The Overwatch Conundrum

My son and all of his friends play Overwatch. Typically that style of first person shooter (spammy, jumpy, TF2-ish is probably a fair description) has never been high on my list. And yet, I find myself playing it. The oddity of this isn’t the fact that I am playing it (I play all sorts of games) but the fact that I am playing it and still haven’t figured out if I like it or not. It is a strange beast. After 10 hours or so and getting into online matchmaking there are some things I know I DISLIKE about it, but I am having a hard time putting my finger on the things that I DO like about it.

compliments of razerone since screenshots are hard to port over from PS4

I dislike that you can change characters upon death. While that makes sense for matchmaking purposes, I find that it helps the winning team more. As soon as you switch thinking you are bringing a counter to the table to balance it out more the other side just does the same thing. There is no strategy behind this and it becomes a guessing game of who is going to pick who. I would change this to the losing side can only change at any given time (to balance it out) or not have it change at all. Of course, the game is not up for changing something as fundamental as that design choice. It is pushing me away from the game. I yearn for a mode like League of Legends where people pick one at a time and stick with it.

I also dislike the lack of customization options. The skins, for the most part, are just re-coloration on the low end and things like tags and voice lines you don’t get to really enjoy. If you stop to check out a cool tag you are dead, plain and simple. If you are paying attention to interesting or fun in game speak you are dead. The game is too fast and spammy to enjoy the majority of the loot box items – emotes, voice overs, and tags. The only weapon customization that I have seen is golden guns which feels like a HUGE miss.

I dislike the lack of strategy. Things happen so fast that there is no time to work out any sort of fundamental strategy outside of spam here and spam there. Objectives are won and lost so quickly that it’s simply run back, try to find a group, and spam/shoot away. I know you are probably thinking “well duh, that’s the beauty of it!” but I don’t see it that way. I wish there was more to it but it feels very shallow in so many ways.

And yet, I play it. I don’t know if it fits in mindless zen grinding for loot boxes territory (which I do like, actually, but think you should get one for every match – not level – as a B2P game it’s a bit crappy) or the semblance of semi interesting characters (albeit devoid of story or purpose). There is definitely some sort of hook to it that I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe someday soon I can explain, if I continue playing it.

Enter the competitor, Paladins.

Izlain over at Me Myself and I made a post that included Paladins and when I checked out some reviews and videos it hits a lot of the check boxes of things I dislike about Overwatch. Player is locked in for the match, but they are further customized by cards you collect as well as in game gear you can buy (much like League of Legends). There is a loot box pathway in the game that doesn’t also charge you a box fee. The gameplay and characters also look varied semi interesting. I also have nothing to lose by trying it, so I will. Will be interesting to comp the two.

easy peeyzy lemon breezy

Bonus here, as a PS4 noob that I could get the game and download it to my home PS4 from the PS store in my browser at work. I didn’t realize it had that functionality and quite frankly, that is awesome. I was honestly thinking that I wished I could do that from here, and tried it for the heck of it, and sure enough it worked. Makes so much sense and removed another barrier to purchase. This could end up being a costly and dangerous feature for me.

What do you think? Do you play either? What do you love about it? I am going to continue to explore this further and any tips or suggestions would be helpful.

4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I don’t know this game at all. I don’t know most games, I guess. I don’t have any experience with first person shooters. The only games I can play are more social ones. It’s amazing to me the kind of customization that you can get in games now, so I can understand your frustration at the lack of it. Games are so expensive we expect to have that. Sean has a new NBA game where he can actually scan his face to customize a player. How crazy is that?

    1. Sports games are amazing st customization, and the play modes these days actually turn your typical sports game into a RPG. With OW I think they took away a lot of meaningful customization because they want to (and are) turning it into an esport platform. Which is also crazy that we get those now 🙂

  2. Even as an esports platform, it’s the typical Blizz thing to do where they end up taking an established formula and make it so accessible a vegetable could play it successfully. The lack of depth and customization makes it the loser in my book, and 9/10 times there are similar games on the market that are plain better. HotS was shit compared to other MOBAs on the market. OW pales compared to Paladins IMO. I’m definitely more invested in playing MTG over Hearthstone. Admittedly, I’ve played plenty of Blizzard’s games, but in most cases I end up preferring similar titles from other companies.

    1. I haven’t had much time with Paladins as Injustice 2 caught my interest (and is amazing, post coming soon) but I am definitely firmly in the camp of liking OW a lot… less. Funny I was finally getting into a groove and then had matches against people that were level 320 (nice job, matchmaking!) when I was level 17. Sure, we had a level 45 on our team but that 320 guy utterly destroyed the entire match, and it was a versus comp (so had to win two out of three..) a real head scratcher.

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