Blizzard recently posted their Overwatch Year in Review Developer Update, but while Game Director Jeff Kaplan did go over the successes of 2016, he focused heavily on what’s coming in 2017.
Right now, unlike most multiplayer first person shooters, Overwatch does not have a custom game matchmaking system. Kaplan admits that the game is really lacking this feature and that fans have been chorusing for it.
“So right now, we have a lot of great functionality in the custom game feature, but not everybody knows that you’re running a custom game. You have to either invite friends or invite people by battletag. We’re working on what’s called a server browser, which is a way for people to see a big list of custom games, and a way for you as a player who’s running a custom game to say ‘hey I want this one to be public,'” says Kaplan.
He thinks they’ll have a solid first version of the server browser early in 2017. Once they get the first version up, they have plans to further expand upon it.
Kaplan also said that they’re currently working on adding customization to the spray and communication wheels. So when a player goes to emote, say a voice line, or use a spray, they will get to choose from four choices. That way you can say follow up one voice line with another, which might make more sense in certain circumstances.
Another feature that many players have been asking for, especially in competitive games, is to for Overwatch to force people to join team chat if they are in party chat. Kaplan says that while they are not going to force people to join team chat, they will add a button that will be similar to the “stay as group” button that will encourage people in party chat to join team chat.
One update should come as no surprise to players. Oasis, the new map that is currently on the public test server, will be released early next year. Kaplan did say that the Overwatch team is currently working on new maps right now, but many of them may never make the game. He did say that some of those maps might end up in the arcade, and perhaps if they do well there, they will enter into the normal game map rotation.
Kaplan also teased ahead to new characters, though he was careful not to make any promises on that end. He said that often his team works on way more content than ever sees the light of day. He did say that one of the characters they’re working on has made it to the art stage, meaning they’re a little further along than the rest of the champions in testing. But even as he said this, he stressed that he’s not making any promises about releasing new characters.