'Overwatch' Developer Update: New server browser in PTR patch 1.8 explained by Jeff Kaplan


When a big, new feature hits Overwatch, director Jeff Kaplan usually publishes a YouTube video in which he goes deep into the details. His most recent video, published Tuesday afternoon, explains the new server browser feature introduced to the public test realm through patch 1.8.

Overwatch Developer Update: PTR patch 1.8 explained

The full developer update video is below, but read on for a short summary of its contents if you don't have time to watch it.

Basically, the server browser is a beefed-up version of the custom game mode that's already in Overwatch. With the new server browser, players can set up custom games and other people can find it in a list and join it.

Kaplan explains that the server browser offers lots of filtering options for players who want to join a game, allowing you to find games on just the Numbani map, for example.

If you're the one setting up a game, you'll have a huge amount of control over the match's structure. One example Kaplan gives is a game of Widowmakers where the grappling hook has almost no cooldown, a setup he compares to a match full of Spider-Men.

You could also have a one-versus-six mode in which the one-person team plays a Roadhog with 1,800 health, for example — a setup Kaplan offhandedly calls "boss fight."

If you haven't heard, the capture the flag mode from the Year of the Rooster event is going to become a permanent game mode in the Arcade. Kaplan says players can modify the rules of that mode in great detail as well. For example, you could change the rules so that you only have to touch the enemy flag to capture it, rather than having to hold the point without taking damage, as is the case in the normal version of the mode.

Kaplan says the Overwatch team will pay attention to what modifications players are making, and could theoretically make a particularly popular custom game mode a permanent part of the Arcade rotation. Or, it might change the rules of the official Capture the Flag mode if a rule variation becomes more popular than the normal version.

This new update will also give players experience points for playing custom games. So, theoretically, someone could level up and earn loot boxes solely through playing closed, custom games with their friends.

Though he didn't address it in the video, Kaplan explained in a recent forum post that the server browser will eventually have a setting that lets you clone and save rules for custom games. That way, if you play someone else's custom game mode and want to play it again later, you can just save those rules.

Kaplan doesn't reveal when Blizzard would add those saving and cloning options, saying only that it's "on our wish list for future iterations" of the server browser mode.

All the new changes on the PTR will likely stay there for a couple weeks before making their way to the live version of Overwatch.

More Overwatch news and updates

For more on Overwatch, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here is a list of our predictions for what seasonal events might appear in 2017, a look at a very funny, but naughty meme on the Overwatch subreddit, an interview with the creator of an awesome new Overwatch zine, the full patch notes for Overwatch version 2.03, a full explanation of the different types of health in Overwatch, our definitive ranking of every Overwatch hero, a roundup of awesome gender-bent Overwatch cosplay and a giant Overwatch FAQ for beginners.