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Latest 'Overwatch' update brings floating health bars to the public test realm

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Overwatch has received a number of updates over the holiday season, including the new Oasis map but beginning Tuesday, there is a new feature on the public test realm designed for spectators, rather than players. From the very beginning, Overwatch has been billed as a platform for esports and the update allows spectators to view floating health bars which will make it easier to track the action shot for shot.

That has always been a problem spectating Overwatch games — the action is fast, frenetic, and very hard to follow if you’re not switching between first-person views as a spectator. Luckily for esports commentators, the new floating health bars provide an easy-to-follow visual cue for anyone watching from the sidelines.

The new floating health bars show current health, shields, and armor, plus any buffs — like Lucio’s shield — so player behavior is a little easier to predict for commentators and viewers alike. For now, however, the floating health bar update is relegated to the public test realm, but according to PC Gamer, it’s likely to roll out sooner rather than later, given that it doesn’t impact game balance at all.

Oddly enough, it’s a feature that didn’t receive any of Blizzard’s trademark fanfare or even a mention in a set of patch notes. The floating health bars were just rolled out to the public testing realm in the latest patch, according to PCGamesN. That is good news for anyone eager for the new feature to roll out to the full game — if Blizzard isn’t talking about it, it’s probably just slated for inclusion as a user interface add-on rather than part of some sweeping new patch.

So keep an eye out, you might see floating health bars available in your Overwatch games relatively soon and without warning.

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Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
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