Get ready, folks: Blizzard is preparing Overwatch for a beta test – that means you can get your hands on this brand new team-based shooter as early as October 27! If you want in, make sure you sign up – you could help shape the game’s future!
The studio says it’s aiming to accomplish “two primary goals” with the public beta. They want to gather as much feedback as they can, focussing on the gameplay and important elements “including balance, feel and fun”. Secondly – and no less crucial for success – the beta will “hammer the heck” out of the Blizzard backend, both stress-testing server infrastructure and making sure the game runs on a wide variety of machines and setups.
It should be no surprise then that Blizzard is splitting the beta testers in two, with each team given their own mission objectives and deployment schedules.
To start things off, there’s the Closed Beta group – the core of the testing crew – but there’s also a wider group of players who will be brought in for special Beta Test Weekends, when Blizzard wants “to break out the big guns”.
It looks like being in the first group might not be a simple task:
The Closed Beta will be composed of a small number of testers who will have regular access to our public beta test. Our goal for the Closed Beta is 100% gameplay feedback, and we’ll be encouraging participants to discuss and dissect every hero, map, ability, and other aspect of the game on our upcoming beta forums.
…and of course, the total number of Closed Beta participants will be “extremely limited” to make sure the studio gets the “most meaningful and constructive feedback possible”, but if you’re not in the initial batch, don’t stress – more players will be added over the course of the test.
A few more things: The Overwatch beta will be Windows-only, and you’ll need to have the Battle.net desktop app installed to play. If you’re selected to participate in either the Closed Beta or one of our Beta Test Weekends, you’ll receive an email with instructions when you’re ready to be deployed.
Timeframes for the larger-scale Beta Test Weekends will be revealed in due time, with the first slated for after BlizzCon. These will run concurrently with the Closed Beta test and open the game up to a bigger audience (meaning they’ll be timed to work well in various parts of the world). The tests will be focussing mostly on hardware and tech, so will be restricted in terms of heroes, maps and gameplay modes.
The Overwatch beta test kicks off on October 27 in the Americas gameplay region – the studio’s still making preparations for the European and Asian gameplay regions. If you want in, make sure you sign up for beta testing and stay tuned for more information!