Players invited to test Blizzard Entertainment’s upcoming MOBA Overwatch can jump back into the action right now. In addition to a number of balance fixes between the characters, a new player progression system, a new game mode, a new map, and revamped options for Custom Games are also live in the latest build.
Selected players still have plenty of time to download the game via the Battle.net client now. There is no set ending date for the second round of closed beta testing at this time. Players will know if they have access to the Overwatch closed beta by visiting their Battle.net launcher or account via webpage. The Battle.net launcher will say “Install” in the Overwatch tab if a player is selected to test the game. Moreover, an “Overwatch Beta” license will be in the player’s account section of the Battle.net website.
A selection of frequently asked questions with information like that presented above and other helpful material can be found on the official Overwatch website. Instructions on how to opt in to beta testing for a chance to play Overwatch and the game’s system requirements are also present in the FAQ. There is no non-disclosure agreement for players in this phase of testing. Players are free to take screenshot, capture video, and share that media with their friends.
This round of beta testing for Overwatch includes a few new bells and whistles. Most notably, a new player progression system is now part of Overwatch. Players will earn experience as they compete against others to unlock custom skins and sounds for their heroes. The latest update also includes the ability to play against the AI and players can also earn experience by playing the same modes against the AI. Unfortunately, that will offer less experience because those games are easier, according to the Battle.net preview. Upon leveling up, a character will receive a loot box with four different items inside. Items can be one of four rarities, including common, rare, epic, and legendary. These item rarities are also color coded, and anyone familiar with Blizzard’s games will immediately recognize the color and rarity combinations.
The contents of a loot box can include the aforementioned skins and voice lines in addition to new sprays, victory poses, highlight intros, and other emotes. The sprays, for instance, unlock new ways for players to leave their mark on a match by tagging the environment with special hero graffiti or logos. The highlight intros, on the other hand, give players a way to customize their Plays of the Game with fancy introductions. Loot boxes in Overwatch can currently only be obtained by leveling up; however, loot boxes will be purchasable with real money after the game launches.
The latest Overwatch beta also includes a new game mode along with the new player progression system. Control mode is featured on two maps, Lijiang Tower and Nepal, and pits two teams against each other in a battle to take objectives. Capturing objectives is the goal and the first team to reach 100 percent wins the round. Control mode features three rounds with cycled objectives during each round. A brief preview on the Lijiang Tower and Nepal maps are included in the official patch notes, too.
The latest update to Overwatch also balances heroes, changes the way heroes earn Ultimate Charge, and fixes a number of bugs. For example, healing now works on shields, using a quick melee ability will temporarily halt weapon recovery, and ammo will be reloaded midway through the animation rather than at the end of the animation. Ultimate Charge is different in a few crucial ways, too. Players will no longer earn charge from being hit in combat, but the charge will gradually recover for all heroes. Since that is different from the way it worked previously, all heroes’ Ultimate Charge cost has been rebalanced.
Overwatch is expected to release in the spring of 2016. Players can pre-order it now for a skin bonus on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The PC version is just $40 while console players will need to purchase the Overwatch: Origins Edition for $60. The latter includes extra skins and bonus items for other Blizzard Entertainment games.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]