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Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan has appeared in another Developer Update for the game talking about the upcoming Overwatch World Cup. Additionally, Chinese players have had difficulty securing visas to enter the United States for the competition according to a letter posted on the /r/Overwatch subreddit by Chinese gamer /u/SILENCHAN.

One of the core announcements of the video is that all teams that qualified for the cup will have home and away uniforms. This won’t be the only change of colors coming to the game – the UI and other elements of the game will be adapted to these colors. Viewers will see the team’s colors represented in the UI and on screen rather than the traditional red & blue. Have a look at the full video to hear all of the details:

The major focus of this Developer Update is improvements for casters & observers in light of the upcoming Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon 2017. The UI is getting updated in other ways to help enhanced casting of this upcoming esports event for Blizzcon. An interactive map will be available to the casters that will show the status and positioning of the players in the current game. Observers will be getting a bit of an easier time with the introduction of the smart camera which will smooth out panning and follow the game’s action better. Overwatch will also be getting an instant replay feature of sorts for casters & observers – they can select any moment on the kill feed to see a replay of the action as if it were any other highlight in the game.

Aside from improvements to casting & observing, gameplay logistics are being automated to a degree. Players should be automatically placed on the correct teams, and the game will halt action if a player happens to get dropped from the game or if other issues occur. These efforts are being undertaken in order to help reduce overall downtime due to technical issues.

In related news, the Chinese team that will be attending the Overwatch World Cup is having visa issues for four of the six players from their first string. 5King, Undead, Shy, and MG have failed to secure an America visa for the upcoming event. The four team members will be replaced by substitutes if they are unable to legally visit the United States in time.

Silen Chan has highlighted other past instances of visa issues where some or all members of Chinese teams were unable to make it into the United States due to visa issues. Although esports is still an emerging industry in many respects, visa issues are par for the course with professional sports of every level. In May of 2017, ESPN reported that ten track & field athletes encountered issues making it to the U.S. In February of the same year, an entire women’s soccer team from Tibet was denied entry on their way to participate in a tournament in Dallas.

The Overwatch World Cup will be taking place on November 3rd and 4th during Blizzcon 2017. The show will go on, and these changes for casters & observers will mean that viewers should get a smoother and more informative viewing experience.

What do you think of the changes coming to Overwatch? Will the background changes make for a smoother tournament viewing experience or do you think there will still be technical issues along the way? Do you think the United States government should be making a better effort to help esports players make it into the country? 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!