Competitive Play coming to 'Overwatch' soon

You’ll just have to wait patiently for new characters and maps, though.

It hasn't even been a month since Blizzard launched its hotly-anticipated hero shooter Overwatch, so they had little to reveal during E3. Amid their victory lap for snagging 7 million players the week after it went live, the game's director Jeff Kaplan posted plans for releasing content over the next year. While vague on release dates for characters or maps, he did outline the social and competitive trajectory the game will take -- and reiterate that every addition will be free.

The team's highest priority is Competitive Play, a separate multiplayer selection to differentiate more serious ranked matches from casual ones. Kaplan gave no details on when this would be introduced, but like Blizzard says about every content addition, it'll be done "when it's done." They may try it out early in a siloed Public Test Realm to get live player feedback, a method Blizzard uses to trial new features and characters in its MOBA Heroes of the Storm, but aren't promising either way.

True to Blizzard's extensive secrecy and refinement process, the only character or map detail Kaplan confirmed was that the team has greenlit one map for their artists to start animating. He went on to point out features they'd like to improve later on, like the spectating system, end game Highlights/Play of the Game and social features like emotes, but those are low priority.

Playing coy is an unfortunate protective measure for the team, Kaplan says: so many things get changed in development or scrapped outright that announcing anything now is a surefire method to disappoint players. Sadly, some fans have lashed out at developers for changing or leaving previously introduced gameplay elements on the cutting room floor -- a relationship Kaplan says needs to change. Until then, the studio will be miserly with the details and fans will continue chomping at the rumor mill.