Blizzard is exploring the possibility of rewarding players for playing on Overwatch‘s public test realm, although nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
The latest developer update video features game director Jeff Kaplan providing an overview of the PTR and discussing some of the common questions that come up about it. He talks about how its primary purpose is not necessarily to gather feedback–though that is welcomed–but instead to ensure the game runs smoothly.
Whether they’re testing for bugs or providing feedback on new content and balance changes, PTR players are assisting Blizzard, for which Kaplan said he is grateful. That raises the question of why there are no incentives to play on the PTR beyond the ability to be the first to try out something new. Kaplan said Blizzard isn’t against the idea, and the real challenge is diverting resources away from development on the core game itself.
“For us to put incentives on the PTR is something we’re looking into, so it’s not off the table; it’s just a little complicated,” he said. He noted that players have suggested they could receive loot boxes or some portion of their experience in the main game, ideas that Blizzard thinks are “great.”
“Those ideas, while very cool, would take development time to implement,” he explained. “And right now we wrestle with, is the best way to spend our time engineering features for the PTR so players have more incentive [to play on it], or using that same development time and putting it towards the more core features or content of the game that go out to all players?”
Later in the video, Kaplan also talked a little about the changes that are live on the PTR right now and why they were made. Those include buffs to Sombra and nerfs to D.Va, Ana, and Roadhog. He also explained why the PTR doesn’t currently exist on consoles, which largely comes down to the roadblocks that stand in the way of releasing frequent patches on Xbox Live and PSN.