest, but the game’s competitive meta at the professional level has also varied greatly since the original release back in May 2016. 

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In the olden days, teams prioritized dive compositions led by Winston’s jumps and Tracer’s blinks. Then, in 2019, fans around the world either groaned or cheered as the divisive GOATS meta took center-stage, featuring a hefty squad built entirely with tanks and supports. 

Now, Kaplan is explaining his perspective on the game’s ideal state, following criticisms he levied back in July against the game’s double-shield reliance. Examining the game’s departure from a static, Orisa and Sigma-dependent environment, he dissects his compository ideology. 

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Brigitte stuns Junkrat on Volskaya
Blizzard Entertainment
Barriers have held an uncomfortably powerful role in Overwatch for a long time.

As discussed in an interview with the Loadout, Kaplan is both aware of the professional scene’s interests and the casual base’s tendencies. Coupling those factors, he believes the game is at its best when there is some blend of high skill caps and diverse team compositions.

“The most ideal, healthiest state of the game is when the meta is somewhat fluid, when the meta is more map dependent or team match up dependent than it is static. We’ve all seen those moments when the meta has been completely static and all six players will just play the same six heroes every time. I think that’s fun from a mastery standpoint, but I think it’s a lot more exciting for viewers when creativity and curiosity come into play,” he said.

When Kaplan refers to a “static” meta, the simplest example is 2019’s GOATS, where three healers (Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira) were coupled with three tanks (D.Va, Reinhardt, and Zarya) and would barrel into opponents.

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It took tremendous teamwork to be pulled off successfully against other professional teams, but many fans considered it more tedious than entertaining after months of gameplay.

In its current state, Overwatch is not completely balanced, but there is a degree of variety to it. That diversity seen in the Overwatch League spans downward into the casual ranks. Kaplan indicates that this is in line with his department’s hopes.

“I think most of our players would say in the ideal meta, all our heroes would be viable in some way competitively. I think as a competitive goal from a game designing and game balancing perspective that is extremely challenging, but it’s obviously what we strive to achieve.”

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While he assures that Overwatch would be completely balanced in an ideal world, in the meantime, his team would at least like to push toward a game that varies to some extent based on coaching, player preference, and map.

It remains to be seen if current and upcoming patches can accomplish that, but Kaplan’s emphasis on “fluidity” is a welcome driving force.

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