Overwatch’s latest Experimental Patch was the brainchild of some of Twitch’s biggest stars, and it’s the shakeup that this stagnant game needs.
As someone with a Sombra-inspired tattoo, I never thought I would get sick of Overwatch. Not only was it the first FPS I was actually good at, the roster of colorful characters and awesome abilities truly etched a place in my cold, cold heart. Overwatch was everything I needed and more – until it wasn’t.
Stagnant gameplay, repetitive events and, of course, the ongoing lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for fostering a “pervasive frat-boy culture” within the workplace left me pretty confused about my relationship with Blizzard’s flagship shooter.
If we were in a Facebook relationship, our status would be “it’s complicated.”
Just as I was looking to seek out some much-needed couple’s therapy, the new Experimental Patch designed by streamers dropped. And, boy, has it been fun. This is what Overwatch needed, and that’s why it should be permanently implemented in-game.
Overwatch’s Experimental Patch is a rollercoaster
Now yes, I understand if you’re currently wondering “Dexerto writer (you can call me Lauren,) have you actually even read those patch notes. Yes, reader, I have. And yes, they are absolutely insane.
Of course, some of the buffs are pure fun (watch out for Cassidy’s tumbleweed or Zenyatta’s insane Orbs of Discord,) others genuinely change up the pace of gameplay.
Take Reaper for example: the addition of movement speed after his Shadow Step is a really good idea. As the ability’s animation literally shows players where you’re going to materialize, you’re basically a sitting duck unless you place your shadow correctly. The extra movement speed is just a ‘get out of jail free’ card, and six seconds really isn’t that long.
Not a DPS main? Cool, let’s talk about Moira. The idea of status cleansers is a pretty good one, especially when you have some degree of control over it. This buff offers some really great counterplay against the likes of Zenyatta and Ana – two of the meta’s most dominant supports.
The list is literally endless, but whether you agree with the buffs or not is irrelevant. Why? Because, for the first time in years, we’re seeing something new.
A brave new world
Echo has been declared as the last hero to enter the Overwatch fray, and she was released on April 14, 2020. Havana was the last non-Deathmatch map, and it was released a year before Echo on April 15, 2019. Other than Malevento and Kanezaka, two FFA maps, there has been no new content for Overwatch bar cosmetics.
This patch seems to be as close to a game-changing update as we’re going to get.
It completely changes the meta, it reinvents the wheel and, importantly, it’s just different. It breathes new light into a game so stagnant that even Tracer feels slow. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but at least it implies there’s some sort of life in the dev team – even if it’s because they’ve asked streamers for help.
Overwatch’s Experimental patch is fresh blood, and it’s exactly what Blizzard needed to do in the wake of yet another confusing Overwatch 2 delay.
It’s all about life’s little pleasures
With the highly anticipated sequel almost seeming like a figment of our collective imagination, Blizzard needed to do something significant with the base game. Sure, this patch isn’t the Sojourn-style update a lot of fans wanted, but it’s a step in the right direction. Finally, Overwatch is showing some signs of life.
Sure, some elements of this patch are divisive. Sure, some of them are bats**t crazy – but I ask you this: isn’t it better to have something absolutely wild than more boring, repetitive content?
I know what my answer is.
Trim down some of the absolutely insane buffs (Sigma still needs his shield.) Keep in all of the random tumbleweeds and let Orisa wear her Christmas hat all year round. Overwatch is about having fun, and this is fun.
It’s not just casuals that are saying this – it’s pillars within the Overwatch community. San Francisco Shock’s Matthew ‘super’ DeLisi also noted that “this has been the most fun I’ve had playing Overwatch in forever” – and he’s a two-time OWL champion and OW World Cup winner.
We needed something like this, and we needed it now. Overwatch’s Experimental Patch has proven that Overwatch can be the game we know and love again. The avenues are there if Blizzard choose to seek them out, and we really hope they do.
Sure, my relationship status on Facebook won’t be changing anytime soon, but this Experimental couples therapy thing might have legs after all.