Overwatch is one of the most popular games in the world. With over 30 million people have either bought or tried the team-based class shooter, and with the early success of the Overwatch League, the year and a half old game is as endearing as ever. There is seemingly nothing that can stop the juggernaut, but in recent months, I’ve found the game less fun than ever with once small pet-peeves becoming major irritants.
Blizzard turning Overwatch into a viable esport was probably inevitable, but the manner in which it is being pursued is troubling. Every patch is undeniably tailored to the pro scene. In the past 18 months, Dva has been overhauled about three times so she is more viable in competitive play. Mercy has gone through an extensive overhaul that has made her fluctuate between a must-pick and overlooked. Her ultimate was changed completely over a year into the game’s life. This made players with hundreds of gameplay hours of the fan favorite adjust in new and not completely welcome ways. Roadhog was also nerfed into almost obsolesce. Then, Mercy became too viable and then necessitated another change in how her ultimate works. On the Public Test Server, there is another round of nerfs to Mercy, and some fans are starting to wonder maybe they should just eliminate her resurrection from the game completely. Meanwhile, the more popular offense heroes received a number of buffs or remain unchanged while still racking up untold plays of the game honors.
I play mostly support and tank heroes and while we toil in obscurity the flashier kill focused heroes get new beneficial mechanics or sidestep any calls for debuffs - while also seemingly garnering more skins in every event. The support heroes in particular almost never get any help or attention unless it is to scale back their potency. Genji and Tracer still remain almost must picks in competitive with no changes in the horizon to balance the situation. Any changes are focused on only making the certain characters weaker while leaving others, again, unchanged.
In an effort to stamp out toxic players, Blizzard has started to also punish players that are great with one or two heroes. Multiple bans to top tier competitive players known for “one-tricking” a singular hero have an air of unfairness and left some dismayed and disillusioned. While Overwatch tries to push players to be flexible in picks and to switch heroes in game, banning people because they play their best heroes is asinine and, frankly, ridiculous.
Blizzard should be developing the game for the vast majority of the 30 million people that love Overwatch instead of catering to the hundred that make up its pro scene. I’m not here to suggest that Overwatch is ruined or that it is doomed to decline. Blizzard rarely makes mistakes (Warcraft Adventures being a notable exception), and the Overwatch League is insanely popular. Overwatch isn’t going away, but as an avid fan with well over 350 hours played, I’d really love for the game to improve and benefits everyone - not just the elite level or DPS players.
Now excuse me while I grind for another loot box.