With news that the Overwatch 2 closed beta will be launching on April 26, more information about the sequel’s unique additions will likely be released by the developers over the next month. One of the first topics they’re tackling is communication between team members.
Like ping systems in other titles, the Overwatch 2 system will open up a “wheel” of options for players to use when the ping button is held down. This resembles the selection wheel of Overwatch’s sprays and voice lines. Options shown in a screengrab include “fall back” and “group up,” which are currently only voice-based instructions in the base game. Now, those instructions can be coupled with a location-based ping.
The big draw for the Overwatch 2 ping system, though, is the use of context within the game. If a Tracer calls out an enemy Reaper, teammates will explicitly hear Tracer use a voice line to call out Reaper along with a physical ping, according to the blog post.
In addition, pings will “attach” to the last place an enemy was before using a movement-based ability that causes invisibility or a change in position, like Reaper’s Shadow Step. Some abilities, like Sombra’s Translocator or Tracer’s Recall, will cause a ping to realistically “fall off” since they’re no longer visible or in an easily-predicted location.
Teammates will also be able to respond to pings by pressing the ping button on top of an existing ping, allowing teams to communicate without using voice or text-based chat.
“One of our goals was to augment speech and give people a way to visually interpret voice communication,” systems designer Gavin Winter said in the blog post. “We also wanted to support all voices and create a system to communicate for players that would prefer to avoid voice chat.”
Winter is hoping the ping system “will help with toxicity in-game,” likely a nod toward the unpredictable and often abusive state of voice chat. He noted that heavy spam protection is being tested to stop players from overusing the ping system and that the usual blocking techniques for voice lines will likely be extended to pings.
Overwatch 2’s pings are an “evolving system,” according to the post, and will likely be refined as the closed alpha continues and closed beta begins on April 26.