While some games are incredibly malleable and easy to mod (like Resident Evil 2 for one example... actually, for several examples), Overwatch, as an online multiplayer shooter, requires a certain amount of balance and fine-tuning. As a result, modding the game isn’t really an easy task.
Still, many players have wanted to play around with the world of Overwatch for some time now. The urge to modify the game to create new game modes, or even mix and match hero abilities, has been around since the game originally launched. There just really hasn’t been a way to do it.
However, it looks like that’s all about to change, thanks to the Overwatch Workshop.
What Is The Overwatch Workshop?
The Overwatch Workshop is a whole new set of tools that will allow players to shape and mold Overwatch into new modes and experiences. At its core, the Workshop is a game scripting system that gives people looking to create custom games a way to invent a whole new kind of Overwatch mode.
Up until now, the only outlet for creativity has been the Custom Game Browser section. This part of the game was always pretty limited in terms of what you could do, though. Most of the modes essentially boiled down to either turning down ability cooldowns, reducing the time to generate Ultimates, adjusting health to be much lower or higher, and other tweaks that kind of just turned a standard Overwatch game into an insane, hyperactive mess.
The Workshop, on the other hand, is going to allow players a lot more freedom in creating custom games.
What Can You Do In The Overwatch Workshop?
The Overwatch Workshop allows you to do some basic programming to create a script that will adjust how things work in the game world. You can mess around with the camera angles, create new objectives for victory, or even grant the various Overwatch heroes new powers.
One of the big examples given by Blizzard is a “Molten Floor” mode, where touching the ground damages players as if the floor was covered in Torbjorn’s Molten Core Ultimate. Basically, a game of Overwatch played with “Hot Lava” rules. Another player made a mode where the payload is magnetic, as a way to ensure that everyone is actually staying on the payload. There's even been a version of Counterstrike's Gun Game.
Players are also able to retool characters to give them new abilities. One programmer has already made it so Mei can use her Endothermic Blaster to spray ice on the ground and slide on it as if she was Frozone from The Incredibles. Another person made it so Roadhog’s hook could be used as a fully functioning grappling hook.
And then there's the true terror of a fully-mobile sentry mode Bastion.
How Do You Use The Overwatch Workshop?
The Overwatch Workshop essentially opens the door for all the would-be game designers out there to get a chance to play around with some new tools that will add a new feel to the game. However, in order to make these crazy changes, it seems like you’ll have to do a bit of programming in order to get the mode up and running.
In fact, Jeff Kaplan, the Lead Designer of Overwatch, has said that people with some programming or scripting experience will likely have an easier time fooling around with the Workshop. So, if you were just looking to make a spicier version of Team Deathmatch, it may be a bit more of a challenge.
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To find the Workshop, you first need to go to the Games Browser. Then click on the Create tab, go into Settings, and that's where you'll be able to access the Workshop.
In order to create anything, you’ll need to dig around in the guts of the game’s internal logic to remake things to your liking. You’ll have to create a script, then add conditions, actions, rules, and events to that script. The whole process seems a little intimidating, but there’s basically a full tutorial within the announcement on the Overwatch website. It may take a bit of getting used to, but hopefully, it will be intuitive enough that even people without advanced programming degrees can get the hang of it.
The Overwatch Workshop is available to play around with right now on the PTR on PC. There’s no deadline on when it will release, but it's expected to come out on consoles, as well as the PC. Which means no matter where you play, you won’t be safe from Bastion on wheels.