“This is a great trend to follow and build on,” said league commentator Jonathan “Rainforce” Larson. “if [Blizzard] They can deliver on their promises and release more content, make it a live service game, and I think we’re in a really good place as a franchise.”
There is this line of thinking about the Overwatch League which gradually, after a number of updates to the original game, pro teams have relied more on their armor and abilities and less on mechanical ability – that is, the accuracy and reaction speed required to take down an opponent. Some team combinations, such as “Double Shield” and “Goats” allow teams to start battles with layers of protection or a flood of healing. This makes matches very squishy, which means teams trade a lot of damage but nothing really happens. The first act of any team fight often looks like two cars crashing into each other at the state fair. Larson said Overwatch has become a game of trade abilities and armor, not eliminations.
“The abilities got out of hand, the amounts of healing got out of control,” Larson said. “We slowly but surely moved away from mechanical skills.”
Overwatch 2 beta has been a huge hit on Twitch. This may not be enough.
Huge and healthy, the tanks in “Overwatch” serve as the team’s front line, often creating barriers for teammates to hide behind. “Overwatch 2” removes one of two tanks on the list as it converts to the 5v5 format. This changes the game in two ways: Battles are inherently shorter with less opponent to eliminate. A damaged hero like Cassidy can surround the enemy team without worrying about a second tank chasing after him. There are fewer shields and abilities to contend with. So, if you’re a talented Widowmaker, for example, you can score in the first few seconds of combat. This rarely happened in the professional “Overwatch” matches last season.
“I think if we look back at the 2022 season, we will be even more impressed individually with specific players and specific moments,” Larsson said. Instead of thinking ‘Oh, that was the best roster of all matches.’ “
Jake Lyon, a former professional player and current coach for the Houston Outlaws, said he understands why some “Overwatch” fans said the beta didn’t add much to the game. Lots of characters have not changed. But the reworked characters, such as Mei and Cassidy, lost the ability to stun, freeze, or otherwise immobilize their opponents. For this reason, Leon said “Overwatch 2” is a simpler game and can focus more on securing liquidations.
“I can rely on the back line on my own without necessarily having to support my entire team in this match,” said Lyon. “Maybe the feeling will be different at the different ranks…but I feel like the game is very, very different, at the top.”
Aaron Hickman, general manager of the Washington Justice, said the 76th Soldier, the running hero and the most unchanged damage pistol, no longer had to shoot blindly at hostile armor. With one tank less, players can focus on tracking down opponents with the soldier’s pulse rifle.
In “Overwatch,” teams would bump into each other in tight units, moving forward progressively as their shields were put on. But Heckman said that “Overwatch 2” relies a lot more on finding and occupying featured locations around the map. Lucio, the champion disc jockey backing up on a pair of inline skates, Hickman said, is now one of the most popular picks by pros because of its speed.
“The game is not about catching the line anymore,” Heckman said. “The nature of the game has changed.”
In a blog post on Tuesday, Blizzard said they intend for this public beta to work on the basics, new maps, a new game mode, and 5v5 format. Blizzard said new content is coming – more heroes, maps, and other features – but it was always intended to be a test, The game is not complete. With that said, Leon said Blizzard has created a sound foundation for the franchise.
“The main question is: What are they actually doing with that?” Leon said. “We will be able to see what their vision is and what they will add to the game.”