BlizzCon 2017 Overwatch: What’s Next Panel Transcript

Community Q&A

Participant 1: So you guys are going to make Blizzard World real right, and like 2018?

Michael: Here is the thing, right? It is in the future, so we will have a little bit of time to wait I’d say.

Aaron: If we started a Kickstarter for like $8 million dollars will you guys donate?

Participant 1: I’m pretty much sure you guys would get every single dollar you hope for, and more. (whispers: “go for it!”)

Michael: Well, I mean I would love to go so. You won’t get any argument from me.

Participant 2: First of all: love Blizzard World, but nothing would warm my heart more than defending on that map and manning that siege tank even for 5 or 6 shots while defending.

Aaron: That is a pretty awesome idea. Maybe there is a game mode there. It is something like that. I don’t know.

Geoff: Actually, yeah… I mean one of cool things about the arcade now is we get to try crazy stuff in there. So I mean… we try not to throw in mad mechanics in the main pool. That is going to suddenly feel like it is like disrupting everything, but it is cool doing that idea. I think maybe a place for that someone can try it maybe someday in the Arcade. Something like that would be super cool.

Participant 3: Hey, guys. First off, thank you for this support hero. We really need that, and so my question is more of a lore question. So seeing Moira and her healing, and her siphoning powers, I am wondering if there is a connection between her powers and Zenyatta’s approach of how he heals and discords; or if it is going to be communicated in the future.

Michael: So there is a connection, but it is actually not a Zenyatta. It is actually more of a connection to Mercy. You know, they both work together obviously. Moira was part of Black Watch. Mercy was a part of Overwatch, but she is definitely taken and modified some of the tech. In fact, there is some evidence on the Oasis map that sort of hints at some of that.

So I just made that easy. I just threw it out there. So not Zenyatta so much. That is a little different; and in fact, Moira herself is very curious about how all that works.

Participant 4: So I know that recently you updated Junkrat’s grenades so that they don’t do damage to himself anymore. I was wondering if you have got any plans to do something similar with Pharah and her Ultimate.

Geoff: Oh maybe. I think it is not necessarily like a larger gameplay change across the board that we want to affect everybody. Actually, Junkrat himself was sort of in a state where like some of his stuff worked that way, like his concussive bomb already didn’t hurt him, so we had no place with him where it was like he was stuck in a very specific range where he wasn’t super on a long range, and when you got too close then he was killing himself, so from a pure gameplay standpoint we kinda had to like either let him shoot really far, which is really weird with a grenade launcher, or just kinda make him not hurt himself just as part of his general kit; but in general the plan is still to make explosive weapons to hurt yourself when you use them

either let him shoot really far which is really we were going to doctor or just kind of like make him not part of his general kit but in general of the plane is still to make explosive explosive explosive weapons herself and use them.

Participant 5: I have got a kinda smart ass question (or whatever). I tend to think that I my pretty clever. I mean… and I watched the Reinhardt cinematic and you have added some additions like the sword and the double-guns, and I am like: Is next year’s lore going to be in Eichenwalde for a PvE event?

Michael: Well, we will talk about it. We don’t really have anything to say about future events, but we certainly really love that map, and I think the Cinematic department really went above and beyond in creating that cinematic. I know I was a little moist in the eye.

Geoff: Technically, Halloween Terror is in Eichenwalde. A section of it.

Michael: That’s right.

Participant 6: So I play a lot Symmetra and I realize that Symmetra is not really picked in like pro games. Is there any plans to like change Symmetra just a little bit, or make her maybe make her have healing abilities? Because, she is the only support that doesn’t heal. Just wanted to put that out.

Geoff: I don’t know how likely it is that she will end up with healing abilities. I think I have heard definitely a lot of people comment that they feel like she should be in the defensive category, because she doesn’t heal. Even though those four categories are technically kinda like not necessarily healers, although at this point it kinda is. We have actually been talking a little bit about looking at the categories again, and see if they make sense.

But I hear what you are saying, especially in general, she does get some play; but yea she doesn’t get picked too much at the high-end like that. She pretty recently had that kind of remake where she got the extra ultimate. So it let her be more flexible over both points. So that helped out, and yet we are always looking at other heroes too in the future; and obviously, we have shown recently with Mercy we are willing to go back, and tweak things heavily if you like it, so that she can go in a better direction. So, we will see.

Participant 7: Yeah. So I know Tracer was kind of inspired by like the jumper class from Titan, and all that. A couple of ther classes and heroes in Overwatch were inspired by scrapped classes from Titan, and I was wondering if Moira was one of them, and what other types of abilities or class playstyles from Titan would you like to incorporate into future heroes of Overwatch?

Michael: Really the Omni blade. Right? That’s an idea that will never die.

Geoff: I could say a few things about that. I have said this before that we have a great tools, team, and we have great tools to use, and either we just play with a lot of different mechanics, and some of them were stuff we tried. Moira was definitely like completely from scratch. There wasn’t really anything there from Titan. A lot of them are like that, but there were a couple of abilities that were kind of cool, like I remember Tracer had this gun back then — because we could get alternate guns back then too — she had a gun whre you could load somebody up with shots, but they wouldn’t be able to explode, they would stick in you, and then you could hit another button that at some point later… you should have this animation the way she would blow them all up. It was pretty fun, so there is definitely like one off guns that are kind interesting to look at in the future but–

Aaron: And to add unto that if you are interested in this go to the Overwatch panel tomorrow morning, because there is a lot of information along. Kind of along the veins of what you are talking about, and what sort of things from Titan influence things in Overwatch as well. Check it out.

Participant 8: Over the past years it seems that as more heroes get introduced there is been a bit of mobility creep in the game. Which means that some other heroes especially in the competitive ladder like Zenyatta, Mcree don’t have as many options when to choose to engage. How are you guys dealing with that going forward in designing new heroes and revise all heroes?

Geoff: I mean, I think it is definitely a concern whenever we are designing a hero, but actually little topic comes up basically every time, because I mean a lot of what makes Overwatch so awesome is the mobility and all. The way the heroes move is a big part and they all have different ways of doing it. In fact, that some heroes don’t have mobility is just interesting too, because there are other aspects that are very strong.

I mean that is something we can definitely watch out for, and obviously, characters like Orisa who is pretty new, we want to make sure OK we are not doing anything mobility wise on her, she is kinda this static one that moves forward and marches forward and it’s hard to stop, but she doesn’t like blink forward or dash forward , or anything.

So I think it is a challenge for us all the time. We are just going to make sure that we have awesome Ideas that don’t involve mobility all the time.

Michael: I think that is all the time we have for questions, but I just want to thank everyone again for coming out. We love the Overwatch community, we couldn’t do this without you having thank you again, and thank you out there.

Moderator: We have time for a few more questions

Michael: Okay, alright, Ohh….

Geoff: I’ve got nothing to do.

Michael: Alright, let’s get some more questions. Forget everything I just said. But we do love you.

Participant 9: Hey, I actually ran all the way back here because I was first on the line, but as early as this year you guys announced that Tracer was LGBT identified. I was wondering if we can expect more of that from other heroes, because as an LGBT Identified man myself it is like– representation is super key in a game for me.

Michael: Yes. So I completely agree. Representation is important to us as a team too, and making Overwatch… making sure that it is a diverse and representative game is something that we are always thinking about. Obviously, we showed of Tracer in the Reflections comics, where it was revealed that she is in a loving relationship with her girlfriend Emily; and we are definitely interested in showing more of the character relationships. It is really a matter of finding the right stories, because we don’t want to just come out, and just sort of label people. We want them to come out naturally as part of the narrative, but I have said it before, but definitely more members of the Overwatch cast in the Heroes are LGBT.

Participant 10: Currently in Quick Play there is a distinct separation between players that want to play like 6 DPS. No plans of winning, and then another group of players who maybe want to play with people that are associated with who are too different in rank. Do you have any plans to alleviate something like that? Because when you are in Quick Play, and find a team that is not doing so well, they tell you go to Arcade. You still want that competitive aspect.

Michael: It’s in quick play specifically? Sure. The tricky thing for us is we can definitely layer in more restrictive matchmaking in general, but every time we add another layer we are increasing the queue times for everybody, and that is like the biggest thing we are always fighting against, because we want to make sure that when you launch Overwatch, you can jump on the game and play it in a reasonable time.

When we first launch the game, we were very much in the camp of make the queues as short as possible, it is definitely like really lighten up on the matchmaker restrictions; and obviously, over time we have been hearing feedback from you guys, and we have been layering in more stuff to try to help matchmaking quite a bit.

So it is something we are always looking at still, but that is kind of the balancing aspect. That is where we are at.

Aaron: One of the other things we are talking about with that is whether we might want to make changes or addition to the arcade side, and so there might be a way of homing a segment of the population away from quick play, and put him into that, or at least making it easier to find the type of game that you want to have without always have teams to resort to either creating one on your own and hoping players join it, or looking for one that has enough players in it inside the Custom Games.

Participant 11: Hello, there. The Blizzard World matrix is really incredible, and my question actually is on level design. I am just curious. I was just wondering if there is going to be any interest in using at least all assets, or just reusing different locations, but for different game modes. Would there ever be like a Route 66 map, but King of the Hill, or just kind of like reusing (if that makes sense) just using different all of the assets just do new mechanics?

Aaron: It is a great idea. We have done it before. We took Dorado and turned it into the arena version of the map. We have done it a few times. Even our latest map Chateau are borrowed part elements from some of our other maps. So we do that. I think it would be super cool to have a Blizzard World version of an arena, or even an FFA map.

I think something like that would be super cool. But we kind of– as we build maps, we kind of get to it and decide what we think is going to be the coolest art set that we can use for it; and we kind of usually take a wait-and-see attitude to it, but I have a feeling in the future we will probably do a few more of those.

Participant 12: Ok, this is my second year of BlizzCon. I love playing Overwatch. I kind of consider myself more of like a competitive player. So like… I like to play competitive, and really rank up, and see if I can hit the high ladder. Right now, I am playing in my Masters-ish, and my question for you as someone who has played other games, that have a really structured competitive system, would you consider adding more redefined scorecard into competitive only? Just think it is better see what is going on, on your team, the other team, and like maybe you can look and see for some more self-improvement like on how you played.

Geoff: You mean the scorecard like the end of the match scorecard? Interesting. I mean that is that is the kind of stuff we are talking a quite a bit actually especially in the competitive play. You know there are other third parties or applications and websites up that are doing a lot of interesting things. Tracking stats for people and stuff. We think it is super interesting, and we kind of follow those too; and a lot of the cool stuff. We don’t really have any announcements right now, but I think that is definitely something we are interested in.

Aaron: Definitely; and I play in Masters, too. Like… Masters-ish to go. (laughs)

Participant 13: Thanks for having me, and I am really trying to think how to say this question. First of all, love the game. Go Overwatch. But when I see the game, I see so much lore potential, but there is not a lot of lore for us to really enjoy. We only get like Junkerstein’s Revenge. Now even more, and on the crisis single-player campaign. So real question: more lore. Single-player content. Kind of two. Sorry.

Michael: Yes. So I totally hear what you are saying. We have a number of things that are in development right now in the story side that hopefully we will get into some more of the hero stories, and just show off more of the universe. So it is something that we are continuously working on, and something that we are hoping that we can ramp up, and have more frequent and more in-depth stories. So yeah, definitely stay tuned.

Participant 14: Big fan of everything you guys do. So Overwatch is a team-based game, obviously. So you win or lose a match based on how well you work with those other five people that you are queued up with at random, mostly. So my question is: why is there such a lack of a social aspect to Overwatch? I mean, General chat… it is just spam or memes, and there is no real like way to meet people outside of third party like Discord or Reddit, or whatever. So are there any plans in the future to maybe add some kind of like a general lobby you can join while queueing, or anything to really put you together with other players?

Aaron: So we talk about things like this internally, and there is a lot of different ways you could kind of design something like this, and especially for the competitive scene. We have internally had discussions about: “do we need some sort of looking for group system, or something like that?” — and there is a lot of challenges with designing a system like that.

But we know that there is a desire in the community to start either looking for players based off on the role they are going to play; or sometimes there is frustration about the type of group that you get put into through matchmaking, and it is the type of thing that we are talking about. We really don’t have any details to discuss on it but– And I am not sure if we have ever built like lobby experiences that you are going to load into as a player, or anything like that; but it is something that we are talking about internally.

Participant 15: I have been an avid WoW Player for years, the instant connection between you announcing the Magni Bronzebeard skin and also the new character Moira (like Moira, of the dark iron dwarves) you think there is going to be already some sort of voiceline interaction reference going on. My reference: Moira of the dark iron dwarves.

Michael: That is an interesting idea. I hadn’t actually thought about that, but maybe we can do something like that. I think it is one thing that is really fun about what Moira is that she sorta has that like Warlock image feeling about her. I think we definitely went in that direction with her, because there is a little bit of that fantastical inspiration for her.

Arnold: Yea, for both her and (I would say) Symmetra, we definitely try to kind of merge that wizard kind of mage vibe, and bring it into Overwatch.

Aaron: We need Roadhog to get that voidwalker skin, and she can get the warlock skin, and they can cruise around together.

Participant 16: I just have a question when it came to character design, and when you put in an Androgynous character like Moira into the game, what is going through your head when it comes to adding diversity in the roster like when it comes to body-type like Mei, or Zarya; or when it comes to gender like Moira… like what are you guys thinking when you add someone like that to the roster?

Arnold: Well, the first thing obviously is that Overwatch is about diversity, and we want to have a lot of variety of heroes, and we look at all the types that we have explored so far, and we definitely want to constantly be reaching out, and trying to represent all of our different players.

So one thing is just like, what is something new and something exciting that would reach more players out there that would represent you guys as much as possible? So that is definitely on our minds, and definitely we just want to make all different types of heroes that look cool and feel awesome.

Moderator: Ok. This is our last question.

Participant 17: Hi, my question is about Talon, actually. We have seen a lot of different Talon stories, we have seen this Doomfist “Masquerade” comics which is a James Bond sort of story. “Alive” it is about an assassin. Now we have Moira definitely, and I am wondering about the challenge of writing this very broad function or creating these very unique characters all under the same banner, and how you sort of align them while still making them have their unique Niches?

Michael: I think one of the really interesting things about Talon is that it was really intended to be this larger group of… I was going to say heroes, but of people with different aims.The idea is that all these different people with different ideas of what they want, have sort of been brought together in the current modern day.

Doomfist is clearly the one who is sort of imposing the idea that like Talon has this idea. Alright, let’s make mankind stronger through conflict; and Doomfist is sort of righting the ship and he is gathering people around him who he trusts. People who he believes in.

So I really think that the fun part of Talon is just like when you look at Overwatch, and it is like Overwatch: a soldier, scientists, adventures, and oddities; and I don’t think that Talon can’t also have that kind of real diverse feeling in the different characters who are part of it. So it is a challenge; but I think it is fun, because you can already sort of see how these characters play together in their relationships, and I think adding a character like Moira into the group with snarky Sombra, and Widowmaker or anything would be fun. So we can’t wait to tell some Moira stories about that group, and see where they are going.

Thank you. All right, I think that is actually the last question. So again, thank you all for coming. We love the Overwatch community. We couldn’t do this without you. Thank you for playing Overwatch. Try out the new things, and let us know what you think.

Announcer: Thank you for attending the Overwatch: What’s Next panel. Up next is the World of Warcraft: Gameplay and Systems Deep Dive panel.

BlizzCon 2017 Overwatch: What's Next panel transcript
1. Moira Concept Art2. Moira Gameplay3. Blizzard World4. Blizzard-themed Skins
5. Community Q&A

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