Overwatch 2 Gets A Behind-The-Scenes Panel At BlizzConline

Even though Overwatch 2 was not a part of the main BlizzConline showcase, the team had a lot to reveal during their panel. We already knew ahead of time that the game was not going to be released in 2021, but it does feel like a bit of a slight that the game couldn't even get a few minutes on stage when it has just as many awesome reveals this time around. The big takeaways from the panel, which you can watch down at the bottom, are that the characters have received some updated looks (as you can see with McCree here), along with new maps on the way for India, New York City, Toronto, and Rome. Not to mention map updates for Hero Missions, which are also still being worked on as they tell the story of Overwatch after reforming. We have a couple of snippets of info below along with images for you to enjoy, as you can read the full report here.

Is it just me or has McCree gotten scruffier because of Matthew Mercer? Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
Is it just me or has McCree gotten scruffier because of Matthew Mercer? Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Overwatch 2 PVP Role Updates

Overwatch 2 brings major updates to PvP, with new maps, changes to traditional roles, and upgraded systems to make the combat experience feel new and different. One update the team is experimenting with is the concept of passives: abilities that heroes intrinsically have based on their role. Passives take on different forms—tanks have knockback reduction and generate less ult charge for enemies shooting at them, damage heroes have a move speed bonus that allows them to flank better, and support heroes have auto-healing that kicks in after they haven't taken damage for a while. Beyond passives, a revamp to the tank role as a whole is being explored that will give them more utility—for example, giving Reinhardt two charges of his Firestrike and the ability to steer and cancel his charge—and transform them from backline protectors to beefy toe-to-toe brawlers. The updates are still being iterated on and may be changed or not make it to the live game.

In addition, the team has been working hard on updating the feel of combat to make it more visceral than ever. From sound to visual effects to game design, the way players experience combat has been overhauled and modernized to make even the most minor of melee attacks look and feel more satisfying and riveting. One of the biggest upgrades is the new convolution reverb system that has allowed the team to capture the acoustics of an environment and adjust game sound accordingly. Whether players are outdoors, in an urban area, trailing their teammates through a warehouse tail, or in a tight tunnel, the sound of a hero's weapon reacts to the area around it, creating an immersive and responsive combat experience.

Hero Missions

Since Overwatch 2's showcase at BlizzCon 2019, the team has worked to develop and refine Hero Missions with new technology, updated enemy units, and a branching hero progression system. Hero Missions are a new experience coming to Overwatch 2, expanding on the co-op PvE that players have previously tasted in Overwatch seasonal events. They're a massive undertaking; for a system like this to really sing, it needs a lot of missions. The team's goal since the beginning has been to make as many as possible, giving players hundreds of new worldwide assignments to embark upon as their favorite characters. Heroes will bring personality and light story, and missions feature different types of enemies, objectives to accomplish, expansions built into existing multiplayer maps that will take players down new routes they've never experienced, and a living environment that gives the world a cinematic feeling.

At BlizzCon 2019's first demo of the game, the team felt that combat wasn't engaging enough.  They've worked hard since to make missions feel exhilarating, crafting a slew of enemies for players to encounter and updating the hero progression system. Players will face down a new and improved Null Sector that developers have spent the past year fine-tuning to be more engaging. Unique enemies like objective units and elite units and responsive attacks amp up the fun during Hero Missions and vary combat to keep players on their toes while they quell Null Sector uprisings around the world. Alongside new enemies to face, updated hero progression allows players to choose from an arsenal of talents to unleash upon their omnic foes. Break established rules, experiment with different skills in an RPG-esque manner, and control the battlefield in novel ways as you explore new abilities and find the build that best fits you.

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About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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