Overwatch League analyst explains why GOATS is actually fun to watch - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch League analyst explains why GOATS is actually fun to watch

Published: 5/Mar/2019 11:38 Updated: 5/Mar/2019 11:56

by Joe O'Brien

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Overwatch League analyst Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson has explained why he thinks the GOATS meta is actually one of the more entertaining metas in Overwatch history.

The “GOATS meta” refers to the era in which the “GOATS” composition – a triple-tank, triple-support line-up named for the Contenders team that popularized it – has been the dominant strategy.

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GOATS has been at the forefront of the competitive game for several months now, and fans aren’t too happy about it.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of GOATS is that it’s not very entertaining to watch. The lack of DPS characters in particular reduces the prevalence of the flashier plays which tend to be the domain of the likes of Widowmakers, Tracers, and Genjis, for instance.

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Blizzard EntertainmentGOATS has come under much criticism since its ascension as the dominant strategy.

It’s this point, however, that Sideshow contests. After stating that he would actually rank GOATS fourth out of the 11 major metas that have at some point dominated competitive Overwatch, Sideshow argued that GOATS is actually more intricate at the highest level than most alternatives.

“I find GOATS really interesting. I think it’s got a shit-tonne of complexity to it in terms of how you rotate all of your resources and how you use your ultimates, and I just think there’s a lot of really cool stuff. The more you know about GOATS, the more you enjoy watching GOATS.”

GOATS discussion starts at 37:09 for mobile viewers.

Unfortunately for Sideshow – although to the undoubted relief of much of the rest of the audience – it seems GOATS’ reign may be coming to an end. A massive wave of balance changes is currently being tested on the PTR, some of which seem specifically targeted at bringing down GOATS, and which at least some pros think it will be successful in doing.

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Blizzard haven’t yet announced when the changes will reach the live servers, but based on past tendencies for the March hero release – as the PTR patch also introduces new hero Baptiste – it’s likely to arrive around March 20, give or take a day or two.

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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