An inside look at the ping system in Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 is introducing the highly requested ping system to the game! We’re adding this quality-of-life feature because we are dedicated to improving players’ experiences and including the community in our development strategy. Let’s dive into the inspiration, goals, and an overview of the Overwatch 2 ping system! The inspiration behind the ping system came from a value the Overwatch team holds dearly: Every Voice Matters.
This is a core value at Blizzard, and the Overwatch team wanted to personify this value in our game. We wanted to create a system that would enhance voice communication as well as provide alternative ways to share information with your team,” says systems designer Gavin Winter. “One of our goals was to augment speech and give people a way to visually interpret voice communication. We also wanted to support all voices and create a system to communicate for players that would prefer to avoid voice chat.”
Part of how the ping system enhances communication is by adding context to what you can already hear in voice chat. With the press of the button, you will activate a contextual ping depending on what you’re aiming at within your line of sight. For example, if you’re playing Tracer and ping an enemy Reaper, your teammates will hear Tracer call out that Reaper’s location. Principal designer, Adam Puhl, explains: “It’s a more accurate, clear, and understandable way of communicating rather than hearing someone yell, ‘Reaper behind,’ or, ‘Reaper, Reaper, Reaper!’ " Puhl was also incredibly adamant about looking to the community for guidance on how to create contextual pings that are functional for the players.
With Reaper, sometimes you can see him, and sometimes you can’t. When you ping a Reaper who's in your line of sight, the hero you're playing will call out his location. However, when he breaks line of sight, your ping will show his last known location. Some of Reaper’s abilities, like Shadow Step and Wraith Form, will cause your ping to show his last known location.
Winter explains how you can expect this to look in-game: “A ping can be ‘stuck’ to a hero while they are visible, and the ping shows the last known location when they aren’t visible.” The ping changes depending on hero abilities. Sombra’s Translocator, Doomfist’s Meteor Strike, Moira’s Fade, and Tracer’s Recall are all examples of abilities that will cause the ping to fall off. This was designed to specifically fit with Overwatch’s fast-paced gameplay.
Alerting your teammates to your enemies’ locations or last known locations are only a few of the things you'll be able to convey with the new ping system. Holding down the ping button will open a wheel that allows you to tell your teammates where you're attacking, defending, need help, and more. There's also a unique set of interactions for responding to a teammate’s ping. Using the communication wheel to tell your team to “Group Up” or “I need healing” will now activate a ping on top of your hero. Your teammates can respond to your ping to let you know if they're with you or where you can group up with your team’s Support heroes.
We'll be iterating on this system as more data comes in from testing. We want to create an evolving system that’s the right fit for the gameplay and culture of Overwatch. “We are hoping this system will help with toxicity in-game,” says Winter. “If you don’t like a person pinging so much, you have the option to turn the ping system off through block or squelch for that specific person. We do have heavy spam protection right now that we are open to adjusting, but we really want to see what works best for the community.”
It’s important to remember the ping system is a work in progress. We include many different teams in the development process, and we're always interested in hearing what works and what players would like to see in the future.
We can’t wait to show you more about the future of Overwatch 2 PvP soon!