Blizzard will soon release an update for Overwatch that will overhaul the current leveling system, but some players fear this is merely a cash grab to sell more loot boxes.
The most recent update to the Overwatch PTR is drawing criticism from some players that aren’t pleased by its changes to the game’s current leveling system. They are worried that Blizzard is implementing these changes in order to squeeze more money from its players. However, these fears are based on an inability to look at the bigger picture. This evolution of the leveling system will actually benefit Overwatch players in the long run.
At every new level, a player is rewarded with a loot box that contains a bounty of goodies. With the original system, when a new player begins Overwatch they easily breeze through the first 23 levels or so before hitting an experience curve, and they obtain a good haul of loot boxes as a result.
From there, the climb to 100 is more of a grind and more experience is needed to progress. After a player hits level 100 they move into a new tier (what they call prestige), which reverts them back to level one with the experience curve reset. They can then swiftly move through the first 23 levels once again, collecting a mountain of loot boxes along the way. This is the way things have been since the game launched.
The impending update will change all of this. Now, when a player hits 100 they will no longer have their experience curve reset. Instead, the amount of experience needed to reach new levels post-100 will be a consistent 20,000 xp. Additionally, the amount of experience needed to reach 100 for the first time has been slightly reduced. Players should actually progress a bit faster with this new system.
However, not everyone is convinced this isn’t some clever ploy to milk players for cash through the purchase of loot boxes. In an attempt to explain this new direction, game director Jeff Kaplan took to the forums and laid it all out:
This change has nothing to do with a desire on our part to drive more or less interest in loot box sales. This change is to prevent players from binge behavior or halting play… and to prevent players who are not close to prestiging from feeling like they somehow missed out on “bonus” items. This change exists to add levity to the leveling experience.
It’s common for players to hold off on hitting 100 until a big seasonal event occurs; meaning, they often stop playing altogether. Then, when an event starts, they can prestige and drown themselves in precious loot boxes. However, Blizzard wants to stop this practice — not out of greed, but to simply keep people playing.
We want you playing Overwatch or not playing Overwatch when you want/don’t want to. That’s the entire reason for this change… nothing else.
It’s understandable that players would be a bit confused, considering the amount of changes coming to Overwatch in addition to this one. The new hero Sombra was recently released and is still receiving some balancing in the PTR. But every new hero changes the way the game is played, resulting in a bit of an adjustment period for players.
Pharah is receiving some tweaks in PTR that are allowing for more sustained air combat, which will encourage players to brush up on their anti-air skills. Core game modes in Overwatch are also changing. Quick Play will have a single-character limit, and an arcade mode will be added that will allows for many different ways to play the game.
Overwatch is going through a transitional period and it’s hard to tell when the dust will settle, which can be a bit unnerving at times. But as far as the new experience system is concerned, there isn’t a lot to worry about.
Overall, the EXP change should be a benefit to the player base. Had this change been in effect for the Halloween Terror event we would have given out MORE loot boxes. More players would have gotten more stuff.
Kaplan’s explanation should calm some of the naysayers. While some may mourn the early level loot box showers, they can take solace in the knowledge they will be earning loot boxes slightly more often after the update.
Overwatch is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.