Overwatch Play of the Game
An example of the Play of the Game screen, before the highlight rolls outBlizzard

Overwatch is certain to be one of the best shooters of the year. It's fun, extremely well-designed and comes bearing a litany of interesting ideas that make it one of the most refreshing shooters in recent memory.

One such feature is Play of the Game, which highlights each game's defining moment from the perspective of one player. It's far better than a list of names, kill tallies and death totals – highlighting how good and bad everyone is – it instead gives players the chance to appreciate the game being played well, and also, maybe, learn a new strategy to use themselves.

It's not a perfect system however and developers Blizzard are fully aware of that. In an interview with GameSpot, lead software engineer Rowan Hamilton spoke about the feature, and testing it, improvements that are to be made and what the studio is currently working on to improve the game overall.

"We also have a lot of cool systems internally where we can play with the algorithm that determines Play of the Game and play the same game back again, and be like, 'Ok, if I tweak these numbers, what's going to be the Play of the Game that gets picked this time?'

"So it might've been Widowmaker getting three snipes, but I change the weighting on some other aspect that we take as important, and it could all of a sudden [mean] it's Mercy resurrecting everyone on the point two second before the match ended. It's going to be an ongoing process, and hopefully we continue to improve it."

That algorithm often favours damage-dealing heroes like Bastion and Torbjorn rather than support characters like the aforementioned healer Mercy, someone like Symmetra who can cast shields or Reinhardt with his large personal shield that can move a whole team forward.

"There's a lot of different variables," said Hamilton. "I'm not intimately familiar with the system so I can't speak to all of them, but there's obvious stuff like damage and kills. There's stuff like healing, I think at the point when we were tweaking it Zenyatta would almost always get Play of the Game every time he popped his ultimate, because he would just do this massive amount of healing.

"A lot of support actions do come into it, we've added some stuff recently, such as determining how hard a shot was to hit based on how fast the target was moving, how far away the target was moving."

Asked about what the team is working on now, post-launch, Hamilton mentioned ongoing tests to the matchmaking algorithm and said: "We're really busy at the moment working on competitive ranked. It's something that we feel is really important to the game. So we're pushing really hard to get that out there, and see how the players react to that."

Our Overwatch review, which you can read here, called the game "an instant classic that, with the kind of good post-launch support Blizzard is known for, could prove the go-to shooter for an entire generation of gamers."

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