5 features Overwatch 2 needs to rebuild its playerbase - Dexerto
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5 features Overwatch 2 needs to rebuild its playerbase

Published: 8/Dec/2020 16:31 Updated: 8/Dec/2020 16:32

by Michael Gwilliam

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Overwatch 2 was officially announced at BlizzCon 2019. While plenty is already known about Blizzard’s hero shooter sequel, there are still requested features yet to be revealed. These inclusions will be paramount for the title to reach new heights.

Alongside the addition of several new heroes and a campaign at launch, the sequel will also debut with the franchise’s first new game mode in four years: Push. This mode sees teams work to take control of an enemy robot, moving it towards the enemy base as they attempt to push back.

However, will all the new content be enough to save the game once the initial appeal has worn off? Here’s our top 5 suggestions for how Blizzard could improve the Overwatch experience.

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Tracer and McCree push the objective in Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment
Push will be Overwatch’s fifth main game mode.

5. Tournaments

To start things off, weekly tournaments that reward unique prizes could possibly incentivize players to form their own team.

One of the FPS’s biggest problems as an esport are how drastically different the rules of Overwatch League and Contenders are. Currently, it’s unfair that you’re able to formulate a team composition for every map. It allows the teams to play to each player’s different strengths, whereas in actuality, teams should have one set roster.

By introducing tournaments, and perhaps even pushing the Open Division to have in-client registration, the concept of “Path To Pro” will be presented on a silver platter to users.

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This, in turn, could help generate more interest in the Overwatch League and organized play as a whole, because the game itself will have a similar structure.

4. Hero bans

Hero bans could be the most controversial feature on this list. There have been many third-party tournaments to try out the idea, but the topic remains somewhat taboo.

In Overwatch, there normally comes a point after major balance patches wherein a dominant must-play hero composition emerges, destroying anything it comes up against. Hero bans would, in theory, prevent said meta from being the only thing that gets played.

A common concern is that Overwatch does not have enough heroes to justify bans, but with Overwatch 2 launching with a sizable roster increase, there may be enough to finally put that argument to rest.

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Hero bans would be a welcome addition to ranked, with an important emphasis on having it be a group decision on one healer, one tank, and one dps. Without this implementation, everyone banning a hero would result in there being none left to play.

Sigma smiles as he grips his spheres
Blizzard Entertainment
Are hero bans the only way to kill double barrier?

Preferably, hero bans would have some form of in-client system where team captains could manually select which heroes their team wants to be removed from play for a particular map.

The ins and outs of the system would need to be tried and tested to determine the best way to implement such a feature (such as a protect phase or limiting bans on a per role basis). Banning the dominant meta heroes opens up entirely new avenues for how to approach each game, breathing new life into play.

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3. Team Queue

Overwatch was originally designed to be played by teams consisting of two premade groups of six. Instead, Blizzard’s current ranked experience is plagued by miscommunication and an environment where matches feel won and lost at spawn points.

Overwatch roles tank, damage and support
Blizzard Entertainment
A team queue can completely change the ranked experience.

The addition of role queue and the group finder did attempt a fix. However, it still lacks what people are requiring from these tools. For instance, despite teams now consisting of two tanks at all times, there is no guarantee that either of said tank players has a shield in their repertoire (a must-have in many of the game’s meta.)

‘Find a Group’ does help incentivize forming teams, also aiding in finding allies to play the shield tank role. However, Blizzard hasn’t done themselves any favors by preventing friends of differing skills from playing together in ranked.

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Special team queues, potentially with and without SR thresholds, could open new doors and provide unique new rulesets that make the ranked experience miles ahead of where it is today.

2. Detailed and advanced statistics

Currently, it’s hard to tell how well you’re performing in-game. Overwatch’s “medal system” makes everyone feel like a winner. It does this by counting what would be “assists” in other FPS titles as “eliminations”. This makes it statistically rare for a player to have a kill/death ratio below 2 with almost any hero.

Genji is ready to blade in Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch 2 needs to be more than a visual upgrade with PvE.

Not only should the medal system be reworked in-game, but so, too, should the Replay Viewer. This will, in the end, allow for much more detailed stat-tracking throughout.

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Currently, being able to know how many times Zenyatta died to Tracer can only be determined by watching the kill feed. The only other way is by deliberately rewatching a game from their perspectives and manually counting. It makes it difficult for players to revise their plays and, in turn, get better at the game considering they don’t know how well they’re actually doing.

1. Cross-platform play

It’s been known for a while now that Blizzard are exploring the prospect of cross-platform play in Overwatch. The actual implementation of it would undoubtedly inspire new life in the shooter.

Allowing PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC users to play with and against each other would help bridge the communities. In term, this would work to unify the differing player bases.

The Xbox and Playstation logos
Microsoft / Sony
Crossplay will help bridge the Overwatch community.

Additionally, cross-platform play could also mean things such as cross-progression with skins, sprays, emotes, and levels carrying over between systems.

Precautions to ensure a fair playing field are vital. Separating keyboard and controller users, would perhaps work in a similar manner to what Infinity Ward did with Modern Warfare’s cross-play.

Given the fact Game Director Jeff Kaplan said the title “isn’t just DLC or expansion,” we can hope that Blizzard is willing to step up and monumentally improve the experience in drastic ways that can only be found in a true sequel.