Blizzard Preps Competitive Play, New Heroes For Hugely Popular Overwatch

Don't think that just because Overwatch is a huge hit that Blizzard will just sit back and ride the momentum. Just the opposite, Blizzard's stepping on the gas with new features for its newest game franchise, including competitive play, which it's rebuilding and taking in a new direction after receiving feedback from gamers during the beta period.

"We were hoping that from the beta version of competitive play, we would need to do some polish and iteration and then release the feature but we felt like the feedback we got was basically asking for a different direction. So competitive play is quite a big effort for us this time around -- almost as much work as the first version," Blizzard stated in a blog post. "But it's really far along. We're play testing it multiple times a day. We're also looking into/debating putting up a Public Test Realm for this feature so that we can test it in a larger environment before putting it live."


Blizzard deserve huge kudos for not forcing a version of competitive play on gamers that didn't test real well. Considering the overwhelming positive reception to Overwatch—it passed the 10 million user mark in a span of just three weeks—this is absolutely the right move, though Blizzard could have just as easily gone with its original plan of simply polishing a version of competitive play that it already built.

It's good to see Blizzard being so careful with Overwatch, a franchise that it has long terms plans for. Even after it releases a new version of competitive play, Blizzard anticipates its first few seasons will require heavy tweaking.

"We're working very hard to make it awesome at release but there are some things you need to see and feel along with a large population before you can properly sign off on the feature. I anticipate Competitive Play will require a few season's worth of iteration before we're in the place we want to be," Blizzard added.

Blizzard's also working on new heroes. Some are "very far long" while others are in the beginning stage. That includes prototype heroes that may or may not make the cut. Blizzard said it does a lot of prototyping and at this point isn't comfortable promising a release schedule. However, they are in the works.

So are new maps. One of them is officially in Blizzard's production pipeline after having passed enough prototyping and play testing to instill confidence. Now it's up o the art department to pretty it up before release.