Professional Overwatch players have a definite influence over decision-making in the Blizzard first-person shooter.
Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan visited the game’s forum to speak about the feedback process from players worldwide. “[Professional] players definitely do have an influence on our decision-making [in Overwatch],” Kaplan wrote. Players have a “direct line” to offering feedback to Blizzard and the Overwatch team, which Kaplan says the team takes very seriously.
There are a couple ways that professional players can provide feedback to Blizzard. Kaplan detailed the process: Blizzard has a “regular conference call” with professional players to discuss game balance, with some players emailing Kaplan directly to express their thoughts.
Kaplan also wrote that professional players have a private Discord channel where Overwatch developers hang out “to gather feedback.” The Blizzard esports team, too, often offers reports on the professional Overwatch community.
Feedback from the professional Overwatch communtiy is a major influence on the way Blizzard’s FPS changes with each patch update, but Kaplan mentioned that the rest of the player base has a direct impact, too. “I don’t think any of that should discredit the feedback of other non-pro players,” Kaplan wrote. “Every voice matters.”
Kaplan and the Blizzard team have made that clear through their activity on the Blizzard forum and Overwatch subreddit. Multiple team members show up consistently across the board, offering insight into the development process.
Of course, there’s always room to do better. Kaplan and the Overwatch team have recently taken flack for a perceived lack of action with regards to toxicity in the community. The developer has continued to be relatively transparent with its punishment system process, but its yet to be seen if that will be enough to satisfy the community.