Overwatch is one of the most popular multiplayer games of the modern era thanks to its colorful worlds, well-designed heroes, and fantastic gameplay. While expectations were high for BlizzCon, we hardly expected to see not only a new map but a new hero. Game Director Jeff Kaplan took to the BlizzCon stage today and unveiled the newest level called Blizzard World, a support hero called Moira, and a new Reinhardt focused cinematic.
Here’s a breakdown of all the Overwatch news you missed during both the BlizzCon Opening Ceremony and the Overwatch panel.
New Map – Blizzard World
Overwatch is full of ridiculous levels, but this may be their most ambitious and crazy map yet. Dubbed ‘Blizzard World,’ this Hybrid map has players fight through a theme park that’s literally based on the developer’s titles. Users can explore places that honor Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, Diablo, and even a Heroes of the Storm arcade. Some highlights include a Siege Tank, a Hearthstone Tavern, Flight of the Duskwood ride, and a Protos section.
This is undoubtedly one of the coolest multiplayer maps we have ever seen and it appears we won’t have to wait long for this level. From a lore standpoint, we know that this theme park is set in Irvine, California which is where Blizzard’s main office is located. It’s also important to note that in the Overwatch lore Blizzard does exist and so do all of the games – with the obvious exception of Overwatch.
The defenders will start in the Heroes of the Storm arcade and the attackers will spawn in the Hearthstone Tavern. Blizzard World’s opening area is based on World of Warcraft and the Lost Viking’s game. This map has a nice balance of cover and verticality, with a large statue serving as the main area during the attack. Diablo is the last section and the final point where you need to push the payload is in the Skeleton King’s throne room.
Once you capture the payload, you’ll puss it through a circular arena that is Starcraft themed. This section has a lot of raised platforms and flanking routes for characters like Genji and Sombra.
Users were told that they can expect this map to drop on the PTR (Public Test Realm) sometime soon, with the map officially releasing in early 2018.
New Hero – Moira
Probably the biggest shock during this conference was the reveal of a new support hero named Moira. This Talon operative is capable of both healing and damaging her foes via Biotic energy. She also utilizes a short-range teleport and her ultimate is a giant healing/death beam. Here is a rundown of all her abilities via the official Overwatch page.
Using her left hand, Moira expends biotic energy to heal allies in front of her. Her right hand fires a long-range beam weapon that saps enemies’ health, healing Moira and replenishing her biotic energy.
Moira launches a rebounding biotic sphere; she can choose between a regeneration effect that heals the allies it passes through, or a decay effect that deals damage to enemies.
Moira quickly teleports a short distance.
Moira channels a long-range beam that both heals allies and bypasses barriers to damage her enemies.
With Mercy reigning supreme in competitive, a new primary healer is exactly what Overwatch needed. Her unique healing and movement skills will certainly give her an edge in combat. Dive characters like D.Va and Winston might have a serious problem pinning this hero down. While it’s still yet to be seen if she can dethrone the Mercy meta, we are extremely excited to see what Moira can do in a competitive format.
During the Overwatch Panel, we learned that her Biotic Orb ability can bounce off of walls until it finally dissipates. Her ultimate can pierce all types of barriers making this skill insanely potent for clearing out chokepoints or teams with strong defensive set ups.
We also learned a bit more about this geneticist via her official background. Acting as another member of Talon, Moira is a former Blackwatch agent that hails from Dublin, Ireland. Here is her story:
Equal parts brilliant and controversial, scientist Moira O’Deorain is on the cutting edge of genetic engineering, searching for a way to rewrite the fundamental building blocks of life.
Over a decade ago, O’Deorain made waves when she published a controversial paper detailing a methodology for creating custom genetic programs that could alter DNA at a cellular level. It seemed like a promising step toward overcoming diseases and disorders and maximizing human potential.
Dissent among her peers soon followed. Many considered her work to be dangerous because of its perceived ethical shortfalls, and O’Deorain was even accused of having the same unchecked desire for scientific advancement that some believed had caused the Omnic Crisis. In addition, other geneticists were unable to reproduce the results of Moira’s research, which further called her discoveries into question. Instead of kickstarting her career, her paper seriously damaged her reputation.
She received a lifeline in an offer from an unlikely source: Overwatch’s covert ops division, Blackwatch. She continued her work in the shadows while developing new weapons and technologies for the organization. Her employment was a closely kept secret, until it was uncovered during inquiries following the Venice incident. Many high-ranking Overwatch officials disavowed all knowledge of her affiliation with them.
After Overwatch was disbanded, O’Deorain was forced to turn to unconventional sources of funding. This time, she was invited to join the scientific collective that had founded the city of Oasis. Yet some have whispered that the shadowy Talon organization had already been supporting her for years, aiding her experiments in exchange for utilizing the results for their own purposes.
Though O’Deorain will go to any lengths to make scientific breakthroughs, her work is still unknown to most of the world. But now that she has been freed from all constraints, it is only a matter of time before everything changes.
No release date was given for Moira, but if we had to guess it will be some time soon. The footage that was shown clearly looks like a beta or finished build. During the Overwatch Panel, Blizzard released an origin story for this antagonist. Sadly this one isn’t as elaborate as the Doomfist short, but it’s still gorgeous. What is interesting is we learn that Moira was directly involved in Reyes change into the mercenary now known only as Reaper.
If you thought we were done, here are two of her Legendary skins. The first one is called Oasis and is inspired by the Lotus skin that Symmerta has. Her second is called Glam and it’s a tribute to the glam rock scene during the 1970s/80s.
New Animated Short – Honor and Glory
For all the Reinhardt mains out there a new animated short was also shown that gives us a glimpse into who this man was during the Omnic Crisis. This also serves as a nice way to see where Reinhardt got his scar and the Eichenwalde siege. Compared to other animated shorts this one is certainly one of the most action-packed, but it does have some strong emotional moments near the end.
Crusader Reinhardt will be a skin.
Blizzard Themed Skins
One of the absolute coolest reveals during the Overwatch Panel was the introduction of Blizzard-themed skins. All of them look gorgeous and all of these skins will be available in the base loot boxes. This means they should cost around 1,000 coins. These skins are slated for early 2018, presumably because there will be another Winter holiday event. Here are all the new outfits revealed: