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'Overwatch' Reveals New Support Hero, Hybrid Map

The announcements just kept on rolling out from BlizzCon 2017. StarCraft II is going free-to-play, Heroes of the Storm will get two new heroes, and Hearthstone plans to dazzle players with a new expansion. Blizzard then turned its focus to Overwatch, which is receiving a new support hero and hybrid map, both of which should help the massively popular team-based shooter maintain its momentum ahead of the Overwatch League.

Let's Meet Moira

Perhaps the most welcome announcement was the revelation of Moira, a support hero who steals health from her enemies and gives it to her teammates. Moira is the fifth healer in the game (Symmetra, another support hero, doesn't heal allies), and her addition should be welcomed by those burnt out on DPS heroes like Doomfist. Healing is a big part of Overwatch, but healers make up a small portion of its roster.

Moira also has a unique Dash ability that allows her to teleport short distances. This adds crucial sustainability to the hero—half of Overwatch's healers (Ana, Zenyatta) are relatively immobile, and the game's emphasis on movement favors mobile heroes (Mercy, Lucio) over their slower counterparts. With Moira, Overwatch seems to have aimed to strike a balance with bursts of mobility punctuating longer periods of slow walking.

Finally, Moira's ultimate ability, Coalescence, fires a biotic beam that simultaneously heals allies and damages enemies. It doesn't seem like an easy ultimate to use—most Overwatch players don't stand in a straight line for you to shoot at them—but its utility could prove valuable. Coalescence also pierces barriers, which could help break so-called barrier comps that rely on a bunch of shields that take forever to break.

You can learn more about Moira on the Overwatch website.

Welcome To Blizzard World

Blizzard went a little meta with the new map announcement. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said during his speech that there's an amusement park right outside the Overwatch Arena. That segued into the Overwatch team wondering what a Blizzard theme park would be like, and instead of leaving that to idle speculation, the developer actually made a Blizzard World map that pays tribute to its franchises.

Blizzard World is a "hybrid" map. That means one team will attempt to capture a point, or square portion of the map, and then push a payload all the way to the stage's conclusion while the other team tries to stop them. (The "hybrid" bit arises from the map type's similarities to assault maps, where you just have to capture two points, and escort maps that simply require you to push a payload.) Blizzard World will debut in 2018.

Overwatch's tribute to all things Blizzard didn't end with the amusement park. The team also announced that various characters—Roadhog, Widowmaker, Zarya, and others—will receive Blizzard-themed skins. This kind of crossover was previously limited to Heroes of the Storm, where Blizzard liberally borrows from all of its franchises, but now it's headed to Overwatch, as well. The skins will be available in loot boxes next year.

Reinhardt, Reinhardt, Reinhardt!

It's not BlizzCon without a bunch of animated shorts. Overwatch is no exception to this rule, and this year's video focused on Reinhardt, one of the game's tanks. You can watch the crusader's first short below.