Overwatch players are now invited to be a part of the development team’s favorite wacky experiments. In the latest Developer Update, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that the Experimental Mode will be available on all platforms beginning Feb. 25. Players will get a chance to test different modes or role queue setups that the development team has worked up.
The first experiment is the “Triple Damage” mode, a form of role queue that will allow teams of three damage dealers, two supports, and a single tank. Kaplan talked at length about this mode, commonly referred to as 3-2-1, on the Blizzard forums last month. The mode was tested internally by the Overwatch development team for approximately two months. After fans showed interest in trying the mode, the team apparently decided to put it up for testing as a part of the Experimental Mode launch.
After role queue was added to the game last year, queue times for DPS players skyrocketed. Some high-ranked damage players still see queues of nearly 15 minutes. “We are going to be looking for the effects to the queue times to see if it makes a difference,” Kaplan said in the Developer Update.
Kaplan also noted that the Experimental Mode will include big balance changes to off-tanks like Roadhog, Zarya, and D.Va as Triple Damage is tested. “Don’t freak out,” Kaplan reminded players. “These balance changes are not intended to make it to the live game,” he said, noting that balance changes that drastic would never be added to the live servers without extensive testing.
Experimental Mode isn’t intended to be a platform for bug testing game fixes. The Public Test Realm (PTR) still exists for that purpose. The new mode, however, does give console players their first chance to be involved in potential game changes. The PTR is only available to PC players who opt-in to participate in the service.
Kaplan said that players will still earn experience and progress toward event rewards by playing the Experimental Mode. In this way, the development team is adding an incentive to participate in testing and encouraging players to step out of their comfort zone. New experiments will apparently be uploaded to the mode on a regular basis.
Experimental Mode, which will be found as a new “card” on Overwatch’s home screen, will be available Feb. 25.