Jeff Kaplan confirms double shield nerfs are 'biggest priority'

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Jeff Kaplan confirms double shield nerfs are 'biggest priority'

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Brad Norton

Weighing in on the issues currently facing Overwatch, Game Director Jeff Kaplan highlighted the double shield meta as the biggest priority for Blizzard, even outlining when fans can expect a big shakeup.

Balance updates have been coming thick and fast in Overwatch lately. Some have stuck the landing and made it through to the live version of the game. Others were met with near-universal backlash though, and soon discarded.

As Blizzard tweaks various aspects of the core Overwatch experience, some issues become a higher priority than others. The prominence of shields is one such issue that has been in the spotlight for quite some time. While newer characters like Brigitte and Sigma have been scaled back over the months, shields are still extremely prevalent. 

With new heroes on the way and Overwatch 2 right around the corner, Jeff Kaplan has highlighted the double shield meta as the biggest priority for the developers today.

 

Overwatch Brigitte and Reinhardt gameplay
Blizzard
Multiple shields are commonplace in the most powerful compositions.

“The most immediate priority is a balance patch aimed at the double shield meta,” he explained in a July 30 AMA on the Overwatch subreddit. There’s no telling just what this balance update might entail, but the developers appear eager to test a few variations.

Instead of deploying a traditional update on the Public Test Region, the dominant meta will be addressed in a different way. A new Experimental Card will be released “in the next few weeks,” Kaplan confirmed, so fans can expect to test new changes in the near future.

Given just how prominent shields have been in Overwatch for many years now, even the slightest change could have a drastic ripple effect. Thanks to the experimental mode though, the devs can safely test new ideas without it actually impacting the core gameplay experience.

If new shield changes come into effect and the community explodes with a wave of backlash — similar to the latest Moira rework — Blizzard can quickly pivot to another idea. 

Comment from discussion Ask Us Anything! - Join the Overwatch development team for the celebration AMA.

Whether it’s reducing the hit points of shields across the board, allowing minor damage to phase through, or something new entirely, we’ll have to wait and see. Kaplan didn’t quite explain how shields will soon be changing in the near future; just that the double shield meta is atop Blizzard's list of things to fix at this point in time.

The experimental mode has seen a great deal of activity lately with no signs of slowing down. Recently, the controversial Assault mode saw its biggest change to date with an all-new format.

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