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Overwatch 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: 2023

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'Overwatch 2' Introduces New Ping System To Improve Player Communication And Coordination

by Rainier on March 24, 2022 @ 1:53 p.m. PDT

Overwatch 2 is a supercharged sequel that will send players deeper into the world and story of Overwatch and build upon the original game's foundation of world-class PvP competition.

In Overwatch 2, players will take on the roles of the world’s heroes in cooperative missions that challenge them to team up, power up, and stand together against an overwhelming outbreak of threats around the globe. Players will also battle each other in the next evolution of competitive Overwatch play, which carries forward existing players’ accomplishments and loot collections and features the current complete Overwatch roster, a new generation of heroes, new internationally recognizable maps that widen the scope of the world, a new Push map type, and more.

In the sequel’s action-packed cooperative Story Missions, players will experience the advent of a new Overwatch as Winston, Tracer, and other members of the original Overwatch join forces with a new generation of heroes. Players will take an active role in the Overwatch saga as a new global crisis unfolds through a series of intense, high-stakes four-player missions. As the story progresses, players will team up as different sets of heroes and fight to defend the world from the omnic forces of Null Sector, uncover the motives behind the robotic armies’ attacks, and come face-to-face with rising new threats around the globe.

The battle continues in Hero Missions, where the Overwatch team will be called upon to go beyond their limits as they deploy across the planet, defending cities against robot invasions, taking on elite Talon agents, and battling the villainous forces laying siege to the world. In this highly replayable mode, players can level up their favorite heroes and earn powerful customization options that supercharge their abilities in co-op play—such as altering Reinhardt’s Fire Strike to ignite nearby enemies or modifying Tracer’s Pulse Bomb to cause a devastating chain reaction—granting the extra edge they need against the overwhelming odds.

Overwatch 2 is introducing the highly requested ping system to the game! We’re adding this quality-of-life feature because we are dedicated to improving players’ experiences and including the community in our development strategy. Let’s dive into the inspiration, goals, and an overview of the Overwatch 2 ping system! The inspiration behind the ping system came from a value the Overwatch team holds dearly: Every Voice Matters.

This is a core value at Blizzard, and the Overwatch team wanted to personify this value in our game. We wanted to create a system that would enhance voice communication as well as provide alternative ways to share information with your team,” says systems designer Gavin Winter. “One of our goals was to augment speech and give people a way to visually interpret voice communication. We also wanted to support all voices and create a system to communicate for players that would prefer to avoid voice chat.”

Part of how the ping system enhances communication is by adding context to what you can already hear in voice chat. With the press of the button, you will activate a contextual ping depending on what you’re aiming at within your line of sight. For example, if you’re playing Tracer and ping an enemy Reaper, your teammates will hear Tracer call out that Reaper’s location. Principal designer, Adam Puhl, explains: “It’s a more accurate, clear, and understandable way of communicating rather than hearing someone yell, ‘Reaper behind,’ or, ‘Reaper, Reaper, Reaper!’ " Puhl was also incredibly adamant about looking to the community for guidance on how to create contextual pings that are functional for the players.

With Reaper, sometimes you can see him, and sometimes you can’t. When you ping a Reaper who's in your line of sight, the hero you're playing will call out his location. However, when he breaks line of sight, your ping will show his last known location. Some of Reaper’s abilities, like Shadow Step and Wraith Form, will cause your ping to show his last known location.

Winter explains how you can expect this to look in-game: “A ping can be ‘stuck’ to a hero while they are visible, and the ping shows the last known location when they aren’t visible.” The ping changes depending on hero abilities. Sombra’s Translocator, Doomfist’s Meteor Strike, Moira’s Fade, and Tracer’s Recall are all examples of abilities that will cause the ping to fall off. This was designed to specifically fit with Overwatch’s fast-paced gameplay.

Alerting your teammates to your enemies’ locations or last known locations are only a few of the things you'll be able to convey with the new ping system. Holding down the ping button will open a wheel that allows you to tell your teammates where you're attacking, defending, need help, and more. There's also a unique set of interactions for responding to a teammate’s ping. Using the communication wheel to tell your team to “Group Up” or “I need healing” will now activate a ping on top of your hero. Your teammates can respond to your ping to let you know if they're with you or where you can group up with your team’s Support heroes.

We'll be iterating on this system as more data comes in from testing. We want to create an evolving system that’s the right fit for the gameplay and culture of Overwatch. “We are hoping this system will help with toxicity in-game,” says Winter. “If you don’t like a person pinging so much, you have the option to turn the ping system off through block or squelch for that specific person. We do have heavy spam protection right now that we are open to adjusting, but we really want to see what works best for the community.”

It’s important to remember the ping system is a work in progress. We include many different teams in the development process, and we're always interested in hearing what works and what players would like to see in the future.

To help realize these missions, the sequel also introduces significant engine upgrades that support larger maps for co-op (PvE) play, as well as the wide variety of new enemies and factions that players will encounter on their missions. The game also introduces visual enhancements designed to bring players’ favorite heroes—and their new looks for Overwatch 2—to life in greater detail.

Overwatch 2 also represents the beginning of a new era for the series’ world-renowned competitive 6v6 play. In addition to carrying forward all of the original game’s heroes, maps, and modes—as well as existing Overwatch players’ accomplishments and loot collections—the sequel adds multiple new playable heroes to the ever-growing roster; widens the scope of the world with even more maps and locations; and adds a new Push map type, in which two teams compete to make a robot (that happens to be pretty good at pushing things) push the map’s objective to their opponent’s side.

Overwatch 2 also renews Blizzard’s commitment to continue supporting the existing Overwatch community. Current Overwatch players will battle side-by-side with Overwatch 2 players in PvP multiplayer. In addition, current Overwatch players will be able to play Overwatch 2 heroes and maps, ensuring the core PvP experience remains dynamic and vital for today’s community in the Overwatch 2 era.

More details on Blizzard’s plans, including some of the new heroes joining the fray, will be announced in the future as development continues.


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