OWL Cancels 2 Months of Homestands

The Overwatch League on Wednesday announced that all events scheduled to take place in March and April have been canceled due to concerns with COVID-19. On Friday, the League had more information, saying that play would resume on Saturday, February 21 online, and further schedule details will come next week. The goal is to return to homestand events as soon as safely possible.

Originally at the halfway point of the season there was going to be a midseason tournament and the All-Star games. The All-Star games have been moved to after the 2020 season and the midseason tournament has been canceled outright.

Teams such as the San Francisco Shock are working out refunding homestand tickets for affected events.

Rod “Slasher” Breslau reported that both OWL and CoD League, which also canceled events, are looking to spread missed matches over weekdays as well, not only weekends. He was careful to say that this has not been finalized.

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Archives Event Suddenly Appears

Arriving a month early and with no warning, the Archives event launched yesterday and lasts until Thursday, April 2.

Challenging Modes

While there are no new stories in this year’s event, there are new ways to play the story missions thanks to Workshop-like modes called Challenge Missions that change the rules of the games. These modes are only playable on Expert difficulty.

For Week 1 of the event, only Uprising is available and the two mods are “Molten Cores” and “Glass Cannon.” For Molten Cores, enemies spawn a temporary puddle of lava where they died. Glass Cannon drops player health down considerably, but also increases damage dramatically.

From personal experience, Torbjorn’s turret completely dominates in both of these modes, especially Glass Cannon. Close-ranged characters can make Molten Cores more difficult, but it’s still entirely possible to complete it with them.

Challenge Mode changes for the other stories are not described in-game, but they are on the Archives website.

Retribution

  • Surgical Strike: Only critical hits do damage.

  • Close Quarters: Enemies can only be killed if a player is nearby.

Storm Rising

  • Blood Moon Rising: No support heroes. Heal yourself by doing damage.

  • Storm Raging: Some enemies are enraged. Killing them spreads the rage.

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Patch Notes

Most of the changes from the recent Experimental Patch notes made their way to the live game with this patch.

The only changes from those notes are:

  • B.O.B. is not immune to sleep as was tested in Experimental mode.
  • Mei Ice Wall now allows characters of any size to fit through 1 pillar gaps in the wall.

In addition to the hero changes, players may now share replays with others with codes provided in the Replay section, and players may pin replays to save for posterity. Note that these replays will likely only last for the current patch.

The timer for Assemble Heroes has been reduced to 30 seconds, down from 35.

Time Bank Changes: If both teams have more than 2 minutes left in their time bank after both teams have had their attack round, the game will subtract equal time from both teams until the team with less time reaches 2 minutes.

Example: If Team A completes a round of offense on Volskaya with 4:37 remaining in their time bank, and Team B completes their round on offense with 2:50 remaining, then 50 seconds is removed from each team’s time bank. This leaves the teams tied 2-2 and Team A with 3:47 remaining and Team B with 2:00 remaining.

Overwatch Lead Writer Michael Chu has left Blizzard

This past Wednesday, the Lead Writer for Overwatch announced he was leaving Blizzard after 20 years with the company. He did not say where he will be going next.

During his time at Blizzard he also worked on Diablo 2, Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade, Diablo 3, and Hearthstone, all in the realms of either quality assurance or design. Long ago he also did some work with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Neverwinter Nights.

”…meetings, travels, and a desire to embrace the diversity of our world made it clear that there were different stories that needed to be told about places and people not traditionally seen in games. As an Asian American, I wanted to experience narratives that represented people like me and to see them depicted as heroes. Overwatch offered an opportunity to bring a more inclusive vision of earth to life: a future worth fighting for. Together, we worked, struggled, and shed tears to champion a universe that featured people from across the world, to bring to life the wondrous sights of earth’s past, present, and future, and to empower the contributions of creators and voices who would better represent the breadth of human experience. I believed that a game could show the power of diversity and that one kiss could change the world, if only a little.”