With BlizzCon 2019 past and Overwatch 2 officially announced, interesting details stemming from the game's announcement continue to trickle out. Overwatch 2 being both a full sequel while also merging with the original game is leading to some interesting decisions on Blizzard's part. The latest surprise is that Blizzard is considering bringing a much-requested feature to Overwatch that's become an increasingly common feature in battle royale games and other first-person shooters. Specifically, Blizzard is considering adding pings to Overwatch.
During BlizzCon, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 game director Jeff Kaplan spoke with YouTuber Samito briefly. During the conversation, Samito asked Kaplan if Blizzard had any plans to "add an ability to mark a target." Note that Samito is specifically talking about PvE mode when asking this question. Kaplan, surprisingly, confirms it straight away with a "Yes." Kaplan goes on to say that Overwatch 2 lead UI designer Junho Kim had talked with him recently about experimenting with a ping system.
For those unfamiliar, a ping system allows players to place location or target-based markers with the click of a button. They could indicate, using Overwatch 2 as an example, which PvE enemy to target, a location for players to group around at, or could even be used to indicate when players should attack or retreat. Pings are sometimes specifically left out of games, however, because they can end up being too useful and override design decisions that are intended to be intuitive.
Kaplan echoed this sentiment, noting that Blizzard had previously considered adding a ping system to Overwatch. Kaplan had previously discussed the issue in February, clarifying that it hadn't worked out due to the limited space within encounters. It seems Blizzard is still impressed enough with how useful the ping feature is in Apex Legends that they want to try to get it working in Overwatch. "We'll see whether it sees the light of day or not."
Adding pings to Overwatch 2 would unquestionably be a smart move, even if their usefulness isn't as apparent as in Apex Legends or other games. For one, providing tools to players for better communication is almost always positive. But even more valuable is the appearance of truly upgrading Overwatch for the launch of Overwatch 2. Making Overwatch 2 competitive multiplayer feel distinct from Overwatch is going to be a challenge for Blizzard, and every small addition will help.
Overwatch 2 has no currently announced release window but is confirmed for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.