There's a good chance you've already tried Overwatch at this point, but just in case you haven't, or you want to play again for free, there's a seven-day free trial coming next week on all three game platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
"We have our next six heroes planned out right now."
"That's a significant amount of work."
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The next major Overwatch patch will force a full reinstallation of the game, Blizzard has warned.
In a post on the Blizzard forums, the company said the upcoming update for the multiplayer shooter will make fundamental changes to the game client across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
"The number of back-end changes we're putting in is substantial enough that we can't just patch over the current content efficiently," Blizzard explained.
UPDATE 14TH NOVEMBER: New hero Ashe is now live on all platforms - PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Along with Ashe come balance changes and bug fixes. Roadhog has had a fair bit of work with the intention of making his abilities more consistent, particularly his hook; and Reaper, Mercy and Symmetra have all been slightly buffed. Full Overwatch patch notes are on the official forum.
Blizzard announced 29th Overwatch hero, Ashe, at BlizzCon 2018 today. She's an old friend of gunslinger McCree, and we saw the pair have an emotionally-charged - and very entertaining - reunion in a gorgeous new animated short. We also saw another hero, called Echo, but learnt nothing more. When will they both be released? Is Echo who we know as Athena, the AI voice in our ears? And is Echo really the character we saw on that piece of art before Overwatch even released?
Blizzard has revealed the latest hero to join the ever-expanding Overwatch roster: gunslinger and apparent long-time acquaintance of McCree, Elizabeth Caledonia "Calamity" Ashe - or Ashe for short.
The first images of the Overwatch Lego sets have appeared and, goodness, they're alluring.
Eagle-eyed internet scourers have uncovered evidence that Lucio-Oh's, Overwatch's fictitious
You can now pre-order a collectible version of Mei's cutesy companion from the Blizzard Gear store, for a bank-busting $175 (or £157.50)
Mike Morhaime, the boss of Blizzard Entertainment, has stepped down.
UPDATE 11TH OCTOBER: A Blizzard-exclusive Lego Bastion building kit is now on sale. It's £22.50, and features an orange Omnic Crisis-coloured Bastion with friendly bird pal Ganymede on shoulder. Bastion can swivel at the waist like a salsa teacher, and move its arms. Apparently it's only available in limited quantities.
Things are set to get spooky in Overwatch, as it's annual Halloween Terror event kicks off next Tuesday 9th October and runs through to the end of this month.
The new South Korean map Busan has been patched into Overwatch on all platforms - PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Don't expect to see esports in the Olympic Games any time soon. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach believes the video games being played still promote violence and killing too much to be included.
Thought the loot boxes drama was over? Think again, as the saga continues with the news Blizzard will remove paid loot boxes from its games in Belgium.
It is a celebration of D. Va! Blizzard has unveiled a typically gorgeous new Overwatch animated short showing the Korea-defending backstory of D. Va, AKA Hannah Song, the former StarCraft pro turned elite government MEKA pilot; and Blizzard has revealed a Busan map for Overwatch based on a futuristic interpretation of South Korea's second largest city.
Just in case you're one of the six people left in the world yet to try Overwatch, Blizzard has announced another free weekend that perfectly ties in with the final pre-Christmas UK bank holiday of 2018.
When the Overwatch League's Los Angeles Valiant won the season's fourth stage after previously finishing fourth, eighth, and third, I joked that it must have been the power of their Pride patches.
The London Spitfire have won the inaugural Overwatch League championship.
If you somehow haven't given Overwatch a try and are still considering doing so, you may want to give it a whirl this weekend, as Blizzard is making the game free on PC from 26th to 30th of July.
Overwatch is getting an official line of Nerf guns - and first up is Reaper's Hellfire shotgun.
Years of playing hero-based multiplayer games have taught me one thing: if I am having fun with a character that is probably because s/he is overpowered, because I am too rubbish to play characters who are properly balanced. This appears to be the case with Brigitte, the Overwatch healer-tank knight errant whose prowess with a mace left me speechless (and often, concussed) when she launched on public servers in March. Blizzard says her Shield Bash ability - the essential prelude to knocking a rampaging Doomfist into a pit - is too effective for comfort, and must be nerfed. For shame, Blizzard! Let the girl bash in peace.
The next and currently undated Overwatch patch will extend the cooldown on Shield Bash by a crucial second, giving opponents marginally more time to run away, flank her or nuke the shield before she smacks them upside the chops with it. "Shield Bash is Brigitte's strongest ability, and its short cooldown makes it very difficult to play around," Blizzard's Geoff Goodman writes on the official forum. "We'd like to keep her Shield Bash and subsequent melee combos powerful and effective, while just allowing a little more counter-play against it.
"We've talked about possibly reducing her defense somewhere, such as reducing her barrier health. However, her tank-hybrid nature is a core part of her kit and we want to make sure she maintains that feeling of being a difficult target to take down. Overall Brigitte's win rate is still the highest of any support, despite dishing out the lowest amount of raw healing per second. This speaks volumes to how powerful her kit can be outside of her direct healing numbers."
Overwatch boss, Jeff Kaplan, has reported positive changes since Blizzard introduced its Looking For Group (LFG) and Endorsement systems last month.
Blizzard's limited-time Pink Mercy skin for Overwatch has raised an enormous $12.7m (£9.5m) for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
UPDATE 18/7/18: Wrecking Ball the hamster will roll out to all Overwatch players on Tuesday 24th July, Blizzard has now confirmed.
Uniqlo is no stranger to licencing designs from notable video game companies. You may remember, just under a year ago, the company launched its official Nintendo range - well, now it's Blizzard's turn for the Uniqlo treatment.
Apparently speedrunning - racing to finish a game as fast as possible - is quite popular. Of course it is - where have you been? Haven't you heard of the charity speedrunning marathons Games Done Quick?
Overwatch professional players train hard - that's how they get to the top of their game. But at what point does training become brutal and potentially unhealthy?
Senior figures from four of the world's biggest developers - Bungie, Naughty Dog, Sony Santa Monica and Blizzard - have talked about their studio's take on crunch.
Overwatch turns two years old next Thursday and to celebrate, Blizzard is putting on an anniversary event featuring a new Deathmatch map, a bunch of new cosmetics and most of the previous Seasonal Brawls. It kicks off from the 22nd May.
If you want to know the difference between an Overwatch fan and a member of the Overwatch fandom, ask them which characters are LGBTQ+.
Sony has insisted it is not profiting from sales of the Overwatch pink Mercy skin after a player outcry over the amount of money donated to Breast Cancer Research.
Blizzard has unveiled a new limited-time Pink Mercy skin for Overwatch, with all proceeds raised going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Hot on the heels of the Netherlands declaring loot boxes are gambling and therefore illegal, Belgium has had its say.
Overwatch's newest mission 'Retribution' is a four-player co-op romp through one of the key moments in the game's lore: the demise of Gabriel 'Reaper' Reyes and his covert group, Blackwatch.
Blizzard has announced that this year's BlizzCon will take place on November 2nd and November 3rd, with tickets scheduled to go on sale in May.
BlizzCon 2018 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, and will feature the usual array of developer panels, Q&A sessions, cosplay, and contests. Attendees will also receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing "a cache of loot based on their favourite Blizzard games".
Tickets for the two-day event cost $199 USD and will be released in two batches. The first batch goes on sale at 7 pm PT on May 9th (that's 3am on May 10th in the UK), and the second will be made available on May 12th at 10 am PT/6pm in the UK. You can buy them here.
Professional Overwatch League player Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez has been indefinitely suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.
Overwatch has a new time-limited PVE mission, Retribution, which goes live next week on 10th April and runs until the 30th.
We're about halfway through the first season of the Overwatch League and yesterday I was able to watch a few games in person at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. Blizzard has always been a major player in the world of esports, but the Overwatch League, with its franchises and its plans for permanent stadiums in major cities around the world, feels different.
A new Avoid as Teammate option is coming to Overwatch "as soon as possible", finally giving us some immediate power to prevent other people ruining our fun.
UPDATE 12TH MARCH: Félix "xQc" Lengyel now no longer plays for Dallas Fuel. The professional Overwatch team announced his "release" yesterday and said both parties "mutually agreed to part ways".
Who's copying who now? Paladins president Stewart Chisam has raised an eyebrow at Overwatch's newly unveiled hero Brigitte Lindholm, because she looks more than a little like his game's hero Ash.
After several days of teasing, Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch's next and 27th hero will be - as pretty much everyone had already assumed - "engineer turned valiant squire", and Torbjörn's daughter, Brigitte Lindholm.
Brigitte, of course, made her public debut in the Reinhardt-themed animated short Honor and Glory last year. According to her backstory, Brigitte grew up learning her craft from master weaponsmith Torbjörn, before leaving home to serve as her godfather Reinhardt's squire. You'll get a small glimpse of Brigitte's origin story in Blizzard's introductory trailer below.
That flavourful cinematic endeavour is accompanied by a rather more detailed, informative look at Brigitte, courtesy of Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan. According to Kaplan, Brigitte is a support character first and foremost, but, uniquely, shares a lot of traits more closely associated with the tank role, making for an "interesting hybrid character".
UPDATE 28TH FEBRUARY 9AM GMT: Another day, another tease, and it's more schematics for equipment. This time there's a design for a shield which looks a lot like Reinhardt's - check the lion's head in the centre - only smaller, given the measurements supplied and the words "kompakt!!" scribbled next to it. The similarities to Reinhardt's shield reinforce this being Brigitte, as she not only makes and mends his equipment, she's very close to him - him being a godfather figure to her.
Overwatch is free to play again this weekend on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and there are discounts on the full game for those suitably enamoured by the experience.
The Overwatch League has its first female player.
The Xbox One X upgrades keep on coming, with Blizzard's Overwatch the latest title to receive 4K support. We went into this one with a certain sense of tredipation: after all, Overwatch's PlayStation 4 Pro support ended up delivering only 4K HUDs overlaid on a regular 1080p presentation. It was a big disappointment at the time, and while users did get improved texture filtering over the base PS4 version along with other minor tweaks, there was the sense that Pro was capable of delivering much, much more.
The good news is that Blizzard has delivered with its Xbox One X work. The patch itself is only a 650MB download, so don't expect a sweeping upgrade in the core artwork to support the 4K standard. What you get in asset quality is already equivalent to the PC's top texture setting, which was already in place on the base PS4 and Xbox One releases. But crucially, what the developer has delivered is a clear and obvious upgrade in resolution, worthy of your ultra HD display.
A dynamic scaler is in play on Xbox One X, and owing to the highly variable nature of the gameplay itself, the range of pixel counts covered is significant. Based on a sample of over 30 still shots derived from a wide cross-section of gameplay, the upper bounds of the scaler are indeed a full 4K. In the opening lobby area, for example, the character selection screen or less demanding spots on each map render at the maximum 3840x2160.
Overwatch's lineup of colourful kooks is one hell of a departure from genre norms. Valve's Team Fortress 2 had industry-leading silhouettes, but it's hard to compete with special-forces granny and company. It wasn't surprising, then, to see Overwatch bring in crowds other shooters never catered to. It turns out the people really enjoy the diverse cast Blizzard has brought to play. Overwatch near abandons the idea of the typical gravelly white guy (the one present was turned into a "tough dad" by the fandom). And while the studio has a spotty history with representing different colours and creeds, with Overwatch, Blizzard appears to be making an effort to become the frontrunner for inclusion in the triple-A games space.
UPDATE 22ND JAN: Tomorrow is patch day and ahead of the update Blizzard has revealed the new content coming to standard, non-event loot boxes. The most exciting are the new epic and legendary skins - pictures just below.
ORIGINAL STORY 17TH JAN: Overwatch's new Blizzard World theme park map finally has a release date: 23rd January 2018 - this coming Tuesday. That's on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Patches typically roll out early evening in the UK.
It's not clear if there will be hero balance changes in the update but we do expect new loot box items, including at least eight new skins. Among them are Mei and Reinhardt skins taken from their origin animations; a StarCraft Nova skin for Widowmaker; a barbarian skin for Zarya; and some World of Warcraft-inspired skins for Torbjorn and Doomfist (pictures courtesy of the Overwatch subreddit).
UPDATE 17TH JANUARY: Activision has said more than 10 million viewers tuned in during Overwatch League's opening week, with more than 437,000 online at the same time during the opening Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty match.
The Overwatch League website has digested the first week's action in a handy post, and updated the Overwatch League standings accordingly. You'll be pleased to know London Spitfire are joint top with two wins, no losses.
ORIGINAL STORY 11TH JANUARY: Overwatch has struggled as an esport but yesterday Blizzard's big hope, the new Overwatch League, launched with a bang.
Overwatch topped Pornhub's list of most-searched-for video game characters during 2017 - coming first, second and third.
An impressive fan-made Overwatch map has sufficiently dazzled Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan enough to elicit a "we'll be in touch soon".
Stubbly Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has given a rough overview of what's coming to the game in 2018. (He also sat in a chair next to a fireplace for 10 hours for a Christmas livestream on Twitch, which is brilliant.)
Apple, in what may be a trend-setting decision, now requires any App Store game with loot boxes to disclose the odds of receiving items from them.
Overwatch's Winter Wonderland event has begun and with comes the usual excitement of festively flavoured legendary skins, all of which have now been revealed by Blizzard.
Overwatch's festively themed Winter Wonderland event will return next week, Tuesday December 12th, Blizzard has announced.
UPDATE, 11.00pm: Well it turns out that those crystal balls were right: new Overwatch hero Moira will not only definitely arrive in time for the game's imminent free weekend, she's out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
UPDATE 4:45PM: In response to Eurogamer's request for comment, EA has issued the following statement:
You'll be able to download and play Overwatch for free next weekend on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, Blizzard has announced.
Overwatch fans learnt quite a lot from this year's Blizzcon announcements. We now know the story behind Reinhardt's scarred eye, that we will soon be seeing a new support hero and map and that Jeff Kaplan continues to be the nicest man in games development. But at the Overwatch Archives panel the team shared even more behind the scenes information, including a look at the game in early development and ideas left on the cutting room floor.
The Overwatch team has been talking a lot about toxicity recently, with game director Jeff Kaplan explaining that negative behaviour from players is starting to have a real impact on the game and its development.
It's a bumper night for Overwatch at BlizzCon 2017 - there's both a new hero and a new map coming!
Late last month Jeff Kaplan announced big changes to how we watch Overwatch eSports, which can be a messy and confusing viewing experience.
London's Overwatch League team has been named London Spitfire, "in homage to The Few who flew the Spitfire warplane against London's enemies during in 1940s".
A note from the editor: Metabomb is Gamer Network's specialist competitive gaming site with a particular emphasis on Hearthstone. Each week we're inviting the team to bring you a round-up of all the biggest news and events they've been covering.
Blizzard's Battle.net app now has a gifting function, so you can send in-game items such as Hearthstone card packs to friends.
A note from the editor: Metabomb is Gamer Network's specialist competitive gaming site with a particular emphasis on Hearthstone. Each week we're inviting the team to bring you a round-up of all the biggest news and events they've been covering.
A note from the editor: Metabomb is Gamer Network's specialist competitive gaming site with a particular emphasis on Hearthstone. Each week we're inviting them to bring you a round-up of all the biggest news and events they've been covering.
Sin City is the global capital of gambling. Casinos with colourful chips, well-postured croupiers and automaton pensioners plugged into slot machines. At first glance it might not seem sinister, but strip back the glamour and Las Vegas paints a sad picture - its denizens cogs in a billion-dollar machine fuelled by potentially addictive gaming. The novelty of the place can hide its true intentions.
Following a week of leaks and fevered speculation, Blizzard has finally unveiled official details of Overwatch's 2017 Hallowe'en celebrations.
Destiny 2's hardcore PvP mode Iron Banner launched today - and players have already found a cool Overwatch Easter egg.
Blizzard's updated the beta version of its Battle.net desktop app so you can appear offline, among other cool things.
Overwatch's Mercy has been nerfed in the game's latest PTR, not long after the hero's recent rework.
In the last major Overwatch patch both Mercy and D.Va were remodelled to help balance the game. Mercy's ultimate ability was changed from Resurrect to Valkyrie, a move which grants the support character amplified skills and the ability to fly, while Resurrect became a regular move, albeit with a 30-second cooldown and a smaller range.
Since the patch went live, Mercy's been the most popular support character because, let's be honest, she's super powerful. But Blizzard seems to think she might be over-powered and so is testing some changes on the PTR.
The BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony - the place for this year's major Blizzard announcements - will take place Friday, 3rd November at 6pm GMT. And as always we'll be both in the audience there and in our office here covering it live.
UPDATE 9/10/2017: Three more skins for Overwatch's Halloween Terror event have leaked through Facebook advertisements. Earlier this week we saw McCree and Reaper's spooky themed skins, via promotional video, but now we get a look at Mei, Symmetra and Zenyatta's newest looks.
Overwatch's highly anticipated new stage, Junkertown, has been released on all platforms as part of the game's latest update.
Eurogamer's Game of the Year 2016, Overwatch, is getting another free weekend trial, lasting from Friday 22nd September through the early morning of Tuesday the 26th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Dealing with toxic behaviour is slowing Overwatch development, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan has said.
Blizzard has announced it will open its own esports arena on 7th October.
Blizzard is toughening its stance on toxic behaviour in Overwatch.
Blizzard is making colossal changes to how Mercy plays. In fact, she could just as well be an all new character.
Available in the latest update to the Public Test Realm, Mercy's entire moveset has changed. Instead of only being able to resurrect players as her ultimate ability, she can now do this signature move as just a regular ability.
To balance this boost, the Resurrect move has been nerfed. Instead of rejuvenating everyone within a 15-meter radius, she can only resurrect a single target within a 5-meter radius. That's still pretty good, you may think, but it's counteracted by a 30-second cooldown.
The wait for a lavish new Overwatch animated short has ended - a new one has aired. For Mei.
Blizzard has announced Overwatch Competitive seasons will, from season six forward, last two months instead of three.
Blizzard has outlined big changes coming to Overwatch's D.Va.
UPDATE 23rd August 2017: Popular Overwatch streamer Unit Lost was among the first play new map Junkertown at Gamescom and share a video.
ORIGINAL STORY 21st August 2017: Blizzard has confirmed Junkertown as the new Overwatch map.
In Blizzard's preview video for Gamescom, ahead of its full conference on Wednesday, the developer revealed the new escort map will be none-other than the home of the chaotic duo Roadhog and Junkrat.
Blizzard has announced a reporting feature will come to Overwatch on consoles when the latest patch goes live.
Writing on the official Overwatch forum, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed the news.
"Reporting on console will be available when patch 1.14 goes live (the patch that has DM and TDM and is currently on the PTR for testing).
Blizzard will host its own "Reveal Ceremony" presentation at Gamescom next week.
Streaming service Twitch has rolled out a deck of new features for Blizzard games Overwatch and Hearthstone, including the ability to filter matches by the hero or mode being played.
UPDATE 17th August 2017: Following the publication of this article and a request for comment by Eurogamer, Blizzard responded with the statement below:
For nearly a year Blizzard has been threatening to change the name of its proprietary online multiplayer service Battle.net to the more on-brand Blizzard.net. That is the name of the company, after all, which would theoretically make things less confusing. However, after a scant few months under the new monicker Blizzard rethought this approach because the Battle.net name has been around for over 20 years (since the studio launched Diablo in 1996). Changing it now has led to bewilderment.
Overwatch surprised players last week when developer Blizzard announced it would introduce Deathmatch mode in the next update.
Overwatch's Summer Games event kicks off tomorrow through 28th August and now we know what its seasonal skins entail.
It's time to get your sport on! Overwatch's Summer Games is back next week.
The latest Overwatch patch aims to drastically reduce the amount of duplicates players get. Finally!
In the patch notes for the new update, Blizzard said it wants "the experience of opening a loot box to feel exciting and rewarding".
To compensate for this reduction of duplicate items, Blizzard has increased the overall amount of credits you receive from loot boxes.
Blizzard has revealed details on how Overwatch League teams will be formed and how players will be paid.
Blizzard has promised to get tough on bad behaviour in Overwatch, "effective immediately".
Penalties for reported and verified bad behaviour are being increased to include silencing, suspensions and bans.
"We believe that our in-game reporting and player penalty system is one of our most important features, and it's something we want to invest in significantly over the next year," wrote community manager Lylirra on the official Overwatch forum.
Have you ever been sure that something was a fact? Perhaps something you 'know' to be an unequivocal truth, so you stroll to Wikipedia to look into it and upon getting there realise you were wrong. Perhaps you've even had a group of friends agree upon the validity of a statement, only to find you're all wrong. Now, imagine a huge cluster of seemingly unconnected people claiming something existed in exact terms, only to not be able to find concrete evidence of it. That's close to what a portion of Overwatch players are experiencing at the moment.
UPDATE 27/07/2017 8pm: Doomfist is now live! Go forth and punch things!
Blizzard has announced major investment in its Overwatch League, the official home of Overwatch esports, first announced at last year's Blizzcon.
Doomfist has finally arrived in Overwatch after what felt like an interminable wait and, to be honest, he's not quite the hero I was expecting. He's a surprisingly mobile assault character who isn't voiced by Terry Crews and, at least thus far, I'm a big fan. He's a bit tricky to master, if you ask me, but all in all I think the Overwatch team has done a good job of making an interesting new hero.
I've picked a hell of a time to pen a love letter to Mercy. As these words are being written, the Overwatch-playing internet is having kittens over the long-awaited arrival of Doomfist - Talon elder, social Darwinist and a pugilist whose right hooks show up on a seismograph. Doomfist is yet another damnably cool addition to a line-up of damnably cool characters, all of them worthy of a game by themselves. His most terrifying facet may be his passive ability, which applies a fresh layer of overshield for every punch that connects, allowing a rampaging player to weather the concentrated wrath of the other team. But he's still going to need a medic at some stage, particularly if he falls into Sombra's clutches, and who better to supply the juice than a cybernetic valkyrie from Switzerland.
Ever since Overwatch's launch last year, there have been murmurs that Blizzard would add a new character called Doomfist to its roster of playable heroes. And now it has!
This autumn a US university will begin offering scholarships to students who are amazing at Overwatch.
I'm not entirely sure how many games of Overwatch I've played since it launched last year, but it certainly feels like a lot. There's something about Blizzard's shooter that keeps me coming back for more, even as a long-suffering support main.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
This time last year, it was almost unthinkable that Overwatch's eSports scene and the word failure could ever appear in the same sentence. But that is the situation we find ourselves in.
The first few months of Overwatch's eSports life were positive. Small scale LAN events were semi-regular, there were online competitions offering a few thousand dollars a couple of times a month, and big name organisations were picking up teams left, right and centre.
But then BlizzCon happened, and the Overwatch League was announced. Blizzard promised a big-money league with location-based franchises and no relegation, but that is about all they said. At the time this seemed like one of the biggest and most positive announcements the world of eSports had ever seen - but now, just a few months on, with no news on when the League will launch, it is often credited with decimating Overwatch's growing competitive scene.
A new Overwatch update has just been added to the Public Test Region and it's a doozy.
Overwatch has released a much-needed new Point A/B Assault map set on the moon. It's Winston's old home, the Horizon Lunar Colony.
If you've been keeping an eye on our YouTube channel this year, you'll know we stream a different video game every Tuesday afternoon. Ian Higton - who notably doesn't enjoy playing Overwatch - ordinarily runs the show, streaming such things as Player Unknown's Battlegrounds or Friday the 13th. The only snag is that Ian's PC is currently broken, meaning there's absolutely nothing stopping me taking over and streaming two hours of Overwatch this afternoon. Sorry, Ian.
The next Overwatch map 'Horizon Lunar Colony' is set on the moon, the original home of Winston, the game's friendly gorilla scientist. What a great sentence that was to type.
"How would Soldier: 76 dance?" asks Jeff Kaplan in today's developer update, celebrating a year since the release of Overwatch.
UPDATE 2PM BST: Three new Arena maps: that's what we're getting! And Blizzard has shared a glimpse of them on Twitter.
Overwatch now boasts more than 30 million players, all of whom want something very particular from Blizzard's highly-competitive, team-based shooter. Some may play a wide variety of heroes, switching between them multiple times per game, while others focus primarily on a single character (looking at you, Hanzo mains). Depending on their rank, playstyle and preferred game mode, players can experience a wildly different kind of game.
Blizzard has publicly revealed its Overwatch loot box probabilities as new Chinese regulations aimed at online gaming kicked in this month.
UPDATE 11/04/2017 7.14pm: Overwatch's new Insurrection mode is now live! It will run through 1st May.
You can catch a glimpse of it in the new English-language trailer below:
There's also this story trailer offering context to the new co-op mode:
The Overwatch community is infatuated with Jeff Kaplan. As Blizzard's first-person shooter has attracted a passionate fanbase from across the globe, so has its game director, thanks to his willingness to step in front of a camera, or jump into the forums to speak directly to players about the issues they care about. From sweeping hero redesigns to the removal of an overly-sexualised pose featuring Tracer's butt, Kaplan is almost always involved in the biggest conversations surrounding the game.
"Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall," goes an aphorism penned by the French mystic and political activist Simone Weil. "The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and god. Every separation is a link." I doubt Weil would have been very pleased to see this sentiment applied to a video game like Rainbow Six: Siege - in which the only god is line-of-sight, and tapping on walls is a great way to get yourself shot in the ear. But I like to think she'd have appreciated how creatively players of such games reach out to one another through the simulation's constraints, especially once you remove direct speech from the equation.
Orisa, the third hero to be added to Overwatch since launch, is live now. It feels like people have been less interested in the new tank character when compared to the two previous hero launches - Ana and Sombra - but I think there's a lot to be excited about.
Blizzard has decided to do away with the name Battle.net and simply call the platform Blizzard. It was a bit old fashioned.
UPDATE 21 MARCH: Today's the day new tank hero Orisa goes live on all three Overwatch platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Patches usually arrive late afternoon/early evening, around 6pm GMT.
Blizzard's been pretty open about the fact that Overwatch, its phenomenally successful multiplayer shooter, rose from the ashes of the cancellation of Project Titan, an ambitious new MMO that was designed to go even further than World of Warcraft.
Overwatch public enemy number one, Bastion, was changed on Tuesday this week. The robot was supposed to become less of a glass cannon, losing some ranged accuracy and therefore damage in exchange for manoeuvrability and survivability. But now people are having a hard time killing Bastion at all.
Poor Team Eurogamer. We'd all just packed off down the pub to celebrate a well-fought Breath of the Wild embargo day, ready to smash some lovely beers, when Jeff Kaplan had the absolute gall to choose that precise moment to launch the new tank hero on the Overwatch PTR. We were not best pleased, let me tell you.
What happens when you give someone full control over Overwatch game slider-settings? Sliders controlling character health, damage dealt, damage taken, ultimate charge and so on? Well obviously you go wild, and so people have.
UPDATE 3rd March: It has happened. We are at the end of the week and a new Overwatch hero, Orisa, has been revealed and released on the Public Test Realm (where we've played her/it). Bish bash bosh done. No ARG fanfare this time.
Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan gave today's keynote presentation at D.I.C.E. Summit, and used the platform to talk about his team's approach to worldbuilding and character design.
Blizzard has revealed a new character in the Overwatch lore: 11-year-old robotics and artificial intelligence genius Efi Oladele.
There has been so much speculation about a character from Overwatch legend called Doomfist recently that it being the next and 24th hero in the game seemed a sure thing. But Blizzard seriously undermined that assumption over the weekend.
Metabomb - Gamer Network's competitive gaming site and sister-site of Eurogamer - is hiring a full-time Staff Writer to join the editorial team.
It's time; Blizzard is addressing Overwatch hero Bastion. Is there another character as infamous?
UPDATE 23RD JAN: I had a message from South Korea on Twitter this morning, from the National D. Va Association. Those flags and stickers you see in the images below, those belong to it.
UPDATE 24/01/2017 7.39pm: Overwatch's Year of the Rooster holiday update is now live on all platforms.
Overwatch is a great game, even some of you think so. When it launched back in May of last year, millions of players fell in love with its heroes, its world and its loot boxes.
Blizzard wasn't kidding about an early 2017 release for Overwatch's next map, huh? We've been mucking around with Oasis on the Public Test Realm since late November, but it's now available on live servers for both PC and console players.
2016 was a strange year for video games. Recent memory is dominated by a handful of high quality blockbusters that failed to excite people. But let's not forget earlier this year, when a handful of superb blockbusters definitely did excite people. And I'm not just talking about Street Fighter, either (don't @ me).
In researching 2016, I was surprised to find it jam-packed with video game stuff. Lots of things happened. Lots of people left developers. Lots of people joined developers. Some developers closed down. Some developers sprang into life. Lots and lots and lots of video games came out, mostly on Valve's ever-bulging Steam. Most were crap. Some were good. But in the pursuit of some kind of meaning, some kind of trend, I was left frustrated. Video games continue to be very good, even though 2016, at its close, feels a little less groundbreaking than I'd liked it to have been.
January, typically a quiet month for video games, saw a number of high-profile developers move on. Marc Laidlaw, lead writer of the Half-Life series, retired from Valve. The move was seen as further evidence, not that it's needed at this point, that Half-Life 3 is just not happening. Then we learnt Leslie Benzies, long-time leader of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North, had left the company after a 16-month sabbatical. He later sued Take-Two for $150m in a move that's already aired a basket full of dirty laundry. Will the parties settle? I kind of hope not.
Blizzard has revealed some early plans for what's coming to Overwatch next year.
Hopefully you've noticed this for yourselves, but the Eurogamer video team has been pretty busy in 2016. Among other things we gently stalked Reggie Fils-Aimé around E3, fed pears to chocobos and even started our own cooking show.
UPDATE 21/12/2016 12.45am: Blizzard has clarified to Eurogamer that not releasing the webcomic in Russia was the company's call.
You might not have known it from all the drama going on elsewhere, but 2016 was a mighty fine year for video games. Going through the top 10s submitted by Eurogamer contributors that led to our final verdict for game of the year - democracy is still live and kicking here on this website - it was amazing to see the diversity of choices made. Truly there was something for everyone in 2016, and it goes to show how broad this church that is video games has become.
Overwatch's new Winter Wonderland event sought to highlight fan-favourite climatologist Mei by giving the character her own Snowball Offensive mode, but Blizzard's good intentions backfired as the developer saddled her seasonal content with a disappointingly lackluster Legendary skin. In fact, Mei's high-end holiday garb received such a poor reception that Blizzard has apologised for it.
Overwatch is a game of Pixar movie sets, complex yet digestible hero classes and chirpy bastard robots who spew bullets into chokepoints till they're eaten alive by Oriental dragons. But above all else, it's a game about family - a family that lives at the intersection between official Blizzard canon and the crude, loopy or touching sitcom sketches, apocryphal romances and in-jokes thrown together by the most besotted Overwatch fans.
In other video game audio news, Microsoft's said Dolby Atmos sound is coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in 2017. Xbox will be the first game console to feature Dolby Atmos.
We're still enjoying Overwatch quite a bit, so these days it doesn't take much to convince us to jump back on for a livestream. That said, the latest patch brings with it an impressive festive offering, including frosty new skins, adorable emotes, sprays, victory poses, and a new 6v6 Arcade Brawl mode, Mei's Snowball Offensive. Located at Ecopoint: Antarctica, the mode sees every player using Mei, equipped with a snowball blaster that only contains one shot, though it can be reloaded at snow piles. Which is music to my ears, as I was never very good with Mei. Any items you unlock will be yours to keep, but the Winter Wonderland content is only available until 2nd January, so best hop to it.
Blizzard has just launched its seasonal holiday content for Overwatch with a Winter Wonderland event that will remain live through 2nd January.
The Overwatch Christmas festivities have a start date: Tuesday, 13th December.
Earlier this week, Blizzard released a new map called Oasis on its PTR server. The new map, named Oasis, includes a busy road populated by drivers who are quite happy to mow people down without stopping.
A new map called Oasis has just gone live on the Overwatch public test realm, which is a nice midweek surprise. Oasis is a control map (so actually three separate stages) featuring lots of high vantage points, a jump pad and, most importantly, a busy road packed with drivers who aren't precious about running heroes over (maybe they could do with a trip to the D.VaLA). There's no Reinhardt shoulder either, so it's a pretty dangerous area.
Overwatch's new Oasis map is now live on PC, via the Public Testing Realm.
He's done it! Maxime the Frenchman on a mission to reach level 1800 in Overwatch before anyone else has done it. He's unlocked the golden portrait frame with five golden stars. It's the final portrait frame in the game.
Hello! It's time for another Eurogamer podcast with two of the three Eurogamer Chrises! And oh man, the games we have been playing.
How will the Overwatch theme tune sound after Santa gets his mitts on it? We already know! Thanks to Overwatch data dredgers discovering the Christmas theme in game files.
Lucio voice actor Jonny Cruz, whose video of Overwatch voice actors goofing around recently spread like wildfire, once turned down some sage advice, years ago, from someone you've probably heard of.
On the Blizzard careers website are two adverts for an "unannounced game/project".
The software engineer adverts cite working with "a robust first-person engine for an unannounced project", and call "previous experience working on first-person or other action-oriented games" a plus.
That's it, no further clues, so what is the project? Our best guess: an Overwatch campaign. Which other first-person game and engine does Blizzard have?
UPDATE: Chris has been playing around with Symmetra's new build on the PTR today and has come away really impressed with her new photon barrier. If you use it correctly, you can effectively block a whole range of enemy abilities.
There was some excitement when Blizzard announced that PS4 Pro support had been implemented for its superb shooter, Overwatch. This was quickly followed by confusion when it appeared that the enhancements added were minimal to say the least. Indeed, to the naked eye, improvements during fast-paced action seem almost non-existent. Well, after breaking down the new update, we think it's fair to say that it's certainly one of the least impressive Pro upgrades seen to date.
A pixel count of Overwatch video captured at native 4K shows that it's definitely still using a native 1080p resolution - really, far lower than we were expecting. We decided to get in touch with Blizzard itself for a statement on what exactly this Pro patch does, if anything, and a spokesperson replied:
"Primarily, Overwatch players can expect improved performance in 1920x1080 resolution on PlayStation 4 Pro. We've also made several minor improvements that take advantage of the console's capabilities, including better texture filtering and UI enhancements."
Overwatch: First Strike, the graphic novel covering the origins of Blizzard's popular competitive shooter, has been cancelled.
"While we are grateful to the team for the fantastic work they put into it, we've ultimately decided to take the story in a different direction," said Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu on the Battle.net blog.
"The original idea for the graphic novel dates back to the early days of the game's development and came from our desire to tell the story of the founding of Overwatch during the Omnic Crisis. In the years since First Strike's conception, we have done a lot of development on the universe and its stories. While the core of this story remains, we have changed and expanded upon how we see the events that took place during the first days of Overwatch."
After 23 years at Blizzard, we were all a little surprised to hear that Chris Metzen had actually retired.
The biggest Overwatch patch to date is now live on PC, introducing a whole raft of changes to the game. Arcade mode introduces several new match types including 3v3 elimination and 1v1 duel modes, while Sombra finally makes her way into the hero roster.
Overwatch's highly anticipated new character Sombra is now live on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
"Those who have not tasted his superbly creative bad taste are traitors." That's Salvador Dali, talking about the Sagrada Familia, which means that I've been looking things up on Wikipedia, which in turn means that this is the Eurogamer Podcast, where we talk about games, games, games! And my recent holiday in Barcelona. Have you been? You should definitely go. I had a wonderful time, and then I was quite brisk with an uppity lady at Gatwick, but hopefully Chris Bratt will edit that bit out.
Inventive bunch, the Overwatch crowd. Or perhaps bored. Either way they've found a way to sort of break the game with new character Sombra.
Blizzard's popular team-based competitive shooter Overwatch will be free to play during the weekend of 18th-21st November.
Jonny Cruz is the good-looking face behind the voice of Lucio in Overwatch, and he was at Blizzard HQ recently. With his camera phone.
Sombra's got a lot going on. Not only is she the first Overwatch hero with access to a true stealth ability, she's also rocking a handheld teleporter and the ability to hack her opponents from a distance.
After her inevitable Blizzcon reveal, Sombra arrived on the Overwatch PTR last night and she's loads of fun. Fast-paced and with a bunch of weird abilities, I reckon she's one of the game's most interesting heroes to play.
After seeing Sombra (finally) revealed during the opening ceremony and going hands-on with Overwatch's newest hero at Blizzcon ourselves, it's time to ask the developers a few questions.
After several centuries of teasing, Overwatch's 23rd hero has finally been revealed. Her name's Sombra and she's really into hacking things.
Blizzard has announced Sombra for Overwatch as well as an Oasis map, a new Arcade mode that will offer new game modes, rulesets and maps, and an entire professional eSports venture called Overwatch League.
Arcade mode will begin with 1v1 and 3v3 battles on a new map called Eco Point: Antarctica. That's where Overwatch hero Mei was posted as a researcher before something went wrong and she ended up cryogenically frozen for a decade. Cool! He made that joke too.
Sombra and the 3v3/1v1 game modes, as well as the Eco Point: Antarctica map, will be on the Public Test Realm next week. The Oasis map, which wasn't detailed, will be available to test in December.
Imagine if they don't actually reveal Sombra.
UPDATE 2ND NOVEMBER: Something did happen yesterday - a groan. Blizzard released a small Sombra hacking-themed ARG, another one, that amounted to a countdown, another one. Mercifully this new countdown points to BlizzCon this weekend where we expect Sombra to actually be unveiled and also maybe released.
How Overwatch Skill Ratings are calculated will change again for Competitive Play Season 3 which, incidentally, begins a bit earlier than expected on 1st December - there will only be one week of downtime following the 24th November end of Season 2.
Blizzard's constant Sombra teasing is starting cheese the Overwatch community off.
Blizzard is bringing Overwatch's mech-riding esports-playing badass D.Va to Starcraft 2 as an announcer.
Available to BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket holders, and going on sale at a later unannounced date for everyone else, this will be the first character outside of the Starcraft canon to appear in-game, even if it's just as an announcer.
This crossover breaks the fourth wall, but in a sensible way as D.Va is a professional gamer. "Although D.Va is known most recently for her activities within the Overwatch organization, her journey began in the StarCraft esports scene, where she became the #1 ranked player in the world at the age of 16," Blizzard explained in its announcement. "Her StarCraft experience makes her uniquely qualified to support you in-game!"
An anti-trump billboard has been erected in Orlando, Florida that lambasts the presidential candidate for his poor Overwatch skills.
The stereotype is that kids are raucous in competitive online games. Switch that chat off before you're verbally assaulted for being rubbish, Granddad. But what if the slipper were on the other foot and it were actually kids being targeted and pushed around - and simply for sounding young?
This year's Blizzcon schedule has been revealed, giving us some idea of what to expect from Blizzard's big ol' knees up come the start of next month.
There's no question Junkenstein's Revenge, Overwatch's new Halloween-themed horde mode, is good fun. Compared to the Brawl modes that Overwatch has had before, this is night and day, an introduction to the potential of Blizzard's multiplayer hero shooter as a co-op player versus the computer kind of game. But I'm happy Dr. Junkenstein's Revenge will soon go away.
I love Halloween. Seriously, ask anyone from my wonderful former hometown of Derry and they'll tell you: we take All Hallow's Eve very, very seriously. Over there, you'll feel left out if you aren't in costume. I'm fully expecting to see one or two Overwatch costumes in the crowds this year, which is funny - given some Overwatch characters won't exactly look themselves for the next 19 days.
UPDATE 12TH OCTOBER: It has arrived: Overwatch Halloween Terror is here on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and will stay until 1st November.
As much as I love Overwatch, I tire of some of the maps and heroes - and I don't play anywhere near as much as some people. The arrival of one new map (Eichenwalde) and one new hero (Ana) since the game's launch in May - nearly five months ago - isn't a lot.
Why can big-bellied Overwatch hero Roadhog hook people who are standing behind walls and pull them towards him? It's one of the most satisfying moves in the game, but because of all the physical variables involved in yanking someone from one place to another, and the lag, it's also one of the most problematic.
Last week, Hi-Rez Studios co-founder Todd Harris took to Reddit to address comments that upcoming team-based shooter Paladins was a copy or clone of Blizzard's Overwatch. Harris pointed out that Paladins was in development before Overwatch was announced but also said that the developers decided to stick to their guns despite elements of their game being similar to Overwatch, as other approaches didn't focus test well.
A patch is coming to Overwatch that could change the experience considerably on console. Blizzard is finally doing something about thumbstick acceleration.
Blizzard has announced it will soon do away with the Battle.net name for its gaming platform.
Earlier this week, Hi-Rez Studios released a new gameplay trailer for Paladins that many thought looked similar to Overwatch.
Chris Metzen is retiring. He's leaving Blizzard Entertainment after more than 20 years' service. He, the overseer of story at arguably the world's most successful game maker. He, the earring-wearing cool guy on the BlizzCon stage. He, the voice of Thrall. Retiring. And he's only 42.
His name is Maxime, and he's French. He apologises for his bad English but his written answers to my questions are fine. Maxime claims to be the first Overwatch player in the world to reach level 1000. You might know him better by his Overwatch name Tazzerk.
Alert! Alert! A new season of Overwatch Competitive Play has begun. Season 2 is here on PC and console. Remember, there is a free-play weekend on console Overwatch coming 9-12th September.
Overwatch will be free to play for PS4 and Xbox One players from 9th-12th September, Blizzard has announced.
Good morning and happy Friday, here are Overwatch characters reimagined as dogs. No need to do anything else today, off you go, weekend has started. Do you know, I've had to sit on this story since yesterday - apparently Thursdays are too serious.
Overwatch fans had expected something to happen yesterday, following months of cryptic hints and speculation surrounding the identity of the game's next hero. With no big character reveal happening at this year's Gamescom, players were quick to point out that perhaps we'd hear something about Overwatch's 23rd playable hero on the 23rd day of the month.
Do you play Overwatch on console? Have you noticed aim-assist behaving strangely?
There's a nifty nod to Dark Souls in the new Overwatch map Eichenwalde. Venture into the castle and into a room opposite the entrance, just off to the right, and you'll find a sword stabbed into a flaming mound. It is undoubtedly a reference to the Dark Souls series' iconic checkpoints.
Did you see the new Overwatch Bastion animated short? It's delightful. You should watch it irregardless of whether you play the game or follow the lore. A robot overcomes its programming and befriends a bird. Simple, beautiful, touching. Well done.
Forget all the new Overwatch balance changes, here's how you really change the meta: new emotes. Seated emotes you have to toggle off - no more of this only lasting a couple of seconds nonsense.
Nobody likes a sore loser, but a sore winner is even worse. It's one thing to fail in a match of Overwatch, but it takes out all the good sportsmanship when your opponent messages you a mocking "gg ez" (lingo for "Good game. Easy", as in easily won).
Don't get me wrong, I like Overwatch's animated shorts, but had tomorrow's Bastion-led cinematic been the only thing we saw revealed at this year's Gamescom, I'd have felt a little shortchanged. Also, I had an interview booked in for today and there's only so much you can ask about Bastion's backstory: he's a friendly robot with a bird on his head. That's his whole thing.
It's a bloody castle! Blizzard has unveiled a new map for team shooter Overwatch and it's a bloody castle - a German castle called Eichenwalde.
My oh my are there some exciting changes coming to Overwatch for Competitive Play Season 2.
UPDATE 15th AUGUST: The rollout of an increased Overwatch server tick rate has been confirmed by Blizzard for PC. The new tick rate is in effect across all game modes.
In Overwatch, Lucio Ball is called Lucio Ball because only Lucio is allowed to play. Not D. Va, not Reinhardt, not anyone else. If anyone else shows up in your three-on-three ball game then it's a bug. And now that people have found a way to trigger the bug: it's an exploit.
Overwatch has accumulated 15m players globally since its launch on 24th May.
I think it's fair to say the special summer games loot boxes available for the next three weeks in Overwatch have proved pretty divisive. Personally I can see both sides of the argument. I also happen to have very poor impulse control, so ended up buying 24 of the things in one go.
There's an interesting debate rumbling within the Overwatch community right now, and it has to do with the new Summer Games loot boxes.
UPDATE: Blizzard has confirmed Overwatch's Olympics-themed Overwatch update, and released a new game mode that's a bit like Rocket League.
Oh dear there appears to have been another wave of Overwatch bans, Blizzard primarily - or most noticeably - turfing out cheaters using triggerbots, which automatically shoot when the crosshairs are placed over an enemy. And I'm afraid to say some people aren't happy about it.
Overwatch's Nepal map is made up of three distinct stages, with each round taking place on a different one.
Overwatch saw a couple of balance changes land on the PC last night (via Metabomb), whilst the console versions are expected to see them rolled into a larger patch later down the line.
Let's have a butchers.
UPDATE 21/07/2016 10.54pm: Ana is now live on PS4, Sony has tweeted. Have at, you!
UPDATE 21ST JULY: Lost PS4 Overwatch progress appears to have been restored. The reader who originally contacted us confirmed as much, telling me all progress as well as coins and loot box content had been restored. And it's a similar story for people in the Overwatch forum thread, who say their rewards have been returned.
Page 2: Widowmaker, Symmetra, Zenyatta, Reaper, Winston, Genji, Hanzo.
Those of you that watched yesterday's gameplay reveal for Overwatch's newest hero, Ana, will have likely paid close attention to the moment she prevents McCree's ultimate using her sleep dart ability. That has some serious potential, we think.
UPDATE 13TH JULY: The patch notes covering the upcoming Overwatch hero changes are available to read - as well as test on the Public Test Realm.
UPDATE 13TH JULY: There's a secret code - of course there is! Blizzard loves it. Indeed there are two codes hidden in Ana's origin video, and deciphered they point towards Sombra.
UPDATE: I've just been hands-on with Ana on the Overwatch Public Test Realm. I like her! Despite not being quite as accurate as I would have liked, I still felt incredibly useful to my team. Everything she does, helps.
UPDATE 12TH JULY: The reason people weren't seeing the below change in effect was because of a bug, Blizzard has explained. The change is definitely live now.
"At this time, we can confirm that the change is live and, according to the data that we have, has been working correctly since last Friday night," wrote Lylirra, community manager, on the Overwatch forum. "While leavers previously had an impact on how Skill Rating was adjusted, they don't appear to anymore (and haven't for a few days)."
Lylirra added - acknowledged, perhaps - that "it's not always clear right now why your Skill Rating is adjusted the way it is", as it takes into account other factors besides how many people are on each team. "That's a concern for us," she said, "because we not only want Skill Rating to be accurate, but also for it to make sense. The fact that it doesn't is good feedback for us, and seeing how we can make Skill Rating feel better/be clearer is definitely something we'll be keeping in mind as we look at ways to improve Competitive Play for future seasons."
Overwatch was patched overnight on PC, PS4 and Xbox One to adjust Competitive Play Sudden Death timers downwards (times listed below) and also to fix a few hero bugs (on PC only).
Patch 220.127.116.11B sees to the damage-scaling issue with Zarya's right-click bomb shot. Her damage was getting stuck at high values despite her shield-gotten charge depleting.
There's a useful tweak for Mercy to stop beams disconnecting from an ally when switching quickly between heal and damage-buff, or when pressing two mouse buttons at once, or while turning away.
UPDATE 7:30pm: Well, it looks like we can expect the announcement within the next couple of weeks.
Hello! This is weird. I'm writing a blog about a live stream but for once I'm not the one doing the actual streaming.
I've been looking at a lot of Overwatch fan art - and Witcher 3 fan art - and there are some fantastic pieces around. But nothing struck me quite like Andrew Tran's work.
Blizzard has paid tribute to Overwatch fan Wu Hongyu, who passed away on 23rd May, the day before the game's launch.
As reported by Redditor rebirdhk, the Control Center map of Lijiang Tower now has the name Hongyu beside an astronaut suit with a phrase that translates to "heroes never die."
Redditor czhihongMercy posted a picture of a chat log Hongyu had been in the day he passed away, which they translated to "Hey guys, is anyone else really waiting for the launch tomorrow[?]"
Forget Overwatch Competitive Play - scoring with the basketball in the Lijiang Tower holding area now spews confetti and sounds an air horn as celebration!
One of the nice things about seeing a game like Overwatch become so popular is that it inspires the fan base to get creative; whether that's with endless Play of the Game memes, or with some surprisingly inventive pornography.
Competitive Play has returned to Overwatch. It's where most if not all of the serious competition will now take place, which in turn means the atmosphere around Quick Play should relax.
Overwatch's highly anticipated Competitive Play mode is launching today on PC. That's the good news.
The bad news is that console players will have to wait until next week.
"We don't have an exact date to share, but we can confirm that the patch is going through approvals right now on both platforms," Blizzard said in a forum update.
For four years League of Legends has been the most-played game each week in South Korean PC gaming cafes - but no longer. Overwatch has beaten it.
We're used to cringe-worthy video game celebrity promotions. Who can forget the time EA wheeled Pele on-stage at E3?
Torbjorn's turrets are being significantly nerfed in Overwatch - but only on console (PlayStation 4, Xbox One).
UPDATE 29th June 2016: A modder has done as I'd hoped and put Overwatch's Roadhog into Street Fighter 5.
Overwatch players have been testing the game's new competitive mode and they're not thrilled about the way it handles sudden death.
The public test for Overwatch's highly anticipated competitive mode is now live, letting players try out ranked matches for the first time since the closed beta. Any progress or unlocks earned in the public test branch don't carry over to the main game, but nonetheless it's a good way to see what's ahead for Overwatch, even if my chances of earning a golden weapon are slim to none.
Overwatch will be removing the option to avoid certain players.
When you come out of nowhere and dominate in the Korean pro Overwatch scene, defeating the other top teams to qualify for the Nexus Cup, people are going to ask questions. Are you hacking? You must be!
UPDATE 21ST JUNE: Images of the golden Overwatch weapons have leaked from the Public Test Realm server. They may change but here they are, courtesy of Master Overwatch, in their current state.
Overwatch Competitive Play should return towards the end of the month - that's the target - but when it does, don't expect it to be immaculate. It could take a few seasons of iteration before Blizzard has it where it wants it.
Encouraged by how Overwatch runs on a budget PC - where an i3 4130 and GTX 750 Ti is all you'll need to run at medium settings - our sights now shift to setups further along the spectrum. Blizzard's hero-based FPS demands 60fps or better by its frenetic nature, and this is the base requirement for the cards in test today. Gladly, Overwatch's low GPU demands mean just about any modern GPU can run the game at this refresh, and in the case of the popular GTX 970 or R9 390, there's loads of headroom to spare for a locked 60fps experience and beyond.
You might have heard the one about Blizzard pulling a lot of X-rated fan-made Overwatch content off the internet recently. But did you know just how much of it is out there? I thought I did, but oh man it is really quite something - even after Blizzard's supposed nerfing of all things Rule 34 on PornHub and various fan sites and Tumblr accounts. I made a video in an effort to understand the phenomenon, destroying my internet search history forever in the process. I'm definitely on a few watch lists now, if I wasn't before.
If you leave too many Overwatch games while they're in progress you will incur a 75 per cent XP penalty. Blizzard explained how the system works on the Overwatch forum.
The best-selling games in US retail for the month of May have been revealed by analyst company NPD Group and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has come out on top.
The Overwatch launch appears to have been a phenomenal success. With more than seven million players having registered since launch, across three different platforms, Blizzard's first multiplayer shooter is already one of the largest in the world. But for this game to truly achieve its ambitions, it's going to need to hold on to that playerbase in the months and years to come. Blizzard has reached its payload, but there's a ways to go yet.
As Eurogamer commenters are very keen to remind me, I don't often look cool. As a result, I'm all the more grateful when a video game makes me feel like I am capable of doing something impressive, however temporarily.
Overwatch has more than 7m registered players since its launch nine days ago on 24th May.
Listen, I know Bertie wrote up some starter tips for Overwatch ahead of its release, but this is a bit different. Not only are these tips being represented in video form, but they're also way better. Don't tell Bertie I've said that.
Just how does Overwatch fare running on lower-end PCs? The good news is Blizzard has extremely good form in PC optimisation to date - and whether it's World of Warcraft or Starcraft 2, it's always offered graphics settings to cater to a wide spectrum of setups. It's an important topic for those without a top-of-the-line machine, who still look for solid 60fps performance in Blizzard's new shooter. Thankfully, to ensure as many people can play as possible, Overwatch adapts very capably to a range of cheaper graphics cards and CPUs.
Blizzard appears to be looking at Overwatch heroes McCree and D. Va with regard to making balance changes.
Overwatch is top of the UK game sales chart.
Overwatch is such a phenomenon that Blizzard's latest multiplayer shooter has inspired a slew of fan-made porn based on the game. This too has been rather popular as Pornhub realised people searched for Overwatch-related porn 817 per cent more on 5th May when the open beta went live. But now it appears Blizzard is clamping down on Overwatch porn - or at least sexual content that uses assets from the game.
Right, yes. This should have gone up on Tuesday, but I was a little busy freaking out about giving Overwatch an Essential badge. Donlan likes to tell me that when we do give a game the big golden sticker, the review has to feel like an event. An event. That really adds to the pressure of writing the thing.
The first time you play Overwatch, Bastion seems overpowered as hell. Here's a character that can, at any time, transform into a turret. An actual turret. If an enemy player gets set up in the right spot like this, they can hold off your entire team with a near-constant stream of machine gun fire. It feels hugely unfair. How are you supposed to reach your objective when the other team has player-controlled robot turrets on their side?! Why are we even using the other characters? The thing is, you're actually being taught a very valuable lesson here. Overwatch isn't broken. The balance isn't off. You just need to start thinking differently.
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
An Overwatch fan with cerebral palsy has thanked Blizzard for the extensive array of customisable controls in its new arena shooter.
The Overwatch launch, in terms of server performance, is going very well. But there's an issue the community feels is being ignored and they would like to see changed. It's the game's tick rate.
UPDATE 2nd June: Actually, it turns out Overwatch's competitive mode is back on for June, according to a tweet from Blizzard.
Overwatch is now live in Europe and its microtransactions have been revealed.
Blizzard didn't unveil a new Overwatch hero in its Soldier 76 'Hero' animated short yesterday - didn't do anything of the sort. I wasn't the only one fairly convinced Blizzard would throw back the curtain on a character called Sombra who would turn out to be Pharah's mother Ana Amari, an original Overwatch member whose whereabouts are unknown.
Blizzard's latest marketing stunt has seen the publisher release a series of oversized Overwatch sculptures around the world.
There's a story in Overwatch. It isn't rammed in your face, it doesn't get in the way of the action, but it is there. I didn't know much at all about it after 20 hours or so of playing but now I do, I wanted to share it with you, because knowing a bit more about adds a certain je ne sais quoi. It's cool, all right?
Blizzard may unveil a new Overwatch hero called Sombra on Monday, who may even be Pharah's mother - a former agent of Overwatch whose whereabouts have never been explained. Sombra appears to have a long-range weapon and there's speculation she may play a support role.
Peppy online shooter Overwatch comes from developer Blizzard, who you may remember from such games as StarCraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Hearthstone.
Blizzard has confirmed its stance on cheating in Overwatch, stating that any player using hacks, bots, or third-party software will be "permanently banned" from the game.
Quite a few of us in the office have become rather smitten with Overwatch, Blizzard's first foray into the first-person shooter market that's due out in just over a week from now. There's lots of cleverly designed heroes, loads of maps, and we think there's going to be a lot of love for the game.
Overwatch's open beta had an astounding 9.7m players globally when it premiered last week on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
That's the biggest open beta Blizzard has ever had.
In the five days the beta was live folks spent more than 4.9bn minutes (that's over 81m hours) playing it.
When you hit an enemy in Overwatch it needs to sound satisfying, right? That was the challenge facing sound designer, Paul Lackey, in the early stages of the game's development. 'What sounds truly satisfying?' he found himself thinking, as he grabbed a drink one evening after work. Overwatch's hit pip is now a reversed audio clip of the wonderful "pssht" noise that comes with opening a beer bottle. Of course it is.
Overwatch's recent open beta was quite unlike any other. Barring the inclusion of competitive play, users were actually sampling the game in its entirety, with any improvements or alterations set to arrive via future updates. As Blizzard said, aside from some bug-fixes, "the version you are playing now is what will go live at launch."
The bottom line: while we will revisit the final game to cross any Is and dot any Ts, we can be confident that this is essentially the same technical experience as the May 24th launch code.
We've already sampled the PS4 and Xbox One versions in the previous beta and little has changed there from a technical perspective. However, the open beta gave us an opportunity to see the online infrastructure given a genuine stress test. The good news is that the experience looks and feels polished with no unexpected issues cropping up during our time with the beta, a state of affairs replicated across all three platforms.
Hello again! Listen, I said there was going to be a podcast the week after EGX Rezzed and there wasn't. That's on me. Completely my fault. 100%. I've let you down. That being said, there was also a bank holiday last week, which didn't help. And I had to go and visit my family before that as well. So yeah, technically it's my mistake. But also perhaps the bank's? Or my parents'?
Blizzard has extended the Overwatch open beta by a day.
It was supposed to end this evening. It will now run until 10am PDT on 10th May - that's 6pm UK time tomorrow.
"We hope everyone has been enjoying the Overwatch Open Beta," community manager Lylirra wrote in a post on Battle.net.
I'm smitten by Overwatch and played feverishly through closed beta, and I learned a few things along the way. I thought I'd share them here - a few tips, if you like, to help with the open beta, which begins today (and runs until Monday 9th).
Gamer Network is hosting an early round of battles in Overwatch's beta, with a few lucky readers who are going hands-on with the game ahead of its full launch later this month.
Watch the action below as our best players fight it out. Join us at 7pm UK time for action on Xbox One, 8pm on PlayStation 4 and then finally at 9pm for battles on PC.
Want to chat with other people watching? Click here.
UPDATE 6TH MAY:
There won't be any major changes to Overwatch from open beta to launch. "The version you are playing now is what will go live at launch," wrote game director Jeff Kaplan on the game's official forum. The open beta is live now (try it if you haven't) and runs until Monday, 9th May. The full game launches 24th May - argh, what a wait!
The most notable missing feature in the game right now is Competitive Play which, as outlined below, debuted briefly in the closed beta in April. Kaplan mentioned again that this feature would be reintegrated "shortly" after launch, and added, "We also never want to sacrifice the quality of the game by putting something live that isn't up to our standards."
In a remarkably frank interview, Blizzard has referred to cancelled MMO project Titan as an "utter failure".
I love Play of the Game in Overwatch, that clip of someone doing something extraordinary during the battle you just had. I love the nervous little wait before you find out whose play has been picked. Will it be yours? Some games you know it won't because you had a stinker, but in other games - sometimes the stars align and enemies clump together like cat litter as your finger reaches for your ultimate ability. You think it's enough but has someone gone one better? Then there it is! There you are! The chosen one! Name in lights. Validation and recognition all in one smug lump.
Overwatch's closed beta is coming to an end on 25th April at approximately 6pm UK time.
Blizzard specified that no new players will be invited to the closed beta in that time.
Of course, the game will enter an open beta on all platforms (PC, PS4 and Xbox One) from 5th-9th May, while pre-order customers who reserve the game prior to 29th April will gain access to it on 3rd May.
Blizzard game servers were overloaded and brought down by a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack overnight that hacker group Lizard Squad appears to have claimed responsibility for.
There's a new Overwatch closed beta update and it adds an all new ranked mode.
Dubbed Competitive Play, this new mode is "Designed for those seeking a more serious challenge," Blizzard wrote in its forum. The new mode lets players "rank up though a series divisions and tiers in monthly seasons."
You'll have to be at least level 25 to partake in this more hardcore competition, and the matchmaking will try to pit teams against those of similar size.
The Overwatch beta received a big patch today that amongst other things introduced competitive play and replaced that Tracer victory pose.
But, more amusingly, Blizzard was forced to temporarily remove character Soldier: 76 after a new skin allowed players to turn him invisible. This, as you'd imagine, was not intentional.
The update added two new skins: Commando: 76 and Night Ops: 76. Although it's not clear which one caused the invisibility bug, both sound appropriately sneaky.
Following last week's somewhat lively discussion, Overwatch hero Tracer has now seen the victory pose accused of reducing her to "another bland female sex symbol" replaced.
A Blizzard game at 60fps: we wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks to a recent preview event showing PS4 and Xbox One beta versions of Overwatch, it's clear the developer's new hero FPS is a strong performer on console. All three versions (including PC) are slated for a May 24th launch, and 60fps is a very viable target on Sony and Microsoft's machines - something borne out in our tests below.
Blizzard has already confirmed both PS4 and Xbox One run at native 1920x1080 too, albeit with a dynamic resolution system in place. It means Overwatch can lower its pixel count when the action heats up, but this does ensure gameplay performance is always smooth (a trade-off we can fully get behind based on the results seen here). Despite this, we've yet to notice any visible hit on image quality, and we suspect its resolution scaling logic is very rarely put into effect on PS4. Even in heavy battles - taking the explosive Junkrat character for a spin on the Hanamura map - the game remains sharp at all times. Based on PS4 tests so far, we're sticking at a true 1080p for the majority of play.
Letting loose with this hero's explosive mines and grenades, PS4 isn't troubled in its pursuit of 60fps either. This is exactly how it should be for a competitive shooter - a locked 60fps line, with almost zero hitches throughout. The only moments we see a momentary hiccup is when the camera switches to the kill-cam view, incurring a minor blip. But during actual gameplay, the worst on record is a single torn frame on PS4 once - as we rev up Junkrat's ultimate ability. Even with all action congesting in the centre of a dojo, there's simply no slip from that top 60Hz refresh.
Pseudo-British Overwatch hero, Tracer will be playable in Heroes of the Storm a whole two weeks prior to the launch of Overwatch's open beta.
Heroes of the Storm players who pre-purchase a digital copy of the Overwatch: Origins Edition on PC will unlock Tracer from the 19th April, with everyone else being able to purchase her from the 26th.
Although Overwatch is currently running an invite-only beta, it doesn't expand to an open beta until the 3rd May.
Overwatch's second animated short is all about Widowmaker, the game's cold-hearted assassin lady. She's french and well into spiders.
We've seen plenty of Overwatch on the PC - thanks to the ongoing beta - but Blizzard's class-based shooter is also set to launch on both the PS4 and Xbox One in just under two months. So how exactly do those console versions compare?
Blizzard will replace the 'over-the-shoulder' victory pose for Overwatch hero Tracer in response to a fan who complained it "undermines" much of the good work the game has done to promote a roster of diverse, strong female characters.
So I'm not sure if any of you have noticed, but Blizzard is pretty okay at this cinematic business. You know, I think they should probably make a movie or something.
Blizzard has announced that Overwatch will be the first video game to support Dolby's latest surround sound technology, Atmos.
UPDATE 07/03/2016 5.10pm: Blizzard has confirmed Overwatch's release date as 24th May for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Right stick with me here, the next bit is a little confusing.
There's an open beta planned on all three platforms from 5th-9th May and everyone will have access to that, wherever you decide to purchase the game. However, you'll get even earlier access from the 3rd May if you pre-order digitally, or purchase from select retailers. In the UK, that'll be GAME.
The Overwatch beta is back and it's brought with it a levelling system that never really stops. If players keep playing, they'll keep on levelling, and Overwatch, in turn, will continue to reward them with lovely glowing boxes full of loot. Inside you'll find new character skins, animations and spray paints (what is it with FPS games and graffiti, by the way?), some of which are considerably rarer than others. And because we're talking about Blizzard here, a lot of this stuff looks really, really great. Players want to own it.
Hello you lot! We're back with our every-other-weekly video games podcast, if you fancy giving it a listen. Oh gosh, please give it a listen. I really like recording it.
The Overwatch beta is back on which means, naturally, that conversations with Chris Bratt about the Overwatch beta are also back on.
UPDATE: Don't want to read words? Well here's Chris Bratt to save the day with an overview of Overwatch's recently announced progression system in video form. Look at the pretty pictures. Listen to his dulcet tones.
Overwatch's closed beta is returning on 9th February in Europe and the Americas (and 16th February in Asia) after Blizzard took it offline in December to make improvements.
It was originally supposed to return in January, but the developer delayed it so it could fine-tune a new game mode.
It's unclear what that new game mode is just yet, but Blizzard noted in its announcement that the closed beta will include such a mode along with the following enhancements:
Overwatch's closed beta was planned to relaunch in January, but it's been delayed until next month, Blizzard has announced.
The reason for the delay? Blizzard is adding a new mystery game mode.
"One of the things we noticed players consistently mentioning was their desire for more game modes in Overwatch, in addition to Point Capture and Payload. Without getting into specifics, we are working on a new game mode," game director Jeff Kaplan wrote on the Battle.net forums.
It must have been a strange Blizzcon for the Overwatch team this year. On one hand, they'd just launched their closed beta and people seemed to be having a brilliant time with it. They had some big reveals planned for the show itself, in the form of three new heroes and the news that the game would indeed be coming to consoles. But that, really, wasn't what the community wanted to talk about.
Overwatch, the upcoming competitive first-person shooter from Blizzard, will add new maps and playable characters for free.
Blizzard will be taking the closed beta of Overwatch offline on 10th December, the developer has announced.
The good news is it will be brought back online in "mid-to-late January". Players who have access to it now will retain access to the alpha when it returns in 2016.
Furthermore, more players will be added to the closed beta upon its return. "We do plan to invite more players to the Closed Beta after it comes back online," Blizzard stated. "The exact timing and how many players are invited will be determined by our testing needs."
I've fallen pretty hard for Overwatch. Blizzard's latest venture into the multiplayer FPS genre isn't set to launch until the spring of next year, but we've already been mucking around in the game's closed beta for almost a month. Despite only offering a couple of different game modes (three if you count the 'hybrid' maps), it still feels like this game is bursting with variety. That's largely thanks to an impressive roster of characters - we're looking at 21 heroes since Blizzcon - that all manage to offer very different playstyles.
As well as using Blizzcon to confirm the Overwatch console release that we all sort of knew was almost definitely going to happen, Blizzard also lifted the lid on three new characters coming to the game.
Blizzard's team-based shooter Overwatch is not free-to-play, as many had expected, but a full price game. It's out spring 2016.
Overwatch on console! New Hearthstone Adventure! Warcraft movie trailer debut! No Diablo. Sad face.
Overwatch for consoles is now confirmed with the reveal of the Origins Edition, due out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One spring 2016.
UPDATE 5/11/15 4.00pm If there was still any doubt of a console release for Overwatch, US retailer GameStop has begun taking orders for Blizzard's shooter on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The name of the game may be Overwatch, but we all know what we're playing is a slice of a bigger project Blizzard would no doubt rather forget. Titan, the long-in-development game designed to revolutionise the MMO genre, never quite found its flame - save, that is, for one bright spark that Blizzard couldn't quite put out: a team-based shooter that went into beta last week.
The closed beta for Overwatch, Blizzard's upcoming arena shooter, is now live in Europe and America.
Those who have opted into the beta selection process and have been chosen to participate in this first wave will have access to the game automatically applied to their Battle.net accounts during the next 12 hours. If you've yet to sign up for the beta, you can still do so by logging into your account.
Earlier today, Blizzard warned its playerbase to ignore phishing emails purporting to provide them with their beta key. No keys will be issued at this stage of the beta programme, and so any official-looking emails are instead from someone looking to get their grubby hands on your hard-earned WOW gold and the like.
Blizzard has outlined its beta plans for its upcoming competitive first-person shooter Overwatch.
There are actually going to be two different betas: a closed one for gameplay feedback, and an open one as a network stress test.
The closed beta will launch on 27th October for the Americas, and will gradually make its way to Europe and Asia, in that order, as more players are introduced.
UPDATE 10th July 2015: Blizzard has released an unedited, 60 frames-per-second 10-minute gameplay video showing off the newly-announced playable character Soldier: 76.
Blizzard's spent the last week-and-a-half putting out complete, unedited 60 frames per second matches of its in-development team-based shooter Overwatch, and we've rounded them up.
Overwatch is similar to Valve's Team Fortress 2, but takes inspiration from MOBAs in terms of map mechanics and hero designs.
Each of the videos focuses on one of the game's heroes. The latest showcases Japanese bowman Hanzo, and takes place on King's Row, a Point Capture / Payload hybrid map set in England.
The number of people who subscribe to massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft fell to 7.1 million, Blizzard said - but the success of Hearthstone and Diablo is helping make up for it.
When Blizzard announced its new shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon, a question immediately presented itself: was this project related to - possibly even a repurposed portion of - its cancelled massively multiplayer game, codenamed Titan?
Blizzard is a known quantity in the video games industry having delivered such megahits as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, and most recently Hearthstone, but its announcement of Overwatch, a competitive first-person shooter, was met with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Blizzard's never made a shooter before and the genre is already overcrowded as is. Could the studio that made Kerrigan a known gaming icon compete in the same space as Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty and Halo?
The company behind WoW is confident that it can as it suggests Overwatch will feel unlike other games currently occupying this space. "Back in 2002 with World of Warcraft, we skimmed a lot of comments [saying] 'what business does Blizzard have in the MMO category? You guys don't know what you're doing. You're the RTS company!' But we figured it out, with your guys' help, and we plan to do that same thing with the shooter," said game director and Blizzard vice president Jeff Kaplan at a BlizzCon panel earlier today.
"What we like to do is look at genres we love and sort of revere and think of all the ways that we can bring out the best elements of those genres," he added.
UPDATE 07/11/2014 9.30pm: Overwatch beta sign-ups are now live on its official site.