Overwatch experimenting with major changes to assault game mode

Olivia R. July 31, 2020

Whether it's because of overly long games or poorly designed maps, Overwatch fans have consistently expressed frustration over the title's assault game mode

After countless discussions around the 2CP game mode, Overwatch developers have decided to launch an experimental mode that brings significant changes to assault. Instead of moving it over to live game modes, developers explained in a forum that they are looking at it as a "failed experiment" with some "great earnings and interesting data" that they can use in working on future game modes. 

"We frequently talk about the Assault game mode internally and we’ve tried a few things over the years to address some of the issues. While most of these never made it to the live game, we thought this iteration was interesting enough that we should allow everyone to try it out within the Experimental mode and give feedback," developers said.

The big focus of the experiment is to address "snowballing" and "blowout matches." Snowballing is when a team captures Point A so resoundingly that it's more than likely they'll capture the next point as well, thanks to the ultimate charge gained from Point A. The defending team won't have their ultimates nearly as charged due to their swift defeat at Point A. This means they are less prepared to defend Point B. For this reason, 2CP is seen as potentially unbalanced. 

Short matches and blowouts are the result of snowballing, which happens even more in quickplay. Unlike other game modes in Overwatch, teams can lose in just a few minutes in assault mode. 

What changes are coming to Overwatch's assault game mode? 

Assault map changes

According to the post on Blizzard's forum, developers are making a few changes to assault mode. 

"The game mode has been changed into a shorter set of rounds where after each point capture, the round ends and teams switch sides. The game will begin with Team 1 attempting to take Point A. Once Team 1 either succeeds or fails to capture Point A, Team 2 will then attempt to capture the same point. If both teams successfully capture Point A, the game will move to Point B, where both teams will then repeat this process to attempt to capture the same point. The team who succeeds in capturing more points wins the game," developers explained. 

Each time will have six minutes on the clock. Capturing a point won't add more time to the clock. 

The assemble and setup times will be shortened qutie drastically in rounds three and above. Attacker and defender respawn times have also changed. Defenders will take longer to spawn when defending Point B. 

When a team is defending Point A for the second time and above, they will spawn in a new room that's closer to the point. This spawn room will deactivate when the round begins. According to developers, this will reduce setup time "as much as possible." 

These changes could eliminate snowballing, and defending teams will no longer need to make a decision about giving up Point A and moving to Point B. 

"With only one point, you’ll always want to fully commit. Focusing on a single objective per round is really refreshing," developers explained. 

While developers noted "great results" from the changes, they reiterated that they will not be coming to live servers. They feel that the rounds are "disjointed and choppy" and that certain heroes couldn't build ultimate charge effectively. Some players also found it confusing to continuously switch sides throughout the match. 

Overwatch fans can try out the new assault mode on the Overwatch client now. The map pool currently being used for this experiemental mode includes Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Paris, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries.