As Overwatch turns five years old, we break down everything Blizzard needs to do to keep their iconic first-person shooter alive and get back on top.
Overwatch has etched itself into the FPS history books during its five-year history. With people all around the globe easily able to identify the likes of Tracer and Widowmaker, Blizzard truly redefined the genre with its heroes.
However, with great power comes great responsibility. The Overwatch League, its professional esports scene, continues to dwindle in popularity, and the stern competition posed by Riot Games’ Valorant has meant that Tracer and her merry band of misfits have fallen out of the limelight.
As we wait for Overwatch 2, let’s take a look at the five things Blizzard should do to breathe some fresh air into what critics are calling a “dead game.”
Can someone get rid of bots?
If there’s one thing that every gamer hates, it’s coming across a slew of bots in-game. Recently, jumping into a game of Quick Play results in you being paired with teammates like ‘Rose’ and ‘Christopher,’ who proceed to just run around the map and do nothing.
The problem is, that this isn’t just a single game phenomenon. It’s a systemic issue. Blizzard need to do something to combat bots just like Overwatch themselves conquered the Omnics.
The last thing we want is for this issue to carry across into the sequel. Imagine logging into the game you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seat for, only to have your games absolutely ruined fake accounts that are only there to be sold on.
We need a ban hammer as soon as possible. And make it a Reinhardt-style ban hammer, please.
Better tank and support pools
In a game of 32 heroes, 17 (over half) of the heroes fall into the DPS pool. While DPS players (myself included) love the variety of different heroes we can pick from, it’s safe to say it sucks to be a tank or support main.
With 7 supports and 8 tanks, it’s completely understandable why players who main these roles are sick to death of only rotating between such a select pool of heroes. DPS hero Echo was the last character to be released back in April of 2020, so it’s not hard to imagine why a lot of fans are just done with the complete imbalance in roles.
Coming into Overwatch 2 we’ve been promised new characters, including the likes of Sojourn, so it looks like things will be spread more evenly across the board. Otherwise, those who already abandoned the game because they can’t play their role effectively will just continue to zoom on right out of there.
Better Overwatch skins
All throughout 2021, Overwatch has come under fire for the lack of imaginative content. The Archives event was a prime example of lazily designed skins and repetitive content, with the vast majority of players slamming the event before it had even begun.
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, though, is the Anniversary event. Blizzard has really celebrated the title’s fifth birthday in style, with a whole collection of imaginative skins and content for players to sink their teeth into.
In the wake of the disaster that was Archives, Anniversary breathes fresh air into a seemingly stagnant game. Keep it up, Blizzard, and you’re onto a winner.
The thing about Blizzard, though, is their seemingly nonchalant approach to the current generation of Overwatch. With no new big updates planned for the title, it seems like it’s been left to fester while all efforts focus on Overwatch 2.
And that’s perfectly fine. Of course, the team needs to devote their manpower to the highly anticipated sequel. But with so much time still to play through before the new one comes around, there’s no way the current game can be just left to rot.
If the devs aren’t interested, why should the player base be?
While it’s great to see Overwatch’s new Director, Aaron Keller, channel his inner Jeff Kaplan and jump on camera for updates, we need to see more dev interest in the current title if Overwatch 2 is still pegged for a 2022 release.
This is easily my biggest gripe with Overwatch, and similar thoughts are echoed by fans all around the globe. We want crossplay.
With the likes of Apex Legends, Warzone, and even Square Enix’s Outriders offering crossplay to fans, Blizzard needs to get with the times because, at this point, it’s a feature that’s pretty much expected of games nowadays – especially AAA titles.
Crossplay can easily be an opt-in system using a toggle system, with those who prefer to just play on console having the option to keep playing in console-specific lobbies.
Rumor has it cross platform play may be introduced in Overwatch 2, but the details remain incredibly sketchy. If Overwatch wants to survive it needs to adapt. To beat out its main competitors, crossplay needs to be in the next game.
I love Overwatch. I’ve loved it from the first moment I took up my mouse.
And that’s why these changes are so important. If Overwatch doesn’t adapt, there’s a chance that it will die off.
Anniversaries are the perfect time to reflect on the past and look towards the future. Hopefully, Blizzard takes some time to do that this time around because there’s plenty of room for improvement.