Overwatch is getting a 'looking for group' feature and tools to reward good behavior

In a new developer update, game director Jeff Kaplan outlined a huge patch coming to Overawtch soon. In addition to the extensive Symmetra rework, a number of social features are coming to the game.

The most exciting is a 'looking for group' feature that will allow players to create parties, restrict roles they're looking for, and seek out players with specific parameters such as using voice chat or those interested in climbing the ladder.

The system won't function as an automated matchmaker—instead, players will be able to browse parties hosted by other players seeking out teammates and seek out the kind of group experience they are looking for. Within the new system, Attack and Defense heroes have been merged into a new "Damage" category, which simplifies the often arbitrary distinction between, say, Junkrat and Tracer. 

The next is an endorsement system that will let players recognize players for sportsmanship, shotcalling, and being a good teammate. Players that maintain a high endorsement level (without being cited for toxic behaviour, which resets any goodwill they have earned) will be rewarded periodically, though Blizzard did not say how.

Finally, several balance changes have been made. In addition to the Symmetra rework, which you can read about here, Doomfist and Orisa have received minor tweaks, and the map Horizon Lunar Colony has been overhauled considerably.

Doomfist

  • Meteor Strike - Bonus movement speed increased from 150% to 200%
  • The Best Defense… - Shield gain increased from 30 to 35 for normal abilities

"The increased movement speed on Meteor Strike gives Doomfist new options in how and where to deploy it," reads the developer comments. "His passive is also being increased, allowing him to survive more often when diving into enemies."

Orisa

  • Supercharger - Ultimate cost reduced by 15 percent

"Supercharger wasn’t getting enough use, considering its impact," Blizzard said. "This change allows Orisa to use her ultimate more aggressively, knowing that she will be able to generate them more easily."

Map - Horizon Lunar Colony

Point A

  • Added a staircase on the right when exiting the hydroponics room
  • Removed the door to the lower room on the right
  • Removed the small wall on the catwalk above Point A
  • Added some cover walls to the catwalk area
  • Moved the door next to the staircase that led to Winston’s room
  • The door is now on the side of the wall in the training pit
  • Moved the large health pack to the back of the room
  • Removed some clutter in the upper left computer room

Hydroponics Room

  • Switched the positions of the large and small health pack
  • Changed some of the hydroponic plant cover on the right side

Point B

  • Defender spawn room exits moved from the front to the sides out of direct line of fire
  • Small rooms added at spawn room exits
  • Additional cover added near the spawn room exits
  • Added a route and larger platform leading to the back right corner
  • Raised the platform to the same height as the attackers’ platform on the opposite side of the point
  • The location of the old defender exit is now an alcove with a small health pack
  • Both teams can still pass behind the point, but there is now a cut-through in the middle of the wall for better access.
  • The area above the window overlooking the point is now covered
  • A large platform with cover has been attached to the left side of the catwalk
  • The upper platform for the attackers has been reduced
  • The doorway leading to the platform is slightly smaller

"We’ve wanted to make some gameplay improvements to Horizon Lunar Colony for some time now," Blizzard said. "The defenders’ spawn room had a problem with its main exit that allowed defenders to quickly duck back inside and regain health while attackers shot at them without doing damage. Since we were already reworking the entire back area, we decided to make some more changes addressing player feedback. The idea behind the rework of Point A was to not only help the defenders a bit, but also provide some gameplay options aside from sitting on the point and trying to hold it for as long as possible. Easier access to high ground, as well as limiting the routes for attackers (or at least allowing for defenders to more easily spot the attackers), will allow more opportunity for counters and create a better gameplay experience."

All of these changes are now playable on the Overwatch PTR. Considering this is a pretty considerable content patch, we expect them to remain there for testing for at least a few weeks.