As part of a major fairness and safety announcement, changes to surveillance 2, Blizzard has revealed some details about what the game will look like for newcomers. As it turns out, Kiriko isn’t the only hero they might have to play a ton of matches to unlock.
surveillance 2 will offer what Blizzard calls the First Time User Experience (FTUE) for new players. To be clear, this only applies to people creating one over watch Account on or after October 4th, so when surveillance 2 goes live.
Blizzard says it got feedback from new ones over watch Players feel overwhelmed by the dozens of heroes and many game modes on offer. So many of these features will be unlocked over time—they won’t be accessible at first.
“New players start with access to a limited number of game modes, heroes, and some other limitations to phase them out,” Blizzard wrote in a blog post. (Remember that all new players joining Season 1 have immediate access to Sojourn and Junker Queen.)
The first phase of FTUE revolves around unlocking game modes (competition is another beast we’ll get to later) and the ability to chat in-game. The second part of this is unlocking all the heroes from the original game over time. Blizzard says it will take around 100 games to unlock them all.
“This focused experience makes it easier for new players to get started in the world of Overwatch by teaching them different modes, rules, and other high-level aspects of the game in an accessible way,” Blizzard said in the post.
This might sound pretty ridiculous at first, and perhaps unfair considering opponents may have access to the entire suite of heroes. But the more I think about it, and after chatting with the members of the over watch Team before the announcement, the more I’m on board with the idea.
“From a game design standpoint, one of the fundamental things is that we just didn’t want to overwhelm a new player with more than 30 heroes at once,” lead designer Scott Mercer told me. “When there are a lot of very cool, very unique heroes, you know, having that much choice can be crippling. So there was definitely a concern with the game design of just overwhelming the player initially.”
Mercer added that the team decided which heroes will be available at launch based on the complexity of each hero. For example, while Sojourn has a high skill cap, her kit is relatively easy to understand compared to, for example, Sombra.
“I believe the last hero a player unlocks in the First Time User Experience is Echo, because Echo is a hero that… you have to be able to understand all the other heroes to play because Echo’s Ultimate.” other heroes copied the battlefield,” Mercer said. “Wrecking Ball is another rather difficult hero to play due to his unique movement with his rope and rolling around. So that was one aspect of how we approached it.
“The other was that we definitely wanted to give players a sense of progression, like they felt more connected over watch through playthrough,” added Mercer. “But it’s not super stressful. It’s really just there to provide a nice ramp.”
When I think back to the time I started playing over watch I remember at first in late 2016 I was confused about all these heroes and what they could do. By limiting the number of heroes available initially, players may be more apt to gain a reasonably in-depth understanding of each one of them before moving on to the next and unlocking more.
over watch is a complex game and so is the sequel. It will take a long time to understand the intricacies of each hero and ability and how they interact with each other. This is knowledge best learned over time, rather than immediately engulfing players in 30+ heroes.
With that in mind, finding heroes for newcomers makes sense. I’m starting to see it as not necessarily a good or bad thing for new things surveillance 2 Player. It’s just a different, maybe smoother, onboarding experience. And since this is a live service game, things can always change over time.
It’s worth noting that most FTUE restrictions (there must have been a better acronym somewhere) are lifted for those who team up with experienced players. Newcomers can team up with their friends and jump into most game modes. However, competitive remains taboo for a while. Newcomers must complete a specific challenge to gain access to ranked modes. More about this here.
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