'Overwatch' Patch Introduces Doomfist, Loot Box Changes

Blizzard released the latest patch for Overwatch, and even though the main attraction is the introduction of a new hero, Doomfist's long-awaited debut isn't the only notable aspect of this update. It also changes how the game's loot boxes work, adds new Highlights features, and brings many changes to how existing heroes play. If you haven't played the game shooter in a while, now might be the time to jump back into the fray.

Doomfist has been available on the Public Test Region (PTR)—where Blizzard tests proposed changes, upcoming heroes, and new maps—since July 6. His presence has been felt in Overwatch for much longer, however, thanks to his weapon's role in the first cinematic trailer and several in-game references. Now everyone will be able to play Doomfist—at least in Quick Play and Arcade. Like other new heroes, Doomfist isn't available in Competitive Play at launch. He should join the rest of the roster in the game's ranked mode next week. Learn more about him here.

If you aren't interested in punching your opponents into submission, your curiosity might be piqued by changes to Overwatch's loot boxes. Like other games, Overwatch distributes cosmetic upgrades, voice lines, and other in-game goodies via a slot-machine-like system. Instead of spending $1 on a new character skin, for example, you buy a bundle of loot boxes and hope one of them contains the skin you want. (You can also purchase specific items with in-game currency.) The problem was that many players received too many duplicates in their loot boxes.

Blizzard announced today's changes back in June. Here's what it said in PTR patch notes about the change:

We always want the experience of opening an in-game loot box to feel exciting and rewarding, and in our latest patch we’re working to improve that experience in two key ways. First, we’re drastically reducing the amount of duplicates players will receive when opening loot boxes. Second, to compensate for this reduction of duplicate items, we’re also increasing the overall amount of credits players will receive from loot boxes. On average, players should be earning just as many credits, if not slightly more, from loot boxes than they did prior to these changes.

This patch also introduced a much-improved Highlights feature. The utility previously saved interesting moments from your most recent matches, but they were deleted as soon as you exited the game, and there was no export feature. You also couldn't tell Overwatch what to record; the game decided what it wanted to capture and when. Now it will automatically store Highlights for up to 24 hours, and you'll be able to download the footage in up to 4K resolution on Windows 10 devices or 1080p on Windows 7 PCs. (Console players can also save Highlights offline.)

You can also tell Overwatch when you want to record a 12-second Highlight with the press of a single button. These videos will be saved until the game client is patched—given how unpredictable patch releases can be, you'll probably want to download them as soon as you can. Combined, all of these improvements should take Highlights from a nice-to-have-but-ultimately-meaningless feature to a useful tool for people who don't want to fuss around with recording software. Just make sure you have the storage space for all your clutch plays before you start downloading.

Blizzard also changed several aspects of existing heroes with this patch. All of the changes are buffs: Reaper can now teleport without being heard from across the map, Zarya's ultimate is harder to escape, and Reinhardt's bug-ridden kit should be more stable than ever. In case that sounded like a bunch of gobbledygook, the Overwatch team basically addressed some of the community's most oft-repeated complaints about some of its heroes. There are still some problems, like Roadhog being a glorified bullet sponge, but it's clear that Blizzard is working on it.

You can find the full list of changes in the patch notes. If you want to learn more about what's happening in Overwatch, look no further than our coverage of how the MLB-like Overwatch League will treat the players who sign on to participating teams, or how Blizzard's improving the game's reporting and penalty system to address toxicity. Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to go see if we can insta-lock Doomfist in Quick Play.

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