Overwatch is getting a deathmatch mode with new map, plus massive character changes

With Overwatch, Blizzard have created an incredible competitive multiplayer shooter that is arguably the best around in its class. One of the reasons why Overwatch is so good, and constantly stays so relevant, is that the development never rest on their laurels. They’re always tweaking and making changes in response to player’s actions in the game to allow for a game that always feels fresh… even if it means making themselves out to be liars apparently.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has previously said despite fans asking for it, the game would “never” get a team deathmatch mode. Overwatch is all about the synergy of co-operative heroes working towards a single combined objective, and Blizzard didn’t want to change that by having people just go out and virtually kill each other. But in a new developer update video, Kaplan reveals that “things have changed” and Overwatch is now finally getting deathmatch.

With the inclusion of the Arcade months after the game’s initial release, Blizzard could see that fans want to try different things, and that “the coolest part of the Arcade is that it’s opened up our ability to as developers to introduce game modes to you guys that we wouldn’t normally feel comfortable putting in the quick-play or competitive rotation.” So that’s exactly what they’re doing with a free-for-all 8vs8 mode called simply “Deathmatch” where players go head to head to see who gets to 20 kills first. There’s also a 6vs6 Team Deathmatch, played to 30 kills.

A nice feature to Deathmatch is that it’s getting a different scoreboard to the rest of the game, where you only need to finish in the upper half of the scoreboard to actually get rewarded with a weekly arcade loot box. I’m rather intrigued to see how some of the more defensive or passive characters fare in this mode, as I would think that ones like Soldier 76, Reaper, Pharah, McCree etc would all be bit overpowered when compared to somebody like Zenyatta, Symmetra or Mercy. Kaplan does point out in the video that Mercy’s ultimate will do “some very interesting things” in the Team Deathmatch mode, as her revive will actually take away kills from the enemy team. Very cool.

The solo and team deathmatch modes will run on their own respective pools of modified versions of the current maps, including a brand new Widowmaker-centric map titled Chateau Gillard, which used to be the French family estate of Amelie LeCroix before she became the cold-hearted assassin. The map is also filled with clues about the background history of Widowmaker, which should add to her lore quite a bit.

That’s not where the Widowmaker related Overwatch changes stop though. The new patch that got pushed out on the game’s Public Test Realm servers last night, also included the huge Roadhog and Junkrat buffs that we already knew about. However, included with this patch will also be some changes to Widowmaker which will make fans of the deadly sniper very happy!

The first is something that Widowmaker players have been shouting for, for months now, as the cooldown on her Grappling Hook has now been reduced from 12 seconds to 8. This is massive, as it will give her some much needed extra mobility now. And to make her even more of a force to be reckoned with, now when enemies get hit by her Venom Mine, Widowmaker will be able to see them through walls.

On top of the Widowmaker change, Orisa is also getting buffed. The robot hero has had a bit of a problem since her introduction, as she has abilities that are all good, but nothing that is really great, negating her as a must-pick Tank. To help with that, she’s getting an all-around buff as her bullet projectile speed has been increased by 20% to give her more DPS, while her barrier is now 20% bigger and has a better shape to offer protection from enemies in awkward angles as well.

Along with the known buffs to Junkrat’s concussion mine, giving him an extra charge now, his Rip-Tire ultimate has also been buffed with a 30% speed increase, while the time limit on wall-climbing with the tire has been removed completely. This should mean fewer cases of his ultimate being completely nullified as the tire gets blown up before it even reaches its target.

Possibly the most gaming changing addition though is still the previously advertised buff to Roadhog, as his Take-a-Breather ability, which Roadhog uses to heal himself, can now be done while moving. More than that, it also gives him a 50% damage reduction while doing it, meaning he can potentially run at an enemy at full speed while outhealing any damage being done to him. This sounds terribly overpowered – I’ve seen reports that this will even allow him to shrug off D.Va ultimate – but we’ll have to see how it plays out in practice.

You can read the full PTR patch notes over here. It has to be noted that tweaks in PTR don’t necessarily make it into the final version of the game, as Blizzard will use the PTR to see where they need to make changes.

Last Updated: August 11, 2017

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