I cannot wait for the people who have just picked up Overwatch for the first time this week to get good. I'm a long-time Overwatch fan and have been playing all the way back since 2016. I've seen countless variations of metas, hero changes, map additions and more and, as I said in our Overwatch 1 obituary, knew the game like the back of my hand.
I was one of the fans that kept playing during the years of low maintenance from Blizzard and though I don't know the exact figures, we can all assume the player base by that point had shrunk from its heyday. And who buys Overwatch post 2020 when we all know Overwatch 2 is on the way? May as well wait for the new game before getting into it.
What I underestimated is that when I was playing all those hours of Overwatch in the quiet years we all got used to the idea that we knew what was going on. We knew abilities and their effects, cooldowns, and even which abilities can interact with what. We all became pretty comfortable with knowing where everyone stood, and even if we didn't like that someone picked a hero, it became pretty rare to see someone pick a hero and be terrible at them. Yeah Mei might not be the best pick right now, but hey they're annoying the crap out of the enemy Genji so I respect it. The Overwatch community felt settled.
I need healing
Overwatch 2 arrives, Overwatch 1 goes offline, and chaos erupts. Most of my time 'playing' Overwatch over the last week has been looking at a screen saying that there are thousands in a queue ahead of me—obviously not ideal—but I eventually get in. The first game I get into goes well, the second I am booted from mid-firefight in server issues. But after a little while of waiting I got into the game again and played some quickplay to get me acquainted with the new Overwatch. And oh boy was it a mess.
Little coordination, no focusing on the heroes that need to be stopped. I saved our team's Mercy from being killed by a Mei, only for the Mercy to abandon me and sacrifice me instead. I mean I get it, the game is new and all but that would have never happened with original Overwatch Mercy mains. I would have got a little Swiss voice line saying thanks, and we would have beat the crap out of Mei before rejoining the others.
Though I'm having to learn some new tricks with the added agents and the new environments, I'm also spending a lot of my brain power in a game trying to understand why my team is doing what it's doing. Why are we running in one by one and getting murdered? Why is Lucio, quite an attack-focused healer, not doing any damage to the enemy? Why is Reaper running away from the Soldier 76 right next to him? I'll be focusing, fighting, failing, and dying only to see I was the only one trying to prevent the enemy team getting the robot on a push map in the kill cam.
I'm patient with new players and, no, I'm not slagging anyone off for failing to understand a new game straightaway. And this is quick play, it's not supposed to be the best of the best Overwatch has to offer. But I can't wait for new players to get a handle on what the hell is going on in the game: because in-game it is literally killing me.
The tanks, in Overwatch 2, feel so overpowered in part because people don't know what to do with them. Some shields are good to shoot out, like Winston's, but there is no easy feedback for new players to know that shooting Zarya's is the worst thing you could do and killing your team. It's infuriating, but I'm doing everything I can to be understanding. In the games I've played, I've said my ggs, I've complimented the healers (as you should when they do a good job) and let it be. Typing out mean comments or barking instructions down the mic will not help anyone. New players have to have fun before everything else.
To be fair, even avid FPS players can struggle when getting into Overwatch for the first time because the game isn't a traditional FPS. Each gun, each ability, each hero hitbox is different. There are so many effects and so many flashing lights that it's very easy to become disorientated. I can't imagine how hard it is to know who to pick when your initial hero isn't working out, or how to even tell which heroes you're looking at are tanks or DPS or supports. I mean come on the literal tank character Bastion is a damage hero. And when D.Va is out of her suit she's tiny. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be just as lost as many of these newbies—I just so happened to get into the game early enough that I don't even remember how bad at Overwatch I used to be.
I can't wait for the new players to understand how Overwatch 2 works. In fact, I'm excited to see it happen and develop. It's an intimidating and messy game outside of just its server issues. There is so much personality and so little room to breathe but I hope that they stick with it and see what a properly coordinated, classic game of Overwatch can feel like. Until then, I'll keep saying gg amidst the floundering.