In a new video released on Blizzard’s Overwatch Youtube channel, Jeff Kaplan went into detail about the Public Test Region for Overwatch. The lead developer spoke about the confusion within the community about the role of the Player Test Region in Overwatch, saying, “a lot of players assume the PTR only exists so that players can give feedback on upcoming changes, and while this is a really important part of what the PTR does, it’s not all of what the PTR is about. The most important thing for us when we patch Overwatch. . . is that the game is stable and works correctly.” Kaplan continued, “We’re actually looking the most at the stability of the game. Is it running well? Is it ready to go live to all of our players?”
Kaplan also focused on why the Overwatch Player Test Region was only released for the PC. He explained that the difference between the console platforms, and while Blizzard can afford to do tests on their own platform, Battle.net, Sony and Microsoft’s services could be liable for issues that occur. Kaplan went into further detail, explaining why the two consoles patched later than the Battle.net versions of Overwatch, and that the patches needed to be approved by Sony and Microsoft before they could be released. The PC Player Test Region ends up facilitating a same-day release of major patches, as it gives time for Blizzard to jump through the proper hoops while the patch is being worked on.
Kaplan went on to discuss the possibility of Player Test Region incentives, saying “it’s something we’re looking into. . . . [but it] would take development time to implement, and right now we wrestle with, “is it worth our time engineering features for the PTR?”. . or using that same development time focusing on core features or content in the game that go out to all players.”
After talking about the Player Test Region philosophies, Kaplan went into detail about the balance changes Blizzard was testing on current Player Test Region. Starting with Sombra, Kaplan described that her balance changes would be rolled out slowly with minor bumps here and there. The developer clarified that the player base and the Overwatch team might have different goals for the hero overall, saying “we don’t expect Sombra to ever to be a viscous assassin. . . . We see her more as a back line disruptor. . . our goal is not to make her kill people quicker.”
Regarding Roadhog, Kaplan focused on the changes to the Chain Hook ability, “when we started to look at the hook, we felt there were unfair moments on both sides. . . . we want to address all of these things by making the hook more consistent.” Kaplan then went to discuss D.Va, noting that previously D.Va was a little under powered, but has since started to do too much as a single character. Kaplan stressed that D.Va was difficult to “definitively counter,” so the developers were thinking of tweaking her Defense Matrix. As for Ana, the lead developer said “we want to pull back her overall healing especially on large coordinated groups of characters.” He went on to say, “We don’t envision a drastic reworking of Ana. . . . We have a lot of faith in the design of the hero.”
You can watch the whole Developer Update below.