Overwatch: “very awesome, very needed” new hero in internal testing, non-event loot box refresh inbound

By Brenna Hillier
2 January 2018 22:59 GMT

Overwatch fans have plenty to look forward to this year.

Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has issued a New Year’s update outlining Blizzard’s immediate plans for the shooter.

The most exciting bit of news is that the Overwatch team is “well along the path on Hero 27”.

Although Blizzard doesn’t have a release date for the new hero, they’re currently in internal testing and proving pretty fun – which usually means we don’t have too long to wait.

Kaplan dropped exactly zero hints on the hero’s character or role, except to describe them as “very awesome” and “very needed”. What’s the community calling for the most right now – more support? Another tank? Surely not another DPS guy, anyway.

Kaplan said the Overwatch team is thinking about other heroes too, so expect a few more this year; we got three in 2017 and can probably expect a similar amount this year. There will also be some new maps, although Kaplan didn’t say much about that.

The director did mention that Blizzard is looking at making more high-level changes to Overwatch’s Competitive mode. He noted that Blizzard’s approach so far has been to make smaller, tactical changes in response to player feedback (as with the changes to Overwatch Competitive Season 8 this month), but is now considering a more strategic shake up. This seems to suggest bigger changes than we’ve seen so far, but it also sounds like it’ll be a while before we see the results of this.

Another major focus for Blizzard this year is Overwatch’s storytelling. In particular, Kaplan said the team wants to continue the trend of showing what happened when Winston issued his recall signal. Look for more animated shorts and comics as this unfolds.

On the event side of things, Kaplan confirmed two upcoming Overwatch events. First up is Year of the Dog, celebrated at Lunar New Year. This year’s event will include “significant” content that “players will be very happy with”, apparently, and while it will be similar to last year’s event, it has been evolved in line with feedback.

In April, look forward to a new version of Uprising, which will take a different form to the 2016 debut, incorporating both player feedback and some “really big ideas” Blizzard is mulling over. This lore-based event celebrated the anniversary of Overwatch’s release and was a chance to score some very sweet content like dance emotes and rare legendary skins, all of which will return along with new items in 2018.

Speaking of loot, Blizzard will be updating Overwatch’s base loot table so that non-event loot boxes will offer new rewards. This is something there’s been a great deal of demand for.

Kaplan promised more fine detail on all of these plans and schemes as they solidify and roll out date approaches. You can watch the full Overwatch 2018 developer update below.

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