Seagull explains why Overwatch needs hero bans - Dexerto
Overwatch

Seagull explains why Overwatch needs hero bans

Published: 30/Jun/2019 9:55 Updated: 30/Jun/2019 10:11

by Connor Bennett

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Former Overwatch League player Brandon ‘Seagull‘ Larned has explained why a pick and ban system would make sense for Overwatch – detailing how it would affect games on a wide range of skill levels. 

Plenty of competitive games have balancing systems in place to make matches more interesting and have them played on a somewhat even playing field. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has map bans, while MOBA’s like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have hero pick and bans.

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The banning of certain heroes depending on the situation of the match-up is something that competitive Overwatch in general, not just the Overwatch League, has yet to pick up on, but Seagull has some interest in seeing it implemented.

Robert Paul / Blizzard EntertainmentSeagull swapped his role on the Dallas Fuel for a streaming lifestyle.

Speaking during his June 29 stream, the former Dallas Fuel star explained that the banning of heroes was tried in custom games in the past and brought out some level of diversity with team comps. 

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Yet, he had his own reasons for wanting to see it tried out in other forms of Overwatch. Seagull added: “It makes the game much easier to balance. Imagine Brigette on release was totally busted, Bastion on release that one patch – completely busted. Everything gets kinda busted when it first comes out, except maybe Ashe, but people will just ban them if they’re totally overpowered.”

The former pro-turned streamer continued on, explaining why the system makes sense not only on a skill level basis but also situationally – banning different heroes for different maps and game modes.

“On Paris offense, I want to ban Orisa because bunker comp is a first point Paris defense and on a lot of two CP [Control Point] maps are way too annoying to deal with on ladder so I just instantly ban Orisa on that map,” he stated.

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He also added that a pick/ban system would have a “surgical level of balance,” that would ultimately “make the game easier to balance” and everyone can be happy with what they want. 

The 2-2-2 role lock, which will almost certainly signal the death of the GOATS comp and encourage more creative picks, has all but been confirmed for the Overwatch League. While it’s certainly a big change, it isn’t as drastic as being able to completely get rid of a hero for a particular game. 

It remains to be seen if Blizzard follows Seagull’s hopes, and the path laid out by other esports, in implementing a banning system. It would certainly add another level of complexity to competitive play and help weed out those cheese line-ups that everybody hates playing against.

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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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