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Blizzard uses a 'balance triangle' to keep  Overwatch  competitive

Blizzard uses a 'balance triangle' to keep Overwatch competitive

May 12, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

There are a multitude of hurdles to overcome when creating any competitive multiplayer game, but it'd probably be universally agreed that one of the biggest challenges is balancing those finely poised online ecosystems. 

After all, nobody likes losing. But there's nothing worse than getting hammered because someone else has unearthed an exploit, or the dev team have overlooked a glaring issue that tips the scales one way. 

When it came to building Overwatch, Blizzard's massively popular hero shooter, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed the team used "balance triangles" to keep players happy by ensuring the game's characters play fair. 

Speaking to Eurogamer during the latest episode of Here's A Thing, Kaplan shed some light on the thought process that goes into creating and implementing such a diverse roster of combatants, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. 

"We do, what I talk about as a 'balance triangle,'" he explained. "So on the one tip of the triangle, is statistics. On the other two points are the player sentiment and then our own feeling and intuition. Sometimes all three of those align, you can just see a problem straight up. Sometimes one of those points doesn't align with the others."

"And there's no right or wrong. There's no formula to it. It's not like if the stats always say they're wrong, they're wrong. It's more art than science at a certain point."

It's a system that lets Blizzard figure out how to introduce a new character without rocking the boat too much, and in some instances has actually helped the developer realize when a hero needs a complete overhaul. 

To hear more from Kaplan, be sure to watch the full episode over on Eurogamer's Youtube channel.

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