I’ve got the recap of what was talked about on the Developer Q&A that streamed today, March 18, 2022, on Twitch!

First Beta Date

April 26, 2022.

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Yes. Doomfist is a tank.

Yep, it’s true. Doomfist is going to be a tank! It’s been speculated, rumored, and even the Overwatch League accidentally leaked an image showing it, but now it’s official. Blizzard is saving the full details about his abilities to talk about closer to the beta.

Mentioning he’s been slowed down a little bit, the devs were quick to point out he’s still highly mobile and he “has a leap similar to Winston’s.”

The Ping System

The ping system will allow players to ping locations, heroes, and non-heroes such as B.O.B. to share their location. These pings are context sensitive and players will have something similar to the comms wheel so they can select context that’s important to the player when using them.

Some examples of pings against enemies were given, like you can’t ping a hero behind a wall, but if they’re revealed by Hanzo or Widowmaker’s sight abilities, you can ping them. Some heroes like Moira can use Fade to cleanse the ping. This make sound like you might know if someone is focused on you but that isn’t necessarily true.

The implementation in the current build is their first pass and they plan to clean up its visuals and sound some by the time the beta rolls around.

After the stream Jon Specter tweeted that next week we’ll get an article diving into the ping system.

What does “living game” mean for Overwatch?

Aaron Keller said they want the game to feel like it “has a regular heartbeat” with regular updates and they want people to expect more content that makes the game feel fresh. He went on to say that for the future they want to continually add features and also want the game to reflect the real world more. While the game is set in the future, they want it to reflect our world. Expanding that was a big vague, but he said it means adding new content that resembles ideas or things that we see in our everyday life now, or updating content like for Halloween and Lunar New Year.

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What are your main goals for the alpha? For the beta?

A lot of focus right now is on game balance because the alpha isn’t there yet. They had their own internal meta of the few hundred Blizzard people playing, but adding the OWL players and their high skill level highlighted both things the dev team thought needed work and new pain points.

There are also less “cool” goals around stuff that’s less in your face as a player like stability, testing the servers themselves, matchmaking, and what 5v5 does to queue times.

What are the impressions and feedback from the alpha testers?

OWL players quickly pointed out characters that are overpowered, like Sojourn and her railgun. While the dev team already felt she was strong, the new players really brought that to the forefront.

Feedback has been very positive, even around 5v5. The pace of the game has increased but it’s not “crazy fast.” Teams get stuck at chokes for shorter amounts of time and there’s more space to move around the maps.

In the current alpha build flanking heroes are really dangerous and feedback is that supports feel unsupported so that’s something they need to make feel better. Right now the game “feels like super dive” so some things need to be adjusted.

One content creator had a suggestion for support-specific voice lines with the ping system unique to supports, like Ana saying, “Get in line of sight so I can heal you!” or Lucio shouting, “Group up so I can heal you!”

Bugs

Talking about how they approach patches, they’re tackling the most egregious bugs first. When the alpha first went out last week, all of Sojourn’s voice lines were missing and feedback ranged from “the lines aren’t there” to “her ult line is too quiet,” so that was amusing. There was another bug that’s been fixed where Winston couldn’t fit through a certain doorway on Circuit Royale. Right now the ping system can be used while dead and that’s not intended.

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Surprises from testing

There were a lot of concerns from the community that only main tanks would be viable and internally it felt like the opposite, that D.Va and Zarya were really strong. New testers showed the off-tanks were strong as well.

“There’s been extremely positive feedback for Doomfist as a tank, but that might be because he’s a bit OP in the current build so who knows if that feedback will last.”

Sabriel’s Closing Thoughts

It’s important to remember that just about everything mentioned and discussed in the video is within the context of the alpha build. These are things most of us will never see. Take all specifics with a grain of salt when it comes to talk around the alpha and listen to the generalities.

It sounds like the general pace and feel of 5v5 feels pretty good to players between fewer shields and less crowd control. Doomfist apparently fits into the tank role pretty well at this point.

Over the next few weeks and months we’re going to hear and see heroes that feel way too overpowered and underpowered. Sometimes it’s the reality and sometimes it’s entirely perception. That is always has been true and will always be true.