Jeff Kaplan from Overwatch talks about the progression system in the game and their future plans, as well as the release date for the next beta phase

Christmas really is a time of miracles because for the first time in forever two silent giants, Valve and Blizzard have begun actively speaking with their communities. Valve through their CS:GO team and Blizzard through their developer updates on Overwatch.

In the most recent episode Jeff Kaplan, game director for Overwatch, detailed what their thoughts on the progression system are and what can you expect in the future. He also mentioned a potential date for the next closed beta test but more on that later.


So the first thing I've found out with this video is that there are indeed cosmetics items, as expected. What I didn't expect is that Blizzard wants them to be earned through in-game means rather than through the shop, unlike how the WoW team stuffs any mount worth having in the store these days.

Just from that alone my interest in Overwatch right now is at an all time high because it looking more and more like a game designed purely to be as fun as possible without any of the usual nonsense that seems to be pervasive with AAA development these days.

I am also glad the power-based progression system is out for good because no one really wants to "grind" a hero for 20 hours before finally being allowed to play it in the way they want to, only to then realize the upgrade they were so feverishly seeking isn't all that good.

What surprised me is that they tried and removed a cosmetic-based progression system that tends to work great in other games. Nosgoth for example is all about "grinding" one class in order to unlock a badass skin. Then again, if they really balanced the game in such a way that you more or less have to switch heroes around in order to compete against a good them then perhaps it was still a good idea to remove anything that might make players hesitant to do the right thing.

While we don't know what the final system will be it will be both light and cosmetic focused. One information Kaplan did divulge is that there will be specialized sprays you can plaster on walls in the game and thus showcase some of your achievements, so I'm assuming this is going to be a part of the new cosmetic progression system.

As for the next beta phase, it is expected to come mid to late January although it all depends on how well their current iteration of the progression system fares in internal testing. If it all works out fine you can expect the closed beta to reopen its doors in mid January but if there end up being problems don't be surprised if it gets delayed to February.

If Blizzard gives out any more information about the progression system or Overwatch in general I'll make sure to keep you in the loop and if you haven't, make sure to sign up for the closed beta, you never know if you might the lucky one.