Overwatch 2’s new hero, the dual-minigun-wielding Samoan tank Mauga, formally launched earlier this week with the sport’s eighth season. Earlier than that, Blizzard Leisure added Mauga to the roster for an early preview weekend, which coincided with this yr’s BlizzCon.
Mauga’s early entry weekend was greater than only a enjoyable shock for Overwatch followers; it was additionally a take a look at for Blizzard. The tank hero was buffed, debugged, and tweaked in response to that hero preview, leading to a extra highly effective (and hopefully balanced) addition to the sport’s hero lineup.
Lead hero designer Alec Dawson stated in an interview with Polygon forward of Mauga’s launch that the Overwatch improvement workforce hopes to do comparable participant assessments with future heroes. Dawson additionally talked about a number of the classes discovered throughout Mauga’s preview weekend, and the way the Overwatch workforce is evolving its method to including new heroes to the sport.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
Polygon: For Mauga, you probably did a form of unprecedented take a look at of a brand new hero practically a month prematurely of their launch. Are you able to inform me about what led to the choice to do this?
Alec Dawson: Should you have a look at the workforce general, and the way we’ve been making an attempt to deal with improvement over the course of the final [couple] years, it’s actually been to open up much more of it, interact extra with the group, and attempt to ensure that relationship is as clear as doable. With Mauga specifically, we had a chance: BlizzCon was coming again. We wished to do one thing huge, particularly for all the parents at house, and we thought it’d be a good time to point out them Mauga early, and in addition gather suggestions on Mauga earlier than he really will get launched as nicely.
We predict it’s one thing that labored out very well, and we’re wanting ahead to do it sooner or later once more with future heroes.
How did it go?
I feel general we had been actually pleased with the weekend, and there have been some issues we wished to tune up, particularly round Mauga’s survivability. We noticed when he will get in there, will get in shut and is in the proper scenario, he might be extremely deadly. We noticed gamers using his ult very nicely early on, too. However there have been some issues on the survivability entrance, when it comes to his frontline presence — being a tank. So we upped that [survivability] earlier than launch. There have been even small bugs that we had been capable of catch, particularly with how rapidly he was setting enemies on fireplace. So we’re capable of repair that and get that sorted. We additionally obtained to see that first-time consumer expertise throughout thousands and thousands of gamers [and] how they’re taking part in with Mauga, what had been a number of the shortcomings there.
One of many greatest issues was Overrun, and gamers not feeling as succesful with this skill the place he runs at you after which he jumps up and does the massive, huge stomp.
After we have a look at all of it, Mauga’s efficiency over the weekend, clearly it was in a really completely different construction than we’re used to. However we need to ensure that these [new hero] releases launch on the facet of robust and ensuring these launches might be as thrilling as doable. Ensure they’re making up for a number of the time that you’ll have on heroes that you simply’ve been taking part in for lots of or hundreds of hours, that your first-time expertise isn’t gonna be one thing that’s detrimental to the remainder of your workforce, one thing that you would be able to choose up fairly fast.
Excited about the addition of Lifeweaver in season 4 and the way quite a lot of modifications had been rolled out, when it comes to his therapeutic and and injury output over the next weeks, it appears you’ve additionally actually buffed Mauga rapidly. Whenever you put in a brand new hero like this, what’s your consolation degree with the place they’re? You actually don’t know thousands and thousands of individuals are thrown at it, proper?
I feel up to now we’ve been conservative about sure issues. And there are nonetheless issues we’ll be conservative about, particularly gameplay mechanics. With the preview we had been somewhat conservative on how a lot maintain we had been giving Mauga, as a result of an excessive amount of maintain can simply really feel like, Hey, this character is rarely going to die. I feel we’ll even be conservative sooner or later, if we’re making a second Widowmaker, for instance — some kind of sniper, or one-shot mechanic. Issues like that we’ll be somewhat softer on.
With Lifeweaver specifically, we knew there was quite a lot of therapeutic within the package, and we knew there have been additionally stuff you’re taking away some participant company out of your teammates [with Life Grip and Petal Platform]. These are a number of the issues we’re a bit extra conservative on at launch as a result of we knew these are going to be a number of the ache factors. However general we noticed we might have gone somewhat bit extra aggressive for Lifeweaver’s launch. Since then, we’ve discovered plenty of issues about how we need to launch heroes and the way we need to launch them. Doing these previews is simply one other step in that studying.
Beforehand, the hero steadiness cadence was seasonal and midseason changes, and clearly you’ll patch issues if there was one thing outstandingly damaged. How how have you ever and the workforce adjusted your response window to balancing heroes?
I feel with a hero launch, or perhaps a hero rework, we need to be very lively into that first week to 2 weeks. With Roadhog, it was by the top of the week we had buffs prepared for Roadhog to go [out]. So we wanna be very responsive, and if there’s the rest that’s, like, excellent, we’re gonna are available and make any changes that must be made.
Talking of BlizzCon, I do know it’s early to speak concerning the subsequent Overwatch hero, Enterprise, however I wished to see what sort of suggestions you bought to that hero’s reveal and the way you’ve been ingesting that when it comes to persevering with work.
A whole lot of work has occurred since that video clip was recorded, so it’s actually attention-grabbing to look again; that was some time in the past after we did that playtest. But it surely’s simply been thrilling for the workforce. We noticed fan artwork go up in all places, and quite a lot of pleasure round Enterprise, and simply folks speaking about them as the subsequent injury hero for 2024. That was actually invigorating for the entire workforce.
What we confirmed of gameplay was so quick, so there’s not essentially a ton to remove from what folks noticed. On the similar time we noticed pleasure, and that for us was actually nice to see, and makes us really feel quite a bit higher about how early we are able to present a few of these issues. As a result of I feel it’s gonna be one thing that we proceed to do as nicely.
Mauga clearly got here with BlizzCon, however say you do a hero take a look at for Enterprise. Do you might have a way of while you would roll that out?
We’re nonetheless determining the precise timeline for it. I feel you possibly can anticipate someplace in that month beforehand, the place it provides us sufficient time to make changes earlier than the launch and is shut sufficient the place [it aligns with] different groups engaged on a hero. These are nonetheless some conversations we’re having on the workforce [in] precisely how we need to execute on that. However we all know we need to do it.