Blizzard is extending custom map functionality with the new Overwatch Workshop, but is this what modders have been waiting for?
Blizzard Entertainment, makers of hit hero shooter Overwatch, are introducing a brand-new feature giving power to the players to choose how they play. The feature is somewhat confusingly named Overwatch Workshop – not to be confused with Steam Workshop, a tool for player-created content for various games inside virtual storefront Steam.
How it works
According to Blizzard, with the Overwatch Workshop, players will be able to control their custom games like never before. Previously, the Game Browser allowed Overwatch fans to select maps, team configuration and their preferred role in order to be matched with suitable teammates and have a better experience than just going for a quick game with random people. With this new extension of the Browser, however, players will be able to shape the game by setting custom Rules, Game Conditions and even scripting the way they want the game to flow.
The Overwatch Workshop uses a simplified editing toolset that pretty much every player of the game can grasp and use. While we won’t get into details regarding the usage of the new feature here, Blizzard has a rather comprehensive page of instructions and examples on their official website. Go ahead and give it a try if it tickles your fancy.
With that being said, we can’t help but ask an important question - is this a mere extension of the current rules editor of Overwatch, or is it a proper modding engine that hardcore fans can use to flip the game mechanics on their head and create entirely new maps, heroes and minigames?
After all, Blizzard is famous for their mod support – the custom map editors of games such as Warcraft III, the original StarCraft, and StarCraft II lead to the making of thousands of legendary fan-made maps and essentially gave birth to entire genres such as Tower Defense and MOBA, that later brought smash successes like League of Legends and Dota 2.
Well, sadly, the Overwatch Workshop is just an expanded ruleset. This does not, in any case, mean that it couldn’t lead to amazing things. The Overwatch fan base has proven time and again to be an extremely creative one. Think of all the fan art, cosplay, and other user-created content there is out there on the internet. Now imagine a whole new series of works produced using the very game! We are looking forward to seeing all the exciting (and ridiculous!) things that the community will brew.