When Blizzard announced Overwatch from the ashes of Titan, I was intrigued. A company renowned for making RPG’s and RTS’, was salvaging aspects of a failed MMO and throwing their hat in the FPS ring. Sounds dumb enough to work.
To say I am a fan of Blizzard’s games would be an understatement. I still have my manual for the original WarCraft, I’ve bought the stupid big collector’s editions of StarCraft 2 and I was a WoW player for almost 10 years.
After playing a few matches during the closed beta, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being completely underwhelmed. Something just didn’t click. The game was polished and played well, but I just wasn’t feeling it, which was fucking crazy. I love Blizzard games and First Person Shooters. I AM the target demographic for this game.
But after a week of the the internet losing it’s fucking shit, hearing nothing else but how awesome it was and having the shit bugged out of me with people asking if I was playing it, or what I thought, I finally caved and picked it up. ANY time I start a new game, especially a multiplayer game, I like to play by myself until I can not be a complete detriment to my team. This was a poor decision and initially, coloured my opinion having it go from middling at best, to actively disliking the game.
The more time I’ve spent with the game, the more it has grown on me, and I couldn’t tell you exactly why that is. I spend time thinking about matches I’ve played, well after I’ve finished playing, something I haven’t done since my days with Day of Defeat. These days, I don’t play competitive shooters for very long before bailing, mostly because of the time required to learn everything. Map layouts, item locations, character abilities and weapon ranges. All of these take time. Even with the amount of exposure the beta’s received, Overwatch is currently a level playing field, which is deeply refreshing. Rolling with a group of friends also makes it about a billion times better. Even rolling with a single other person allows for the game to open up to a level of co-ordination that doesn’t exist otherwise.
Unique to MOBAs for the longest time, the character classes and abilities leads to the meta-game of character counters. Being dominated by a Hanzo, only to have a Tracer get up in their face quicker than they can react is an awesome play that adds a level of tactics to an already dense game. With the ability to change team composition, mid-match at a moment’s notice, the game is always changing, a game of Scissors, Paper, Rock where player skill plays as much part as having the correct guess.
Yes, there are a few things that I think are broken. The play of the game? Basically the most fantastical kill streak. And as someone that primarily plays as a tank or support, it just kinda sucks seeing the game pat someone else on the back for a play that you were key to setting up. The player base is also kinda slow to adapt. People are either too scared to try new characters or are too fucking stupid to change class when the team requires it. Not since TF2 has the term “Play your class” meant so much to a First Person Shooter. This should lessen over time, but it’s incredibly frustrating to someone that tries to do exactly that, and watches as the team’s tank continues to hide behind a corner, trying to pick off an easy kill.
For a game that I had initially cooled my jets for, I’m excited to see how it will grow. The introduction of the ranked play mode in June/July has me excited for competition play, something I can’t say I’ve been before for a game in a LONG ASS TIME. And as ham fisted as this shit is going to be, the E-sports scene is going to be entertaining at the very least. This coupled with the level of support Blizzard gives to it’s products, makes me very interested to see Overwatch Grow.