This is my first post about games! I figured I should write about what occupies most of my game time. Currently, it’s Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment. I’ve been playing Overwatch since its announcement at BlizzCon 2014, where I stood in line with other attendees to play until they kicked us out of the con.
What first attracted me to Overwatch was the wonderful artistry. Of course, Blizzard’s Pixar-like cinematic reveal left me ooo-ing and ahh-ing. Such a magical universe danced before my eyes. Characters of all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds could save the world. Maps were intricately detailed and modeled after cities all over the world. Typically, I quickly glanced at first-person-shooters, eye-rolled, and then looked away. Overwatch, while classified as a first-person-shooter, is so much more than that. With the artistry and slogans like “Heroes never die” and “Join Overwatch. We need your support!”, I felt a strong urge to explore this universe.
Overwatch is very focused on teamwork and coordination. Some call it Blizzard’s rip off of Team Fortress. I’ve never played TF or TF2, so I can’t really make that call. I can, however, appreciate Blizzard’s approach to a team shooter, which at the time, was very much out of their realm.
There are different categories of heroes, like attack, defense, support, and tank. Each hero fulfills his/her role with a small set of abilities and an ultimate ability. Some heroes have really great synergy as well, which makes building a team fun or heartbreaking (we’ve all had the Hanzo, Genji, McCree, Widowmaker, Symmetra, and Sombra on attack, right?).
The game play is fast-paced and based on objectives, like escorting a payload from point A to point B, while fighting off the enemy team who is defending it. Players need to manage their resources and abilities, in addition to thinking about countering the enemy, team strategy, and overall map position. Let’s not forget pure mechanical skill of a shooter as well. Boom, headshot!
I think one of the biggest disciplines of Overwatch is knowing when and how to engage a team fight. A lot of players, including myself at times, will knowingly or unknowingly throw themselves at the enemy like Rambo against an army. You’re not going to win. It’s a TEAM game. The excitement of Overwatch stems from the beauty of the stars aligning and having a well-executed team fight. Really good teams actually plan and execute their plans well. But if you’re in random play, it’s like winning a slot machine, or finally corralling a bunch of chickens.
Overwatch is breaking into the E-sports scene with its inaugural season of Overwatch League. Overwatch League is composed of 12 teams from around the world. Each player in the league is paid a minimum of $50,000/year and has benefits, like insurance and retirement. A good portion of the players are Korean, but some are from places like Ohio.
Overwatch League airs on MLG or Twitch Wednesday – Saturday currently. The broadcast is quality, but Overwatch does struggle in spectating. Given it is a team game with 12 players on the map at one time, it is difficult to catch everything going on. For someone new to Overwatch, it would be confusing to follow. For someone who is familiar with the game, I do wish I could see what is going on with other players. Sure, the carry attack players are doing cool things, but I would like to see how tanks are harassing and support are positioning for maximum healing and safety.
Overwatch is my go-to game currently, and it has been for a while. If you like a game you can easily pick-up without much grind and have a few friends, I would highly recommend it. It’s entertaining, comedic, strategic, and social all in one. I’m sure I’ll write more about Overwatch in the future. This is just my brief State of the Overwatch.