The Community on the State of Overwatch
Streamer and former pro player Seagull recently shared this thoughts on the State of Overwatch in a longform video. His opening line was, “Am I the only one who finds overwatch to be really frustrating these days?” adding that he could not remember the last time he stopped playing just because instead of ending his session out of frustration. “Good games are really good, and bad games are really bad.”
As to why he feels this way, Seagull brought up two or three points, with the second one below stemming off the first.
The introduction of hard counter heroes.
No match stats.
Ultimates becoming too powerful.
He fleshes these points into greater detail in the video, and its contents have started conversations on how much the game has changed since it launched, for better or for worse. While Reddit and the official forums have been abuzz, I wanted to hear the Overbuff community’s thoughts on the matter, so I recently reached out on Twitter.
In your own words, what’s the State of Overwatch? When did you start playing, and how has the game has transformed since you started playing?
After the overwhelmingly negative responses that were on Reddit and the official forums, I was surprised to find that our community was much more spread out all around in their opinions.
You Take the Bad
In sharing thoughts on what is wrong with the game in its current state, the most common answer is that both Doomfist and Brigitte are the cause of all the game’s current ills. That’s the “easy” response though as hidden within it lies the real answer when others expand on the issue: the sheer number of CC effects, or crowd control, has become a detriment to the game, and these two heroes get the brunt of that blame.
As of this writing, nearly every hero released after the game’s launch has a way to prevent other players from taking actions for a brief moment. Ana puts players to sleep, Sombra hacks them, Doomfist throws them into the air, Orisa’s Halt moves them about, Wrecking Ball knocks them around, Brigitte stuns, and Ashe can cause a knock back while her ultimate, B.O.B. can throw enemies into the air. In fact, the only hero released after launch without any CC effects is Moira. Maybe the community is on to something.
Thankfully when it comes to the feeling of dread around CC, Blizzard seems to be listening. At this year’s BlizzCon, Jeff Kaplan gave some mention that the Overwatch team took concerns over CC into account when creating Ashe, putting both of hers either on a long cooldown or on her ultimate. It goes even further than that, and in the most recent PTR patches, Brigitte and Doomfist’s crowd control effects are both having their effects nerfed so the two feel better to play against.
Outside of crowd control, very few actually mentioned the community itself was a problem. In the past, both recent and distant, the toxic nature of competitive players has frequently been brought up, but in this discussion the topic has been noticeably quieter. While anecdotally, the toxicity I have personally seen seems to have gone down since the introduction of the Endorsement system, I almost always play Overwatch with friends, rarely ever hitting up the solo queue. When I do play alone, I tend to use the Group Finder so I can play the role I’m feeling like that day.
I’d venture that it’s not that the community has necessarily become better, but it’s easier to discuss and propose ways to fix a mechanical feature of Overwatch than it is to help improve the community. While I said it felt like I’m playing with fewer jerks, I have seen notifications on my reports slowly creeping towards levels they were at before the Endorsement system was added.
A handful of players brought up that they don’t like how the game has become about mirror matches, particularly the 3-3/Deathball/GOATS team compositions where teams pick some mix of three tanks and three supports. The idea here more or less being that you have three high hit point tanks and a bunch of healing all grouped up in a tight ball in order to stay alive longer. This is most commonly seen at higher tiers of play and goes against the nature that high level play is more about aim and positioning since everyone is huddled up and flailing, hoping to get the first pick. It doesn’t allow individual players and plays to shine as much, as it were.
You Miss What Now?
Beyond the negative sentiments of CC, many comments weren’t about how the game had become bad, but instead lamented the “hype” era of Overwatch in 2016, the year of the game’s launch. Some actually missed the “No Limits” nature of the game’s early days where you could have a competitive team of all Roadhogs, but they also miss the newness of events and the buzz around things such as the Sombra ARG, even if that did turn into a bit of a flop.
It was a fun time in Overwatch. Everything was new as we played around with what we could get away with, like Genji’s extra high jumps, making fun of the logs that Hanzo’s arrows felt like, and how to avoid killing yourself to your own D.Va Self-Destruct. Others of us explored the lore, taking in all the fun voice interactions the characters would share with each other in the spawn rooms, and coming up with ways how all of characters ‘ship with each other.
You Take the Good
Above all, there is still plenty of positivity and hope around Overwatch. For some, while they felt that maybe a few heroes were a bit too powerful, they also trust that Blizzard will make the necessary adjustments to make the game feel “better.” They’re not wrong as I already mentioned, and the developers are already working on some of the more recent complaints. Some felt that aside from Brigitte and Doomfist, the game is otherwise in a very healthy spot, with all sorts of team compositions viable, and flexibility in individual hero pools being rewarded more than ever before.
You Take Them Both
Whether you believe the game is currently the worst it’s ever been, or in a great and (mostly) healthy place, you aren’t alone. This dichotomy isn’t new or unexpected for any game of this type, and certainly isn’t new to Blizzard. World of Warcraft has been around for 14 years and I’ve heard similar arguments to these countless times before. There are the crowds who will wax poetic about how great expansions I hated were, and those who hate or love every change to every class ever. It’s not so different here.
So what’s the current State of Overwatch? The same it’s always been. Awful, fine, and the best it’s ever been, all depending upon who you ask. Most agree that a certain pair of heroes are troublesome, but with the Overwatch League being as popular as ever, and with the available heroes expanding so that new players are bound to find their niche, the game isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and it will naturally take a few bumps and bruises along the way.