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Overwatch Game Director (and Vice President at Blizzard) Jeff Kaplan has starred in yet another developer update touting new features coming to the game. After some time on the public test realm, players will have access to a server browser as well as the ability to make a custom game with a few more options than is currently available. The new features were discussed in a Developer Update video that was released today. Accompanying the Developer Update video is a blog post detailing all of the new features that were announced today.

The first thing mentioned right out of the gate (and the core focus of the video) is the introduction of a Server Browser to Overwatch like the classic FPS games of yesteryear. Players will be able to use filters to search the server browser through a variety of pre-selected filters such as maps, heroes, or game modes. You’ll also be able to just type in a specific term in a search box if what you’re looking for isn’t covered by the provided options. Servers will be divided on a per-region basis just like the current matchmaking is. Complimenting the upcoming server browser is an enhancement on the current Custom Game system. Citing “huge updates” and “tons of new functionality”, Mr. Kaplan opened with the news that Overwatch players will now be able to earn EXP through custom games once this patch goes live.

Additionally, the Capture The Rooster game mode introduced in the Year of the Rooster event is being permanently added as a game mode that you’ll be able to enable in Custom Game. Nine additional maps will be created as conversions from existing Control maps.  Mr. Kaplan cites the variety of feedback on Capture The Rooster and states that players will now be able to adapt the game to their taste in ways such as by adjusting the flag pickup time or which abilities will be disabled during flag pickup (such as movement abilities or abilities that add invulnerability).

Ultimately, the Custom Game functionality will allow for much more variety in Overwatch as compared to its current version. Players will be able to set asymmetric rules (that is, one team will have rules and another team will have different rules). These game rules include the ability to limit certain heroes, adjust health, change cooldowns on specific player abilities, and more.

Although the Server Browser and Custom Games are the headliners of this upcoming patch, the patch notes have quite a few more interesting details in them. Changes are coming to a few heroes as well. Bastion, for instance, is getting an increase to ammo count in Sentry Mode from 200 to 300. This increase is balanced out by a 50% increase in bullet spread and the removal of headshots in this configuration.

Another standout change will be coming to Mercy. She will now gain a short invulnerability while activating her Resurrect Ultimate. The developers had specific comments on this matter:

Developer Comments: Mercy’s Resurrect has always been very powerful, but it often forces her to sacrifice herself to use it well. There have been changes in the past that attempted to help her in this area, but haven’t done enough to solve it. This change means that once she uses the ability, she will always survive long enough to be with her team again.

Finally, a few “sensitivity” options are being added to the options menus for individual heroes. Sombra’s Hack, Mercy’s Beam, Widowmaker’s Grappling Hook, and a few other abilities are getting individual sliders that affect their targeting sensitivity. (Mercy players are also getting another mild change to their beam – it will no longer target Zenyatta while his Transcendance Ultimate is active).

While this covers the broad strokes, it’s by no means all inclusive. Click through to the patch notes to read up on all the finer details. While there’s not yet a hard date set for this patch, if you’re interested in checking out some of these new features you can head on over to the Public Test Realm by changing your Region in the Battle.net client. Fair warning, the PTR servers are hosted in America so players that are some distance away from the United States might have a tough time. And for you big Blizzard fans out there, you might be interested to hear that Lucio is coming to Heroes of the Storm.


Quick Take

Hearing Mr. Kaplan say, “Not everybody knows what a server browser is,” was a truly sad statement to hear as a bit of an old school FPS player. It’s great to hear that Overwatch is harkening back to the classic FPS days and bringing this feature to a modern title. I hope more games follow suit.

What do you think of the addition of a Server Browser and the enhancements to the Custom Game feature in Overwatch? Do you think the changes coming to Mercy are a good idea or will they make her overpowered? What’s your opinion of the forthcoming Bastion changes? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!