Aug 13 2016 - 8:05 pm

7 of the best user-created Overwatch skins

The Overwatch community generally has a deep connection to the game’s heroes, and these fan-made skins prove it
Luke Winkie
Dot Esports

The Overwatch community generally has a deep connection to the game’s heroes, and these fan-made skins prove it.

Since its release in May, there’s been a near-constant stream of new, theoretical skins for Overwatch. One of my favorite things about the game is how much personality Blizzard was able to inject into a team-based shooter. Unless you’re an uber nerd (like me) you’re probably not all that interested in reading about the origins of Winston, or the friendship between Junkrat and Roadhog, but they still come alive through the power of the art direction and origin shorts. It makes me wish Blizzard would flesh out the world of Overwatch in other ways, with other games in the future.

These seven user-created skins are cool, and it’s always fun to look at great ideas, but they also show you just how deep of a connection the community has fostered with these heroes in such a short time. Before the game had even hit open beta I visited Blizzard development studios and saw the office walls papered with fan art. That’s pretty special.

Mei-dusa

I like this one because the theme is so strong. Medusa is the apocryphal figure in Greek folklore who can turn human flesh to stone with a stare. Mei’s entire kit revolves around freezing her enemies. It’s perfect! I just hope they’d add the requisite particle effects to her offense for the extra flavor.

Scuba D.va

There’s so much fun design space within D.va’s character design. I mean, she’s a tiny Korean StarCraft pro inside a huge mech. The image of a scuba-ready D.va inside a giant shark is perfect thematically and artistically—not to mantion the play on the words scuba diver. I mean, personally I can’t wait for her to get some sort of Protoss skin, but this works great too.

Magician Genji

Genji’s playstyle requires a lot of sleight of hand. I don’t think there’s a hero in the entire game with a higher learning curve. So maybe when you’re up against a good Genji and are bursted down from full health it’ll make more sense when you see an actual magician in the kill cam.

Beach Soldier 76

Soldier 76’s entire design is a sendup of the raspy space marines that dominate every other shooter on the market. His pulse rifle looks like a Fisher-Price toy, so handing him an oversized water gun makes perfect sense. Also I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure 76 has a nice butt.

Skeletor Reaper

Reaper is supposed to be annoying. I hate playing as him, because I hate that juvenile, antisocial, world’s-biggest-Slipknot-fan tone. By turning him into a neon He-Man villain, I might finally be able to get on board.

Groovy Lúcio

I guess we don’t really know what kind of DJ Lúcio is, do we? I mean, he’s Brazilian, so we’re assuming some sort of Samba thing, but what if he’s super into disco? I want a Lúcio skin based around every single dance music genre. I can’t wait for Chiptune Lúcio.

Kiss The Cook Roadhog

It is written that every big, burly character in a MOBA-esque game must eventually get a chef skin. Look at Stitches from Heroes of the Storm or Tahm Ketch from League of Legends. Out of all the skins featured in this article, I think this one is straight-up inevitable.

Jan 16 2017 - 6:06 pm

Third-person health bars make competitive Overwatch easier to spectate

And Blizzard has added them to the game's public test region.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Thank you, Blizzard! Overwatch in-game spectators can now toggle on third-person floating health bars for both teams.

It's a feature that's going to make Overwatch esports much more pleasant to watch—and it'll have a positive influence in caster analysis, too. Blizzard quietly implemented floating health bars for spectators in the latest Overwatch public test region patch, though the feature is expected to make it to the live server soon.

"I think this is going to help casting quite a bit in some of these bigger fights," OGN Overwatch caster Erik "DoA" Lonnquist said in a video on the feature. "You call tell the narrative of the fight a little bit more. You can kind of see who is getting lower."

Previously, this information was only available in the third-person perspective by looking away from the fight and to the team lineup bars at the top. And given how chaotic Overwatch can be, looking away for any amount of time could cause confusion.

Third-person health bars are one of the features fans and casters have been clamoring for, with Blizzard promising that increased spectator functionality would continue to roll out. "I think it really shows that [Blizzard] is listening to us," DoA added. "They're looking at what needs to be done in spectator mode. They're taking the steps they need to make it better. Props to Blizzard for putting it in there."

Blizzard has not commented on when this feature will hit Overwatch's live server, but we're guessing DoA wants it before he starts casting season two of the OGN Overwatch APEX on Jan. 17.

Jan 16 2017 - 4:46 pm

Cloud9 recruits new player ahead of Overwatch APEX Season 2

Former NRG Esports player Daniel "Gods" Graeser will replace Kyle "KyKy" Souder.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Western Overwatch teams are arriving in South Korea just days before the OGN Overwatch APEX Season 2 tournament series is set to begin—and Cloud9 is just announcing a roster change.

Daniel "Gods" Graeser, a flex/DPS player who was released from NRG Esports in October, will replace Kyle "KyKy" Souder on Cloud9. KyKy will step down from the starting roster, though he'll stay in South Korea as a temporary coach for Cloud9 opponent Team EnVyUs.

Uncertainty in Overwatch's meta is likely the cause of Cloud9's roster shakeup: A new patch is in testing on Overwatch's public test realm and expected to hit the live server at any time. Gods, as a flex player, is like a safety net. With Lane "Surefour" Roberts and Lucas "Mendokusaii" Håkansson also on flex, they've got much of the hero pool covered.

"I'm very excited to be joining Cloud9," Gods said in a statement. "Becoming part of such an amazing organization is definitely a huge opportunity for my career, and I can't wait to see all that we can accomplish together."

Though a last minute roster change seems reckless, it's worked for invited OGN Overwatch APEX teams in the past. In season one, Team EnVyUs was forced to replace Ronnie "Talespin" DuPree after he quit the team days before EnVyUs was scheduled to fly to South Korea. The sudden switch up seemed to work for EnVyUs, who brought on Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod and won the whole tournament. With KyKy as coach, they're looking to do the same. The former Cloud9 player, however, is not signed to EnVyUs permanently: "[He's] here to help us as a tryout for a coaching position," Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka tweeted. "We're optimistic about his position."

EnVyUs will take on MVP Infinity when OGN Overwatch APEX season two begins on Jan. 17 at 5am ET (7pm KST). Cloud9 takes the stage Jan. 20 at 5am ET (7pm KST).