BlizzCon: Top 10 Burning Overwatch Questions Answered

Overwatch_Poster_FinalIf you’re here then you’ll already aware that Blizzard Entertainment has revealed its first new intellectual property in 17 years. The glory goes to Overwatch, a first person squad-based shooter featuring former heroes of Earth turning to the darkside of the military, being mercenaries. The speculation for a reveal of some kind was huge, everything from a new WoW expansion to a Diablo expansion to a console game, and yes, even a new IP was possible. Some thought this BlizzCon would be boring. That’s certainly been proven incorrect.

Chris Metzen and Jeff Kaplan only had a few moments to showcase Overwatch. The first panel, which filled in that mysterious gap in the Main Stage after the opening ceremony, raised more still. Yeah, it provided us with expanded gameplay, a discussion of the game design and a breakdown of the heroes and expected roles. This naturally led to more questions. Here are the top 10 from the community.

What’s the story behind Overwatch? Who are these people and why do I care?

Overwatch is set in a very fictionalized future of Earth. According to Metzen, we’re sixty years removed from the present day. Technology must keep advancing at an insane pace to perfect mutant gorillas, blinking, force fields and such. Thirty years prior to this a great robot threat threatened Earth life. The response was the Overwatch, an institution of fighters large and small, powerful and agile from all over came together with a singular purpose of defending that way of life. After fending off this threat, which we believe will be detailed later, the institution struggled to remain relevant. Roughly five years before the game begins it collapsed and the heroes became private, independent contractors. Mercenaries.

How long has Blizzard been working on Overwatch?

Blizzard would not comment on this directly initially, often sidestepping the question by focusing on it being the first new intellectual property in 17 years. This has led many to believe that Overwatch is what was formerly known as Project Titan, an original IP set to be an MMO in a new universe. Overwatch indeed rose out of the ashes of Project Titan. This means that it’s been in development roughly forever. No wonder it’s so far along!

What’s the business model, single purchase, F2P or something else?

Blizzard steadfastly refused to address the issue. The current expectation is that it won’t be free-to-play. This assumption is mainly based on the lack of customization for characters, including skins and abilities, that would normally drive such a model. Blizzard specifically said that while they saw the potential for a male Tracer, etc., it was not a path Overwatch was currently entertaining.

How many unique classes are there in Overwatch?

Currently, Blizzard has unveiled a full 12 unique characters. You can learn all about them yourself over at It’s the full roster of what’s playable at BlizzCon, all their abilities and tons of back story to boot. Check it out.

Fear not, those dozen are simply the beginning. Chris Metzen tweet

Do I have to be an expert at shooters to play Overwatch?

It certainly wouldn’t hurt! Blizzard Entertainment is very cognizant of casual players. Overwatch is not a twitch heavy first-person shooter. This is perfectly evident by a cavalcade of abilities that do not require pinpoint accuracy or even aiming. Furthermore, there are numerous heroes that do little damage at all. This isn’t restricted to the support classes, but extends to defense characters like Torbjörn.

Won’t I die a lot?

You’re going to die. It is a shooter after all. That being said the team behind Overwatch designed the title with death in mind. Keeping in mind that watching a respawn timer is not a fun experience. Players, irrespective of skill level, can expect to live longer than they would in a typical military shooter. Even if you’re squishy, it’s likely your teammates will be able to extend your life with their abilities. As the trailer articulates, Blizzard is designing the title to be inviting to everyone. Death isn’t very inviting.

*BONUS* Did I just watch a trailer for an upcoming Pixar movie?

Yeah, Overwatch may spawn a new shooter genre, the family-friendly shooter. Everyone we spoke with took the Pixar comment as flattering.

Honestly, how unique are these heroes?

Alright, there are three robots, a male dwarf, a pair of femme fatales, two support females, a great ape tank, a hammer-wielding giant of a man in a FPS and three male assassins one that uses a bow. That’s quite a cast of characters. Outside unique stories and weapons, the characters don’t even have the same number of abilities. For instance, Reinhart and Mercy have five distinct abilities, including an ultimate, while most others have four.

What kind of maps/modes are going to be available in Overwatch?

Blizzard being Blizzard, the company didn’t want to hold itself to a particular number quite yet. The current playable build features three maps, which covers two different modes. Both Temple of Anubis and Hanamura are your typical objective maps, where one side attempts to defend objectives from an attacking force. King’s Row is the sole Payload map currently. In Payload matches an attacking force captures an objective to release a payload then fights to move it to a delivery point.

Clearly, the number of maps are expected to increase quite a bit. It wouldn’t be ludicrous to expect new game modes either. Hopefully Blizzard will help innovate the shooter genre by creating a completely unique game mode for Overwatch.

Is Overwatch going to have an eSports presence?

No game company these days would rule out eSports. It’s simply too lucrative if a game hits. Expect Overwatch to take a run at the growing spectator sport. After all, Blizzard has been throwing money at WoW Arena eSports rather unsuccessfully for years.

When can we play Overwatch?

The weightiest of all questions. Blizzard has actually pinned beta testing to 2015. Yeah, that year that’s less than two months away! Granted, this is Blizzard, a company that’s more than happy to go back on a release date if they feel it’s necessary.