Thanks to this annoying little affliction called “adult responsibilities”, I wasn’t able to put much time into Overwatch during its recent Anniversary event. Because of this, I only managed to nab one new skin and a smattering of sprays and emotes. You know what I could have gotten if I played more? About the same, just with an additional metric tonne of duplicate items which I already own!
To be fair, duplicate items in Overwatch lootboxes have always been an annoyance, but due to the Anniversary event’s best loot being a lot more rare (all the skins were Legendary items) it suddenly felt like you were getting duped (pun fully intended) a whole lot more. And the internet RAGED! Whether it was because of this latest bit of fan vitriol or they’ve genuinely been listening to all the gripes about duplicate items in lootboxes since the game launched last year, Blizzard have now decided to do something about it.
In the latest Developer Update video, game director Jeff Kaplan has revealed that they are tweaking the game’s lootbox system to now “drastically reduce the rate of duplicates you get out of any lootbox.” I believe the appropriate response at this point would be: HALLELUJAH!!
Now normally when you get a duplicate in a lootbox, the game rewards you with some credit instead (the amount is determined by the rarity of the duplicate) which you can then use to buy other items yourself. And as Kaplan goes on to explain, they have catered for this with the reduced duplicate drop rate by increasing the number of credits you get out of lootbooxes. So in the end, you will receive fewer duplicates, but still have roughly the same amount of total credits to spend on other items.
This change is currently live on the Overwatch Public Test Realm servers on PC, and Kaplan states that players should immediately notice the difference. However, he does also point out though that “you have to keep in mind that the system doesn’t have infinite content, so at some point you are going to get duplicate items… but we feel the change should be very drastic and significant and feel fantastic.”
Another way that Overwatch has always made you feel fantastic is with their highlights feature. How this currently works is that the game uses some pretty advanced algorithms to determine when you’ve done something during the match that is worthy of remembrance. Sometimes these moments are significant to earn you the Play of the Game for everybody to see, or sometimes it will just save it under the Highlights menu.
There are two problems with this though. Firstly, sometimes I do something that I consider worthy of a highlight (or even Play of the Game), but Overwatch’s algorithm doesn’t think the same for whatever reason and doesn’t save the highlight. Secondly, even if the highlight is saved, the game only allows for there to be five of them appearing in the Highlights menu with the oldest being overwritten as new ones are created. Also, once you log out or close down the game, those Highlights are wiped, which means if you didn’t record it yourself using some kind of video capture like the Playstation’s Capture Gallery (like I did for the one above), they would be lost forever.
However, as Kaplan revealed, they have done a “complete iteration and evolution of the Highlights feature”. You will now be able to map a button that acts as a highlights bookmark (or multiple keys on PC that will allow for multiple bookmarks). So when you do something really cool, hit the button and when you exit the match a short clip of that moment that you bookmarked will now show up in a new section titled Recently Captured.
On top of that, the traditional automatically generated top five highlights will still be there as well alongside the Recently Captured section, but they will now be available for 24 hours, even if you close down the game. As for the Recently Captured highlights, you can have up to 32 entries in this section, which you will have to clear out yourself if you like to add more but have hit the limit. How you clear out these highlights is even more amazing though.
Instead of just deleting them (which you can do), you will now have the option to save those highlights as videos directly from within the game. On console this will export to the normal Playstation or Xbox media library, but on PC you will now be able to natively save it in many different formats. More impressively, on PC when you save the video the game will actually re-render it based on whatever graphical settings you choose. So you may play on a low spec machine running the game at a low resolution with all the bells and whistles turned off, but you could export the video in 4K resolution at 60fps with all graphical details set to max. Of course, the higher the visual quality, the longer it will take to render and export your video and the bigger in size it will be.
These are both really cool updates, which you can test out right now if you’re on the Overwatch PTR on PC. No word yet on when this will hit the rest of the game.
Last Updated: June 23, 2017