The latest Overwatch developer update has a bit more of a casual look to it than we usually see, because it comes to us from a corner of Jeff Kaplan’s house, apparently recorded on a phone taped to a box. Despite the junktech setup, the recording quality is perfectly fine (Kaplan looks a little rougher around the edges than usual, but who among us does not these days), and the update delivers some welcome news about changes coming to the Overwatch communications wheel.
Kaplan kicks off by noting that a very common request from Overwatch players is the ability to customize the communication wheel to enable the ability to deliver specific orders, or say things like “sorry” or “goodbye.” So Blizzard is going to do just that, by adding a series of new lines for the communications wheel and an option in the settings that will let players set them up however they like. Even better, all of the new lines have been voice recorded for all 32 heroes, so every no matter how you set up your wheel, you’ll hear the lines properly spoken.
“Everybody has been wanting to say ‘sorry’ for a long time, not just Mei,” Kaplan says in the video. “So now, with any character, you can say ‘sorry’. We think it’s going to be a cool system. A lot of you have asked for that level of customization in the communication wheel, and we think it’ll be really powerful for you.”
Kaplan also said that Blizzard is working on getting queue times down, a process that—among other things—will see the addition of a new “priority queuing system” for players who get booted from failed competitive matches. Currently, if one player quits a competitive match, it ends and the remaining players are kicked to the end of the queue; when the new system goes into place, those players will instead be returned to the queue in the position they had before the match started—as long as they’re not the player who quit the match and forced it to collapse.
“It’s not going to guarantee that you’re instantly going to get into another match after the match gets shut down by a leaver, but you’re not going to have to wait the entire queue time,” Kaplan says. “It’s going to put you back in where you would have been as if that match had never happened.”
There’s currently no target date set for the queuing changes: Kaplan said Blizzard also wants to get “messaging” into the system so players know when it’s happening, but that could slow things down a bit.