Jeff Kaplan on Overwatch Map Editor & Custom Games Matchmaking System

Jeff Kaplan posted a few minutes ago that the team is interested in the idea of giving players access to Map Editing Tools and to have a Custom Games Matchmaking System. However, this might happen at some point in the not-so-near future.

Geminus: I’d really enjoy the feature to make custom games open to the public, like a server browser. We could make our own Brawls with the custom settings, YouTubers and streamers could easily play with their followers, and people could easily host their own tournaments if we could require a password to join the server.

Kaplan: We’re very interested in the concept of enabling players to make custom games open to the public. We have time scheduled to explore this and we’re pretty excited about it.

 

Nabil: Are you insterested by an Overwatch Map Builder/Editor when your server browser came out?

Kaplan: Yes. We would love to make more of our tools available to the community. Our main issue has been that we made a brand new engine for OW. The tools and tech are not in a state where it is easy to make them public-facing. We keep talking about ways to get a roadmap to get us there someday. Both our design and tools team are very invested in trying to make this happen someday. But this concept would not happen anytime soon.

 

Sylian: Could you also make it so custom games give some XP?

Kaplan: We want to see if we can make this happen. There are some exploit/collusion cases that need to be worked out but if we can come up with a satisfactory solution, we’ll try to make EXP viable for certain modes/rulesets.

Overwatch: First Strike Graphic Novel Pre-Orders Open

Overwatch: First StrikeComing from Dark Horse Comics, ((pre-orders)) for the Overwatch: First Strike graphic novel have opened. The graphic novel by writers Micky Neilson & Chris Metzen, and penciled by Ludo Lullabi is slated to ship on April 18, 2017.

However, I recall (several months ago) a statement that a digital version would be available much earlier — on November 2016. I’ll update once details are revealed, or if that’s delayed. Stay tuned, and make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook (links at the bottom).

Originally, Blizzard Entertainment revealed plans for this graphic novel at the SDCC 2015.

Blizzplanet had a reporter at the SDCC 2015 to take video of the Blizzard Publishing Panel. The video and transcript may be found here.

 

Overwatch: First Strike

“The critically acclaimed video game comes to comics! Produced in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment and an all-star creative team, including Blizzard veteran writer Micky Neilson (New York Times bestselling author of World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria) and artist Ludo Lullabi (World of Warcraft: Ashbringer, World of Warcraft: Legion: Magni and Legion: Nightborne).

Overwatch: First Strike features fan-favorite heroes Soldier: 76, Reinhardt, Ana Amari, and more. This original graphic novel explores the early days of Overwatch as they fight to save humanity during the Omnic Crisis.” — pre-order HERE

Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Release Date: April 18, 2017
ISBN-10: 1506703348
ISBN-13: 978-1506703343

Sombra – AMomentInCrime Hits 33%

Sombra hacked the official Overwatch forums on August 24th and shortly after fans were able to decode a series of clues left by Blizzard to uncover the website URL A Moment in Crime.

At first, the website’s upload rate went from 1% to 5%. Once it hit 6%, the upload rate started increasing in small decimal increments (0.0038 every 3 minutes).

Today, the update progress hit 33%. It’s a bit difficult to make calculations, but it’s been 16 days since the website was discovered. 33% is one third of 100%. Unless something changes in the upload rate, therefore, it should reach 100% sometime between October 12-16th. Server Maintenance falls on the 13th, which feels more appropriate for an announcement.

October 18th (Tues) marks an important milestone as well, marking 2 weeks before BlizzCon.

On a related topic, the newspaper about Roadhog — found in certain maps (i.e. Lijiang Tower) — was changed to reflect a global hacking spree, hinting Sombra’s efforts to upload the Sombra Protocol into Omnics is in progress. The newspaper change was introduced in the recent patch that added the new Eichenwald map.

sombra-global-hacking-newspaper

 

Sombra Mysterious Countdown | A Moment in Crime

The past couple of days, after the Sombra message was decoded to point at AMomentinCrime.com — the progress bar has slowly moved at uncertain intervals.

The current message in the website says:

…Estableciendo conexión… (Establishing Connection)

…Protocolo Sombra v1.95 iniciado… (Sombra Protocol version 1.95 initiated)

…Transmitiendo información a ómnicos activos… 6.1851% (Broadcasting info to active omnics)

…Terminando conexión… (Connection terminated)

 

I spent an hour hitting F5, with a counter to measure the time intervals, then writing down the percent and the time the page was updated. There is so much randomness in the time intervals the page gets updated, and on top of that, the percent will randomly go down, then go up again. Too complex. There is one thing that’s for sure. The Percent is growing approximately 0.1000% per hour or less; and at some point the progress bar will hit 100%. Will the rate per hour grow eventually causing all calculations out there to be altered? It’s possible. There’s too much randomness going on. For example, it was at 5% for over a day, and suddenly it changed to what’s going on now. There might be changes in the progress rate later on.

This seems to be the final countdown for the Sombra announcement. On that we can count on due to the long amont of time the progress bar is going to take to reach 100%. Some people suggest the countdown might be reaching 100% around The Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico on October 31- November 2. Days before BlizzCon starts (Nov 4-5).

These were my observations for an hour:

6.0712
6.0788
6.0750
6.0826
6.0864
6.0902
6.0864
6.0940
6.0902
6.0978
6.0940
6.1016
6.1054 — 0
6.1092 — 2:28
6.1054 — 4:23
6.1092 — 4:46
6.1130 — 6:00
6.1092 — 6:10
6.1130 — 7:57
6.1205 — 12:30
6.1168 — 14:35
6.1243 — 14:50
6.1205 — 16:45
6.1281 — 17:31
6.1243 — 18:48
6.1281 —
6.1319 — 22:32
6.1395 — 27:34
6.1471 — 32:33
6.1433 — 32:54
6.1471 — 34:50
6.1509 — 37:33
6.1471 — 38:29
6.1547 — 39:52
6.1509 — 40:39
6.1585 — 42:34
6.1547 — 44:38
6.1623 — 44:53
6.1585 — 46:52
6.1661 — 47:35
6.1699 — 52:36
6.1737 — 55:35
6.1775 — 59:03
6.1813 — 1:00:51
6.1851 — 1:04:14

An explanation of how all the Sombra code and hints led to the Blizzard Entertainment website: Amomentincrime.com — can be found in this reddit page.

 

Sombra Facts: Is Sombra Human or an Advanced AI?

Some official Overwatch forum members and some people in Reddit have given up on Sombra being the next hero, speculating that Sombra is a god program (AI) or even an Omnic. Well, I wish to clear your mind of those terrible baseless thoughts if they have sway you into misinformation. If anything, she might be an enhanced human (like Genji, Torbjörn, or McCree with cybernetic implants).

I’ll give you facts that Sombra is a person and not an AI as some people are now claiming.

 

REAPER QUOTE

There is an audio file where Reaper says: “Where is Sombra when you need her?” — that states two things: Sombra is a person; and she is either a member of the Talon (Overwatch’s nemesis organization) or a neutral associate of the Talon. In addition, these dialogues are mostly referring to other members in your team or in the opposite team. Reaper is in a difficult situation, and he wishes Sombra was there assisting his team.

 

OVERWATCH COMICS

Did you know that Sombra was mentioned in the Official Overwatch Comics? If you didn’t … take a look.

In the official Overwatch Comics: “Ana: Old Soldiers” by Michael Chu — Reaper says to Hakim: “No excuses. For your sake, hope Sombra can get something useful out of this.”

They are talking about Helix locking down after the incident. That Helix Security International doesn’t know what they are protecting. Thus, Sombra is working on hacking to extract intel before infiltrating The Temple of Anubis.

 

SOMBRA IMAGE IN NEWSPAPER

Go to the El Dorado map. Head to the market area in Calle del Mercado. Search for the food car with the sign: Tortas Tacos. On the ground, you will notice an open newspaper.

sombra-newspaper

 

You will find the following image of Sombra. She is either wearing a hoodie, or the area that “seems” to be a hoodie could be long curly hair.

sombra-newspaper-2

 

I was able to zoom and brighten the image and this AI or Omnic has some serious sexy legs to be one, don’t you think?

sombra-newspaper-3

 

Sombra Hacks the Overwatch Forums

Blizzard Entertainment resumed teasing the next Overwatch hero: Sombra in the form of ARG.

ARG: “An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform, and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.”

Today, the Official Overwatch Forums got a new post titled 00110010 00110011. When you open the page, a forum user going by Skycoder says: “la que tiene la información, tiene el poder.” — spanish for “She who has the knowledge, has the power.”

sombra-hacks-overwatch-forums

 

The page immediately starts to degrade into oblivion, as if hacked. A photo of Reaper appears. Then many strings of code start filling the screen. Very likely the code reveals some hidden info.

overwatch-sombra-hack-reaper-photo

Eichenwalde Easter Eggs

Eichenwalde doesn’t have much of a visual history or easter eggs. Mostly objects like computers, laptops, beer steins, guitars, acordeonsm bottles, plates, weapons, shields, fresco paintings, and other normal life objects. There are however, two things that seem out of place.

Inside the castle of Eichenwalde, there is a room with a health pack, and a odd looking sword half-buried on the ground, and aflame. It is totally out of place. It triggered a memory back during a Diablo 1 (1996) cinematic.

UPDATE: It’s been said in the web that this is a “Dark Souls” easter-egg.

The first one might be a stretch, but then we have another recurrent theme going on with Diablo. Occam’s razor?

 

Finally, Balderich von Alder sits in a peculiar pose on a throne with two gryphon heads. Where have I seen that before?

 

Below, you can view some of the newspapers, posters, and vistas in Eichenwalde.

 

Eichenwalde Guide

Eichenwalde is the first new map for Overwatch since its release day. The map takes place in the southern part of Germany, in a little town in the Blackforest close to Stuttgart. Lore-wise Eichenwalde is the place where the german defense forces, called “Crusaders”, defeated the invasion of the Omnics, which ended the Omnics crisis in Germany. This battle can actually be seen in the new animated short “Last Bastion” which also was released recently on Gamescom.

The new map is a new “hybrid” map that is divided into three parts. First the attackers have to capture the first point to get control over the payload, which is a huge floating battering ram. After capturing the payload outside of the castle, the attackers have to push the ram a few meters until they reach the frontdoor of that castle. After securing the second checkpoint the battle continues inside the keep. The objective is to secure the old armor of the legendary Crusader Balderich von Alder.

There are many different elements that make this map unique. The way it is designed allows players to take a variety of paths to go to a certain point. Bridges, underpaths or smaller houses open up a lot of options to hide or to flank. The verticality of Eichenwalde is not like other maps that are played in Overwatch.

The map opens up the opportunity to refresh the current Overwatch meta, which allows more Pharah and Widowmaker plays (like one of the developers really liked to state out). The different paths and the overall verticality gives flankers like Tracer and Genji many options to distract the enemy team.

Overall I think people will like the map, firstly it is a hybrid map and people, especially in competitive Overwatch, love hybrid maps. Secondly, the amount of details and the whole setting is just beautiful to see and to play on. The new Overwatch map Eichenwalde is currently playable in the Brawl mode on the PTR servers, so go and check it out – by TerenZlol.

 

Health Pack Locations

The Eichenwalde map consists of three areas: the town, the castle patio, and the castle interior. The Attack team starts at the Braueret Mittagskrug Tavern (translates to: Brewery Lunch Jug) in the town, and the Defense team spawns at the Armory by the castle patio.

Lucioball Brawl | Overwatch 2016 Summer Games Olympics

Whoever designed Lúcioball Brawl for the Summer Games is a genius. This is a super fun brawl where no matter if you don’t win 5 games in a row, you will keep coming and have more fun.

The basics: You can use the yellow pads to jump forward across the map to seek better positioning, the mission is to push the ball and score into the opponent’s goal. You can either punch the ball, or use Sonic Amplifier to push the ball further.

Crossfade is permanently set to speed boost. The Healing Boost switch is disabled. When your Ultimate Hero power is enabled and ready, go to the opponent’s goal, and time it so that when the ball is near the goal (with the goalkeeper heading the other way) you press the Ultimate Sound Barrier to pull the ball toward the goal.

I really wish Blizzard Entertainment gets so much good feedback about this brawl that at least it gets added to the Custom Games, or at least decides to create a Brawl Custom Games tab so people can create their own games inviting friends, or allowing players to create the map and be able to queue a match with other players. It’s insanely fun, and according to Aaron Keller (GamesCom 2016) there might be more of this type of brawls in the future.

Lucioball and the Summer Games loot boxes will be available until August 22, 2016. So hurry up!