Update July 12, 2016: Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has taken to the Blizzard forums to explain the reasoning behind the changes to character restrictions in Competitive Play.
According the Kaplan, the idea of restricting teams to one of each hero has been hanging over Blizzard since early development. In the end, they decided against it, as they wanted players to have the freedom to be able to mess around and have fun with their team composition. This will still always be the case for Quick Play, but in Competitive Play Blizzard have seen this freedom have a detrimental effect.
One of the best FPS games on PC just keeps getting better.
“In Competitive Play, we feel that hero stacking is becoming detrimental and leading to some not-so-great player experiences,” writes Kaplan in a forum post. “For example, we’ve seen organised teams on Assault and Hybrid maps use hero stacking to overtake the first point before the defense has a chance to counter. We’ve also seen players use specific stacked compositions just to frustrate their opponents or cause indefinite delays in overtime (among other strategies). While this kind of thing is certainly possible in any mode, the higher stakes of Competitive Play means these kinds of tactics were popping up more often than anyone would like.
“Ultimately, we found that we agreed with a lot of the community’s feedback and believe that hero stacking is making the game less fun for competitive players.”
He goes on to explain that this was a simple change to make and it can just as easily be rolled back if it doesn’t work out. It’s going to be tested for the next two weeks in the PTR, and if it improves things as expected it will roll out into the public servers. If it doesn’t work as intended, Blizzard say they’ll hold off and look for other solutions.
Original Story July 12, 2016:Blizzard were always open about how Competitive Play would be an evolving concept, but just two weeks after launch it seems big changes are on the horizon. Soon there will be a restriction added to ensure teams can’t have duplicate heroes.
I always thought the one hero per team rule would benefit Overwatch anyway, especially when on the receiving end of a team of Reinhardts. It makes sense to keep casual Overwatch play fun, though, allowing those crazy mixes and multiple hero mobs to flourish, while Competitive Play filters it down to something more pure.
Another big change coming to Competitive Play is an alteration to the sudden death coin flip system. In fact, Blizzard are doing away with it altogether for this mode for Season Two, allowing games to end as a tie.
“We definitely want players to feel like if they had a tie, their time wasn’t completely wasted,” principal designer Scott Mercer toldGamespot. “So we’re trying to find the sweet spot of a lot of players feel like, ‘Oh, well, we got something out of it,’ butat the same time not create situations where players might collude and create some nasty situations there. We’re still discussing that.”
As well as these major tweaks, there are some balance changes incoming for some of the heroes. Finally, some much needed buffs are incoming for D.Va and Zenyatta.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the community about how D.Va and Zenyatta felt a little bit underpowered, so we’re making changes to them,” Mercer said. Zenyatta is getting 50 more shields and he will also move twice as fast while using his ult. His newfound mobility should hopefully make up for his glass jaw.
“D.Va’s Defense Field, instead of clicking it and it lasting three or four seconds and having a long cooldown, it’s now something where you can toggle it on and off and there’s a meter that runs that,” Mercer continued.
Meanwhile, Mercy’s ult charge time will take longer to charge and she can now ult while moving to increase survivability. Her right click damage boost will also be buffed.
All these changes are coming to the PTR today, along with new hero Ana Amari.