Overwatch 2 is going to receive some changes designed to make teamwork easier, and to make bad teamwork less frustrating. The latter is more interesting, because one of Blizzard’s proposed solution is giving Tank and Damage heroes “a modified, tuned-down version of the Support self-healing passive”, which would make them less reliant on Support players to heal everyone.
The change is coming in season nine and was outlined in a blog post.
“When a team works together – each player using their hero to their fullest potential while relying on each other to execute a strategy – the game feels magical. There’s really no other FPS like it,” boasts the post. “However, when this isn’t happening and players are all working on their own, the game is far from magical and can become frustrating. The reliance on teammates can simultaneously be one of the best and worst attributes of our game.”
Some features have already been added or tweaked to make teamwork easier, such as the ping system or the “Spawn Together” system, which adjusts repswn times to make players respawn together more regularly. The latter might be adjusted to make it more prominent in season nine, alongside other potential new features including “Party Frames”, which would show onscreen health indicators for teammates, and revisions to the scoreboard.
“It’s our hope that staying closer to your teammates and having more information on what they’re doing will help encourage team play, but what happens when your team is not working well together? We’ definitely want to make this a little less frustrating,” the post continues.
To that end, season nine will bring a slew of balance changes to be detailed later, as well as the self-healing passive for non-Support players.
“This should give non-Support players more options in terms of sustaining themselves. It should also take some of the pressure off Support players to keep everyone alive since individual players now have more control of their own health pool.”
Season nine is expected to launch in late February, but to help the design team introduces and evaluate changes faster, they’re also launching new “Quickplay: Hacked” events which change the rules of the game in quickplay queues. The first of these is live now and is called Quicker Play, and it’s designed “to make matches… Quicker.” That means faster Payloads and Capture times, faster respawns, and shorter matches. If the feedback and data is positive in these ‘Hacked’ modes, some changes may filter back into the main game.
Overwatch 2 launched in 2022 without many of its originally proposed features and with a divisive free-to-play business model. That frustration was visibly vented when it launched on Steam last year, where it still has overwhelmingly negative user reviews.