'Overwatch' Is Great, But Here's What They Must Fix
Two weeks after launch, Blizzard's latest IP is off to a great start. What can they do to improve the experience, though?
It’s been nearly two weeks since Blizzard’s Overwatch released to the public on PC and consoles, raking in millions of players across the board. Since then the game has continued to spawn countless memes, ‘play of the game’ parody videos and detailed character discussions – all of which have significant merit. The community behind the game is alive and well too, but a few concerns have rose above the praise that fans are begging Blizzard to address.
Here’s a collection of some of the most pressing from around the community.
The McCree Problem
First on the list is everyone’s favorite cowboy, Jesse McCree. Designed as an attacker, McCree is focused on dealing heavy amounts of damage to targets within a small window of time. But that damage is just too overwhelming in some specific cases thanks his revolver’s secondary fire. This ability, known as fan the hammer, allows McCree to empty an entire cylinder from his revolver, dealing 420 damage at close range. Designed to be a way to quickly eliminate lower health characters like Reaper and Tracer, fan the hammer has actually turned McCree into a tank killing machine who can dispatch Overwatch’s heaviest characters with ease, provided he can get close enough. When combining fan the hammer with his flash-bang grenade, he almost always wins.
The great news about McCree is that a nerf is indeed coming and it’s coming soon. In an interview with Eurogamer, gamer director Jeff Kaplan addressed the issue head on:
“What we’re looking at right now is his fan the hammer damage. We’re going to reduce it. The goal there is to make it so that McCree can still use his combo that we love, which is the flashbang and fan the hammer on somebody like Tracer. McCree should absolutely kill that Tracer. We want McCree to be a counter to people like Tracer, Genji and Reaper. What we’re not crazy about, right now, is the way in which McCree can absolutely shred tanks. It’s a little too easy… If he times everything perfectly and gets every single shot off, he’s got a shot against a tank, but it’s not the instant ‘I win’ button that it is now.”
One Hero Teams
Overwatch is designed around an intricate system of counters, with each character having a distinct weakness that another character is built to exploit. Ideally this system forces players to change characters while progressing through a match in Overwatch in order to counter the other team based on the situation at hand. But sometimes this design has resulted in teams picking multiple of the same character in order to steam roll through the opposing team.
Typical picks revolve around high damage, well-rounded characters like Junkrat and Soldier 76; who can absolutely shred through their opponents if doubled or tripled up on the same team. While it’s frustrating to experience first-hand, the tactic seems a little more present on the consoles than the PC – and until ranked play comes out, it looks like something we won’t see a fix for on the regular matchmaking modes.
While many Overwatch players haven’t discussed the issues behind matchmaking as openly as more pressing issues like McCree, there is a distinct re-balancing issue currently in play which can catch you and your buddies off-guard. When playing with a team of friends who are considered a higher skill level than you by the matchmaking system, odds are you’re going to be matched against more skilled players of the same rank – which is totally understandable given the circumstances. In most cases you’ll still be matched up evenly against a team of equally skilled players, but on some rare occasions you and your buddies will get absolutely stomped.
Now, Overwatch, like most multiplayer titles, has a system in play that is supposed to solve this problem by re-instancing you to a new lobby along with your buddies for a more equally matched game. The only problem? It may take up to 8 games before this occurs. Unfortunately, Blizzard hasn’t really opened up about the way the game’s matchmaking system works and the issues doesn’t seem to be as present for players who’ve been playing since launch, but it’s still an issue worthy of some attention. Getting slaughtered for 8 games just isn’t a great opening experience for players new to Overwatch.
Play of the Game
Overwatch’s infamous ‘Play of the Game’ moments have been made fun of for months due to their intense focus on kills over everything else in the game. Typically, you’ll see Hanzo, McCree, Reaper and Bastion players dominating the PoTG system due to their extremely powerful ultimate abilities and the number of kills they generate in a match, which can definitely be frustrating if you’re the Mercy who kept them alive to see the aftermath. Many players have expressed their frustration with the way these moments are selected by the game and who wouldn’t be? Nobody likes to watch a Play of the Game where Torbjörn lies dead and his turret mops up a few kills.
In his interview with Eurogamer, Jeff Kaplan addressed the way his team is working on improving the system:
“The next step for us with Play of the Game – and this one’s not on the immediate horizon, I’d say it’s something we’d like to get to this summer – we would like to show play of the games in a more cinematic way…We feel like if we can refine how we’re showing play of the games, we’ll actually open the door for us to do more things like our savior play of the games, where you’re about to be killed and somebody intervenes. It’s actually really cool, but it doesn’t show very well because the camera might not be tracking from the best angle. Right now it’s all from first-person.”
Honestly, Kaplan’s answer makes a whole lot of sense regarding the system in its entirety. Even with other major titles who support a feature similar to Overwatch’s Play of the Game, the main focus has always been on kills instead of support provided by other players. Sure, kills are important – but that’s just not always the case.
It’ll be really interesting to see how Overwatch evolves the Play of the Game mechanic in the ways Kaplan discussed too, possibly introducing bullet cam for snipers like Widowmaker and Hanzo, or even hammer cam for Reinhardt.
Hey, we can dream, right?