I finally had a chance to get my hands on Overwatch with this month’s open beta and really, what can you say? The shooting feels great, matchmaking is spot on and quick with excellent connections throughout, the character variety feels excellent without any single hero being overpowered and so on. If anything, the only real criticism that crept up was Bastion gettting Play of the Game for simply sitting in one spot and attacking with his turret.
So while it’s acknowledged that the beta itself was generally great, encouraging teamplay with an easy entry but a high skill cap, there are things that Overwatch could benefit from post-launch.
Post Match Currency
It’s interesting to play numerous matches in a multiplayer shooter like Overwatch. The Loot Boxes, your de facto gains from earning experience and leveling up, are paced fairly well. They start coming fairly quick but as you get into the high 20s, you’ll requires some 20K EXP to get more. That number rises ever so slightly with each new level, gating progression in a meaningful but not overtly time-consuming way. And this isn’t DOOM where you receive Hack Modules each match – the only rewards from Overwatch‘s Loot Boxes are cosmetic.
There’s just so much to unlock and the contents are very RNG-based. After a point, one doesn’t really fret about getting to the next Loot Box, so much as having fun. It’s a case where progression isn’t the goal – it’s the reward. However, it would be nice to at least allow players some choice in the matter. As many have suggested, each match could drop some currency (currently only available in Loot Boxes and that also isn’t guaranteed).
Maybe something like 5 to 10 coins depending on how it balances out. It’d be understandable if Blizzard restricted the choice of buying certain items to micro-transactions. They want you to play the game and de-emphasizing any kind of “grind” would help. Regardless, even a few coins each match wouldn’t hurt.
More Varied PvP Modes
Here’s the thing with class-based hero shooters like this – there aren’t a whole lot of different PvP modes. In a game like Overwatch who’s every mode is a slight but significant variation on the other, there are defined roles to play and some are simply better than others in different cases. The closest one will ever come to “team deathmatch” is Control and that in itself becomes a game of Attack and Defend after a point. Which is fine since the whole point of the game is working well as a team. None of this is bad but it would help to have a bit more variety.
The Weekly Brawl is probably going to be the best means for said variety. As the Mystery Heroes playlist (each respawn gives you a different hero) during the open beta exemplified, it’s possible to tweak the rules slightly and offer an intriguing new experience. Arcade Brawl, which was seen in the closed beta, ran with this further by offering highly reduced cooldowns and increased health for true chaos.
Why not up the ante even more and introduce some truly outlandish modes like Tower Defense where four heroes can only pick Bastion, Torbjörn and Symmetra against eight attacking heroes (no healers on either side)? The brains at Blizzard should be able to come up with something better than that honestly because as fun as the game can be, monotony will set in a month or two down the line. Providing more randomized playlists and opportunities helps prevent that.
Horde Mode (?)
This is probably the one mode I’m mixed on actually having post launch because I don’t think a traditional Horde mode would quite fit. Team Fortress 2‘s Mann vs. Machine did a good job with it by having the waves constantly attacking and composed of different enemy types. It even had a few special themed events where certain enemies would be replaced with, say, Halloween-themed foes. Could Overwatch, a game with a wider variety of heroes and class roles, benefit from something like that? Would players really enjoy facing off against waves of AI enemies?
It really does depend. Horde mode is something that gave new life to a game like Titanfall but it’s not played all that much these days (even by Titanfall standards). Plus, there are enough Horde mode games these days. At the end of it all, I would like to see Blizzard do something. Maybe a series of challenges that players have to complete within a limited time and restricted to particular areas on the map? Speaking of which…
Overwatch is overflowing with personality, from the environments to the characters themselves and the banter they have. And while Blizzard has been doing a fantastic job building the stories behind these characters through animated shorts and comic books, I really want to see some story missions in-game. Sure Blizzard could probably create some special multiplayer-like scenarios which function a lot like PvP matches (akin to Titanfall, perhaps) but there needs to be some proper story-telling involved.
I want to find out why Overwatch has been called back to action and witness the conflict they’re embroiled in. I want to see Reaper set a deadly trap for Winston and his team, with the latter having to escape at all costs. I want to play a map where players have to effectively rush a team of AI enemies while Widowmaker is providing sniper cover, the end goal being to take her down.
Most importantly, I’d like to see some storyline development, with all that reach dialogue actually being used to further character growth. It would be awesome to see how the relationship between Solider 76 and Pharah, the former knowing the latter’s mother, develops. Or whether Genji and Hanzo set aside their differences.
This seems a given, honestly. Blizzard has already incorporated various challenges that can be completed in-game but there needs to be something more. A list of bounties for players to complete, providing currency as a reward or even a unique skin/emote/pose would be amazing. A daily list of bounties/quests could be made available for players short on time to earn easy currency.
This could further be expanded to weekly bounties and community challenges. Imagine if the community banded together to earn “X” amount of Play of the Games with a certain character or to earn “Y” number of kills on another character. Special events could be held with unique skins to be unlocked. While players will have plenty to devour when Overwatch goes live, the post-launch scenario could use special events to cater to both hardcore and casual players alike.
What post-launch features would you like to see in Overwatch? Let us know in the comments below.