Following last week’s developer update in which Blizzard outlined the changes coming to Overwatch, the PTR has been updated. Overwatch PTR Patch 1.45 is now live and includes some massive changes to the game. Firstly, Hero Pools are now live on the PTR. Hero Pools affect Competitive Play and limit the Heroes available to players. These pools will rotate and change on a weekly basis.
Secondly, Overwatch PTR has brand-new Workshop features. This includes custom game maps, subroutines and a script diagnostics panel.
Finally, the Experimental Card has been added. The Experimental Card is a way for Blizzard to test major changes that may not ever be included in the main/standard game modes. Better still, the Experimental Card operates on the live version of the game, giving console players an opportunity to join in.
While Hero Pools will be added to Season 21, it may not last beyond that. Blizzard will be closely watching how Hero Pools affects the season and how players respond to it.
According to Blizzard, the weekly Hero Pools will only exclude a handful each week but it believes it will help keep the meta fresh and constantly changing.
The new Workshop tools include the following custom game maps;
- Workshop Chamber – A 40m x 40m x 40m enclosed room
- Workshop Island – A 40m x 40m island surrounded by water
- Workshop Expanse – A 900m x 900m flat plane
Gameplay engineers Dan Reed and Zach Metcalf spoke about the new changes to the Workshop recently.
“We were amazed by what they were doing before,” says Metcalf, “so we’re even more excited to see what they’ll do with better tools and quality-of-life improvements.” The quality of what creators were producing led to Blizzard removing the requirement that “every loop be preceded by a “Wait” action.”
This requirement was in place to prevent infinite loops crashing Overwatch, however, it made things more difficult by causing “bogged down scripts and limited what a skilled creator could accomplish.”
With great power comes great responsibility. But they’re smart people. We felt like we needed this before, but we don’t anymore.
Additional changes to the Workshop are planned for the future and Blizzard hopes this change will give creators more freedom and are excited to see what players come up with.
For more info, check out the full patch notes here.