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by Published on 2023-09-19 06:06 PM

Party and Play with Overwatch 2 Anniversary 2023
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The first anniversary of Overwatch 2 is here! Millions of players have already answered the call, and we’re celebrating with lots of fun rewards. For three weeks, you’ll be able to play returning modes from past events throughout the year in the Arcade, along with the chance to earn Overwatch Credits, which can be spent on fan-favorite skins in a limited-time Anniversary Shop. Keep reading to find out more about everything coming in the Overwatch 2 Anniversary event!

Week 1 – Winter Wonderland and Battle for Olympus

During the first week of the event, stay frosty with the return of Winter Wonderland event game modes. Join in the ultimate snowball fight with Mei’s Snowball Offense, both in Elimination and Deathmatch versions. Try your hand at the epic 1v5 Yeti Hunt, or the challenging Flash Freeze elimination game modes.

If you prefer more godly challenges, Battle for Olympus also returns in Week 1 with both Free-For-All Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch game modes. Battle for Olympus features eight heroes who have been buffed with god-like ultimates to create a frenzied battle that will rock the heavens.

Week 2 – Assault, Catch-a-Mari, and Starwatch: Galactic Rescue

It’s a blast from the past! Classic Overwatch Assault maps are back to play in the Arcade. Assault maps require teams to either capture or defend two static objective points. Often considered the most challenging to play because of intense and long team fights, you’ve got to have exceptional coordination and teamwork to win. Do you think you have what it takes to cap both points?

We’re also bringing back the chaotic fun of Catch-A-Mari, our elimination-confirm style game mode where you pick up the Pachimari toys dropped from defeated opponents to score points for your team and win. Plus, save the galaxy with the return of Starwatch: Galactic Rescue. In Starwatch, a team of Watchers (attackers) work to liberate 3CH-O (played by Echo) from the clutches of the Infinite Empire (defenders) in a four-objective point map.

Week 3 – Summer Games and Mischief & Magic

In the third and final week of the Anniversary event, break out the sunscreen and hit the beach with the comeback of your favorite Summer Games event modes, including fan favorites like Lúcioball, and Winston’s Beach Volleyball.

We’re also bringing back Mischief & Magic, the prop hunt style game mode, where Knight Genji chases down the mischievous Rogue Kiriko as she transforms and hides as everyday objects.

Earn Credits to redeem Returning Shop Skins

Earn up to 3,000 Overwatch Credits when you complete all of the challenges that appear throughout the event. Use them to purchase returning premium skins in the Anniversary Credit shop, including Space Raider Cassidy, Beekeeper Sigma, Hermes Lucio, and more! You’ll also be able to save your credits for new opportunities on other popular skins coming in later seasons.

Don’t delay—the Overwatch 2 Anniversary 2023 event is live now through October 9, and the Anniversary Shop will disappear on October 16.

Thank you for making the past year special! While there have been a lot of new experiences and seasonal events, we can’t wait to show you what’s to come. Be on the lookout for new experiences to the future, including an all-new crossover event starting in Season 7 and lots of exciting news coming this BlizzCon. The adventure is just beginning, and you are not going to want to miss it!
by Published on 2023-09-08 10:17 PM

Defense Matrix - Text Chat Changes, Stopping Cheating, and Improving Reporting
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hello heroes! We’re back with news from the Defense Matrix team, covering our latest efforts to bring a positive and fair gameplay experience to Overwatch 2. We've been taking big steps to help discourage and remove disruptive behavior and cheating and wanted to share more details with you.

Hold on, what is Defense Matrix? We’re glad you asked! Defense Matrix is the name for our collection of efforts to quell the cheating, disruptive chat, and griefing issues that negatively impact many multiplayer video games, including Overwatch 2. These efforts are the product of a dedicated task force of developers, researchers, and community experts, all working to improve our existing systems while finding new ways to counter disruptive behaviors.

Guided by two core principles, we strive to keep Overwatch 2 a positive player experience. The first is Fair is Fun, meaning all players should have the same level playing field when it comes to the game. The second is to foster a Safe and Inclusive Social Experience, working to prevent and discourage disruptive and unwanted behaviors from players.

Improving Text Chat

Text chat is one of the most basic ways players communicate with each other in-game. Previously, there were three text chat settings: Unfiltered, which did not have any restrictions, Mature, which allowed for more “adult” common language, and Friendly, which removed any words identified as obscene, vulgar, or offensive. Starting this season, we are removing the Unfiltered text chat option from the social menu, since this allowed harmful language and phrases that have no place in our community.

We recommend you use the Friendly setting if you want to avoid seeing inappropriate and disruptive language that we commonly filter. All new players start with this as their default text chat setting.

The Mature text chat option permits some vulgar words commonly seen in open communication in any team-based online game that, in many cases, are considered acceptable when not used to insult or harass other players. Players who had their text chat filter set to Unfiltered have been moved to Mature.

Regardless of which setting you decide to use, it’s never acceptable for anyone to direct disruptive chat toward other players, no matter what language is used. Our filters are constantly updating, but so is the online culture lexicon. If you see anyone using any offensive language that is not being filtered, or anyone working around our filters using altered or misspelled text, please report them in-game for disruptive communication. For all platforms, you can find the report option in the social menu. If you play on a PC, you can also right-click the username directly in text chat.

Expanding Disruptive Voice Chat Detection and Actioning

We’ve talked previously about our use of machine-learning algorithms to help identify, transcribe, and verify reports of disruptive voice chat. We’re proud to have this running effectively in most regions, and we’ll continue rolling this out worldwide in all in-game supported languages. We've seen this technology correct negative behavior immediately, with many players improving their disruptive behavior after their first warning.

Your reports make a difference! If you encounter disruptive voice chat, please report it as quickly as possible, as this increases the likelihood that the disruptive voice chat is captured, transcribed, confirmed, and appropriately actioned.

Cracking Down on Inappropriate Naming

Names matter. What we choose to call ourselves in-game is an important part of playing the fantasy we want. But sometimes they can be disruptive too. We’re working on quickly identifying and removing inappropriately named custom games and BattleTags.

If you encounter inappropriate custom games, please report them directly via the mode’s information panel. Custom Games deemed inappropriate will be removed and cannot be created the same way again, and actions will be taken on accounts that maliciously post inappropriate Custom Games.

Along the same lines of inappropriate naming, utilizing user-generated content features like Custom Games to advertise services violates our in-game Code of Conduct. In effort to get rid of such cases, we’re increasing the requirement for new accounts to be able to name Custom Games up to 25 unranked or arcade games played.

Combating Cheating at its Source

Cheaters are never fun to play with, and we have a zero-tolerance policy toward cheating and botting in Overwatch 2. Since Overwatch 2’s launch, we’ve detected and banned over 250,000 accounts for cheating.

We’re continuously refining our anti-cheat detection and prevention systems to strengthen the game against cheating and botting. Your reports help us identify new cheat programs as well as cheating players, so please keep reporting!

No More Benefitting from Cheaters

We’ve previously shared that we take action on accounts that conspicuously group with cheaters in an attempt to benefit from the cheating. Already, we’ve suspended and banned thousands of accounts verified as grouping with cheaters. The rollout of this system in regional tests has proven successful, and we’ll be expanding to new regions worldwide.

If you see something suspicious, please continue to report the cheaters and not others on the cheater’s team. Once the cheater is correctly identified, we’ll take action on the players grouped with the cheater separately as necessary.

The Value of Reporting

Okay, but does my reporting really matter? Yes! It’s important to report disruptive behavior as you see it. Along with our continued development of the Defense Matrix, your reports help verify consistently disruptive players, as well as help us to identify emerging trends in disruptive behavior as the culture in online games continues to evolve. And to make sure you know just how important your report is, we’re working to improve timely feedback on your reports, such as providing more consistent log-in notifications when your reports result in successful actions against misconduct. When you see that notification, a player you reported has been actioned for their disruptive behavior so that you can see the positive impact of your reporting. Keep up the good work!

Thank you, heroes, for your continued efforts to help us keep Overwatch 2 a fun and fair game for everyone to play!
by Published on 2023-09-08 10:16 PM

Director's Take - Looking to the Future of Competitive Overwatch
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hello, everyone! We've seen a lot of conversations around Competitive in Overwatch lately, and I'd like to take most of this week's Director's Take to address it. But first, let’s have a quick hero update.

We made several changes to Illari when she was enabled for Ranked. Most notably, the healing for her pylon was reduced, and her Ultimate projectile size was decreased while it no longer pierces barriers. The Pylon nerfs effectively equalized the healing between her pylon and Solar Rifle. Pre-nerf, the Healing Pylon accounted for about 62% of her healing; now that number is 55%. This change also brings her more in line with other damage-forward supports, whereas before, she was outputting healing numbers close to Lifeweaver and Mercy. We're happy with those latest changes and the additional changes made to Captive Sun. We’ll continue to monitor her damage output and see if anything needs addressing next season. Additionally, we're looking at Roadhog's underperformance and targeting his rework for the midseason update in Season 7.

Over the past few weeks, more people have been talking about Competitive Play. Conversations really started to trend following a video from Eskay. I'd like to join in on the conversation. I agree with a lot of what has been said – and I want to share a glimpse into what the development team is thinking and the direction that we're likely to go with Competitive in the future. The team has been working on changes to our Competitive mode for some time, but moderate to major changes to the mode won't find their way into the game until sometime down the road. I won’t be able to address every issue that people are discussing in this piece, but I would like to address some of the major ones. We’ll share more details on specifics as we get closer to releasing the changes.

Some feedback we’ve heard about the current system is that you’re not pleased with how much information about the match, and your progress is hidden from you. We understand you want to know how the system works, especially regarding how your rating goes up, down, or even changes at all when you get a Competitive Update, along with trying to figure out how fair a match is at the start of a game. For instance, we’ve seen players go 5-2 and be demoted at their next Competitive Update. Many of the reports investigated so far have occurred due to MMR decay. For instance, if you typically pick DPS and go a significant amount of time between playing other roles, then MMR decay could kick in between updates for lesser-played roles. Since decay is tracked per role, this could pull your rating down far enough to cause the demotion. When players see this happen, they would justifiably assume there was an issue with the system. Many of the changes that came with our Competitive 2.0 update were based on values centered around pulling frustrating moments out of the experience but came at the cost of obscuring other information.

Going forward, we’re shifting our values to provide more transparency to the mode. This doesn't necessarily mean that the older skill rating measurement is or isn't coming back. As we continue to iterate on the possibilities, we very much appreciate your continued feedback. We want you to have a better understanding of what your true rank is and why wins and losses cause it to move up or down based on the general skill level of all players in a match.

Additionally, we understand the way we track progress can cause losses to feel more frustrating. Currently, the system will provide a rank update after every five wins or fifteen losses. After each win, progress is shown on a screen during the end-of-round flow, but losses are not. When the game doesn't acknowledge the loss, it can feel as though the whole match was a waste of time. We’re making changes so that the system will contribute your progress toward a rank update after every match, whether you win or lose, so that no match feels like a complete waste of time.

We're also talking about the Top 500 leaderboard and some of the unique issues for that experience. If you are in the Top 500, you are among the most competitive players in the community, and we think there are additional needs and issues than the rest of the community. One example of a unique problem is the difficulty of climbing the Top 500 leaderboard later in the season versus playing early in the season when it's easier to place higher. They also have more issues with queue times, grouping with friends, and finding fair matches when the spectrum of skill in this group can still be fairly substantial.

We also believe that the Top 500 experience is a more full-featured experience than how other players interact with Competitive. Competing with and passing other players on the ladder makes the Top 500 leaderboard exciting. It's not something that most players get to experience. Eventually, we'd love to find a way for players of other ranks to have an experience in climbing the ranks that feels more granular than just moving in and out of skill tiers. This is a long-term goal and is something we are just thinking about right now.

Overwatch 2 is always evolving and growing. We'd like for it to be doing that in a way that is exciting for players and in a direction that they would like. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a healthy dialog between players and developers. Some of these Competitive changes will be made in the short term (like how we treat MMR decay), but other issues will be handled with broader changes coming early next year. Ultimately, we are aiming to make the system more transparent, add more frequent reporting, open up some of our restrictions for grouping at high-skill tiers, and look to introduce new competitive rewards. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Thanks for reading - I'll see you in game.
by Published on 2023-09-08 10:14 PM

Master Your Skills in Hero Mastery Mode!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Do you have the fastest kill rate as you zip past the front lines? Are you an expert at charging your enemies? Do you master the skies with your Guardian Angel skills? Prove and enhance your skills as you take on the new Hero Mastery mode in Overwatch 2!

Hero Mastery is an all-new single-player mode, permanently available for everyone. The objective for Hero Mastery is to race through an action-packed course filled with training bots, obstacles, and jump pads as you race for the finish line. It’ll test your skills and limitations across training courses for Mercy, Reinhardt, and Tracer, with Sojourn and Winston coming later this Season. Your score is based on how fast you reach the finish line, how many enemy bots you defeat, and how many Emblems you collect throughout the course.

Watch Out for New Training Bots

With new courses come new Training bots! While most of the enemy training bots will look familiar, there will also be new challenging ones to shoot, dodge, and block. Tank Bots are beefy machines with high HP and barriers. Rocket Bots shoot projectiles that will deal significant burst damage. And Sniper Bots take out their targets from long range. These training bots will be strategically placed throughout the map, so you’ll have to figure out how to deal with them as you master each course. In some cases, you’ll need to defeat the enemy bots in a specific section before continuing to the next. In other cases, you’ll help keep friendly bots from being destroyed. Don’t worry—if a bot gets the best of you, simply restart the course!

Boosting Your Score

Looking for the highest score? There are two ways to achieve an impressive score in Hero Mastery Mode: collecting Emblems and finishing with a fast time. Picking up Emblems grants additional bonus points to your score. Large Emblems are worth an extra bonus on rare occasions but reaching them will be much trickier than the small Emblems. Each hero’s course also rewards bonuses based on their abilities, so strategize carefully to get maximum impact in the course!

Then comes your speed through the course. Depending on how quickly you reach the finish line, you’ll be granted scaling multipliers of gold, silver, or bronze. Your time, combined with how many Emblems you collect, will determine your star rating and total score earned on the course.

Become A Hero Master!

Each hero comes with three courses, each with increasing difficulties. Completing the Recruit course with at least a 3-star rating will grant access to the Agent course. Testing your skills in the Expert course requires a 4-star rating or higher in the Agent course. Each hero also comes with an exclusive Player Icon, an exclusive Name Card, and bonus Battle Pass XP, rewarded after mastering the three courses. Keep track with the Top 500 leaderboards showcasing the highest scores in each region!

New Limited-Time Challenges

We’re kicking off Hero Mastery mode with a limited-time event! Now through September 25, earn new rewards—including an exclusive Weapon Charm, Souvenir, Spray, and Title—when you complete the limited-time event challenges! Courses are now available for Tracer, Mercy, and Reinhardt, with courses for Sojourn and Winston coming in the weeks ahead. Don’t worry if your favorite hero isn’t available yet—more courses for other heroes will be arriving in future Seasons.
Hero Mastery is free for all players in Overwatch 2, so jump in and blink, charge, and fly your way to the finish line today!

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