Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

Specially for the release of update 1.25 for Overwatch, we interviewed the game’s lead game designer Scott Mercer, a Blizzard veteran who has been with the company since 1997. We asked why the reputation and matchmaking systems were added to the shooter, and also discussed changes to Symmetra and game balance.

The reputation system for multiplayer games is not new – you could see its analogue, for example, in League of Legends, where after the match you can mark the player and his services to the team with a special badge. But there they didn’t give any bonuses for this, except for a ribbon indicating the player’s achievements.

In this regard, Blizzard decided to go further and reward players not only for a set of badges, but also for giving them away. Upon reaching the maximum, fifth level of reputation, the user receives four loot boxes and can earn even more for maintaining the level. But how exactly the system of additional encouragement will function, we were not told. Those who give praise are rewarded with experience. In total, you can be generous with three praises per match, one per player.

The most important thing in the system, according to Scott, is the very fact of having an icon. He, they say, reflects the desire of the gamer to work in a team. While users who disregard the principles of the community – behaving rudely or ruining the game for others, may lose all accumulated badges. At the same time, Mercer noted that the system may change in the future. It all depends on how the players will use it. But its very presence is important, because it is part of another innovation – the team selection system.

What's in Overwatch - everything you need to know about patch 1.25
In fact, the selection of players is not a mandatory innovation. You, as before, can turn on matchmaking and find a random group. Matchmaking is useful for those who want to get the most out of the match by choosing interesting characters. Up to the most unusual combinations – with five “tanks”.

In the settings of the new feature, you can choose the type of game, the presence or absence of voice chat and the minimum level of reputation. If you don’t want to mess around with filters, choose a preset from the list. As Scott told us, the development team tried to make the search convenient for everyone. Therefore, at the very top of the list, the player will be offered suitable results based on skill and ping. But no one bothers to scroll through the list and find a more suitable option. For example, a group of Russian-speaking players – unfortunately, the developers did not provide such fine tuning, but preferences can be specified in the group name.

What's in Overwatch - everything you need to know about patch 1.25
We also asked about the success of the authors in the fight against trolls and how the reputation system will help in this. For developers, users deliberately choosing the wrong characters or insulting others is an obvious problem. Blizzard offers to complain about intractable fighters using a special form right in the game. This will reset the violator’s accumulated reputation points to zero.

It’s just not clear how these measures will help solve the problem – so everyone can be suspected of dishonest behavior. Especially with the release of the update, when it is not clear what characters a person can play for and whether he intentionally “merges” the match. The fact is that now all profiles are hidden by default from everyone except friends. Accordingly, it is impossible to see which characters the gamer knows. We asked the developer about this, and he explained that this feature is needed for people who do not want to adapt to the requirements of their party members due to dry statistics. Like, if someone has been actively playing Soldier 76 or McCree lately, and in the past preferred Angel, some players will perceive him exclusively as a support fighter. While the creators are interested that everyone can regularly change characters during the game, depending on the situation and their own desires.

What's in Overwatch - everything you need to know about patch 1.25
At the end of the conversation, we asked Scott why the developers redesigned Symmetra. According to him, the character was very situational and rarely received an “ult”. In addition, Blizzard did not like that the lady was not particularly effective in attacking, and the community considered the choice of this character as a sign of a troll.

The new Symmetra has another ultimate ability, a 5,000 damage barrier that extends from edge to edge of the map. Teleport has become a regular skill with a limited range. Turrets can now be sent flying, but their number is limited to three. Finally, the authors have increased the damage from the weapon and the principle of its use: the beam is not aimed at the enemy, but hits in a straight line at a distance of 10 meters; in alternate fire mode, projectiles hit harder and explode, dealing additional damage.

Overall, Symmetra has become much stronger, but she lacks mobility, which can cause her to suffer from an accurate enemy volley. But what is much more interesting is that now when dealing damage to barriers, her weapon does not spend a charge, but replenishes it, which makes the heroine very effective against characters with barriers. We asked what the developers think about the current number of such fighters. According to the creators, the main thing is that there are not too many barriers, but otherwise the situation completely suits the team. The same applies to the changes in the meta after the release of Brigitte, when there was a fashion for using three supports at once.

***

In general, the update turned out to be voluminous, but we did not discuss small details, concentrating on global innovations. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you still play Overwatch and what do you think of the recent patch!

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