Our Game Browser guide contains everything you need to know about the new Overwatch feature, covering customisation options, creating servers, and tracking them down.
Blizzard has just released issued a pretty significant Overwatch update, one which not only includes some pretty dramatic hero tweaks, but also a brand new custom server feature for the game. In our Game Browser guide, we'll bring you up to speed with everyone that's currently known about this exciting new addition to the game.
Much of the content contained in the first edition of this guide has been taken directly from the recent developer update video covering the new feature. Once we've had an opportunity to play around with the mode on the live game, we'll flesh this guide out even further with tips for finding great games, and even a round-up of the most fun servers currently in circulation.
What is Overwatch's Game Browser feature?
Overwatch's Game Browser is very much like the custom servers you'll have encountered in other shooters in the past. It puts game customisation directly into the hands of the players, rather than the developers, and allows you to make numerous significant changes to the game.
You'll be able to locate player-curated servers based on region (Asia, Americas, Europe etc), and there'll be plenty of other filtering options to help you find what you're looking for in terms of maps, heroes, game modes, fundamental gameplay tweaks and so on.
The Game Browser has been added to Overwatch to allow players to try out new things and play the game in very different ways. It's not possible for the developers to create a matchmaking system that connects people with wildly different tastes together, so this puts control in the players' hands.
Note that you can still earn experience points and work towards unlocking new Loot Boxes while playing in Game Browser games! Whether there are any restrictions on the amount of XP you can gain in this mode is not yet clear.
Game Browser is also the new permanent home for the game's recently released Capture the Flag mode with the Year of the Rooster update. Now though, there'll be a total of 12 maps to compete on, making use of every Control map in the game: Ilios, Oasis, Lijiang Tower and Nepal.
What can you change in Game Browser mode?
There are many variables that you can change when creating a game in the Game Browser. In the developer update video that was released a few weeks ago, game director Jeff Kaplan used Capture the Flag as an example. You might want to change things up in the following ways:
- Force a team to be in control of their own flag if they're to capture the enemy's.
- Give the flag a shorter or a longer pickup time.
- Change the match time or adjust how many flag captures are required to complete the match.
Further examples were given for Payload maps and other battlegrounds too:
- Change the travelling speed of the Payload.
- Adjust the capture speed of each point on Control maps.
- Allow only certain heroes, and even tweak their cooldowns and ability availability. Consider a Widowmaker with infinite Grappling Hook usage!
The developers will be paying close attention to what the community cooks up collectively, and may well incorporate some of these changes into the official version of the game. They've also promised that plenty of other filters and options will make their way into the Server Browser in due course.
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Finding matches in Overwatch's Game Browser
There'll be a number of different filtering options in the Game Browser, which will allow you to pick the precise match you want, based on those filters. Hopefully there'll be some kind of "closest match" element as well, so you can find something that's as close as possible to your ideal setup.
At the time of publishing this article the Game Browser update had only just gone live. We'll be bringing you a step-by-step guide to creating and finding games shortly - we'll also bring you a round-up of the best custom games we've found as well!
How to set up a Game Browser match in Overwatch
Once we've had a chance to play around with the Game Browser this evening, we'll update this section of our guide!