Year of the Rat Event Brings Nerf Bat to the Party

Year of the Rat, the first event of 2020, has begun. Celebrating the Chinese New Year, a whole bunch of new skins came out, with the most popular being Lucio’s Samul Nori skin, and Sombra’s Face Changer skin. Sombra and her gun both have changing faceplates which is pretty rad. Junkrat also got what could be the grossest Highlight Intro to date.

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A new game mode for the event, “Capture the Flag Blitz” puts the flags close together and requires 6 points to win, instead of the 3 needed to win the classic version.

I covered the patch notes last week on Recall so I won’t rehash them here, but if you haven’t read the full notes yet, they include a buff to D.Va, and nerfs to Baptiste, Doomfist, Hanzo, Mei, and Orisa.

More OWL Talent Not Returning

After last week’s report of casters Monte and DoA and host Puckett not returning for 2020, two more have announced that they will not be coming back.

On Monday, Semmler said he’s not returning, telling The Loadout that he was always treated well but that, “The game has changed so radically since the first season and when we first started out, there were more options for mechanical skills and big plays… The game has to speak to you if you’re a caster, that’s where we’re at.”

Later on Monday evening, Malik stated he, too, would not be returning for 2020. For Malik he said the offer he was given was a decent offer, but as he’s starting a family, it wasn’t what he desired. There will be more on his next move soon.

jersey.jpg Photo courtsey OverwatchLeague.com

New OWL Jerseys

The Overwatch League announced new jerseys that are replacing those used for Seasons 1 and 2. Designed by Jeff Staple, known for making men’s streetwear and a creative agency, the new look breaks away from the traditional sports look and feels more “gamer.”

Pre-orders for the new jerseys begin on Tuesday, January 28.

The news comes after a late-night Pigeon Party tweet on Wednesday as a teaser, where many OWL teams changed their logos to pigeons and made plenty of bird jokes. I got in on the act as well. Thread 1 and the next morning.

Celebrate Season 2 OWL With a GOATS Skin

A new skin for Brigitte commemorating the GOATs comp that was rampant in season 2 is coming on February 6… and it’s a goat!

No word on price but in the past the special OWL skins have been 100 tokens, or about $5 (USD).

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Kaplan Talks 3-2-1

Game Director Jeff Kaplan posted on the forums responding to a thread where OP was unhappy with DPS queue times and made a new suggestion, 3-2-1. In his very long response, Kaplan talked about some of the things the team has tried to help with those queue times. (NOTE this is not about what is to come, and only his discussion on things they tried in-house.)

Before 2-2-2, Kaplan said the team tried 4-1-1, four DPS, one healer, and one tank, but that felt absolutely terrible. Support struggled hard to keep everyone alive, they were the primary target for enemies, and teams would crumble once they lost their only healer.

Then in December they started experimenting with 3-2-1: three DPS, two healers, and one tank. Many of us will remember that these comps weren’t all that uncommon pre-2-2-2 if you weren’t a high level player that only did GOATs. Here it was forced in their playtests.

One of the biggest problems was that heroes regarded as off-tanks like D.Va, Roadhog, and Zarya didn’t have a place. Do you try to make them more “main tanky” or make them more like DPS? They did try some changes to at least Roadhog to make him more like DPS

Another problem was the absolute importance of the main tank role. There was a lot of pressure on tanks to pick the “right” tank since there is only one of you. Much like the previous test where the fall of the only healer meant disaster, the fall of the only tank caused chaos for that team.

Healers reported that with 3-2-1 felt they had more freedom to help the entire team and not just tanks, but also felt very bad if the tank died. There was also a lot more damage going out, making it difficult for healers to keep up.

DPS players mostly loved it as the game felt more “FPS-y.” There was more chaos but it also allowed for new strategies like double-sniper and a flanker.

In the end though Kaplan doesn’t know that this is a good fit for Overwatch as play tended to be less about team play. Still, they’ve talked about bringing it to the PTR, along with their changes to some of the heroes, but as a way for the community to see what they’ve been playing around with and NOT as something to bring to the live servers.

It’s a very long post but has some awesome insight into some of the things that go on behind the scenes at Blizzard. Check out the entire post when you have a few moments.