Overwatch beta patch adds a new map and Weekly Brawls

Overwatch Winston

The Overwatch beta has undergone some big changes thanks to a “massive content patch” that rolled out today. The update adds a new Escort map called Route 66, and a “Weekly Brawl” play mode that rotates in new rules from Blizzard's Custom Game system on a weekly basis.

Taking inspiration from Hearthstone's Tavern Brawls, Weekly Brawls will feature "unique (and sometimes crazy) rules," like limiting all players to a single class or even character, or assigning a random hero on each respawn. Players can queue up for Weekly Brawls from the “Play” menu either solo or in parties, and will be automatically matched up in 6v6 games.

During the testing period, Weekly Brawls will actually be rotated daily, and Blizzard warned that “even though we think Weekly Brawls can add a lot of fun to the game, the feature is still a work in progress and something we consider more of an experiment for now.” In other words, its inclusion in the full game is not carved in stone.

The patch also adds Highlights, which stores up to five personal gameplay highlights per play session, and makes some big changes to the Play of the Game system as well: It will now be broken down into four categories—High Score, Lifesaver, Sharpshooter, and Shutdown—with the nod being given to the player with the highest score in any one of them. Blizzard said it hopes the new system will make end-of-match gameplay clips “more varied and interesting to watch.”

“This is just the start of what we want to achieve with Plays of the Game, but we wanted to get these initial changes into your hands as soon as possible so you can work with us to make the system even better,” it wrote in the patch notes. “In the future, we’ll be looking to add new features to the Play of the Game system, too—such as dynamic cameras for playback, as well as more varied categories.”

The Overwatch beta is currently closed, but even from an outsider's perspective (for those of us who don't have access) it's interesting to see how the game is evolving. I really like the idea of the Weekly Brawl, and even though Blizzard says it could be cut, I'd be very surprised to see that happen, especially this close to launch—which, you'll recall, will take place on May 24.

The patch makes a great many other changes, tweaks, and bug fixes, all of which you can read about at Battle.net.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.