Home Gaming Overwatch had progression systems, and they both failed miserably

Overwatch had progression systems, and they both failed miserably

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Overwatch struggling with progressions systems

Overwatch is now officially on a holiday break, with the time spent offline allowing Blizzard to implement some rather big changes for when the beta goes live again early next year. Some of those changes involve progression systems, which right now the game is lacking completely. It doesn’t mean Blizzard haven’t tried though. In fact they tried twice. And both went rather terribly.

Trying to implement traditional progression systems to a game so focused on character swapping and teamwork is hard, as Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan explains in a new video. At first he and his team tried something similar to most other shooters and MOBAs – letting players unlock new and powerful abilities with XP they had acquired using a specific character.

For example, Reaper could unlock a ludicrously powerful ability at high levels, similar to the way progression in a game of Heroes of the Storm works. It, unsurprisingly, broke Overwatch in spectacular ways, and was scrapped immediately.

The second attempt was a little more conservative. Rather than affecting the game, Blizzard tied cosmetic upgrades to character progression. This allowed you to unlock more costumes, hats and more for characters based on the time you played them, which ended up working against the game in Alpha testing.

It was found that this made players less likely to switch characters mid-match, as they continued grinding towards the next piece of clothing. That goes against the inherent team-based nature of the game, and was eventually scrapped for it too.

“We realized the system was encouraging the wrong behaviour In a game that’s about fluid team composition and hero-swapping, a system that overly rewarded you sticking to one character was bad…”

That doesn’t mean Overwatch is never getting progression. Kaplan explains that a lot has been learnt from these two failed systems, and his team is planning on introducing  progression when the game resumes beta next year. The system in question will be even lighter than the previous cosmetic one, so that the game itself isn’t really affected. But expect a few kinks in the chain when it first rolls out.

Last Updated: December 17, 2015


  1. More MehBA news?!?!?

    The only Overwatch I’m interested in is the improved system in XCom2


    • The Grand Admiral Chief

      December 17, 2015 at 10:24

      Agreed. There is only XCOM2, DXMD, and Warframe


      • Hammersteyn

        December 17, 2015 at 11:10

        …..and system shock


        • The Grand Admiral Chief

          December 17, 2015 at 11:13

          Yes, but not releasing next year?


          • Hammersteyn

            December 17, 2015 at 11:34

            I’d like to believe it does

          • The Grand Admiral Chief

            December 17, 2015 at 11:42

            I’d like to believe it launches tomorrow

  2. The Grand Admiral Chief

    December 17, 2015 at 10:34

    I used to be excited about this game, but somehow, I’m no longer excited as much


  3. Jonah Cash

    December 17, 2015 at 10:50

    No progression…. They better be hoping they have the best movement and gunplay ever. Otherwise they pretty much have half of Battlefield. And that game is dong gangbusters as we all know 🙂


  4. Galbedir

    December 17, 2015 at 11:05

    Cant wait for this game! So bleak I haven’t gotten my beta key yet 🙁


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