Gamescom 2017 – Overwatch gets new Junkertown map and cinematic; massive D.Va offensive buff coming

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After a week of speculation, it turns out the rumours were true as Blizzard unveiled a brand new map and cinematic for popular multiplayer shooter Overwatch at Gamescom last night. As suspected, the new map will be Junkertown, a post-apocalyptic outpost in the Australian outback that also happens to be home to our two favourite manic Aussie crooks Junkrat and Roadhog.

Junkertown will be a payload map, as players have to escort a bed of gold and explosives through the twisting streets of the new map, which appears to be a combination of tight corners and open areas. There are landmarks such as Bruce’s Wreckyard, filled with the carcasses of destroyed omnics, as well as what appears to be a vault filled with gold. You will seemingly be fighting through these areas while being egged on by the mysterious Junkertown “Queen” whose empty throne room you will be escorting the payload to.

As to why you will be walking a bundle of loot and bombs to this monarch, Blizzard have also revealed a brand new cinematic titled Junkertown: The Plan, which sees Junkrat and Roadhog plotting out their assault. The cinematic is quite hilarious, boasting a sort of classic Looney Toons feel to it. You can check it out as well as a preview of the Junkertown map below, but expect a follow-up report as Gavin will hopefully get some hands-on time with it at Gamescom.

Junkertown is an Escort map located in the harsh and unforgiving Australian Outback. Constructed from the remains of a destroyed omnium, it’s now the home to a band of lawless scavengers known as the Junkers, led by their cutthroat Queen. When they aren’t pillaging the omnium’s skeleton for anything of value, the Junkers blow off steam in the Scrapyard—a massive gladiatorial arena whose combatants fight for glory, riches…and to survive.

As cool as Junkertown looks, this was somehow actually not the biggest Overwatch news of the night though. Over on the Overwatch forums, one fan voiced a concern about D.Va’s current place in the game’s meta. When D.Va was tweaked a while back, her armour was reduced but she was given a highly buffed Defense Matrix that allowed her to negate all kinds of incoming damage. The problem is, is that she does this a little too well.

With Defense Matrix so readily available thanks to its large resource pool, D.Va players got shifted into a very defensive role where they were there to mainly shield their allies. It is an effective play style, but not a particularly exciting or fun one way to play. And it seems that Blizzard is fully aware of this and is looking to rework D.Va in massive ways, as Principal Designer Jeff Goodman explained in response to questions about her.

Actually, we’ve made some significant changes to D.Va internally and have been testing them for a while now. Here are the changes we’ve made:

Defense Matrix: Energy drain increased by 2x. This means her effective uptime for this ability has been reduced by 50%.

Boosters: D.Va can now use her Fusion Cannons while flying.

New ability – Micro Missiles: D.Va launches a long salvo of small missiles that explode on impact, dealing damage in a small radius around them. This ability can be used while using her other abilities or firing her Fusion Cannons.

The combination of these changes allow her to play more aggressively and deal more damage, at the cost of being able to Defense Matrix as often as before. Defense Matrix still remains an extremely powerful tool when timed correctly, but the reduced uptime means D.Va won’t be able to use it nearly as often overall.

Her new Micro Missiles ability in combination with her ability to fire while flying allow for some more aggressive play, as well as opening up some new options versus heroes such as Pharah.

Overall the goal here is to reduce her reliance on Defense Matrix and make her more fun to play. As far as balancing goes, we want to nerf Defense Matrix as an ability, not D.Va as a hero.

She has been a ton of fun to play with these changes, and we’re looking forward you letting you guys play with them as well. Hopefully we’ll have a new PTR up soon!

Well, damn! Those are huge changes. Dropping D.Va’s Defense Matrix but giving her the ability to fire while boosting would already have been a game-changer. Now she has micro missiles too?! This definitely sounds as if D.Va is going to have a lot more active role to play in engagements, and fans of the South Korean mech pilot should be extremely excited about the possibilities. As a Pharah player, I can’t say that I feel the same way, as I expect many a D.Va to suddenly start dueling me in the air now.

There’s no date given as to when Blizzard will be rolling out these proposed changes to their Public Test Realm servers, much less their live public version of the game. As for Junkertown, Blizzard just says that it’s “coming soon”. They have revealed though that another short film cinematic linked to a different character will be released this coming Wednesday, 23 August.

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Last Updated: August 22, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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