Most patches on the Overwatch Public Test Realm (PTR) exist so players can test hero tweaks or mode additions, but some patches add necessary quality of life updates to the game.
The newest PTR patch, added on Sept. 23, offers a more extensive profanity filter update to Overwatch’s often-lacking censorship system. In addition, elevators in the game will now require activation and will no longer run in an endless loop.
As a social, team-based game, Overwatch has many issues with players using text chats for trolling, toxicity, or harassment. For the last few years, Overwatch had a rudimentary profanity filter system that could be turned on or off. Even when the filter was activated, players could get around the asterisks with a creative use of words.
After years of feedback from the community about the toxicity of other players within the game, Overwatch developers are testing a new “tiered” profanity filter system. Players can now choose between three levels of filtration: Friendly, Mature, or Unfiltered.
The Friendly setting will filter all words that the “constantly updated list” identifies as vulgar or offensive. Mature, the next filter down, will allow “obscene or vulgar” words according to the patch notes. This likely includes words of a sexual nature and minor swears. Words deemed “extremely offensive” will still be caught in the Mature filter.
Unfiltered includes no filters. The developer team warns that players “may see extremely offensive language” if this setting, which is not recommended, is selected. To put things in perspective, Unfiltered is the setting that Overwatch text chat is technically at right now if the profanity filter is turned off.
Players can also change levels for different text chat channels. For example, a player could have Friendly filter on for team chat and Unfiltered on for group chat with friends they trust. Overall, these changes should allow players to curate a less bothersome experience in text chats.
After four years of constant loops, elevators in Overwatch will finally get a little break. Elevators within the game will now wait at the bottom of the track until a player steps on them. Once they get to the top, they’ll pause for a brief second before going back down. “We hope that this change will make elevators a quicker and more reliable form of vertical transportation,” developers said.
So far, this change only affects maps with elevators, such as Hollywood and Volskaya Industries. Those elevators will stop looping at random intervals and will instead require interaction to work, which comes with sound effects to alert nearby enemies.
No big hero updates are included in this PTR patch, but Reinhardt gets an important addition to his voice line collection. Allied players will now hear Reinhardt say “For the Crusaders!” when he triggers his ultimate, Earthshatter. This change will allow ally players to differentiate between an Earthshatter from their own Reinhardt as opposed to the enemy Reinhardt.
These changes will be tested on Overwatch’s PTR for a short time. Since this is a test realm, these changes may not make it to live servers in their current condition or at all. The PTR is only accessible by PC Overwatch players using the Battle.net client.