Ah, Overwatch, you silly little esports phenomenon. It feels like only yesterday I gave you an 80% score on this very website itself.
Wait, that was July??
Damn. It feels like almost no time has passed at all since it came out. Mostly because all the maps are the damn same, with only two new additions, half the cast is incredibly static, and every time I play any mode, some dumbass picks Hanzo and stands around doing nothing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Overwatch is exactly the same game it was when it came out. For better or worse, almost every match, even a whole season later, plays out more or less the same way. Hero picks have changed a little, and again, there are a few new maps, but if you hop into a game, there’s barely any chance of seeing anything new. You’ll see someone playing the new hero Sombra every once in a while, but she’s kind of bad, so people tend to avoid her unless they’re new, and Blizzard only really changes the heroes that are overwhelmingly overpowered, or simply crap. Sorry Junkrat, in mediocrity you remain.
None of this is Overwatch‘s fault though exactly. The base game is fun, there are quite a few different heroes to play, the maps are still good, even now. At the time of my review, I gave it an 80%, and I still think it holds true. For the time of release. I’ve squeezed quite a few hours out of it too, so I don’t even regret popping down the forty bucks. Longevity however, might become a bit of an issue going forward, and unfortunately I can’t see it lasting more than a few years, if that.
Not that it will ever die completely. Hell, Battleborn still has a few players, so this certainly always will.
But it’s lacking something that its predecessors posses and flaunt: Variety. A shooter it’s often compared to is Team Fortress 2, released in 2007. Almost a decade later, it still has a peak of over 60,000 people playing today alone, which, if you think about it, is a crazy high number for such an old game. Even I still boot it up occasionally and put a few hours in, usually still having just as much fun as Overwatch. But why hasn’t it died yet? Well, Team Fortress 2 has something Overwatch does not: community created content and variety within each character. Overwatch has a decent amount of characters, but if you pick say, Reinhardt, you’re doing the same thing every game. There’s no variety. And yes, there are MORE characters than in Team Fortress 2, but every single character in that game has a ton of different item options that make them play differently, giving far more variety and build options than 4 or so Overwatch characters. The Sniper alone can do most of what Hanzo, Widowmaker and Ana can do, except with also viable melee options if you want to play that way. Additionally, Team Fortress 2 has a near infinite selection of maps and gamemodes because of how much it embraces the creativity of the community, with fanmade servers hosting hundreds of fanmade maps, some of which even becoming official once they submit the map to Valve.
Overwatch doesn’t have that. Overwatch has only what Blizzard gives to the players, which isn’t all that much, and considering you can’t choose your actual map, relying on the RNG to decide, you might go literally forever without playing on one of the newer maps.
An argument against this might be that Overwatch is part MOBA too, and not just a shooter. Most MOBA games, mainly League of Legends and DoTA 2, only have one map at all, and similarly, mostly heroes that only fit into one particular role. The difference is that League of Legends and DoTA have over 100 heroes each (or “champions” if we’re talking about the former), and team compositions differ far more than in Overwatch. I’ve played more than a few competitive mode Overwatch matches, and typically there is a definite meta, with people straight up getting angry at you if you pick something like Hanzo or Torbjorn when you’re attacking, and with only 21 heroes, you start to see the exact same teams all the time, especially when a good chunk of them downright suck. DoTA also has massive balance patches that change much of the game, changing things up by altering how their heroes play and creating even more variety every couple of months. League kicks this into overdrive and has incredibly frequent patches, massive overhauls every season and new character releases. Overwatch… kind of does, but outside of a few notable changes (the recent Symmetra rework for example), it’s mostly just number tweaks.
I’m not a big fan of the MOBA genre in general, but it’s somewhat easy to see how they mix it up more often than Overwatch. Same with similar shooters like Team Fortress 2. Its’s just bizarre to me how Blizzard parades Overwatch around as its new flagship game, but releases new maps and big changes at a snail’s pace. I really do like the game, but it’s getting very dull very quickly, at least to me. If you’re still super into the game, I applaud you for sticking with it, but I think I’m throwing in the towel. Sorry Overwatch, but you’re getting stale.