Games like ‘Overwatch’ don’t come around very often, but when they do they not only set a new bar for excellence in our medium but soak up ALL OUR TIME to boot.
We at ‘The Action Pixel’ are utterly in love with Blizzard’s new hero shooter and so we (begrudgingly) took a break from our nightly play sessions to discuss what we’d like to see from the title in the future. As we all know, Blizzard’s multiplayer efforts tend to last (‘World of Warcraft’, ‘Hearthstone’) and so we can expect a host of patches and DLC packages in the months and years to come to keep the game feeling fresh. We asked ourselves what these updates should contain to not only improve what is an already excellent experience, but do so without interferring with the careful balance the game has achieved which keeps it so competitively interesting.
1. New Game Modes
This is probably the most obvious update ‘Overwatch’ needs as currently the number of modes available to players feels very limited. We have:
Assault – Attack/Defend two bases in a given time limit.
Escort – One team progresses a payload (in the form of a fancy car) towards an end destination while the other team tries to stop them.
Assault/Escort – a combination of the previous two modes.
Control – Two teams fight over a single base.
A somewhat paltry list which i’m sure you’ll agree needs filling out. After careful consideration it doesn’t feel like a standard team deathmatch would work in a game like ‘Overwatch’ as it would leave the support and builder characters out in the cold in terms of getting eliminations so some sort of objective based modes would be welcome instead. A standard Capture The Flag would be fun while a Control mode where you have to take and hold multiple bases would also be a good addition. Really thinking outside the box (and obviously this is so far fetched that it might be an entirely different game) some sort of asymmetrical multiplayer mode along the lines of ‘Evolve’ would be very interesting. I love these characters so much that it’d be great to see them fighting as a typical superhero team instead of battling each other as they do now. If the game could introduce an AI/human controlled “monster” or even an AI “horde” of some sort for an Overwatch team to battle against, it would certainly be a game mode i’d be interested in getting stuck in and maybe something for a single player experience.
2. More story elements
If you haven’t checked them out already, the You Tube videos that give you some backstory into what’s going on in ‘Overwatch’ are absolutely amazing and would do well in their own right as short films. As good as they are, there are only a handful and we want much, much more. The environmental/design storytelling within the game is incredibly strong and should be appreciated but sometimes you just want a simple narrative to fill out the world you’re fighting in. Not only do we want a history of the Overwatch itself, but we want origin stories for each character and what they’ve been doing since ‘Overwatch’ disbanded. How this story is presented to us leads us nicely into our next point.
3. Better stuff in the loot boxes
Now I love a loot box as much as the next guy, it’s a nice gentle reward for levelling up that has a little bit of mystery as you’re not sure what you’re going to get. That being said, I do feel that there could be better stuff on offer to really make the in-game rewards system something special. The skins are always a welcome addition to fancy up your favourite character but the other stuff just feels a bit tacked on. The sprays are cool but only ever used while you’re killing time waiting for the match to start and the poses/voice commands are similarly hardly used so it feels like it doesn’t matter which option you have selected. I’d like to see unlocks containing small cutscenes detailing characters stories; or, if that’d take up too much space on a dlc download, perhaps a digital comic strip that would achieve the same goal. We could have individual pieces of armour to personalise our characters with like the infamous ‘Team Fortress’ hats or we could get PSN/XBOX/STEAM download codes to get themes or avatars for our desktops, just anything a little bit special so we’re not all after that one Pharah skin we particularly like without bothering about anything else.
4. Character Upgrades
This is almost a pointless entry as i’m sure every patch from now until the servers are turned off will have some sort of character tweak to keep everything balanced and stop anything feeling unfair. However, for completeness sake I took a straw poll of Action Pixel staffers and we settled on three big changes we’d like to see straight away.:
Reinhart’s Shield – This iron giant is a bit of a fave in games i’ve played as he’s so useful in getting objectives taken care of. Got a payload that needs a last little push? Throw that shild up and pile the team behind him. Is there a choke point that’s proving too difficult to breach? Again just file in behind the shield and let rip. As useful as the shield is however, we would like to see the cooldown on this particular piece of equipment take longer as a player should have to make a more pressing tactical decision as to the best time to employ it.
D.VA’s general squishiness – D.VA is one of the more interesting tanks available in the game, especially as she can get out of her cockpit once her mech is totalled and keep fighitng just that little bit longer. However, one feels the purpose of a tank is to get stuck in to the ruck and we feel more often than not taht D.VA just isn’t powerful enough to do that. Fortunately, it seems that Blizzard have also noticed this lack of toughness and D.VA (along with McRee and Reaper) will be the first of the heroes to get tweaked in an upcoming patch. See…complaining on the internet can lead to positive results.
Winston’s Ultimate I love Winston, he’s easily my favourite character: an intellectual ape who periodically has an apocalyptic meltdown is right up my street so it goes without saying that among my group of friends, only I am allowed to play as him. As much of a Winston fan as I am, I’m too often let down by the small scale of his ultimate attack which sees him put away his gun, go into a Hulk like rage and start maniacally swiping at the enemy. Now correct me if i’m wrong but regardless of who your are, if an outraged ape takes a swipe at you it should really spoil your day but all Winston’s flails seem to achieve is to move enemies around. Sure if you’re skilled enough you can knock the bad guys off ledges into the abyss beyond but in more general terms…i’d like to see my favourite video game ape (sorry ‘Ape Escape’) do a little more damage in his mad rages.
These suggestions aside, we don’t want anyone to think we’re griping. Blizzard has made an absolutely stunning multiplayer shooter and one we can see lasting a long, long time. Here’s to many more matches in Overwatch and a handful of updates to improve the game for the better.
If you have any tweaks you’d like to see in upcoming Overwatch patches, let us know in the comments below