Do you think Overwatch team simply not have enough people?

General Discussion
Prev 1 2 3 26 Next
Honestly Blizzard have always had very slow development when it comes to fixing things and pushing out content and I find it hard to believe a company merged with Activision has issues with resources and small teams.
09/26/2017 05:48 PMPosted by HappyFeet
I wouldn't be surprised if the OW team is a majority of art people and a handful of people actually working on the game.


So Blizzard is the Alfa Romeo of the gaming world?

Looks nice but something is always broken.
09/26/2017 05:48 PMPosted by HappyFeet
But with that lastest dev update, I wouldn't be surprised if the OW team is a majority of art people and a handful of people actually working on the game. They seem to run a skeleton crew, if making a basic report system is holding them up


I think this has been an issue from Overwatch's inception. At least skeleton crew wise. I'm not sure if they really planned for Overwatch to be the big success that it was. They did have a lot of jobs posted for an FPS earlier this year, IIRC.

Regardless of their headcount, I'm not sure if their skill sets or root problem assessments were accurate.

If we take Jeff's comments at face value, working on player behavior issues takes away from game development. I can believe this simply because people who develop games are going to have backgrounds in computer programming, art design, game design, graphical engineering and the like. They're not going to have backgrounds in psychology, sociology, change management, business management, organizational development, or any degree that focuses around the understanding and management of people.

If your degree is in computer science, you're going to have to play educational catch-up to design a social management system. It's not intuitive. More than that, it's often something these people have no interest in.

I've worked with a lot of engineers who became managers. Almost all of them have hated any work they did that revolved around managing employees. And why wouldn't they? They got engineering degrees because they had some taste or talent for engineering. That's not an educational focus that has much to do with social sciences.

The same can be said of computer programming. If you are interested in building polygons and writing code, you probably aren't going to be thrilled when you have to figure out the causes and remedies for player misbehavior. So you've got people doing a job they don't know much about and one they don't have much interest in. That's a recipe for slow and bad performance (as well as a contributing factor to employee attrition.)

Sorry for the rant. I just think that a lot of online issues with player behavior arise because you have the wrong person doing the right job. Don't make computer programmers solve social issues. You'll get a bad result, slowly, and end up with a frustrated employee.

Given the size of Blizzard, I would suggest hiring an interaction manager or even a consultant to develop a reward and punishment system for them that is based in actual social science and people management. They have the programmers and the capability, but they might not have the expertise where it counts. I honestly don't think that many game companies do.
It shouldn't be our concern if their team is small or not. For a game that sold so many copies, it is their job to do something about it if they are struggling to make content for it. Also it is not like Blizzard is some small indie studio. They can afford borrowing ppl from their other divisions if the situation is that bad.
They need higher level play testers/PTR observers.
Blizzards earns more and more money, look at the latest annual balance sheet, they can have as many employees as they want.
09/27/2017 08:38 AMPosted by Fondue
Most of the posts/complains don't actually require a response.


Yes this is true and I do agree. However some things do require a response. It doesn't even NEED to be an answer. Just let us know you're listening. "Hey we are aware of your concerns and we're looking into it, it will just take us some time." Great! We know we're not being ignored.

09/27/2017 09:10 AMPosted by HANA
It shouldn't be our concern if their team is small or not. For a game that sold so many copies, it is their job to do something about it if they are struggling to make content for it. Also it is not like Blizzard is some small indie studio. They can afford borrowing ppl from their other divisions if the situation is that bad.


Let me make something clear. I don't blame nor hate the Overwatch Development team. Part of this post was to take some of the blame off them. Jeff is the lead of this team. He is responsible with dealing with ALL of these issues. That is his job.

However if he has a team of... 15 people? They can't do more than what 15 people can do, and expecting more is unfair. "Just hire more people!" What if he can't? Maybe they're not getting good applicants? Maybe people above Jeff tell him "Nope. Too bad so sad you can't have more than 15 so make it work." At that point can we really blame them for updates being slow? If they simply don't have the people.
https://careers.blizzard.com/en-us/openings/all/all/all/all/overwatch/1

They have wanted to hire more people basically since launch. At last mention by Jeff, there was 100 or so people working on the Overwatch team. So that's 100 people broken into all the numerous departments needed to create stuff. To put that in perspective, a single character needs:
Concept Art
Modeling
Rigging
Animation
Programming
Texturing
Particle Effects
Sound Effects
Quality Assurance

This is going to be completely separate from the team who works on maps, and the teams involved with the internal side of things. Sure, you're going to have people who may double up on departments, but most people tend to stick with what they're good at.
And to put in perspective the time and effort involved:
https://vimeo.com/204601876
See that? That's 4 seconds that takes a professional in the industry 4 days to complete. As someone who works in 3D animation, this is extremely common depending on the style of work.

Leading on from this, it's not as simple as "They have the money, just hire more people." People have to actually apply for those positions. It's not enough to just say 'get more'.

Here's a basic example: Let's say they want to hire an animator. They have one of two choice: People apply themselves, or Blizzard look for people.

If they're waiting for people to apply themselves, you have the current situation where not enough or no one is applying. Then they are stuck with the current dev team size. Or they are getting applications, but the applicants needs 8 days to do what the other guy does in 4.

Then it's up to Blizzard to look for people to hire right? The people who already have jobs in the positions they need (an animator) aren't going to be advertising they're available for hire. They already have a job.
So they're going to look for animators who are both unemployed, but also haven't applied for them. Overwatch HQ is in Irvine, California. The animators who are unemployed need to live in Irvine, California, otherwise Blizzard now needs to convince a person who hadn't applied for their position to move states or even county to work for them. Some people in the industry are able to do that and completely happy to. And if it was on a contract (ie they work for X months on the job), then they would have a little more wiggle room, as most people are better with moving overseas for a few months and moving back than making a permanent move. But these are full time jobs they need filled. So if the person they find that lives in another state/country has a wife and kids, odds are they aren't going to uproot their lives for it.

See the effort involved?

I can give a personal example of this: I've been offered a junior position at Industrial Light and Magic (LucasArts) in the past. The HQ was in Singapore and I live in Australia. It was a huge opportunity I didn't take because I have a life here that I didn't want to leave behind for years on end. And that pretty normal in this industry. Overwatch is hands down my favourite game on a technical level. I would love to work on it. I still wouldn't move from Australia to California. Others would. So if they would want to work on something like Overwatch and happy to move states/countries, why haven't they applied?
09/26/2017 05:38 PMPosted by Vánagandr


Further when people have said "I could do this better" Jeff has responded by directing to them to the Overwatch team job postings which while I'm sure this is meant in jest, there were also several open positions.


It's really so rich to direct people to such a page that asks for years of experience even for the most entry level positions (after the thousandth time Kaplan posted it I couldn't resist but take a look at what he is directing to) while it is public knowledge that he got his job by meeting the right person in EQ (and being incredibly toxic). His only qualification is in creative writing.

I somehow really doubt Blizzard would hire a no experience graduate in the arts for any position in the OW team, or even give him an interview for a chance to prove his worth if he does not know the right people.

Some self insight, Mr. Kaplan can go a really long way. So, I ask you, personally, and dare you to respond, can someone with skills equivalent to yours at the time get hired, scratch that, be interviewed and actually considered for a position of equivalent level to being involved in quest design in WoW?

I don't expect you to see this, nevermind answer but I would be impressed if you do. Not blaming him for getting the job, by the way, anyone else would have done the same, but, don't pretend everyone else has the same luck and chances either.
Yep. Pretty much exactly my thoughts. Maybe they simply don't have the manpower they need. So basically those saying "Overwatch team sucks"... Lay Off or go work for them and make OW a better game like you think you can.

I would like faster responses I won't lie. Again they don't even need to be answers just confirmation they hear us and they're working towards things. Just sucks seeing heroes' with good potential fall to the abyss of "useless" due to bugs or bad balance.

That said I also understand and sympathize if they simply have too much work and not enough people for what players expect.
Doesn't feel lazy or half-assed? Look at Doomfist. Look at Mercy. They have no idea what they are doing.
The only way you will see major swift changes is if their revenue starts drying up.

Until then they will be happy taking the lootbox microtransactions in special events.
09/26/2017 05:38 PMPosted by Vánagandr
So I wonder, do you think Overwatch team is simply short staffed and that's why sometimes it feels like things take so long?


They have enough people to censor already-censored posts and delete negative threads because it hurt someone's feelings.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This company has billions of dollars and refuses to really spend it. And if you look at the job opening page, sure they have positions open but want you to have 342238 different qualifications to even apply. There are thousands of people out there more talented then anyone on the OW team but because they haven't worked on a AAA title before, they wont give them even a first look let alone a second.
09/27/2017 12:16 PMPosted by TheRugester
This company has billions of dollars and refuses to really spend it. And if you look at the job opening page, sure they have positions open but want you to have 342238 different qualifications to even apply. There are thousands of people out there more talented then anyone on the OW team but because they haven't worked on a AAA title before, they wont give them even a first look let alone a second.


Yeah but as said above that's basically the video game industry as a whole. You either have connections or don't get a job. That's probably the single biggest reason why we have seen such a massive surge with Indy games in the past 5 years. People want to make games but they can't get a job because they haven't made games.

. . . . .
09/27/2017 12:12 PMPosted by PhoenixTear
09/26/2017 05:38 PMPosted by Vánagandr


Further when people have said "I could do this better" Jeff has responded by directing to them to the Overwatch team job postings which while I'm sure this is meant in jest, there were also several open positions.


It's really so rich to direct people to such a page that asks for years of experience even for the most entry level positions (after the thousandth time Kaplan posted it I couldn't resist but take a look at what he is directing to) while it is public knowledge that he got his job by meeting the right person in EQ (and being incredibly toxic). His only qualification is in creative writing.

I somehow really doubt Blizzard would hire a no experience graduate in the arts for any position in the OW team, or even give him an interview for a chance to prove his worth if he does not know the right people.

Some self insight, Mr. Kaplan can go a really long way. So, I ask you, personally, and dare you to respond, can someone with skills equivalent to yours at the time get hired, scratch that, be interviewed and actually considered for a position of equivalent level to being involved in quest design in WoW?

I don't expect you to see this, nevermind answer but I would be impressed if you do. Not blaming him for getting the job, by the way, anyone else would have done the same, but, don't pretend everyone else has the same luck and chances either.


Except in this case the person is literally bragging that they have the skills to do better.
If you can do it better, Jeff would love to have you on board. It's asking you to put your money where your mouth is.

Case in point.
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759316368?page=1#post-20
This guy just graduated, and Jeff already likes his work and gotten his attention. I guarantee you if that person applied for the Overwatch team they would get a job barring screwing up the interview.

How Jeff got hired and how he's choosing to hire people now are 2 completely different things. Jeff didn't hire himself onto the WoW Quest team. Someone else did. To try and belittle Jeff now for wanting skilled professionals because he got lucky is stupid. Just because he did over a decade ago doesn't mean he has to. Besides, a huge chunk of this industry is word of mouth and connections. Jeff wasn't some random person to the devs. They knew who he was. Jeff isn't going to hire some random person off the forums just because they made a couple of good post suggestions.

09/27/2017 12:16 PMPosted by TheRugester
This company has billions of dollars and refuses to really spend it. And if you look at the job opening page, sure they have positions open but want you to have 342238 different qualifications to even apply. There are thousands of people out there more talented then anyone on the OW team but because they haven't worked on a AAA title before, they wont give them even a first look let alone a second.


Uhh...have you actually read any of the job openings? Most graduates should, I would hope, be able to apply for them. Let's take an animator https://careers.blizzard.com/en-us/openings/oEFr5fwz

Requirements
A minimum of 3 years’ experience in game development animating characters using Maya or equivalent 3D program

Maya is an industry standard. The vast majority of the industry uses Maya. 3 years of experience within the program isn't asking a lot, and most will have it simply from graduating from a 3D Animation course. I did.

Exceptional skill in animating the human bipedal figure as well as other organic forms


If you're an animator, you should know how to animate a biped. That is the basics of animating after animating a ball. Not asking a lot.

Strong understanding of traditional animation principles and how they can be used to enhance gameplay


Again, any animation course under the sun should take you through the 12 principles of animation. These are basic fundamentals that every animator should have. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiGY0qiy8fY
Congrats, you now meet one of the criteria to get a job at Blizzard.

Self-motivation, good communication skills, and a great team-player attitude
Able to work creatively as part of a large or small group
Proven problem-solving / prototyping ability
Able to effectively collaborate with game designers and programmers
Understanding of the visual style of Blizzard games and a passion to push it to the next level
A passion for video games


Be productive and motivated at work. You should be this at any job you're at.

These are the only requirements for the position. Everything else listed afterwards is helpful to have, but not necessary, hence why they are listed as 'pluses'. So no, you don't need to have previously worked on a AAA game to get a job at Blizzard. It would help your case, but it's not going to hurt it. Literally everything on that list that's required for that position a graduating animator should have.
09/27/2017 12:16 PMPosted by TheRugester
This company has billions of dollars and refuses to really spend it. And if you look at the job opening page, sure they have positions open but want you to have 342238 different qualifications to even apply. There are thousands of people out there more talented then anyone on the OW team but because they haven't worked on a AAA title before, they wont give them even a first look let alone a second.


Just to be sure: you do know that Blizzard does not, in fact has billion of dollars just laying around, right? The company is WORTH billions, sure, but they can't just unlock funds that easily.

Now, I know jack about economy, but I'm pretty sure that the Overwatch team was allocated a SET BUDGET for the YEAR, and that they had to justify said budget in front of a board. Meaning that they have to plan out the overall expenses over a full year. And Overwatch is just into it's second year. Meaning, the machine isn't oiled yet. The workflow, the ideal budget, the overall mastery of the project, all those things come from several years of exploitation.

When Jeff says that Toxicity takes away from actual content, he does mean it. Because having to babysit their playerbase wasn't in their plans; so they have to take ressources and working force away from other projects to take care of that.

And for the jobs thing, same problem: hiring new personnel takes time and money. They don't just take qualified people, and put them to work. They actually have to follow a formation. before being allowed to work on a project. Adding an untrained element in a team, even if he is" more talented" than anyone in the Overwatch team, would prove more disruptive than anything.

TL;DR: You can't solve problem by throwing money at it. Blizzard can't just give more money and add personnel to the OW Dev team like that, and the Dev team have to follow a budget and a schedule, meaning that any diversion will hurt the whole project.
Doesn't matter if they have people or not. Honestly, this team has a clear and appalling lack of competent members. Look at the garbage job this team has done since the game launched, they have no idea how this game works, they don't know what they're doing half the time, they're killing their own competitive scene, they blame their customers for their own shortcomings and lack of ability.

It's pathetic.
Ehhh. Considering the game implodes with pretty much every major update with bugs that scream "Don't you have internal playtesters?" A lot of updates come off as half-assed, to me anyways. Like Orisa.

But with that lastest dev update, I wouldn't be surprised if the OW team is a majority of art people and a handful of people actually working on the game. They seem to run a skeleton crew, if making a basic report system is holding them up

Assuming he wasn't simply trying to pass the buck. Again.

They probably are. I'm sure most of the team moved onto another project leaving only a certain percent to continue to maintain and develop for this game.

That's what I'd do at least if I were in charge of a video game company.
I actually looked at the available positions to see whether there were any I fit into. Lo and behold, there actually were a couple.

So the question I had to ask myself was: Would it be worth moving to Irvine, Calif.?

I looked at the commuting situation around that city, looked at the communities where I'd have to live for the commute not to be sanity-breaking, and said, "No."

Then I asked myself whether I'd put up with that kind of living situation in order to produce games for this impossible-to-please community, and said, "Hell, no."

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum