The Latest Overwatch Hero Wrecking Ball Is Now Live - Dexerto
Overwatch

The Latest Overwatch Hero Wrecking Ball Is Now Live

Published: 25/Jul/2018 1:06 Updated: 26/Jul/2018 12:08

by Joe O'Brien

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The latest Overwatch hero, Wrecking Ball, is now available on the live servers.

Wrecking ball is the 28th hero in the game, and the 7th to be added since its original release in May of 2016.

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Though technically named Wrecking Ball, the new hero has more commonly been referred to as Hammond, the name of the genetically-enhanced hamster that pilots the “Wrecking Ball” mech.

Hammond was first referenced with the release of the Horizon Lunar Colony map, when it was revealed that he had been a subject there alongside Winston. Several direct references made it clear that Blizzard had plans for Hammond, but most fans always assumed that, like Winston, he had been a primate of some sort.

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Hammond’s story goes that when Horizon fell to the gorilla uprising, he was able to catch a lift with an unknowing Winston by attaching his own pod to Winston’s rocket. The two vessels became detached upon reaching Earth, and Hammond found himself in the Australian outback, making his way to Junkertown.

There, Hammond built a battle-mech to take part in the Scrapyard battle arena, in which he became champion under the name Wrecking Ball.

After four weeks on the Overwatch PTR, Wrecking Ball is now available in the live servers.

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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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