Jeff “From the Overwatch Team” Kaplan Discusses Game Balance in Recent Post

Jeff Kaplan

When it comes to developing a video game, especially a team-based shooter, balance can definitely be a make-or-break factor. It can even render something unplayable just by making it too difficult or too boring for some. One such title that has been undergoing tweaks and changes since its launch in May of 2016 is Blizzard‘s Overwatch. With it being the developer’s first venture into the FPS realm, there were definitely some challenges presented before them. However, now that the second year of Overwatch is upon us, it is apparent that Blizzard is certainly in control of the IP, particularly with balance. In a recent post to the Battle.net forums, game director Jeff Kaplan aims to provide his thoughts on balance, the meta, and maybe some things that can still be improved upon.

The most controversial thing I’ll say here (hopefully) is that I believe the game is currently balanced. What I mean is that I don’t feel like there are any heroes who are way too strong to the point of breaking balance. That doesn’t mean that I personally don’t think there are some problems with heroes. While I believe moving Roadhog away from a 1 shot combo was a necessary thing we had to do, I’m not entirely satisfied with where he’s at right now. I also think we need to do some brainstorming when it comes to Mercy’s resurrect, for example. The ability is extremely powerful in a very unfun way for both Mercy and everyone playing against that Mercy. But it’s not doomsday. These aren’t game breaking issues. They are better fixed slowly and carefully as the overall game is not ruined by them. I’m just using these as examples.”

Kaplan also goes into the meta of the game and how that seems to be what a plethora of the feedback has been about lately. More importantly, it would appear that players are concerned that the meta doesn’t change as often as one might like. However, Jeff does not believe the way to switch the meta up a bit is solely by changing the balance of a character. Essentially, “balancing heroes who are unbalanced is good, balancing heroes just to make them picked more or picked less is not good (in my humble opinion).”

While Jeff mentions a few ways to mix things up, another method can also be employed – the introduction of an entirely new character. Since the game’s release, there have been a handful of new heroes added to the roster, each with their own unique abilities that have changed the course of the balance and meta. Kaplan even points out that Ana, a relatively new character, is rather popular recently. “But let’s talk about the elite players… maybe the top 3rd of all MMR. Their top picked hero over the past month was…. Ana. Yes, Ana.” Of course, the newest addition to the roster is the long-awaited Doomfist, who is currently in the PTR. Once he hits the live game, there’s no telling how things will change.

For everything that the Overwatch game directer had to say, check out the post right here. As always, keep it tuned to Don’t Feed the Gamers so you don’t miss out on anything happening in the realm of Blizzard, such as the following:

What say you, heroes? Do you agree with Kaplan? Is it ridiculous to think balancing and the meta are going to change frequently, or is that the way it should be? With Overwatch currently being balanced, are you hoping that Doomfist comes in and takes care of that? Sound off in the comments section below, and be sure to follow DFTG on Twitter for live gaming and entertainment news 24/7!

Eric Garrett1695 Posts

Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.

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