Overwatch Update: 2 New Heroes, 2 New Maps, and New Game Modes

Jeff Kaplan discusses plans for 2 new heroes, 2 new maps, and at least 4 new maps (in prototype form) to introduce new game-modes. In this developer update video, Jeff Kaplan also talks about a few changes to Widowmaker, Junkrat, Genji and Symmetra; and additions to spectator mode: Camera Bookmarks.

  • Widowmaker cancel-animation will be removed to speed up her scope ability.
  • Changes coming to Junkrat’s Trap.
  • Junkrat’s Ultimate activation will be quicker.
  • Genji will no longer be able to dash through Junkrat’s Trap and auto-destroy it. He will get caught by the trap instead.
  • Symmetra changes will take a lot of time to implement. Potentially mid-November, but likely much later into 2017. The team is looking at changing some damage numbers, cooldown numbers, but also dramatic changes. Symmetra was not intended as a healer even if she is in the support category.
  • New Hero coming far along in internal playtesting and to be announced soon.
  • Another Hero prototype in the works currently using placeholder animations and special effects. Coming 2017.
  • Currently working on a lot of new maps
  • One of the maps coming far along in internal Playtesting and art is being added. This particular map is for an existing game-mode.
  • A second map currently in prototype form. An existing game-mode map. Coming in 2017.
  • In addition to these, there are currently 4 new maps (new game-mode/s) currently in development in prototype form. Developer-only playtesting, not company-wide. It’s not clear how many of these might be added or discarded
  • Spectator improvements for eSports

 

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 RELATED ARTICLES
12. LumériCo CEO Steps Down. Network Breach in Russia.
11. Email Corruption
10. LumériCo Revelations: CEO Guillermo Portero Under Fire
9. LumériCo News: Service Outage
8. Sombra ARG: Lumerico Website Update (Oct 25)
7. Sombra ARG: LumériCo Website (Oct 19)
6. Sombra ARG: AMomentInCrime.com Reaches 100%
5. Official Sombra Comic Coming October 12?
4. Sombra – AMomentInCrime Hits 33%
3. Sombra Mysterious Countdown | A Moment in Crime
2. Sombra Facts: Is Sombra Human or an Advanced AI?
1. Sombra Hacks the Overwatch Forums

 

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 RELATED ARTICLES
12. LumériCo CEO Steps Down. Network Breach in Russia.
11. Email Corruption
10. LumériCo Revelations: CEO Guillermo Portero Under Fire
9. LumériCo News: Service Outage
8. Sombra ARG: Lumerico Website Update (Oct 25)
7. Sombra ARG: LumériCo Website (Oct 19)
6. Sombra ARG: AMomentInCrime.com Reaches 100%
5. Official Sombra Comic Coming October 12?
4. Sombra – AMomentInCrime Hits 33%
3. Sombra Mysterious Countdown | A Moment in Crime
2. Sombra Facts: Is Sombra Human or an Advanced AI?
1. Sombra Hacks the Overwatch Forums

 

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 RELATED ARTICLES
12. LumériCo CEO Steps Down. Network Breach in Russia.
11. Email Corruption
10. LumériCo Revelations: CEO Guillermo Portero Under Fire
9. LumériCo News: Service Outage
8. Sombra ARG: Lumerico Website Update (Oct 25)
7. Sombra ARG: LumériCo Website (Oct 19)
6. Sombra ARG: AMomentInCrime.com Reaches 100%
5. Official Sombra Comic Coming October 12?
4. Sombra – AMomentInCrime Hits 33%
3. Sombra Mysterious Countdown | A Moment in Crime
2. Sombra Facts: Is Sombra Human or an Advanced AI?
1. Sombra Hacks the Overwatch Forums

 

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

UPDATE (Oct 11): The Eichenwald Evacuation flyer with the 11.10 (11th of October) date was indeed a clue/hint left by Blizzard to introduce the Overwatch Halloween Terror Seasonal Event. It is now in Live realms:

 

UPDATE (Oct 10th): This article (originally posted on August 23) has been made relevant again in Reddit as a theory by a fan (UselessUniform). Basically, there was an alleged leak about the Halloween Brawl featuring Sombra. The leak mentioned Eichenwald as part of the Halloween Brawl. Our article was posted when Eichenwald hit the PTR back in August. Browsing down this page you will find a flyer on the wall at the Attack Point that mentions the Evacuation date: 11.10 at 3-8:00. Considering this is an European map, the European date format reads that as 11th of October (11.10) — which is in a few hours from the moment of this update. 3-8:00 is a reference to the Europe Server Maintenance schedule between 3:00am CEST and 8:00 CEST (Stutgard, Germany time). In addition, Comixology recently alerted Overwatch Comics subscribers that a new Comics will be available on October 12th (presumably featuring Sombra). In a nutshell, it is speculated that the Halloween Brawl might hit the PTR on October 11th and possibly introduce Sombra (considering a new Comics is expected by Comixology on Oct 12th). That would automatically leave the countdown of AMomentInCrime.com as the moment when Sombra hits Live realms and/or the Sombra Short Animated is released. Oct 10 — the Junkenstein comics was leaked.

overwatch-halloween-2016-brawl-leak

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED ON AUGUST 23

Eichenwalde doesn’t have much of a visual history or easter eggs. Mostly objects like computers, laptops, beer steins, guitars, accordions, 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 an odd looking sword half-buried on the ground, and aflame. It is totally out of place. It’s been said in the web that this is a “Dark Souls” easter-egg.

ScreenShot_16-08-23_03-03-29-000

There are two references to Diablo III.

 

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!

 

 

 

GamesCom 2016 – Overwatch Animated Short: The Last Bastion

Blizzard Entertainment revealed the new Overwatch Animated Short: The Last Bastion. The video lasts 7 minutes telling a beautiful story without uttering a single word.

It was amazingly composited. I have never seen a more realistic 3D environment forest. The main communication of the animated short comes in the form of Bastion’s beep-bops and the bird’s actions.

Bastion was formerly one of the violent Omnics who attacked the small town of Eichenwald while en route to the city. Bastion fell in the middle of the forest. Some time toward the end of the animated short, Bastion is entranced by the noise made by a woodpecker and reverts to his violent programming awareness unleashing his turret upon the forest in retaliation to what he thought was gunfire aimed at him.

GamesCom 2016 – Eichenwald Gameplay VOD by Muselk

Muselk played the new Overwatch map Eichenwald while discussing details with Aaron Keller. Both got to swap positions for a turn at playing the new map. PTR will be up very soon before September.

Eichenwald is simply awesome, with multiple ambush points. Vertical attacks from the top. At the bridge, you can jump down the pit into a balcony and climb the stairs around for a surprise attack from the back. Balcony fences can be destroyed in an upcoming patch.

Bastion, Widowmaker, Ana, Pharah, and Hanzo are going to wreck havoc in this map. Watch the nigh 5-hour gameplay video.

Watch live video from muselk on www.twitch.tv

GamesCom 2016 – Overwatch new Map Eichenwalde

Blizzard Entertainment revealed the newest Overwatch map based in Germany — Eichenwalde — which is coming this September to live realms. A small town in the forest with a majestic castle. This is the forest where Bastion comes from.

“Eichenwalde is an Assault/Escort hybrid map set in an abandoned village on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany.

The site of one of the most famous battles during the Omnic Crisis, it was here that the leader of the Crusaders, Balderich von Alder, and a handful of his best soldiers made a last stand against an advancing automaton army. Outnumbered and outgunned, they were ultimately slain during the resulting combat. However, thanks to their valiant efforts, the German military was able to push back the omnic offensive and win the fight.

On this map, one team must escort a battering ram to Eichenwalde Castle to reclaim Balderich’s remains from their current resting place, while the opposing team does everything in its power to thwart the keep from being breached.”

Germany_KeyArt_01

 

hearthstone-hr

 

Map Video

The video shows Eichenwalde’s outdoor areas, where we can see the devastation caused during the Omnic Crisis war, as well as carcasses of the omnics destroyed by the denizens defending the town.

We can see the outdoor views of the castle, and some of the buildings; as well as, interior views of some of the buildings (like a clockwork shop (Uhrenkeller), a coffee shop, a beer distillery — possibly the one with the sign: Brauerei Mittagskrug, the Jagdhutte Edelweiß tavern, and the castle — which also shows the remains of Balderich von Alder (wearing an armor similar to Reinhardt– in a position that resembles the Skeleton King).

This new map allows us to climb the castle via stairs to reach the main objective. The payload in this case is a mechanical ram that the attacking party needs to use to break open the castle’s drawbridge (one of the checkpoints).

Eichenwalde is prone to be a great map for snipers, and for ambushes. The castle’s interior has good points for assembling an unsuspecting turret, or to call it’s a high noon.

 

hearthstone-hr

 

GamesCom Preview Livestream Transcript

During the GamesCom 2016 Preview livestream, hostess Soe Penski interviewed Geoff Goodman (Principal designer) and Aaron Keller (lead system designer) to discuss the newest Eichenwalde map.

SOE: Blizzard is known for its regular content updates for basically all its games. Is there going to be new content today?

Geoff: When we started working on the project, we had all these ideas we wanted to put in the box and we wanted to make this a great game. We had lots of ideas, we aren’t short of ideas (that’s for sure); and the community isn’t short on ideas, so it’s really great.

gamescom-2016-heroes-of-the-storm-machines-of-war-00017