Aug 11 2016 - 7:20 pm

Overwatch will get replays, but not before other features

Overwatch will likely get a replay feature and the ability to spectate games directly—but probably not in the near future
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Overwatch will likely get a replay feature and the ability to spectate games directly—but probably not in the near future.

Game director Jeff Kaplan replied to a forum post pining for those features today, stating that both are on the schedule, but that the engineers tabbed to work on them are finishing up other features first. Those include matchmaking improvement, high bandwidth server technology, and changes to Competitive Play mode ahead of Season 2, which will begin in September.

"We're as excited as you guys are for [a replay system and a spectate only feature]," Kaplan wrote. "We're really hoping to get time on them." 

Replays, the ability to save gameplay and watch it at a later time, is a key component to learning how to improve in a game. Watching and analyzing your own gameplay, your team’s gameplay, or that of other more skilled players is one of the best ways to figure out what you’re doing wrong and what you can do better. It’s a key feature in most competitive games.

Overwatch already has at least some kind of replay capability: its Play of the Game feature. The Overwatch team has a feature that expands on that functionality in the pipeline, Kaplan said, that should serve as a stepping stone towards full replays, highlights, or the ability to save specific clips from a match for later. That’s essentially expanding on the Play of the Game, allowing users to save their favorites or save other clips they thought were Play worthy.

The ability to spectate other players at will is another big component for many competitive titles. In League of Legends, you can spectate anyone you want through the in-game client, checking on pro players laddering, watch your friends blow their ults, or catch a high-level ranked game. In Overwatch, spectating is only available through the spectator slots in a custom game or after joining an already full game your friend is playing, in which case you’ll get thrown into the action the second a spot opens up. There’s no option to spectate for spectating's sake, but that’s likely something that will be available in the future.

First, though, the Overwatch team is addressing what they feel are higher priority issues.

While the first season of Competitive Play has proven popular, the ranking system and matchmaking still continue to be an issue, with many players placed into games with highly disparate skill levels and the Skill Rating number seeming a bit too tied to the average of 50. Higher bandwidth servers is another issue holding Overwatch back from being a stronger competitive game, as the server updates clients at a rate slower than most competitive games, meaning that what the client sees on his screen is not always in sync with what’s really going on.

While there’s no timeframe on the introduction of highlights or replays, we will see them in Overwatch. Eventually.

Jan 19 2017 - 9:19 pm

Overwatch players honor friend with heartfelt send-off

The tribute was organized by a Philippines-based gaming collective.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Processing the death of a friend is never easy. But it can help to grieve where you spent time together—even if that happens to be the battlegrounds of Overwatch.

When the team at games website Too Much Gaming lost their beloved colleague Willem Den Toom, they took to Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch to express their pain. Using Toom's favorite Overwatch heroes—Pharah, Reinhardt, Symmetra, Zarya, and Lúcio—and Hanzo, the group of friends coordinated rocket launcher and fire strike sendoffs toward Overwatch map Eichenwalde's moon as a gun salute for their friend.

"Wherever you are, may the payload be always moving, the point always contested, no one trickles out, and may there always [be] a healer on your team," Toom's friends posted to YouTube. "We miss you, big guy. This Play of the Game is for you."

Toom suffered a heart attack and died at 35 on Jan. 16, Too Much Gaming editor Carlos Herdandez told Mic. "He was loved by many and his loss pretty much struck waves in various communities in the gaming community here in the Philippines," Hernandez said. "Overwatch was the one game that we play together regularly after a long day. It's one of his favorite games." Honoring Toom in Overwatch was an obvious choice for the group.

The video ends with each player sending off Hanzo's dragonstrike ultimate, unleashing a continuous stream of swirling dragons toward the moon.

H/t Mic

Jan 19 2017 - 2:51 am

Lunar New Year Overwatch update confirmed by Blizzard

Its scope is still anyone's guess, though a Mei skin is practically inevitable.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Mei has her red envelopes ready. Do you have yours?

This year, Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch will get an update in celebration of the Lunar New Year. "Good luck and great fortune await," a tweet from Overwatch's official Twitter account reads. The short video reveals the event will go live next week on Jan. 24, but otherwise details are sparse.

In December, Blizzard teased that a new Mei skin would be released early in 2017, sparking speculation that a Lunar New Year event was coming. If the outfit in Overwatch's video is any indication, it's certain to make fans very happy—a stark contrast from the response toward Mei's legendary Winter Wonderland skin that disappointed many. An update from Overwatch's Korean Twitter suggests D.Va is getting a skin for the holiday, too.

Given the proximity to the Winter Wonderland event, which ended earlier in January, it's unclear just how big the Year of the Rooster event will be. It could just be a couple of skins, but we're hoping the event rivals Winter Wonderland and Halloween Terror and gets its own special brawl.

A celebration of the start of the lunisolar Chinese calendar, Lunar New Year begins Jan. 28, ushering in the Year of the Rooster.