Six features Overwatch 2 needs in order to rebuild its playerbase - Dexerto
Overwatch

Six features Overwatch 2 needs in order to rebuild its playerbase

Published: 20/Jan/2020 22:51

by Michael Gwilliam

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Overwatch 2 was officially announced at BlizzCon 2019 and while much is known about Blizzard’s hero shooter sequel, there are still plenty of requested features not yet announced that will be necessary for the title to reach new heights as both an esport and serious franchise.

During the reveal, Blizzard confirmed speculation that players would finally get the chance to delve deep into lore with a long-awaited story campaign. Alongside the addition of several new heroes at launch, the sequel will also debut with the franchise’s first new game mode in four years: Push.

The question is, however, will new heroes, maps, game modes, and a story campaign be enough to save the game once the fancy new paint job gives way, and its Twitch viewers recalibrate back down?

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

While the answer to that question is unknown, one thing that Blizzard must do is limit the disconnect between the game at its highest levels of play and ranked, which feels like a foreign, different title by comparison.

Here are six features Blizzard must implement in Overwatch 2 to not just earn its once sizable player base back, but keep them engaged for many years to come.

Team Queue

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

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

Blizzard attempted to fix this with the addition of role queue and the group finder, but it still seems a far way off from where players want it to be. For instance, despite teams now consisting of two tanks at all times, there is no guarantee that either of said tank players have a shield in their repertoire (a must-have in many of the game’s metas.)

While the ‘Find a Group’ feature did help incentivize forming teams and finding an ally who can play the aforementioned shield tank role, Blizzard hasn’t done themselves any favors by preventing friends of vastly different skill levels from playing ranked with each other.

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 now.

Map Selection

Ask any Overwatch player what their least favorite game mode is and they’re likely to say Assault, otherwise known as 2CP.

It is, by far, the mode that requires the most amount of coordination in order to successfully attack the objective, wipe the enemy team, and capture the point. Not to mention that two of the most hated maps in the entire game, Paris and Horizon Lunar Colony, are Assault maps.

Giving players more choice in what maps they actually play could make the whole process of queuing much more enjoyable instead of the RNG fiasco it is at the moment, with maps dictated only by what is in that season’s particular pool.

Paris' incredible skyline with the Eifel tower in the background in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Paris is one of Overwatch’s most controversial maps.

Giving players the option to vote, or in the case of team queue, allowing group leaders to vote on behalf of the stack would ensure that players are competing on maps they enjoy playing.

Tournaments

In addition to the Team Queue feature, weekly tournaments for unique prizes could also incentivize players to form their own team.

One of the FPS’s biggest problems as an esport is how the rules of Overwatch League and Contenders seem so distant by comparison. Players being subbed out, matches being first-to-three (as of season 3), and teams actually being preformed create a disconnect between the general community and the pro scene.

By introducing tournaments and maybe 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 each time they load up Overwatch.

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

Cross-platform play

While it’s been known for a while now that Blizzard is exploring the prospect of cross-platform play in Overwatch, it would undoubtedly surge new life into the shooter.

Allowing PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC users to play with and against each other would help bridge the communities and unify the 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.

Of course, precautions would need to be made to ensure that players are given a fair environment by separating keyboard and controller users, perhaps in a manner similar to what Infinity Ward did with Modern Warfare.

Detailed and advanced statistics

One of the most difficult things in Overwatch is to tell how well you are actually performing both in a live game and overall.

Rather than a scoreboard, the shooter’s “medal system” makes everyone feel like a winner by counting what would be “assists” in other FPS titles as “eliminations” which are considered kills. 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.

Worse yet is the gold medal for “damage” which DPS players playing Junkrat or Doomfist from feeling required to swap off their hero to deal with a Pharah who is dominating the skies untouched.

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

Currently, being able to know how many times your Zenyatta died to a flanking Tracer can only be determined by watching the kill feed or deliberately rewatching a game from their perspectives and manually counting.

Additional tools designed such as a prompt alerting you that your Zenyatta keeps getting fragged or your Moira’s healing is well-below the rank’s average per 10 minutes can help players striving to improve.

Hero bans

Finally, we come to what could be the most controversial feature on this list. Hero bans are not an old idea. In fact, there have been many third-party tournaments to try out the idea, but the topic remains somewhat taboo.

In Overwatch, there normally comes point after major balance patches where a dominant must-play hero composition emerges that destroys anything it comes up against. Hero bans would, in theory, prevent said meta comp 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.

While bans may not work in a solo-queue ranked environment where people are free to one-trick a certain hero to their heart’s content, the concept would be yet again, be a welcome addition to a Team Queue.

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) but I’m sure that there’s a sweet spot where bans enhance the game without feeling limiting.

Banning the dominant meta heroes can open up entirely new avenues for how to approach each game with each one feeling different.

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.

Apex Legends

Best Legends to use in Apex Legends Season 7: Ultimate tier list

Published: 19/Nov/2020 12:58 Updated: 19/Nov/2020 12:59

by Calum Patterson

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Apex Legends now has 15 characters to pick from after Horizon’s addition in Season 7. This gives players even more choice than ever before. But, who are the best Legends to use if you want to rack up wins in the new season?

Respawn has done a commendable job balancing out the Legend to ensure that each of them is viable. This is particularly true for some of the lesser-used Legends.

Since release, some of the characters have been changed dramatically. In the Season 7 update, Pathfinder’s hitbox was updated and his Grappling Hook was buffed.

But, how much has this changed, and which characters you should choose? Here’s a breakdown of the best Legends, based on versatility, their abilities, and composition in a team.

The Legends are placed into loose ‘tiers’, to represent their relative position against each other. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t master a particular character and become an expert with it.

Wraith

Respawn Entertainment

No surprises here, Wraith has consistently been among the most powerful Legends in the game. This is thanks to a number of inherent advantages she has.

Not only is her character model and hitbox tiny, her Tactical Ability named ‘Into the Void’ grants her temporary invisibility (mostly) and invincibility to damage. This ability charges up fairly fast, too, and is an absolute lifesaver in numerous situations. It’s quite often the difference between life and death.

Her Ultimate, the Dimensional Rift, is great for team play. It helps your squad get to safety and escape enemies or the storm. You do have to be careful to avoid enemies using it too, though.

The 5% increase in damage taken isn’t enough to knock Wraith out of the S Tier. She remains a massive asset to any squad and is the ideal choice if playing solo.

Gibraltar

Respawn Entertainment

Gibraltar has come a long way since the early days of Apex Legends. He was almost always avoided by players due to his large hitbox and cumbersome movement. Thanks to some much-needed buffs (including added damage resistance), Gibby is now a much more viable choice.

In fact, Respawn just kept on buffing and buffing him. Now, his Gun Shield is stronger and incredibly useful. His Dome Shield tactical is great in skirmishes as it gives rapid revives. His bombs are even more deadly.

The Dome Shield was nerfed slightly in the Season 5 update, lasting only 12 seconds instead of 18. However, it’s not enough to take him out of the top tier just yet.

His Ultimate ability has enough potential damage to zone the enemy away, and the Dome Shield can be a lifesaver for not just you, but your whole team. You do have to watch out for enemies using it too, though, as there’s nothing stopping them from getting inside.

Overall, Gibraltar is much better these days, but he’s still a big, tanky character who is hard to miss. Some players will definitely find a more nimble character beneficial. With that said, he’s a powerful asset on any team.

Bloodhound

Respawn Entertainment

Season 6 changes pushed Bloodhound up a tier, whereas they used to be a ‘middle of the pack’ Legend. The Season 4 buff to their Beast of the Hunt ability was, and still is, a massive plus. In Season 5, they were been given another buff, with a shorter cooldown on the tactical ‘Eye of the Allfather’.

The tracking ability can prove very useful if you remember to pay attention to it, especially in the late game, as you’ll be able to follow opponents’ movements more easily. This has now been bumped up to 4 seconds rather than 3, as well.

Bloodhound’s Ultimate isn’t necessarily the best all-round, but it can be a very effective counter to Bangalore’s smoke or Caustic’s gas, allowing you to see enemies highlighted in red. It increases for 5 seconds every time you down an opponent. You can also use this with a Bangalore teammate to smoke out and then wipe out an enemy team.

Recon is also fantastic, being able to survey beacons and determine the next circle’s location on the map ahead of time. One negative with Bloodhound, though, is that using the Tactical also somewhat gives away your own position, as enemies will know you are now closeby.

Horizon

Image of Horizon posing with a backdrop behind her

The newest addition to the Legends roster, Horizon arrived in S7 with a bang. A breath of fresh air in the meta, the Scottish Gravitational Manipulator has fantastic mobility.

Her fight-changing abilities are the recipe of someone players will be seeing a lot of in Season 7. Her Ultimate, Black Hole, when paired with other abilities such as Caustic Gas and Gibraltar’s ultimate are absolutely devastating.

Quick and agile, Horizon’s Tactical helps her get to the top of buildings meaning that she is able to outthink and escape the other Legends with ease.

She’s a fantastic addition to the family of characters, and deserves the top sitting spot here in the A-Class tier.

Lifeline

Respawn Entertainment

Lifeline might not be the most powerful legend from an offensive perspective, but everyone loves having a Lifeline on their squad. The ability to have healing at the press of the button is another lifesaver, and the quick revives and Revive Shield are a massive help in those intense fights.

The Care Package Ultimate is great, too, especially if your team is in need of some better loot, when it might come in clutch. Lifeline can also use the blue supply bins for extra gear.

The major buff to Lifeline was her passive, Combat Revive, now allowing her to revive remotely, allowing her to stay in the fight will a teammate gets back up. Lifeline is still the ultimate team player.

Caustic

Respawn Entertainment

Caustic is a big legend physically and lacks the mobility of those in the S tier, but the damage output of his noxious gas is a game-winner in enclosed locations.

If you manage to get into a building, throwing down seemingly endless gas traps will infuriate the enemy team, hurting them, slowing their movement. In Season 7, the blurred vision effect was nerfed, but damage was increased, up to 6-12 ticks.

Having a Caustic on your team can earn you a very easy win, provided the traps and canisters are used effectively in the end game. On his own, Caustic ends up being an easy target but will shine when he’s part of a team that highlights his abilities.

However, with an open map like Olympus, zone control isn’t as needed as it has been on other maps. Though, the Toxic Trapper can still dominate around zones.

Pathfinder

Respawn Entertainment

Pathfinder climbs up to A-Tier with this update. The prior Season 6 nerf ⁠— which boosted the grapple cooldown all the way up to 35 seconds per use ⁠— saw Pathfinder dip drastically in both win and play rates across Apex’s last season.

However, with the newest update, Pathfinder received some much-needed buffs. The Grappling Hook took a five-second drop in the cooldown ⁠— now 30 seconds, down from 35 seconds.

The ‘Grapple’ can be used to make a quick escape or to push up on weak opponents before they get the chance to heal. But, now, Wraith, or even Loba, might be better to make those quick escapes. In fact, Mirage’s Rework might be another reason for Pathfinder’s decline, as those pesky decoys are very useful,

Pathfinder’s movement is still unrivaled on paper, and the Zipline Ultimate works similarly to the Wraith’s portal, getting your team out of a tight spot, or to get to hard-to-reach locations. Of course, enemies can also use it, so you need to watch your back.

Devs also slightly nerfed his hitbox by increasing the size 20%. He’s also keeping the Low Profile status, too. However, plans down the line to boost his power may even the change out.

Mirage

Respawn Entertainment

Mirage started off life in Apex Legends as a very underpowered character. His Ultimate ability was pretty useless, and his Tactical felt a bit gimmicky compared to many of the others.

The buff to the Holographic Trickster is great, meaning it’s much more likely to fool people into wasting bullets. A major buff to his Ultimate in Season 2 saw him fly up the rankings, with the ability to go completely invisible an incredibly powerful advantage. Although many might think this is best used to escape unseen, it’s actually even better when used aggressively, to attack unsuspecting opponents.

His decoys are hugely effective at bamboozling enemies, and they last for a full minute. His “Life of the Party” Ultimate deploys a whole legion of decoys. Decoys now also have 45 health, making them even better bamboozles.

Even better, he now goes totally invisible when reviving teammates (who also go invisible), which is possibly one of the most clutch abilities in the whole game. He also goes invisible when using a respawn beacon, too.

Crypto

Respawn Entertainment

Crypto was added for Season 3, but after all the hype died down, we have to be realistic and say that he is a lower-tier character overall.

With team coordination, the Surveillance Expert has the potential to be great. He predominantly suffers from the rest of the team constantly pushing it and being outnumbered, but coupled with a great team he can be a great support legend.

For Season 5, he was given a very minor buff, as his drone can now ping banners, but it’s certainly not game-changing.

Crypto’s Ultimate, the EMP blast, can be useful but only if you time it expertly, meaning it is a much less useful ability in general gameplay than most others, and unlike many, it’s not going to help you get a free kill. The Ultimate is also greatly useful for scouting ahead, and to break shields.

Bangalore

Respawn Entertainment

Bangalore is one of the more underrated Legends who just misses out on the A Tier. The problem with this militaristic character is that many players don’t know how to properly utilize her Ultimate ability.

Neither overpowered or underpowered, she is great at maneuvering around fights and escaping with her Tactical. Smoke Bombs are great for both escaping and attacking. To attack with smoke, make sure you and your teammates have Digital Threat sights attached, and you’ll have a massive advantage against an enemy squad in the chaos of the smoke. However, if you notice they’re managing to hit you, they may also have Digital Threat scopes.

Unlike Gibby’s Defensive Bombardment, Bangalore’s Rolling Thunder won’t really do enough damage to kill opponents outright. It, however, will severely hamper their movement and vision. If you know the rough location of the enemy team, soften them up with the Rolling Thunder, then move in for some easy kills. Players of the Profession Soldier will also be happy to have Rolling Thunder’s slightly faster explosion time in Season 7, too.

Bangalore’s Passive is also excellent, making you a hard target when being shot, as she gets a slight movement speed increase.

Wattson

Respawn Entertainment

Wattson is a great team-based legend. In competitive Apex Legends, you’ll see a Wattson in almost every team, thanks to her Interception Pilon. This ability destroys enemy throwables and allows a squad to hold down a position. Similar to Caustic, she also has great zone control.

Combined with her Perimeter Security traps, if you’re playing as a team, Wattson can be a great squadmate to have. However, she can’t be placed any higher on this list because as a solo player, Wattson certainly isn’t the best pick.

This is a good example of Respawn’s balancing of the Legends, where some work better in organized team composition, whereas others will work better if you’re queuing solo and can’t rely on teammates to work with you.

For example, putting a Wattson and Caustic together can make a very deadly combo if you play a more defensive playstyle. Also, if you come up against a Gibraltar, Wattson’s Ultimate can completely counter his Ultimate. However, this may only be relevant in late-game play, due to the new map of Olympus.

Loba

Season 5’s new Legend in the roster was an immediate fan-favorite. However, in Season 6, she saw a drop to pretty much the worst ranking Legend to play. Now, with Season 7, she’s clawed her way back up to sit as a mid-tier Legend.

The buff to Black Market Boutique allows you to take as much ammo that’s available. It’s fantastic, pushing her to be the teammate that everyone wants.

Loba’s Tactical literally allows her to teleport around the map. and it’s a move possibly even more powerful than Wraith’s Phase Shift and Pathfinder’s grapple. However, it does hold her back from being higher, as it’s currently very clunky.

With Eye for Quality, being able to ping exotic and legendary items through obstacles, inside supply bins, and including Heirlooms, makes this Passive from the High Society Thief a fantastic one to have for the team.

Rampart

Image of Rampart posing with a backdrop behind her

Season 6’s Quick Witted Modder, Rampart, has potential. But, unfortunately, you need too much notice to make the most of this legend. A defensive Legend primarily, she is able to create multiple heavily armored protective barriers. This sounds great on paper, but in action, often falls short.

Her ultimate leaves her vulnerable to flanking, and if you’re trying place down a shield mid-fight, it’ll get completely destroyed in seconds.

If you are set up in time for a fight, though, there is a good chance for great advantage with Rampart. Unfortunately, that is something that doesn’t happen as much as being ambushed does. Because of this, her inconsistency places her down in the C-Tier.

Revenant

Added in Season 4, Revenant had possibly the most hyped-up entrance of any character up to that point. But, has he lived up to the hype? In terms of lore and mystique, sure, but not in terms of raw ability.

Where this deadly Simulacrum Assassin shines is his Ultimate ability, which allows him (and his teammates) to escape death temporarily. However, it’s a risk that many players don’t see worth using. Creating the same abilities for not just your team, but others, too, Death Totem can often end up harming you.

His Passive ability, Stalker, allows him to crouch walk faster and climb higher up walls. However, Respawn perhaps overlooked that this ability pales in comparison to someone like Pathfinder or Horizon. These two can scale pretty much any building, of any height, instantly.

Revenant’s Tactical, Silence, is incredibly powerful on paper. It deals a portion of damage and prevents all enemy abilities. But, it only works for 20 seconds, after which the enemy squad can use their abilities as they would normally. Perhaps this needs a buff, to reset charges on abilities instead.

Octane

Respawn Entertainment

Like Revenant, what holds Octane back is what he specifically brings to the team. In a solo mode, The Andrenaline Junkie would shine; zipping around the map, hunting kills.

While his Season 7 buff to Swift Mend doubled his healing rate from 0.5 hp/s to 1.0 hp/s, in actuality, it doesn’t improve him much.

Octane is a very fun character to use. Even if not necessarily ‘the best’, it’s thanks to his added mobility and quirky voice lines. Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer a lot in terms of either attacking or defending. His jump pad Ultimate can be useful to reach high places or to push up on weak enemies. In Season 5, his launch pad cooldown was reduced by 30 seconds. So far, though, it doesn’t seem like it’s been enough to make him a must-have over most of the other characters.

The stim to give you a speed boost is great for escaping the incoming storm. However, it’s not so much for evading enemies, as unlike Wraith, or even Bangalore’s smoke, you’re still very visible and can take damage.

Perhaps Octane’s strongest asset is the ability to heal over time. This means you never have to worry about running out of syringes after escaping the storm or a fight. You’ll still need to ensure you have shield cells and batteries, though.


That’s our current ranking of the characters in Apex Legends – but this list will change as future updates happen and new Legends are added over the course of the game’s lifecycle.