The second wave of social features comes to Overwatch
A new set of matchmaking tools hit the game with the next patch. They include Endorsements and Looking for Group features, among other changes.
This is the second in a series of social updates promised by the studio. The first came in late March and introduced the ‘Avoid as teammate’ button to mixed fan reactions. The new patch is also bringing the promised Symmetra rework and big redesigns to the Horizon Lunar Colony map, but we will focus on these in dedicated articles.
Here’s an overview of the new social features.
A new system is hitting the server probably in response to the previous one. This one relies on the carrot, instead of the stick, introducing positive reinforcement in the social aspects of the game.
Everyone will receive a limited number of Endorsements to give to their fellow players, be they friend or foe. They are separated into three different categories.
- Sportsmanship is meant to be awarded to friends who are a pleasure to play with. This includes players who communicate well during and after the game, encourage fun and cheerful environment and are gracious winners and losers. From the looks of it a simple ‘GG’ might be enough to qualify if the circumstances are right.
- Good Teammate is meant for the other five in the team only. These include clear communication, good teamwork and honest effort to be a great part of the team. A player who changes their hero based on suggestions in the chat should easily fit this category.
- Shot Caller is meant for people who are great at the game. If a single person takes the initiative to coordinate the entire team and select the targets and overall strategy should be rewarded for their work. Shot calling is a necessity in an eSports environment, but not something present during casual games at home.
The more Endorsements a player gets, the better their status. Gamers who maintain good faith from their peers for extended amounts of time will be rewarded periodically. On the other hand, these statuses are somewhat ephemeral. There is a decay system in play, making sure players should always strive for excellence, and not put in the work only in the beginning and then only reap the benefits. In addition, as soon as a player receives a silence or suspension, all their Endorsements are nullified and they have to start all over.
Looking for group
A new system will be implemented to make it easier for players to find a proper group to play. Something quite important in an all-team-focused game. The lobby will allow players to name their group, such as ‘Climb to Diamond, serious players only’ or ‘Chill game’. In addition, the group leader will be given a toolset of filters to different factors affecting the game, such as ‘voice chat only’, or select roles or heroes that the others should play. This seemingly puts an end to the 5-DPS-1-Healer compositions that have lost millions of matches during the games 2-years history.
Attack and Defense becomes a new category: Damage
So much for Symmetra moving to the Defense category. It no longer exists. Lead Overwatch dev Jeff Caplan recently stated that the divide of heroes among the different categories has always been an arbitrary choice and meant mostly as a guide to new players. Aggressive Zenyatta and Battle Mercy are examples of role reversals during gameplay that end up being the winning tactic. The new system of three archetypes only should make it clear for new players and easier for veterans during group formations.
Changes to player profiles
The social tab should now give every gamer the option to modify their privacy settings. The profile could be set as public, private, or friends-only.
This is the second wave of social improvements on Blizzard’s roadmap. More should hit before the end of the summer. We will keep you posted.