Overwatch beta will return with new progression system designed not to incentivise single-character play


As previously announced, the Overwatch beta has been taken down and will re-release come January with some fairly major changes. Bastion and Torbjörn are getting reworks, UI elements are being redesigned and other bits and pieces have been announced. In a new video, Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan talks about the progression systems they’ve had in the past and hints at the one that will be implemented for the new beta.

Prep for the return of Overwatch with our character list.

He discusses a pair of progression systems they tried before, both of which were failures. They first rewarded customisable abilities, letting you level up and improve heroes as you went. The competitive drawbacks of this system, coupled with it overcomplicating things so players had far too much information that needed to be held in their head at all times, meant it was scrapped before long. The second system rewarded only cosmetics, still letting you level up individual characters but only giving out skins at most. This was actually present in the Blizzcon build, as well as datamined from the beta, but was also got rid of for making players not want to switch characters.

I’m very excited for the next build of Overwatch, which will presumably be much closer to how the game will launch. Kaplan’s been very careful in his various videos to make it clear that they’re going to change a lot of things internally very quickly before they bring the beta back up, and are willing to delay it into February (please, for the love of D.Va, no) if need be. Mostly, however, I just want them to makeTorbjörn fun to be anywhere near.

Release is still planned for “on or before June 21st” so we’re a little over six months out from go-time at the latest. I doubt Blizzard would be worried about delaying this if necessary, but the message is that something would need to go badly wrong for it to be so. They’ve even mentioned that they’d rather launch the game without a ranked mode than wait for it to be implemented (patching it in later), which in my opinion would be a big mistake but depends on exactly how online play works in the final version. A lot of mystery and not a lot of answers, so hopefully we get more soon.

If you’re curious about those sprays that Kaplan mentions, they’re over on fansite Overpwn.