The Overwatch PTR (Public Test Region) is a PC-only way for players to get access to content that is in in the works, but isn’t yet ready for a full release. It’s the PTR where Blizzard tests various buffs and nerfs ,and it’s also where players uncover info about upcoming events, such as the rumored Overwatch Summer Games 2017.
While some may argue that the chance to play as new characters (such as Doomfist) and access content weeks before it’s released is its own reward, some fans argue that there should be additional incentives. Responding to that, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said that the team would “love to improve the PTR experience,” but “the difficult part for us is that the same time and resources we spend improving the PTR experience could go towards improving the core game,” so Blizzard usually goes for the latter option.
Kaplan goes on to explain that the developers who are working on the match history or the replay feature would be “required to work on making EXP carry over from the PTR to your main account.” Pre-empting calls for Blizzard to “just hire more people,” the developer also posted a link to open job positions for the Overwatch development team.
The suggestion that the Overwatch team just doesn’t have the resources to make the PTR worthwhile may be disheartening, but not all hopes have been dashed. The fan who posted the comment Kaplan was responding to pointed out that not only do PTR players help the developers make the game better, but that the PTR has its own meta, as there are no repercussions, and as a result, there is no reason for people to test balanced team compositions. Kaplan said that he “appreciated” the post and agreed with “a lot of what [the fan] is saying.”
With Kaplan and co. now aware of the concerns held by Overwatch players, it should be able to work on a fix when the resources become available. At this point, it’s unclear what that fix might look like and how players can be encouraged to make proper use of the PTR. One solution put forward by the fan is to offer PTR players Golden Loot Boxes for the main game, but whether Blizzard will put that in place is not guaranteed for now.
Overwatch is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.