2018 is upon us, and for live games like Overwatch the new year means a terrific opportunity to look forward to the ways the game will change and grow in the months ahead. The latest Overwatch developer update does exactly that, with Jeff ‘From the Overwatch Team’ Kaplan laying out what to expect from the game in 2018.
Check out more on Overwatch’s 2018 in our interview with Jeff Kaplan.
In the immediate future, you can expect Overwatch League. The regular season begins next week on January 10, and in-game that means you’ll also have a bunch of team colours to purchase. Blizzard World will also “very soon” hit the live game after its stay on the PTR.
There’s also stuff in the works that we haven’t seen before. Hero 27 is already currently in internal testing, though Kaplan warns impatient players that the release date is less important to the team than getting the hero right. He also says the mysterious newcomer is “very needed” in the game. Of course, the team’s also working on new maps, and heroes beyond number 27.
More fundamentally, the team’s looking to constantly improve the state of competitive play. Kaplan points to examples like the removal of performance-based SR bonuses for highly ranked players as short-term improvements to the game, but they’re constantly looking at a long-term goal of “what do we want competitive play to be like ultimately?”
Lore fiends will be pleased to know that they’ll also continue to focus on story development, especially on the Recall event depicted in the animated shorts for Winston, Mei, and Reinhardt. This will continue to be explored through further shorts and comics. Back at BlizzCon, lead writer Michael Chu told us the team was looking to implement some sort of codex to the game itself.
The Lunar New Year event will return, appropriately themed around the Year of the Dog. Kaplan says this update will bring “significant content,” with changes from 2017’s Year of the Rooster based on player feedback. Uprising will also return, bringing back the old stuff for players who didn’t see it, but the team has “big ideas” for how to evolve this new iteration. The Anniversary event will also return, and Kaplan specifically says that means a second chance at the dance emotes.
Naturally, more events mean more legendary skins, but not all the new content is going to be locked inside time-limited loot boxes. Kaplan says a “ton of new content” will hit the base loot boxes “very soon, hopefully sometime this month.”