Overwatch Beta Release Returns

The Overwatch Beta release is back and its stuffed with new features. Besides settings for custom game modes, there’s an all new character progression system for testers of the upcoming online game from Blizzard Entertainment.

Blizzard revealed the latest Overwatch Beta release and the new features that its teams added in a blog post this week on the game’s website. The company, known around the world for franchises like Diablo, Starcraft and World of Warcraft, announced Overwatch back in 2014, hoping to spark interest in an altogether new franchise. Players choose a pre-made Hero, then customize that hero with new abilities and skills that they unlock based on experience. Overwatch is built around multiplayer team battles.

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Blizzard is calling this latest Overwatch Beta release Phase 2, and it works just like the Closed Beta test that began in 2015. Only those chosen by Blizzard get access to it. The game is available online for pre-order, but purchasing it early doesn’t mean that you get access to Phase 2.

Read: World of Warcraft Developer Reveals Overwatch

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The progression system in the new Overwatch Beta release is based on experience and levels. Getting more experience increases the level of each player in the game, which in turn unlocks new abilities and new content. Gaining experience requires players to finish matches in Quick Play Mode or Play vs. A.I., a match type that pits users against Overwatch’s own generated enemies. Like in other games where experience is key to leveling up, getting the most experience at the end of a match requires big moves and constant participation in the match. Medals won during the matches for things like managing an Objective Kill unlocks even more experience.

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All told, the character progression system available in the new Overwatch Beta release doesn’t seem that different from most third-person and first-person shooters. Finishing a match will get you experience, but being more audacious and taking on enemies will get you more experience.

Starting with this release, Overwatch has picked up new Loot Boxes. Loot Boxes contain weapons and other items that users can add to their character for better stats and a new look. The developer is teasing hundreds of different items and add-ons for Loot Boxes, including emotes, sprays, poses and player icons. All of the items contained within Loot Boxes will be divided into common, rare, epic and legendary items. The color of the boxes glows to match the four items that are inside each Loot Box.

One small touch for Loot Boxes could have everyone singing their praises. Most games with Loot Boxes are free-to-play. Companies sell keys to the Loot Boxes to supplement the money they make from any subscribers still left. Often times, Loot Boxes will drop some of the same items.

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The Loot Boxes in Overwatch know what items that players have. Instead of giving out the same items again and again, Loot Boxes will give players Credits for items that they already have. Credits are the in-game currency for Overwatch, and players will need them to buy some character skins and items. Items purchased with credits aren’t refundable. When the game is live, users will be able to purchase Loot Boxes with real-world money, Blizzard says.

Read: Overwatch Release for PS4 & Xbox One Leaked

Right now, the Overwatch Beta release is only available on PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Once the game is complete, Overwatch will get a release for Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One console. Blizzard will offer both physical and digital versions of Overwatch, all starting at $59.99.

All versions of the game are already available for pre-order at retailer GameStop. What’s more, each of the retailer’s pre-order pages shows a release date of June 21st.

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