Geoff appreciation thread

Perfection isn’t possible but, a real attempt could be made to fake it.

With the exception of egregious issues like the Mercy mess up where people shift in about a week or a bit under most of the times it takes a month or more before you get people to a point where most have decided (correctly or incorrectly) x or y is the most effective and have shifted their play.

With the combination of stats, player feedback, and developer analysis much of the time you should be able to tell where the tide is turning by the time two or three weeks passed. Then, you could decide on how to engage (if you engage at all). Sometimes that might mean slightly adjusting the balance on something as it’s actually out of balance. Other times it might mean publishing the official stats for hero x or y or using an alt account to highlight a strategy people aren’t using much that works (The data the staff has would likely include composition data and would likely occasionally highlight things that aren’t widely known that work).

For example, Symmetra’s been widely considered to be useless for much of her history by a wide variety of people and the people that play her have been falsely reported and been harassed. The thing is, if you look at Sym’s winrate you’ll notice that it’s been positive for much of this time. Due to some comments early on about the winrates of Torb and Sym people have been ignoring that entirely. The thing is a portion of the Sym’s were one tricks that didn’t swap. As a result, the winrates for them were not solely inflated by only playing the hero at the ideal time.

If the developers had chosen to engage and pointed out some of her actual internal stats it could have significantly changed how people treated the people playing the hero. It’s likely that Sym was either near universally holding an average to above average winrate or that Sym was absolutely stomping on specific maps.

At the current rate with Sym, I think we’ve got a high chance that the current PTR buff or the next one is going to jump Sym from being considered _useless _ to nerf it now!!!111111

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to be always interfering in what people felt as that would devalue the external feedback by excessively manipulating it but, if the feedback is to far off due to something getting repeated over and over that’s inaccurate it’s not worth much either.

Ideally, you’d want to be adjusting things right as players realize that x or y might be a problem. If you adjust too fast people will feel that the changes are random and if you go too slow you hit the present issue. Most people don’t want to read a story about a great detective where they figure out who did it hundreds of pages before the great detective does. The same thing is true for balance changes. If I figure something out before the development team does by months on a regular basis (Happening occasionally isn’t a problem people get lucky/unlucky even a broken clock is right twice a day) I’m not going to be a happy camper.

This also would not always work out. Sometimes strategies appear that are completely unexpected and will flip things around entirely. Other times players will gradually get better at x or y and it’ll slowly become a problem ( I think Hammond will probably hit this in the next few months). But, if you look at most of the meta changes the game had at least since I started playing most are the response to significant balance changes or hero additions in full or in part. Winston was starting to get used more back in 2017 before his buff and Ana’s nerf but, those two changes significantly impacted his rise.

Balance matters more in Overwatch than it does in some other games because it’s got a sizeable competitive section, because you have a relatively limit number of players on each team, and because the appeal of various characters fluctuates wildly based on both the characters mechanics and the characters other components.

For example, I came to Overwatch from TF2. TF2 had some definite balance issues at times and if I ended up in a match on the Community Server against some of the better players I was limited in what hero I could select because some heroes were simply stronger for me than others. The thing is the heroes I could select had similar gameplay to some of the ones I couldn’t select. In Overwatch, that frequently isn’t true.

I’m not trying to say balance is easy in the slightest because it’s not. My issue is the balance team on balance is they are batting at around the same % I am and I’m batting below 500 and they have far more resources and time than I do.

I also run into issues with them from a design perspective. I started playing Overwatch primarily on Ana, Lucio, and Mercy (At this time Overwatch had four supports that healed). All three hit significant changes within six months for issues that were near non-existent in the environment I played in and none of the changes had any consideration for that. Sometimes you’ll have to make changes that hurt one group of players or another but, an effort should be made to minimize it or not do it back to back to back especially when a category doesn’t have that many heroes and the prior attempts haven’t necessarily done well. Ana spent a year + in the dumpster as the drop in her damage was too much when coupled with the buff to Winston and the buffs to Mercy that hit a bit before that was then followed up with Mercy’s rework. Lucio was not significantly dented in the areas where he was truly dominant and the design on the changes may have helped produce GOATS. Mercy’s rework was massively overpowered and upended the support meta for much of a year.

TLDR: Balance isn’t easy but that doesn’t mean poor results are okay. The balance team should be significantly better than forum commenters most of the time and should be faster than the less extreme individuals reactions.


What is the next X is a buff to Y in the menu?

That’s all i could appreciate.


Heh, yeah that would be nice…


On the topic at hand i’m still wary of Geoff whilst he’s still in charge of balancing.
He was responsible for a lot of questionable balance decisions on the WoW team (most of which got a little better when he was moved onto the HotS team), and did an awful job on the HotS team (which also improved after he was moved onto the OW team)
I don’t hate the guy, not by a long shot, but his track record with balance is…it’s not great.
Hopefully the GOATS disaster is the kick up the backside he needed.


He aight.

I can appreciate that he’s putting hard work into the game.

Sometimes I have to question if he knows what certain heroes need balance-wise cause the changes he implements sometimes make zero sense.

But that may also very well be him taking directions from someone else.

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Quite the opposite for me sadly, but glad to hear that your hero is out of the rubbish bin.


Overwatch is certainly a challenging game to both tune and continually add new/interesting content. When I think back to how the game was in beta, or even launch, I feel like we’ve come a long way since then. Remember, there was a time when McCree’s fan the hammer did full damage per bullet, Zenyatta had 150 health, Pharah’s Conc Blast did 700 damage to shields/barriers (poor Zen…), Reinhardt’s charge had no “wind up”, it would just come out instantly and pin/kill anyone in front of him.

That said we’re committed to continue to update and tune the game. Although there will always be some changes that will not be popular with some players, know that the the goal is always to keep every hero unique and powerful for everyone.

While I’m here i might as well clear up a couple minor misconceptions I see occasionally about my history at Blizzard. Previous to the Overwatch team I worked on World of Warcraft as an encounter designer. I made a ton of different content from dungeons like Shadowfang Keep, Deadmines, and Gnomeregan, to raid encounters like Onyxia, Blackwing Lair, C’Thun and Lich King. From there I moved directly onto Titan which eventually became Overwatch. While I have great respect for the designers over on the the Heroes of the Storm team, I never worked on that project other than occasionally sending feedback or talking to various designers over lunch etc.


Keep up the hard work Geoff, I definitely appreciate it all from you and your team!


Geoff, what do you think was the most overpowered balance change the team has made?


I remember when you were back at WoW. It was when I had just joined, but I remember hearing about you leaving.

That said, remember to stay out of the fire!

He definitely isn’t papa Jeff but I’m always happy to see more communication between blizzard and the player base

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Thanks for all the effort, Mr. Goodman; you and your colleagues.

My two children, their friends and i thoroughly enjoy this labour of love.


I’m not Geoff, but I remember Mercy post-rework being very overtuned, when she could insta-rez two people and fly really fast.

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THANK YOU. I hate that you have to “clear up” your own name. I once researched to see if you worked on the HOTS team in the manner that was being discussed at the time, and I couldn’t find anything. In fact, I asked on the HOTS reddit if anyone knew of you working on their game and everyone who replied drew a blank.

So to our community, please, PLEASE double check your sources before speaking ill of someone else, otherwise it is just gossip that unfortunately, all too often spreads like wildfire.


Speaking of balance Geoff, what heroes are on you and your team’s radar for changes in the next few PTR cycles [Post-Baptiste hitting live]? Or at least who are you guys planning on changing?

Either that or release Brig

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I don’t feel powerful when I play Mercy.

And her win rate is certainly not very powerful when compared to other healers.


Isn’t he the guy who thought Sym was in a good spot


You made the Lich King fight? So good!

IDK how you and the team keep their confidence considering the general vibe I feel around here and other community places.

I’d certainly be nervous making a reply on the forums if I were on the Dev team.

I’m sure my posts would usually not be encouraging to the team.

Sometimes I think OW goes too far to keep heroes unique to the point that people who don’t play the other characters don’t understand how they work and then get frustrated.

^ Thou that issue may be solvable via graphical display.

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It’s kind of hard to check.

Last time I dug around I found several posts suggesting that he had nothing to do with it ex

but then when I asked other users that said they played the game said he did.