Overwatch 2020 Year in Review
Overall it’s been a quiet year for Overwatch. Some months were packed, but others I didn’t have much to write about in Recall at all, especially as the year went on. Overwatch 2 cannot come soon enough.
It’s been a hell of a year for all of us, but I can’t lie, I’m glad Overwatch was here for me, my friends, and my team to play. I may be hard stuck at my rank, but I still had fun!
The following isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list, but here are some of the highlights from Recall over the year, and things I can remember that I had forgotten about.
Yeah, this highlight came out this year and now you all have to suffer with me.
- Custa raised over $10,000 (USD) to help firefighters combat the Australian wildfires.
- The Florida Mayhem, Los Angeles Valiant, and San Francisco Shock announced their new team colors for the upcoming season.
- Malik, Monte, DoA, Puckett, and Semmler announced they would not be returning for the upcoming season.
- New OWL jerseys were revealed and the community cheered that they were no longer being made by Fanatic.
- Role Queue was expanded to allow players to select multiple roles.
- The first of multiple nerfs to Baptiste’s Immortality Field and buffs to Mei in general kicked off.
- Jeff Kaplan talked about the queue times for damage not being ideal, and while not intended to be a real game mode, suggested it would be nice to show the players what 3-2-1 (triple damage) is like.
- Kaplan also declared that hero bans were not in the foreseeable future of Overwatch.
- Shortly thereafter, a new Developer Update revealed that Hero Pools were coming to Overwatch and the Overwatch League in March.
- A new feature called the Experimental Card announced and more frequent, small balance changes would be occurring.
- Before the 2020 season of the Overwatch League even started, OWL announced that games to be played in China had been postponed due to this new coronavirus we had been hearing a little about in the West.
- Homestands CHEEZIT begin on the 8th with NYXL CHEEZIT hosting Toronto, Paris, and CHEEZIT London and Dallas hosting both LA CHEEZIT teams, Vancouver, and San Francisco. CHEEZIT CHEEZIT CHEEZIT
- Brigitte was nerfed, with healing reduced and overheal reduced. Yeah, remember when she could overheal and give armor?!
- Consoles actually got separate changes, with Ana unscoped shots increasing in size, and Symmetra turrets being nerfed.
- Ashe Mardi Gras challenge begins.
- Experimental Card launches with 3-2-1 being the first experiment.
- Workshop got three new maps, Chamber, Island, and Expanse.
- Season 21 begins, bringing Hero Pools, or rather, heroes that are not allowed for play for that week. The first week was Orisa, Hanzo, Mei, and Baptiste. In OWL it was Reinhardt, McCree, Widowmaker, and Moira.
- On March 11, just one month into the season, OWL announced that homestands had been canceled for the next two months due to concerns over the coronavirus.
- The Overwatch Archives event launched one month early with no advance notice. This event added the first challenge modes that would change up the PvE missions, making them more difficult.
- Heroes of any size were now allowed to walk through missions portions of Mei Ice Wall.
- Overwatch Lead Writer Michael Chu leaves Blizzard.
- Echo, the final hero before Overwatch 2, was announced on a stream with TimTheTatman.
- OWL play was about to resume in an online format with their backup plan, but that plan had to change as California issued a “stay at home” order. Soon after, a new plan that consists of a makeup weekend was announced, where 16 games were played over 2 days at the end of the month while production and desk crews work from home.
- Now former Boston Uprising player Mouffin accused of soliciting minors.
- NYXL pulled back from the OWL over safety concerns for their players and play facilities.
- Echo was sent to live servers.
- Hero Pools for competitive Overwatch and OWL were unified, and would both be based on which heroes had high usage in high level ranked.
- Map Pools, where competitive seasons were limited to 12 maps, went away.
- A hero spawner was added to the Training room.
- A temporary season of Open Queue was added to the arcade to try it out.
- Kaplan posted to the boards saying the Overwatch portrait system is going away in Overwatch 2, and that new communication options were coming to the game soon.
- Carpe on the Fusion became the first player to reach 4,000 final blows.
- CC (sleep, stuns, etc.) are nerfed on the Experimental Card.
- The OWL community noticed that most of the players on the Vancouver Titans had removed team branding from their Twitter profiles.
- Dallas Fuel/Envy drop their academy team, making Boston the final OWL team to have a Contenders team in North America.
- Sinatraa leaves OWL to play the new game from Riot Games, Valorant.
- Kaplan had enough of a cheater claiming on the official forums that he was falsely banned.
- Hero Pools are changed to only affect Masters, Grandmasters players, and OWL.
- Streamer Fran held her first community tournament to huge success.
- After weeks of guessing and watching from fans, the Vancouver Titans let go of all of their players and hire most players from Contenders team Second Wind.
- Like Sinatraa, Coreyy left OWL to play Valorant.
- Competitive Open Queue announced to be coming in July.
- OWL modified their rules to reduced the required number of players from 8 to 7, and teams were allowed to sign players to two-week contracts.
- Overwatch celebrates its fourth anniversary and also introduces the new communication wheel, with tons of new voice lines for heroes to plan out their moves.
- OWL tests out the monthly tournament format in the May Melee.
- BlizzCon 2020 was canceled.
- A new book, “Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani” is released.
- Hero Pools were removed from competitive mode entirely.
- OWL Summer Showdown begins.
- Multiple people from various OWL and Contenders teams were accused of racism, pedophilia, and sexual assault.
- Sigma Maestro Challenge begins.
- Competitive Open Queue added to the game.
- The Career Profile got a refresh and became much easier to read and use.
- OWL announced how the Grand Finals were going to work, with the top two NA teams flying to South Korea to play against the top two Asian teams.
- The Overwatch team did a Reddit AMA and I compiled all of the answers here.
- Roadhog was ridiculously dominant in-game.
- Summer Games event begins and much like the Archives event, had no build-up from Blizzard. :(
- Lucioball was revamped with map updates, faster movement, and remix mode where the game doesn’t stop when a goal is scored.
- Priority Queue added for players who backfill in Quick Play or when a Competitive match is ended prematurely.
- New, “lopsided teams” option added to Workshop.
- OWL player Rawkus retires from OWL to move to Valorant as well.
- Roadhog nerfed and barrier effectiveness reduced for most tanks.
- Alyssa Wong, writer for Overwatch, left Blizzard.
- Moira experiments where she can Fade her entire team away from damage for a split second, and damage orbs that attach to enemies are tested.
- Caster Hex had a rough cast after a bout of exhaustion and some in the community were dirtbags about it publicly.
- OWL has its final regular season matches.
- Experimental card that nerfs 11 different heroes is released.
- BlizzConline announced for February 2021 (Feb 19-20) and will be free for everyone.
- Roadhog is finally nerfed so he’s not as dominant in comp.
- OWL Playoffs begin.
- Tracer Comic Challenge begins, as well as the release of the first of five comic series, “London Calling.”
- OWL All-Stars event and skins announced.
- An experimental card for Soldier: 76 comes out that drastically changes how he shoots.
- OWL Commissioner Pete Vlastelica steps down.
- Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons, Philadelphia Fusion, and San Francisco Shock proceed to the Finals Playoffs.
- OWL All-Stars event takes place.
- San Francisco Shock win OWL 2020 by defeating Seoul Dynasty 4-2!
- Halloween Terror event launches, as does the improved profanity filter.
- Overwatch Contenders starts giving away Contenders skins as rewards for watching Contenders on their website.
- Overwatch is reported to have 10 million active users after 4 years.
- Symmetra Restoration Challenge takes place.
- Quality of Life (QoL) hero improvements come out, such as Ana’s Biotic Grenade being able to pass through allies at full HP. ((THANK YOU!))
- Contenders Season 2 wraps up.
- Contenders Gauntlet takes place around the world in the new 2020 regional format.
- Reinhardt gets a buff?! In this economy?!
- A new deathmatch map is released on the PTR. Kanezaka is intended to be launched in early January.
- Jeff Kaplan says Overwatch 2 will be at BlizzConline, but also says the game as “a ways to go” so don’t get too excited and an early 2021 launch.