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Long-awaited new heroes and game modes are coming to ‘Overwatch’

Blizzard’s hero-shooter Overwatch has only seen one map and one new hero released following the game’s May launch, but it looks like that’s about to change very soon.

Speaking in his latest developer update video, director Jeff Kaplan says that the studio currently has a hero “very far along” in development — likely “Sombra” — and that this hero will be available “sooner rather than later.” A second hero prototype that has not been tested on a large scale is also in the works, and it will likely be made available in 2017.

Blizzard is also working on a number of new maps, including one for a current game mode that is nearing release, and another that is still in the early stages of development. Four other maps that are not based on current Overwatch modes are also being worked on, though the team doesn’t expect them all to actually make it to release.

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Balance changes intended to make a few of the game’s defense characters are currently in the works through Overwatch‘s public test realm server, as well. Widowmaker’s scope speed has been increased in order to cut down on players abusing the animation to maximize their damage, and Kaplan says that the change has been positively received from test players thus far.

Junkrat will also now serve as a better counter to Genji, with the latter character now getting caught in a trap when he dashes through it instead of rendering it useless. Junkrat’s ultimate ability will have a faster activation time, as well, which should help with defending points in particularly close matches.

Symmetra is one of the less-effective support characters in Overwatch right now, with her lack of healing and less-than-threatening attacks making her only viable in pretty specific situations, but Blizzard will be taking steps to improve her performance. Kaplan stresses, however, that the changes necessary to make Symmetra a viable character aren’t as simple as adjusting some statistics, and the team isn’t even entirely sure how they’ll adjust her. Changes won’t be implemented until November at the earliest.

“I think the types of changes that we want to look at for Symmetra might take us a little bit longer than something like the Widowmaker scope change,” Kaplan says. “It could be changes to some of her mechanics and just changing her overall feel through things like numbers and cooldowns — that’s always a possibility. But we’re going to look at some other changes and explore some other things as well that might be a little more dramatic in terms of ‘design vision’ for her.”

Are you excited for the changes coming to Overwatch, and are you still playing it after five months? Let us know in the comments!