BlizzCon 2016: Overwatch Gets New Game Modes, Maps

Plus: Rebalanced Quickplay, More Loot Boxes

BlizzCon 2016: Overwatch Gets New Game Modes, Maps

Overwatch fans eager to sink their teeth into more gameplay types were given some great news at BlizzCon today. Rolling out in PTR later this week, Blizzard will be completely overhauling the core of their game.

Brawls will be a thing of the past, making way for Arcade Mode. Arcade will essentially give players a grabbag of game types to mess around with. There’s Mystery Duel, a 1v1 mode where two players will be thrown on a map and forced to fight as the same random character. Elimination, a 3v3 mode no-respawn mode, will push players to figure out a balanced team composition with only three characters on each side. Mystery Heroes will be a completely randomized 6v6 mode, which will randomly assigned heroes. There will also be an All Brawls mode, which will include a rotating playlist of all the past brawls, and possibly some new additions.

Perhaps the most divisive addition to Arcade, however, comes with the second 6v6 mode. That’s because this new mode will replace traditional Quickplay. Starting in PTR this week, Quickplay will no longer allow players to stack heroes, enforcing the single-hero limit that’s been in Competetive Play from the get-go. Arcade’s new 6v6 mode, however, won’t enforce this limit, making it the de facto choice for players looking forward to surprising the opposition with a completely awful team comp. Did somebody say, “all Genji match”?

Arcade will also introduce a much-needed feature: an actual reason to play anything beside Competetive and Quickplay. Each week, players will have a chance to win loot boxes with each consecutive win. Up to three a week can be won, with an additional one rewarding players with a win in a mode they haven’t tried yet.

With Arcade also comes a new map. Echo Point Antarctica will be exclusive to Arcade, and will take place at the facility where Mei was in cryostasis for a decade. Also being added to all modes is a new Control map entitled Oasis, which takes place in the Arabian desert. Echo Point will be rolling out in PTR this week, while Oasis will be hitting in early 2017.

Today’s announcements have fundamentally altered Overwatch. Quickplay will now be totally different, Brawls will be a thing only early adopters will remember, and loot boxes will no longer be locked behind either level-ups or a pay wall. While, subjectively, I think the changes to Quickplay are for the worse, the other new additions are welcome, and I look forward to digging into them in the near future.