#RIP OW • An Overwatch Appreciation Post

Well, we made it. Overwatch is officially retired, and the new, free-to-play Overwatch 2 will take its place. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Overwatch was my most played game for a couple of years. Even in 2020, I was still hopping in and out of Overwatch. It wasn’t until late last year that I actually mostly stopped playing.

Last week, I had to re-download and jump back into Overwatch on all platforms: PlayStation4|5, PC, and Nintendo Switch. I had to make sure my accounts were merged before the launch of the sequel. I don’t want to lose all of my goodies (especially my PlayStation Overwatch swag).

Of course, after logging in I had to play a match or two. When trying out most games after a long hiatus I’m terrible. I die repeatedly. I don’t remember how to do anything. It’s usually a horrible experience. Then, I ask myself, “Why did I jump back in?” Only to quit once again.

This is never the case with Overwatch. In fact, the opposite is true. Any time I come back to Overwatch after a long break I end up having my best matches yet. Plus, it always happens with a hero that’s relatively new to me, or one that I neglected for a long time.

Check out my two final highlights from the original Overwatch, during last week’s games with D.Va:
Overwatch • D.Va Saves the Day (Ultimate Team Kill!)
Overwatch • D.Va For The Win (Objective Secured!)

The Magic of Overwatch

What has always made Overwatch a special game to me is that it takes one of my most played genres, First Person Shooters (FPS), and adds in some elements from another that I’ve always been interested in, but could never really get into, MOBAs (like Dota 2). To me, Overwatch has always felt like playing a Dota 2-style MOBA, but in a first-person view, where you have more control over your characters (and different objectives, depending on the match).

I grew up on classic FPS games like Call of Duty, and I noticed that even with the introduction of different character classes to the online modes, they all still felt exactly the same with different weapons. The magic of Overwatch is the large and expanding cast of playable heroes, each with their own unique style of gameplay.

It’s not only about their weapons, but also their skills. Some heroes can sprint, while others can climb, and some can do neither. Overwatch heroes all have specific strengths, and weaknesses. Finding a the perfect hiding spot as Bastion (to take out the enemy team as a turret) is a major strength, until someone from the other team discovers and kills you.

There’s no one hero that can bum-rush the entire opposing team, without the help of their teammates (or a fully-charged ultimate). Overwatch has always been about working together. Many of my top plays in Overwatch have come from setting off a chain reaction of ultimates with my fellow teammates. Some heroes can even enhance the powers of others with their skills.

Anytime I play Dota 2 or League of Legends with friends, they ask me to wait for them to attack. Instead, I just get in there (a la Leeroy Jenkins) and get killed immediately. This is why I see Overwatch as more similar to a MOBA than the classic FPS games I’m used to. It’s not about a full-on attack, but instead slowly chipping away at the enemy sometimes.

Problems at HQ

First off, I know that there has been a great deal of terrible news surrounding Activision/Blizzard (mainly Bobby Kotick and the other higher ups). All of the workplace harassment, mistreatment of employees (especially women), and other issues straight up suck. There’s been tons of horrible stories coming out, not just at Activision/Blizzard, but all over the gaming industry.

This bad behavior is mostly coming from those higher up, who are collecting all of the money, but don’t really make the games (sometimes they do). What really stinks is that many hard working developers have to suffer when gamers don’t want to support the game they worked hard on for years of their life, all because of some bad seeds in suits.

I’m not telling anyone how to choose what to play and what not to play. I just think it’s terrible that these big (smelly) fish are ruining it for some person whose dream was to create fun for the rest of us.

Ready for a Sequel?

What I will say about Overwatch 2 is that once they announced it would be free-to-play, I stopped paying attention to any news and updates before release. If the game is FREE I’m going to play it. I’m definitely going to try it out and see what’s changed and how it feels. There have been so many changes to Overwatch since launch, that if you went back to play the launch version today, it would probably feel very different.

My main hope is that they don’t just Fortnite it. I’ve had a lot of fun with Fortnite over the years. I’ve even spent a few V-bucks on one or two season passes, but Fortnite is Fortnite. Every game does not have to be whatever the biggest game is doing right now. In fact, Fortnite didn’t even start out as Fortnite. It was a completely different game, but they pivoted to what was working for games like Player Unknown’s: Battlegrounds and the other battle royales at the time.

The release of Overwatch 2 will wipe out the existence of the original Overwatch. While this strategy does make sense, with the game going free-to-play this is how they will move all players to the new version. The part that feels strange to me is that I own a physical disc version of the original game for PlayStation 4. It’s strange that that disc game will now be obsolete. I can’t remember a time where a game has vanished out of existence, due to the release of a sequel. My buddy with a PS3, still plays old Call of Duty games online with people.

Another concern is how they built up this Overwatch League, and although I don’t watch it I know there’s a large audience of eSports fans. I’m sure they will be able to continue the league with the new game, but what about those big changes. The biggest one being that matches will now go from 6 v 6 to 5 v 5. Now each team has to cut one tank? Will they simply move the sixth player to the bench in case of emergency?

I’m excited to finally play Overwatch 2, and I hope that the gameplay feels just as great or better than the original.

RIP Overwatch,  Hello OW2!

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