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Blizzard’s long-running Developer Update series has given us the first looks at many upcoming Overwatch features. On today’s installment, Game Director Jeff Kaplan detailed some of the new Overwatch social features that will be coming soon to the game. No specific date was given for these upcoming additions.
Endorsements, the first new addition in the video, will reward players for being non-toxic, helpful players. At the end of every match, everyone will have an opportunity to endorse other players three distinct ways: being a good teammate, having good sportsmanship, and being a good leader. The latter two can only be applied to people on your team and your endorsement ranking will decay if you aren’t getting more kudos. Endorsements are limited to prevent abusing the system and players will be rewarded during designated check-in points. Although Kaplan did not specify exactly what the reward would be.
Looking for Group is the next social system. It will allow players to look for or make a group with exact specifications. For example, you can look for a group that meets your requirements of having two tanks, two healers, and two damage heroes. Of course, you have an open group where everyone can play what they please if you want. Groups can also be named and have other specifications like mandatory voice chat. Kaplan detailed why Blizzard decided to add this feature.
“The whole idea behind Looking for Group, like with our Avoid Teammate feature we added a short while ago, is to give you more control over your gameplay experience,” said Kaplan. “We think Overwatch is a team game and you always have to play with five other people and we think you’ll have a much better experience.”
Kaplan made it clear that this will not be a matching system. He described it as like a custom lobby system where these groups are listed and players choose which ones to look at and possibly join. In essence, you choose the group and it’s not automatic.
In other smaller news, Offense and Defense heroes will be put into one group. This new Damage group will, as Kaplan puts it, “greatly simplify things.” Profiles can also be set to private when this update rolls out. The new Symmetra rework as well as the Horizon Lunar Colony map update will also come with these social features. Blizzard will detail these at some unspecified time in the future but both are now on the PTR on PC.
These upcoming Overwatch social features are part of their initiative to let players customize their experience, according to Kaplan. He said that more social features are also slated for the summer and fall, but didn’t specify what they’d be.