"Hopefully I don't bore you to tears," said Jeff Kaplan last night in response to a Reddit AMA request posted last week by user AuTiMechanic. "Sure... let's do this!" For the three hours that followed, the Blizzard vice president answered hundreds of questions from eager fans—including who his favourite Overwatch hero is, what other games he likes to play in his spare time, and which wrestling techniques he prefers to use on the other developers.
Between the humorous exchanges, though, Kaplan addressed a few more serious Overwatch-related points, such as the possibility of gifting loot boxes to friends at some point down the line, how hero Lucio will be re-tuned in future updates, and that a making of documentary could be in the works.
Starting with the uber cool Lucio, Kaplan suggested he and his team are experimenting with things behind the scenes at the moment and that while many players see the mobile support hero as essential to their squads, Lucio's input doesn't always match up.
"We feel like a lot of players feel like [Lucio] is a 'must have' in comps but he also doesn't feel super impactful to play," says Kaplan. "We're trying some ideas to make him more engaging to play while making him a little less obvious/must pick. We'll see if those changes make it to the PTR. One tricky thing is that player perception of 'must pick' doesn't match actual behavior. I sometimes look at the hero pick stats and they clearly don't match the 'hero meta report' stats. Then players tell me to throw out my stats and look at only diamond and higher in competitive play only."
Kaplan continues: "Well, at that point, I'm not sure players realize what a small percentage of the player base they are asking me to make a decision based on. Obviously, we are in the process of toning Ana down right now. But we're also not out to see her never get played either. Player reaction is often to sledgehammer everything."
On the heroes front, Kaplan also identified Winston as the least picked hero in the game, and that as a result he's in line for "some new changes" directed at the PTR. "I am looking forward to seeing how the barrier changes play out from the PTR once they go live," he adds. "We've seen that Winston in the hands of the right player can be amazing."
As for loot box gifting, Kaplan was less open—simply saying "working on it" in reply to a direct question from user LeOswalito. When asked about the possibility of a making of-style documentary based on how the game's heroes are made, Kaplan said: "We have something for you!"
Kaplan's Reddit AMA can be viewed in full over here.