Overwatch 2 could implement one barrier tank cap per team - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch 2 could implement one barrier tank cap per team

Published: 21/Aug/2020 0:20

by Michael Gwilliam

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With Overwatch 2 still in the works and a new meta seemingly completely removing barriers from the game, one has to wonder how the devs will be revising the sequel, with one potential solution being a cap on barrier tanks.

For nearly a year, Overwatch was dominated by a meta that consisted of two shield tanks with teams regularly running Sigma and Orisa together. While hero pools managed to disrupt the meta significantly, they weren’t well-received by the community, eventually leading to them strictly being used in pro play.

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Now, the devs have nerfed the shield tank culprits immensely, giving birth to what many are predicting to be a Zarya-Roadhog meta with shields completely off the menu. It’s controversial, to say the least, with some players even missing double barrier.

The problem that could arise from this depends on how Blizzard will deal with main tanks in Overwatch 2. Surely if another barrier tank is introduced, then they could potentially synergize very well with one of the existing main tanks.

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Sigma uses Experimental Barrier
Blizzard Entertainment
Double barrier dominated the meta for over a year.

Once that happens, we would once again fall into a double shield meta – something that Overwatch Game Director, Jeff Kaplan, seems to be heavily against.

“My personal feeling is that I would like to see less barriers and crowd-control in the game.” he said during a Reddit AMA. “I want to see Overwatch trend slightly more in the FPS direction, rather than the MOBA direction.”

Additionally, Kaplan stated that nerfing was double shield an “immediate priority,” but at the same time, it looks like Orisa was nerfed too heavily in the process.

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Orisa halts on Ilios Well
Blizzard Entertainment
Orisa was nerfed heavily in a recent patch.

Nerfing specific heroes because they synergize too well with each other has proven to be difficult in the past. With GOATS (triple tank/triple support), the team nerfed the composition’s key pieces, but the meta remained strong.

As a result, by the time role-lock and 2-2-2 kicked in, GOATS was no longer able to be played but the heroes, as part of the composition, still suffered the consequences. Those nerfs have slowly been reverted over time.

With Overwatch 2 being a fresh start of sorts, the best solution could be as simple as not allowing teams to run more than one main tank, while still giving the option for double off-tank.

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Reinhardt Earthshatters a Winston barrier
Blizzard Entertainment
Jeff Kaplan thinks there are too many barriers.

Keep in mind, there was a time where players were allowed to pick multiple of the same hero and Blizzard reverted that decision. This would be more similar to that change than the implementation of 2-2-2.

By capping teams at one barrier tank each, Kaplan can get his wish about having less barriers in the game and can better balance tanks accordingly.

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It remains to be seen if this is the definitive direction the developers will go, but it’s definitely one way to make sure the new tanks can be added without the fear of reentering another year-long double shield meta with the sequel.

Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals his ideal competitive Overwatch meta

Published: 8/Oct/2020 3:13

by Theo Salaun

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Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President and Overwatch’s beloved Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed what he thinks is the ideal competitive meta for the expansive title.

Overwatch exists in many forms, from its highest ranks to its lowest, but the game’s competitive meta at the professional level has also varied greatly since the original release back in May 2016. 

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In the olden days, teams prioritized dive compositions led by Winston’s jumps and Tracer’s blinks. Then, in 2019, fans around the world either groaned or cheered as the divisive GOATS meta took center-stage, featuring a hefty squad built entirely with tanks and supports. 

Now, Kaplan is explaining his perspective on the game’s ideal state, following criticisms he levied back in July against the game’s double-shield reliance. Examining the game’s departure from a static, Orisa and Sigma-dependent environment, he dissects his compository ideology. 

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Brigitte stuns Junkrat on Volskaya
Blizzard Entertainment
Barriers have held an uncomfortably powerful role in Overwatch for a long time.

As discussed in an interview with the Loadout, Kaplan is both aware of the professional scene’s interests and the casual base’s tendencies. Coupling those factors, he believes the game is at its best when there is some blend of high skill caps and diverse team compositions.

“The most ideal, healthiest state of the game is when the meta is somewhat fluid, when the meta is more map dependent or team match up dependent than it is static. We’ve all seen those moments when the meta has been completely static and all six players will just play the same six heroes every time. I think that’s fun from a mastery standpoint, but I think it’s a lot more exciting for viewers when creativity and curiosity come into play,” he said.

When Kaplan refers to a “static” meta, the simplest example is 2019’s GOATS, where three healers (Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira) were coupled with three tanks (D.Va, Reinhardt, and Zarya) and would barrel into opponents.

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It took tremendous teamwork to be pulled off successfully against other professional teams, but many fans considered it more tedious than entertaining after months of gameplay.

In its current state, Overwatch is not completely balanced, but there is a degree of variety to it. That diversity seen in the Overwatch League spans downward into the casual ranks. Kaplan indicates that this is in line with his department’s hopes.

“I think most of our players would say in the ideal meta, all our heroes would be viable in some way competitively. I think as a competitive goal from a game designing and game balancing perspective that is extremely challenging, but it’s obviously what we strive to achieve.”

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While he assures that Overwatch would be completely balanced in an ideal world, in the meantime, his team would at least like to push toward a game that varies to some extent based on coaching, player preference, and map.

It remains to be seen if current and upcoming patches can accomplish that, but Kaplan’s emphasis on “fluidity” is a welcome driving force.

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