Jeff Kaplan Talks Competitive Mode, McCree Nerfs and Hints at Sombra

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Overwatch head designer Jeff Kaplan recently did an interview with Eurogamer.net. In it he talked about many aspects of Overwatch, including the incoming Competitive Play mode, the imminent McCree nerfs and D.Va buffs and others.

On the Competitive Mode:

Kaplan did not give a set date for the Competitive Mode’s release; although it has been confirmed to be released sometime in June. Citing backlash against Overwatch’s proposed “progression-based” ladder system, Kaplan said the Overwatch team would implement a new ladder system that is, “much more skill-based.” Kaplan also said, concerning season length, “When we unveil the new system, we’re going to have longer seasons – most likely, the seasons will be about three months and they will match the real-world seasons.”

On the Requests for Higher Server Tick Rate:

Kaplan cited the ability for players to upgrade servers to play at 60Hz in custom games, but was worried about the implications within Quick Play mode. He called for players to start using the Custom Game feature, so Blizzard could iron out the issues, a particularly large one being that Blizzard has “seen . . . that it wouldn’t work for about 20% of our users”, Kaplan argued, “It would be wildly irresponsible for us to add that to something like Quick Play or Competitive without getting more testing on the feature.”

On Hero Balance:

Kaplan acknowledged the need for McCree to be nerfed, and his team are working on a fix by nerfing Fan the Hammer:

The goal there is to make it so that McCree can still use his combo that we love, which is the flashbang and fan the hammer on somebody like Tracer. McCree should absolutely kill that Tracer. We want McCree to be a counter to people like Tracer, Genji and Reaper. What we’re not crazy about, right now, is the way in which McCree can absolutely shred tanks. It’s a little too easy, so we want to bring the fan the hammer damage down, so he’s still killing the squishies and the medium strength heroes, but he’s less effective against the tanks.

Kaplan brought up changes to D.Va, but he said the team was unsure how to proceed. The team had experimented with buffing either D.Va’s damage or survivability, but Kaplan admitted, “the D.Va buffs will take longer for us to get used to.”

He finished this segment by stating that the McCree balance changes would ideally happen on PC and consoles at the same time, but he admitted to the difficulties with releasing content for both platforms at once.

On the Play of the Game:

Kaplan announced some big plans for updating Overwatch’s play of the game, specifically on improving the impact of good Widowmaker or Torbjorn plays:

The next step for us with Play of the Game – and this one’s not on the immediate horizon, I’d say it’s something we’d like to get to this summer – we would like to show play of the games in a more cinematic way.

On Future Heroes and Maps:

Kaplan said that Blizzard would be experimenting with how to release new content. He said, on the mid-beta released heroes, “we. . . felt  like releasing Mei, D. Va and Genji all at the same time was way too disruptive for the game.”

Kaplan also acknowledged rumors of the new hero called Sombra, saying “We have put a lot of hints, all over the game and out of the game, so I would say it’s about time that people are concerned with who Sombra is. I hope they keep researching more and find more hints that are out there.”

Read the whole interview at Eurogamer.

Seaslug
Content Writer - Overwatch
I am a longtime gamer, first playing Magic: The Gathering, then World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and now Overwatch.

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