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May 29, 2024

Overwatch 2 Director Admits Mistake in Revealing Controversial Self-Healing Changes Without Proper Context

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Jan 16, 2024

Background

Overwatch 2, the popular team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game developed by Blizzard Entertainment, recently announced some major changes coming in Season 9 that have sparked controversy within the player community.

The main change is that all heroes, including Damage and Tank heroes, will receive a self-healing passive ability starting in Season 9. Currently in Overwatch 2, only Support heroes have self-healing abilities. This change reduces the reliance on Support heroes and teamwork.

Initial Announcement Causes Backlash

On January 11th, Overwatch 2 Game Director Aaron Keller revealed the self-healing change in a forum post with few details and no context about the other changes coming in Season 9. The director simply stated:

“We want to reduce some of that frustration when you feel like you can’t rely on your team in those moments. The solution we have planned for Season 9 is to experiment with giving some passive health regeneration to Damage and Tank heroes.”

This announcement immediately caused backlash, with many players worried it would negatively impact teamwork and Support heroes:

  • Reduction of team reliance seen as against core design pillar of Overwatch
  • Concern that queues for Support heroes would lengthen with less reliance on Supports
  • Belief that self-sustain damages the risk/reward balance of aggressive plays

Director Admits Reveal Was a Mistake

Facing mounting criticism, Aaron Keller admitted it was a mistake to reveal the self-healing change without proper context:

“It was a mistake to talk about this change out of context. This is one part of a larger effort to improve teamwork, balance, and the feeling of playing support.”

He explained the changes are meant to improve, not reduce, teamwork by lowering frustration when teammates do not play their roles properly.

What Else is Changing in Season 9

While the self-healing addition garnered the most attention and criticism, Keller clarified there are numerous other impactful changes coming to Overwatch 2 in Season 9:

  • Support Passives – All support heroes will receive updated passives to help their survivability and team assistance abilities
  • Fewer Stuns – The number of stun abilities in the game will be reduced to lower crowd control frustration
  • Tank Reworks – Multiple tanks are receiving reworks to shift away from barriers and better enable aggressive plays
  • New Heroes & Map – A new tank hero and a new support hero will be added, along with a new map located in the Canadian Rockies

What Happens Next

The Overwatch team will be playtesting these changes extensively on the public test realm servers over the next month. They want feedback to ensure the changes have their intended effect of improving teamwork before Season 9 goes live in March 2024.

Keller admitted revealing the self-healing change early was a mistake, but stands by the change as an experiment to improve team reliance. If the experiment does not work as intended, the development team seems willing reverse course based on player feedback.

The table below summarizes the full timeline of events around the controversial self-healing change announcement:

Date Event
January 11, 2024 Aaron Keller reveals self-healing additions without context
January 12, 2024 Backlash from players worried about impact to teamwork
January 13, 2024 Keller admits reveal mistake, gives context on other S9 changes
January – February 2024 Changes playtested on PTR with player feedback
March 2024 Overwatch 2 Season 9 goes live with changes

The coming weeks will be pivotal in determining the future direction of Overwatch 2 as the development team responds to player concerns around the self-healing change and other Season 9 updates. Support players, in particular, will want to closely follow the public test realm updates to see how impactful the changes are to their hero gameplay and viability going forward.

Conclusion

The Overwatch 2 director made a mistake in announcing a controversial self-healing ability addition without providing proper context. However, he seems to have learned from that mistake, clarifying the other impactful Season 9 changes meant to improve teamwork, not damage it.

There is still uncertainty regarding how much the self-healing change will negatively impact team reliance and the Support hero role. But Blizzard seems committed to extensive public testing and gathering player feedback over the next month inform their final decisions for Season 9.

Going forward, the Overwatch team must be more transparent in announcing major gameplay changes, while also avoiding reactionary reversals. They should gather constructive feedback from the player community early in the process to build changes aligned with fan expectations around teamwork and other core pillars of the Overwatch experience.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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