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The Overwatch Workshop is already a hit and could be the future of the game



The most interesting events in Overwatch were not currently built by Blizzard. Two weeks ago, the developer released a new tool called Workshop, where players with a rudimentary scripting language can design their own Overwatch games. Availability is limited; Currently you can only use it on a PC and it is only available in the public test section of the game. Nevertheless, the fans have taken care of it – and the workshop could be an important part of the future of the game.

Some of the early creations show an incredible amount of ingenuity. There is one mode in which you can drive Hammond as a mechanical hamster ball and another in which a group of spies must secretly take places from a team of powerful mercenaries. In a dogfighting mode, you can fly around as a bastion. Other creator creations are smaller, but no less useful. A user created a radial menu to quickly pick a new hero. There is even a Flappy Bird clone. "There were definitely a lot of things that our users have done, of which I did not even know this ," says Dan Reed, a senior gameplay designer at Overwatch ,

The idea for the workshop came about two years ago. Reed and Keith Miron, the game's lead game developer, had talked about improving Overwatch 's fairly limited custom game mode so players could really create new things. In 2017, Blizzard employees were given two days off to work on the project they wanted, and Reed and Miron decided to look into what they could build. Their goal was to develop a tool that simplifies the scripting language . Overwatch was used by developers so even people without programming skills could do things.

They managed to get it running playable game mode, which they showed the rest of the team. Even Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch director and senior designer, showed interest in the project. However, the two found it difficult to devote themselves to the idea, and so it was brought to market until 2018. Then they got two more days off to work on personal projects. They managed to clean up the system a bit and developed some custom games, including one zombie mode and another in which a player is Roadhog. If you kill him, you become him. "After that, we started working on it pretty seriously," says Miron.

Miron says the project was primarily motivated by the community. The Overwatch team often receives feedback asking for specific new game modes, but there is a limited amount that it can actually create. "Players have all these great ideas for what they want to see in Overwatch ," says Miron. "And I think a big part of the motivation for us was to give them a chance to make those ideas happen."

Early signs are encouraging. According to Blizzard, 2.7 million games have been created so far and the developers have shared more than 60,000 game codes so that others can play around with what they've created. The mode has seen a steady stream of small updates since the start, focusing primarily on stability and ease of use. The goal, however, is to use user feedback to really add new functionality to the workshop. "We're trying to find ways to add tools that benefit many people," says Miron. "To be honest, there is so much feedback that we need to step back to find out the best we can work on."

The Overwatch The workshop is clearly still in its early stages; It has just started and most users, especially on the console, can not even access it. But it will almost certainly be an important part of Overwatch . While the game regularly receives new characters and maps, a true creative mode can help keep the game relevant over a long period of time and give players a constant overview of what to do. This is much of the reason for the continued success of Minecraft and it's something that Fortnite is trying to replicate with its creative mode. The early start of Workshop is a promising start, and additional features – especially custom maps and the ability to import art – could help make this phenomenon even bigger. Key features for the workshop. Right now, they're concentrating on making sure that the existing version is working properly and getting ready for the public launch. But that does not mean they do not have big plans. "It was one of the biggest motivations, to be honest, to bring something in Overwatch which we can support well into the future," says Miron.


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