Overwatch's Jeff Kaplan questions what people like to watch on Twitch - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch’s Jeff Kaplan questions what people like to watch on Twitch

Published: 26/Dec/2019 0:51

by Bill Cooney

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During Overwatch’s annual Yule Log stream, the game’s director Jeff Kaplan wondered aloud about the strange things people want to see streamed on Twitch.

Every year on Christmas Eve, Jeff Kaplan sits in front of a roaring fire for several hours on Twitch to celebrate the holidays with Overwatch fans.

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This year, Uncle Jeff decorated the tree with ornaments sent in from Overwatch fans, shared messages from personalities, and even drank some milk tea boba as an early Christmas present to himself.

For one of his skits, reflected on the strange things people seem to enjoy watching on Twitch, while putting together an Overwatch LEGO set.

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“I used to think it was weird people would watch streamers eat, you know there’s the ‘eating’ category,” Jeff said while building away. “But we have a guy who works on our team who’s a tech artist who streams, he would stream Overwatch and stuff, and we all thought ‘wow he’s going to be one of the most popular Overwatch streamers because he works on the game and has all the knowledge about what we do that nobody else knows.”

But, surprisingly enough, not even a member of the Overwatch team was able to draw in viewers while playing the game. Instead, it was his eating streams that drew the most viewers.

“Nobody watches his Overwatch stream, except for us, we all tune and watch him when he’s streaming to support him,” Kaplan explained. “But his top viewers were when he streamed himself eating two pizzas.”

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“I think that says something about society,” Kaplan continued. “I’m not sure what it says about society, but I’ll let you all draw the conclusions.”

Besides pondering the things people like to watch on Twitch, like a video game director sitting in front of a fire for several hours, for example, Kaplan also talked about his experience playing Overwatch with real players.

“My wife actually teases me because I talk so much during video games, she said I should have been a streamer because I don’t shut up when I play games,” Kaplan joked. “With Overwatch, after a while people started recognizing my voice and at first I used to deny it.”

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The Overwatch director explained that when players discovered it was him playing, it made games very strange with everyone focusing on him.

“I actually play with a voice changer when I play Overwatch,” Kaplan revealed. “It’s made the game a lot more fun because I can go back doing what I like doing, which is talking and calling out strategies.”

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If you missed the 2019 Overwatch Yule Log stream on Christmas Eve, the full VOD of the festivities can be found in the YouTube video at the top of the story, along with a full replay of the stream on Twitch for Christmas Day.

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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