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Blizzard's Overwatch goes into public beta Oct. 27

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Overwatch, Blizzard's team-based shooter that was unveiled at last year's BlizzCon, is going into public beta Oct. 27, the developer announced today. Blizzard said it will admit a "small number of testers" into the closed beta to fine-tune Overwatch's gameplay on that day, then "open the floodgates" on certain weekends to stress-test the game's technical performance.

"We're aiming to accomplish two primary goals with our public beta test: First, get tons of top-notch feedback on the gameplay — including balance, feel, and fun — to help us make Overwatch the best team-based shooter on the planet," Blizzard said in a blog post. "Second, we want to hammer the heck out of our tech, including stress-testing our server infrastructure and making sure the game runs great on the widest variety of systems possible."

The first phase of Overwatch's closed beta will start Oct. 27 in the Americas for Windows PC. Blizzard said it plans to bring players in Europe and Asia into the beta at a later date. Players can opt in to the beta through

When Blizzard starts rolling out the beta test on weekends to a wider audience — the first is scheduled to hit the weekend after BlizzCon 2015, which kicks off Nov. 6 — it will do so "in various parts of the world."

"We have tons of would-be heroes signed up for the Overwatch beta, and we want to give as many as possible a chance to play during the testing period," Blizzard said.

The Overwatch beta will feature the 18 currently announced hero characters. Assistant game director Aaron Keller told Polygon in an interview that more content, including new characters and maps, could be added to the beta if Blizzard feels the need to test them out in a public environment.

"There's a lot of balance that needs to happen," Keller said. "There are a lot of heroes and a lot of interdependencies there."

Keller added that the beta "will go on as long as we need [it] to" to test hero and map balance.

"We feel like it's ready for it," he said. "We've been testing it internally for a long time and the team is in love with the game. We play it every day, from home, for months now. I think we're pretty close to it and we realize that if it's a game we can be playing this much, it's a game that other people can too."

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