Seagull's Dev Interview Recap

I saw on r/CompetitiveOverwatch a topic about Seagull talking to several devs during one of his streams. Since I figured many people might not frequent COW or watch Seagull’s streams, I figured I’d post the recap here.

(VOD if you wanna watch the 2 hours or so of interview. Starts at 34:50)

Original thread:

Geoff Goodman | Principal Designer

  • Wrecking Ball was one of their original concepts of heroes

  • Started off as a “junkyard magnet bot”

  • Went through a lot of different iteration

  • Adam Puhl was the initial designer on Wrecking Ball

  • Slam and Grappling Claw abilities were added later

  • They talk about Grappling Claw “rollouts” and the ability’s depth

  • Wrecking Ball is faster down slopes and slides down naturally

  • Mines from the ultimate Minefield separate more the higher up Wrecking Ball is since the mines drop at an angle

  • Mines can be destroyed and currently have 50 HP. Currently do 120/130 damage. Good combo with Zarya’s ult

  • Great at area denial, weak to CC, huge hitbox

  • Adaptive shield buffer doesn’t give ult charge to enemy team when they shoot it. Lucio’s sound barrier currently does. They might change his.

  • Didn’t want to add more shields to the game to add more visual clutter so they came up with adaptive shield

  • Adaptive shield has 100 extra shields plus 100 per enemy hero in his range which is shown by an indicator in the bottom of the HUD

  • Seagull thinks the community won’t call the hero “Wrecking Ball”

  • Piledriver drives enemies up into the air and limits airstrafing similar to Doomfist’s Uppercut

  • Piledriver can do from 20 to 100 damage, has falloff

  • Minefield visuals/sounds worked on as recently as two days ago, have been iterating a lot on it

  • Seagull tries to grapple under King’s Row

  • Seagull asks if the game is getting too crazy with a rolling hamster ball and a hero with like a 10 second cooldown teleporter

  • Game has always been a little crazy, important you feel like there are unique opportunities for every hero and what they can bring to a team

  • Seagull’s team gets backcapped by the enemy Wrecking Ball grappling under King’s Row - Video

  • Getting feedback that Sym’s primary fire is difficult to charge up/has short range, but concerned about insane damage potential

  • Sym offers many more options now

  • Seagull keeps getting sleep darted

  • Recognize the feedback on Sombra changes that some think the nerfs outweigh the buffs. Will keep an eye on her

  • Aware of bug where ball mode animation doesn’t show correctly

  • Minefield lasts 20 seconds

Ideas tried with Torb

  • Turret tossed like Tracer’s pulse bomb

  • Turret levels up as it gets kills

  • Automatically levels up to level 2(still testing)

  • Mini molten cores as ability

  • Ult as something different

  • Seagull brings up his critbox size

  • Much faster reload while ulting
    Trying to make Torb more viable on offense while wanting to keep the turret

  • Still heavily in flux on Torb

Chat Questions

ANA?

  • Trying to bring her more in balance while keeping her weaknesses. Mobility buff unlikely.

  • Seagull mentions healers were weaker across the board in the past.

  • Realize Ana shooting through teammates had a cost(prehealing)

  • Don’t believe Ana needs a total rework

  • Falloff damage changes?

OTHER

  • Should help McCree, Soldier, Mei against Widow or Pharah

  • Mei no falloff damage may not stay. Was tried in the past

  • Mei likely strong if Wrecking Ball is strong

REIN?

  • Currently trying to fix all his bugs. Actively working on them. Likely a lot fixed in next patch

  • Seagull mentions Rein’s hammer swing is much stronger then at launch since you can knock enemies back

  • Recognizes feedback that Wrecking Ball brings more knockback things that mess with Rein

  • Working on a systemic change to make charging characters colliding with each other more consistent

  • Should be knocking down both characters. Might be different for Brig. Possibly in next patch

  • Afterwards they will reevaluate to make sure Rein is still viable

Scott Mercer | Principal Designer

  • Team did an amazing job on the animations, models, sounds, everything

  • Wrecking Ball will be available in competitive mode 2 weeks after release on the live version. Same for Symmetra

  • Sym won’t be available in OWL playoffs. Will be on Hanzo patch 1.25

  • LFG has reduced toxicity by a lot

  • People naturally assume the worst about their teammates in solo queue. Not the same through grouping for the most part

  • Recognizes feedback on allowing private profiles. Seagull likes the feature and thinks it has helped reduce toxicity

  • Already have changes coming through feedback

  • Filters weren’t saving. Will be fixed
    (Seagull’s game crashes. PTR :stuck_out_tongue: )

  • SMS Protect for Top 500. Not anywhere near half of Top 500 were smurfs as some claimed. Seagull says “Thanks Calvin”

  • Need 50 games played with SMS protect on to qualify for leaderboard.

  • Not all groups are shown at once in LFG. Features help players experience OW how they want

  • Seagull mentions endorsements have made players nicer.

  • Trying to correct player behavior through warnings before bans. Adding more feedback

Chat Questions

Colorblind Mode?

  • Working on more colorblind features. People on dev team who are colorblind. Multiple forms of colorblindness making it difficult

Guild/Clan Systems?

  • Something we are definitely very interested in. I think it would be an awesome addition to game. We’ll see what we do in the future with that

other

  • Seagull comments on how Sym’s ult is similar to Winston’s shield in that you can dance back and forth

  • Hero most exicited about going into next season?
    Wrecking Ball. So much fun to play

  • Hoping for clever strats with Sym’s teleporter

  • Seagull worried about mobility creep. One of the reasons for the damage falloff changes

  • World Cup Group Stages possibly playing on PTR patch

  • Sym turrets can be shot while moving through the air. Seagull mentions seeing a McCree High Noon being blocked by a turret

Replays/Demos?

  • Still working on it. Want to do it. Want to do them at a high quality, easy to use, don’t have to manage all the files. Want to do it right.

  • Trying to stomp out server/client side bugs like you see when a Tracer bomb looks like it sticks in OWL

  • Want to allow players to learn through VOD reviews that are not just limited to whatever the observer was looking at.

  • Seagull mentions he watched other OWL D.vas’ VODs which allowed him to learn D.va quickly. Would be a great tool to help players improve

Genji?

  • Genji still has a lot of amazing things about him. Recognizes he’s not as viable as before though he still can be run.

  • Nowhere near Sym who was never picked in OWL

other

  • Trying to make Torb less snowbally like they have done with Sym

  • Not all custom game options working for Wrecking Ball yet.

  • One of them is roll mode is always on
    Sym’s ult was getting destroyed on the Oasis map with the cars because of the cars

Lucio?

  • Speedboost is a great mechanic. Still viable

Map Editor?

  • Not going to get to anytime soon. Mentions he got his start in design because of the Starcraft editor. Want to do more, but it’s a long process. Continue to have hope.

Competitive Rewards?

  • Don’t want to add anymore since people should play competitive mode for competitive play and don’t think rewards like gold weapons will make that better

Tournament Systems

  • Worked on WC3 tournament system. Thinks it could be really cool. Matter of priorities. Top 500 kinda provides that. Could see a more short term super competitive system in the future. Nothing super soon

Jeff Kaplan | Game Director

  • Heard they singlehandedly saved the game with LFG and then destroyed it by releasing a hamster as a hero

  • Used to not have to interact with teleporter, but could troll team

  • Seagull mentions Sym’s left click doesn’t seem worth it in most cases. Devs talked about if it was in a proper place yesterday. Think Zarya is in a good place. Not done with Sym

  • Seagull brings up he tried to exploit endorsements by unfriending his friends to get endorsed

  • Jeff asks what teleporters will bring in OWL - Seagull says teams will no longer have to wait on cooldowns as much to engage

  • Just wants to see Symmetra played once in OWL. Won’t be in OWL playoffs since it’s such a major change.

  • Feels bad for reliability engineers who didn’t want to put the PTR patch out since it had many bugs still

  • Happy to have Seagull back streaming

  • Seagull doesn’t think players outside of the person playing Sombra will notice her changes much

  • Surprised Sombras contested the objective since he didn’t see it at his skill level. Made fun of Genji main friend for having top objective time

  • Thinks Genji is a highly effective character who has his place. Depends on meta. 2 top played heroes by a longshot were Genji and Mercy before Brigitte was released

  • Seagull still upset Genji triple jump was removed

  • Wrecking Ball was one of the earlier characters concepted

  • Arnold Tsang, assistant art director, designed the early prototype of Wrecking Ball and gave him his name

  • Initially Wrecking Ball’s kit was all to do with magnetism. Hopefully we will see these ideas in future heroes

  • Tsang later sent out mailing lists showing the hamster as part of Wrecking Ball

  • Wrecking Ball became the most controversial hero within the dev team. Half the team think it’s the best thing ever while the other half thinks it’s ruining the game

  • Jeffrey Brill put a meeting on the calendar for 10 years from now(6 years now) to ask did Wrecking Ball wreck the game

  • Explains lore of Hammond. Genetic therapy made him more intelligent and larger. He’s now Pikachu sized. Primates on Lunar Colony revolted. Hammond hitches a ride on Winston’s escape module, but detaches and lands near Junkertown.

  • Winston and Hammond can communicate since of course all animals can communicate with each other

  • Hammond can only speak through a sound board through his mech. Two voice actors for Wrecking Ball. One for the hamster, one for the mech

  • Saw a great LFG called “I need healing” that was one tank spot and five support ones

  • Wrecking Ball’s guns sound and look different when he’s running low on ammo

  • Infinity Ward helped them learn how to make weapons more visceral

  • Seagull worried about adding another mobile tank with good burst damage. Winston/Wrecking Ball/D.va dive could be very strong

  • Seagull thinks Zen, Reaper, Mei, Sym, basically any character with CC will be good against Wrecking Ball.

  • Wrecking Ball has a lot of easy knobs they can tune if he is unbalanced. Don’t want to lose fun factor

  • Seagull believes his adaptive shields will likely need a nerf

  • Jeff apologizes for being a small indie company

Chat Questions

Optimization?

  • Will look into optimizing the game

Colorblind Optimization?

  • Almost made 1.26 patch. Will be able to set color of hero outlines instead of just red.

Reinhardt?

  • Working on fixing his bugs first then they will look if he needs a buff

  • Seagull asks about wallclimb bugs. Not actively working on them. Asks for video clips of bugs so they can reproduce them

Ryan Mourey | Servers Engineer

  • Worked on LFG

  • Seagull thinks Wrecking Ball will work best with Winston and D.va

  • Seagull believes some pros will become insane on Wrecking Ball and concerned about his ultimate damage

Chat Questions

Plans for LFG?

  • Nothing major planned yet. Watching feedback

Funniest bug had to deal with?

  • No clip as Baby D.va on Volskaya

  • Seagull comments on minefield visuals being hard to differentiate between friendly and enemy

Favorite OW map?

  • Château. Love deathmatch

Increasing avoid count?

  • Worried about increasing avoid count as it could possibly increase queue times especially at high MMRs. No definite answer

Silhouettes through walls for anyone not just supports?

  • Will have to ask about that. Seagull mentions he grouped up with his Zen to see where he was easily since his outline was green

Decaying Endorsements?

  • Level 5 is very hard to get. There is always decay above level 1. Depends on in game time apparently

Colorblind options?

  • Hopefully not too far away

Why can’t you get endorsed in mystery heroes/arcade modes?

  • Meant for more serious modes. May change in future

144 tick servers?

  • Hard on servers and latency of online has an impact

Biggest challenge faced with bugs?

  • Reproducing them. Can’t figure out how they happen. Best thing to do is take a video of the bug

Programming language of choice?

  • C++ have programmed in many languages
  • Seagull mentions FPS drops when pressing tab and Mourey says they’ll look into it

Match History

  • Still a ways off

Will there ever be a scoreboard/veto maps?

  • Probably not

How did you end of working at Blizzard?

  • Started as an intern. Made mobile games when younger. Advises others to just start making games, you learn a ton.

Credit to u/Seagull_No1_Fanboy on Reddit for compiling this.

23 Likes

It is not even a meme anymore – they literally try out ultimates as E abilities haha.

11 Likes

I mean say what you will about the end result, but it undeniably increased Mercy’s viability :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Interesting. Shame there was virtually no discussion on healers overall, especially Mercy’s situation. Noticed that there was a bit of discussion on Genji, no surprise there even though I believe he doesn’t need changes at the moment.

I’m a bit disappointed that SMS protect is only applicable to a minor percentage of the competitive play player base, but maybe in a year or two they might eventually consider expanding on a similar solution.

LFG and endorsements are great, I’ll be glad when they fix the filters not saving.

Good that Reinhardt’s bugs are in the process of being fixed and possibly a buff.

It’s a shame they aren’t prepared to increase the ‘avoid as teammate’ slot limit simply because of worries about increased queue times for a minor percentage of players at the high end of the MMR. They should make the limit based on the MMR rather than just cater it for the minor percentage of players at the high end of the MMR. This isn’t surprising though given they didn’t remove, nerf, rework or change PBSR for ranks under diamond and never commented on that - that specific change mostly benefited the popular streamers and content creators.

Interesting about level 5 endorsement being very hard to get.

Match history is also an interesting idea that could come later on.

Mercy ? Ah yes, I remember ! That poor soul that was in F-tier since launch, rarely picked. /s

1 Like

Sure , last time someone keeps an eye on her she got one of the worst ‘Buff’ in Overwatch histroy

2 Likes

I think I read in another thread that they have no immediate plans for Mercy. Which is disappointing, but I think Blizzard see Snipers as far more of an issue.

Discussion on Genji is hardly surprising considering that Seagull was initially well known as a Genji player before he played basically everything.

I mean she was garbage when Ana was good, she only become meta because ladder players didn’t have the coordination to run Lucio/Zen in Dive. If Mercy hadn’t have been reworked, it’s a fairly safe assumption Moira would have taken even that small niche.

So reduce the damage to 60/120/160 but increase the hitbox for the weapon/increase the thickness.

They can’t leave her primary fire like this.

“Thanks Calvin” killed me.

3 Likes

Ana was broken indeed as well as the tank meta, but the middle ranks and below was using it as much as dive before Brigitte’s release.

To be quite honest, the nade was indeed broken, but Ana still had to aim in order to heal, with less ammo even. It is nothing like things are now, especially with Brigitte and Mercy. Flankers could actually be played in tank meta, Mercy also but everywhere else except high ranks.

Paraphrasing another gem.
JK - “You’ve forgiven me for removing Triple Jump”
Seagull - “I haven’t”.

Great work, man. This thread should be made a sticky.

1 Like

Yeah sure, the same way they kept a close eye on her and came up with this nonsense after so long…
Nothing personal bud. I´m just extremely frustrated like almost every Sombra player out there.

3 Likes

thank you for the summary!

Good stuff a lot of topics covered

Jeff: What do you think of Hammond, Seagull?

Seagull: Honestly, he is really op as of right now. Gives reasons and examples[…].

silence"…"silence

Jeff: You know, he is so fun to play, oh man, we had so much fun playing him. I’m pretty sure when he’ll go live everyone will have fun playing him.

Insert confused nick young meme

Why was that a meme? I’d do it too.

It’s good that his opinion was ignored, he knows nothing about balance

So you really hate seagull huh?

Oh no…