Like seemingly millions of others, I too sunk many hours into the beta of Blizzard’s next upcoming game, Overwatch. I have become quite the fan of competitive team based shooters, perhaps solely due to Counter Strike: Global Offensive, so I thought I would voice my opinions of the game from a competitive perspective.
First off, like many of others going off social media, I loved the time I spent playing it. The massive 21 playable characters allows a large amount of radically different play styles and helps the variety and replayability immensely. No matter how you want to play, how much time you have or how competitive you are, Overwatch has you covered.
On the topic of competitiveness, Overwatch should prove to be quite suited to the art. I had very little issues with the balance of individual characters during my time playing, but generally these sorts of problems arise later when people in general work out the most effective way to play heroes, how they are countered and what to do to avoid or lessen your heroes counter. It’s just too early for me to judge if there is any important balance issues, however there was no sign of any glaringly overpowered characters.
I do have some concerns with some of the rules that may affect the health of competitive play from what little I know of Team Fortress 2 however. The first thing is switching characters on the fly. Unlike Mobas such as Dota 2, there is no real competitive picking and banning phase, instead you pick what you start with and you can switch as much as you want, it’s what they have designed the game around, you are supposed to switch multiple times in a game. I’m not totally sure how it will play out in competitive play and it may not be a problem, but having no restriction on changing may lead to high tier games resulting in a constant switch-fest, where each team is trying to counter the opponent’s heroes and avoiding being countered themselves. This would imply that a large portion of the heroes are competitively viable though, which in practice never seems to happen in competitive games, you almost always will see trends favouring the same common tactics across games. In hindsight I don’t think this will likely be a major issue with the competitive scene of Overwatch, but we will see once the game kicks off throughout the year.
One thing that I do think will be problematic, is having no limit on the amount of one hero you can have on your team for no real rhyme or reason. It seems to serve no real purpose to be able to use the same hero multiple times; the game is not balanced around it, nor is it encouraged by the developers from their tips when choosing a team. You are told to pick a balanced team of supports, defensive and offensive heroes, tanks, snipers and builders, which makes sense, but what doesn’t is having no limit to stop 6 of the same heroes. In competitive TF2 6v6, picking multiple classes is not allowed for balance reasons and I think not having this for Overwatch is a large problem with a very simple solution. From my time playing, there was only once where we had two of the same hero on our team, outside of people joking around with 6 D’VA’s or something of that nature, so I don’t think any tears would be shed over disallowing this. A good solution however, would be to disallow it in the upcoming post launch competitive matchmaking, but allow it in casual play.
Overwatch is most certainly an impressive game, in fact as far as first impressions go, it is the best FPS I have played for a few years now. It launches on the 24th of May and if you haven’t purchased and would like to, it can be found on the Battle.net store and most brick and mortar retailers.