BlizzCon 2019 Overwatch 2 Panel Transcript


Jeff: Alright. So the progression system, this is really exciting. Now I have to caveat this a bit. As I mentioned, Overwatch 2 is still in development. We have a long ways to go before this game is fully ready. So we’re only showing you kind of a part of the progression system right now; and it’s also likely that progression could change a lot from now and the time that the game is released. You need a lot of iteration, a lot of play-testing on this type of system. But we wanted to share parts of it with you, so by no means is this comprehensive, this isn’t the only ideas that we have.

This is sort of the tip of the iceberg, it will give you a sense of the direction that we’re exploring right now. So an interesting thing to talk about is the talent system. So we had originally designed the talent system for Hero Missions, not Story Missions; but as we were approaching BlizzCon this year, we knew that we were going to show a Story Mission, and we didn’t have any progression stuff to show; and we thought it was super fun.

So we actually hooked up the talent system from Hero Missions into the Story experience; and there was like a funny side-effect of that, where many members of the Overwatch team were like: “Actually, this is really awesome and super fun” — and I hope we figure out a way to keep talents in the Story Missions eventually when they happen.

So I don’t know if that’s going to be the case by the time the game launches, but for now you can see Tracer has a level. She can level up and at different levels, she gets a different selection of talents; and these talents do different things. They definitely have player power involved. That’s the goal. We want you to feel more powerful. Now, I know a lot of people raised an eyebrow when I said that. Any sort of talents or progression, or anything like that is not going to come into the competitive part of the game. We’re not going to make it so my Tracer is more powerful than your Tracer. Well… mine is, (Audience laughs) but anybody else’s Tracer is more powerful. We want to keep it a fair playing field; but like we always say, when it comes to PvE, the robots don’t post on the forums.

Aaron: Exactly, we can make it unfair.

Jeff: Make it OP, yeah.

Aaron: We have a lot of values that we’re trying to adhere to as we design the progression system, as Jeff said earlier, like one of those is to make your heroes feel more powerful. You’ll become more powerful. You’ll be doing more damage as you progress through this system. But that’s not all, we want you to feel more versatile, we want you to be able to put together a build for your hero that fits your particular playstyle, and we also just want your hero to be able to feel different from other people’s heroes as well.

Jeff: So I think Adaptive Reload is a great example of a talent. I’m not sure if you all can read Adaptive Reload, but the gist of it is, whenever Tracer does an ability like Blink or Recall, her pistols reload, automatically. This is a talent that speaks to you and your playstyle.

Aaron: Yeah. So I pick Adaptive Reload a lot because every time you use any ability, she gets a full clip again. If you use this correctly, and you kind of play Tracer with the right cadence, you never run out of ammo, you always have it, and it just feels so powerful.

Jeff: Now, other players don’t have an issue with Tracer’s reload cadence, it feels natural to them, and they’re used to it.

Aaron: Is there like a problem with the way that I play it?

Jeff: No, not at all. It’s ok. The world needs you too, Aaron. But some other players might want to take an ability like Chain Reaction, which is a little bit more powerful, but centered more around her Ultimate. This one, I think, the video just shows it best and it sort of speaks for itself. So we can check it out here in action.

So yeah that ought to be fun. Now imagine that in PvP. “Team kill!” Obviously, we think that would be awesome. Now lets show you some other talents that are work in progress, but we think are cool.

Aaron: This one is super exciting.

Jeff: Any Hanzo mains out there?

Aaron: Ok? Ok. So Sojiru’s Guidance. This is any arrow that hits an enemy detected by Sonic Arrow will seek and pierce all other detected enemies. I know its kind of a mouthful, but you can see it in the video here.

Jeff: The talent speaks for itself.

So this one is cool too, because sonic arrow is useful in PvE, but nowhere to the degree that it is in the competitive side of the game, so this adds a lot of usefulness to it on the PvE side of the game.

Aaron: Yeah and hopefully you guys can start using your imagination for the different types of things that we’ll be able to do with talents here and how you’ll be able to use some of them to kind of combo into other abilities.

Jeff: Oh yeah. Here it comes. This one is called Epic Enter. Did I say that wrong?

Aaron: No, no that was perfect.

Jeff: Oh, Epicenter! Ok. So as many of you know, Reinhardt’s Earth Shatter ability is a cone-based ability; but imagine if it worked in 365 degrees? 360 degrees, because 365 would be breaking mathematics.

Aaron: Sure, I think what this one does is make a bicycle magically appear.

Jeff: Wow, and it did make a bicycle magically appear!

So really fun for you Reinhardt mains. Where does it, I think it makes a robot transform into a bicycle. Aaron and I have watched this like 500 times and it doesn’t get old.

Aaron: Not at all.

Jeff: This one was in the gameplay movie. Do you want to talk about it?

Aaron: This is a cryo-freeze ability, and when it ends, it’ll instantly freeze all nearby enemies; and if any of you are Mei players, you’ll know that like coming out of cryo-freeze is kind of a scary moment where all the enemies are just kinda waiting there to blast you; and so this talent kind of takes care of that.

Jeff: Yeah. So it gives her a lot of utility and it adds to that defensive nature of the ability. Obviously, in the competitive side of the game this would be my worst nightmare. Speaking– this is the best.

Aaron: Yes. I love this one, I hope you guys really like this one. Snowball effect. Internally we just called this Bowling for Robots.

Jeff: You can’t let the hamster have all the fun.

Ok. Awesome. So this is another ability that you saw in the gameplay trailer earlier today. The reason I like this one, I don’t know if anyone plays Genji like I do; but when I play Genji and I press my ultimate ability button, usually there’s no one anywhere near me, and I’m standing there and my dash is on cooldown, and I just kind of feel stupid; and then like I go back and I watch those Youtubes and I’m like how do they do it?

Aaron: Need healing?

Jeff: Yeah, exactly; but this ability is made for someone like me.

He actually gets to shoot out a projectile from his sword. So it gives a lot of extra ability. You can actually really tune Genji to your playstyle.

Aaron: That really adjusted.

Jeff: So one of the cool things: Imagine if we started to combine talents? It’s not like the heroes are just going to have one talent. They’re going to have a bunch of talents they can pick from and create builds.

Aaron: This is an example of two talents at the same time. The first one is Torbjörn turning his turret into a Flame Thrower rather than a minigun, and then the second talent allows him to place three mini turrets instead of large turret.

Jeff: So this is the kind of combination we’re really hoping to see out of the PvE side of the game.

Aaron: This poor last robot, I feel so bad for him.

Jeff: Yeah, he took it all. Like a fire hose to the face. One more time, one more time.

Aaron: Aren’t fire hoses water?

Jeff: That’s a terrible analogy! I already said, “365 degrees” and now the water analogy for the Flame Thrower. Ok, awesome.


1. Push & New Maps2. Story Missions3. Hero Missions4. Progression System
5. Hero Visuals
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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