Overwatch 2 PvP Developer Livestream Breakdown
The much-anticipated Overwatch 2 PvP developer livestream has concluded and, needless to say, we’ve got some opinions. It’s no secret that hundreds of thousands of gamers across the globe have been eagerly awaiting any sort of update regarding their favorite MOBAesque first-person shooter; that’s why Blizzard’s two-hour-long foretaste had us so excited. Better late than never, as they say.
And sure enough, Blizzard has delivered — in both good ways and bad. A lot was showcased and talked about, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the fact that Overwatch 2 will feature 5v5 PvP battles instead of the 6v6 for which the game has become so well known for. This, in short, means we’ll be in for a wholly different experience, and that’s true for both the game itself as well as its competitive scene.
No One’s All Too Happy
Needless to say, this bit of news wasn’t met with glee and delight. And, frankly, there’s a good reason why. The shift to 5v5 feels somewhat forced, a change that probably won’t make the game any better in the long run — “probably” being the operative word here. Now, the dev team has supposedly done extensive testing and have made a couple of solid arguments as to why they’ve gone down this route, but the vast majority of the community still isn’t convinced.
In addition, most folks aren’t claiming that this change is inherently bad or that it’ll make the game any worse by a considerable margin, but rather that it’ll require a metric ton of effort and time in order to be balanced correctly which, in all fairness, has never been Blizzard’s forte. They’ve always taken far more time to iron the kinks out that they should’ve, and the same goes for hero balancing, meta adjustments, and everything in between.
The dev team has its own view on things and it’s fair to say that their outlook and “read” on what needs to be done heavily differs from that of the community. And, based on empirical evidence, we’d argue that the community was correct to call them out nearly each and every single time. So, in all fairness, if they make the same mistakes with Overwatch 2 and its PvP component, we’ll probably be in for quite a bumpy ride.
Naturally, the vast majority of people — including fans, pro players, analysts, media, and coaches — wasted no time in letting their disapproval be known. Everyone wanted to give their two cents on the matter and rightfully so; the shift to 5v5 will have huge, far-reaching implications on the game as a whole. And, frankly, one simply has to wonder whether such a big change makes sense given the game’s waning popularity? It’s like we’re back to square one all over again. Blizzard doesn’t have the luxury of experimenting either, seeing how other, seemingly more alluring titles have stolen its thunder recently.
Either way, interesting times are ahead — for better or worse. Things aren’t as grim as everyone’s initial reactions would lead you to believe, but there’s still a cause for concern. Blizzard hasn’t always done the right thing at the right time, so a more skeptical, pessimistic take is definitely warranted.
Overwatch 2 PvP Developer Livestream Breakdown
Most other announcements — exciting though they were — paled in comparison to the whole 5v5 reveal. Regardless, they warrant our attention as well, so let’s do a somewhat quick rundown!
- Hero changes galore — A shift to 5v5 requires serious adjustments across the board and that’ll perhaps be most evident with the game’s beloved cast of colorful characters, most of whom will be changed and adjusted in either huge or more nuanced ways. Tanks, for instance, will now play more like brawlers. Reinhardt, therefore, will have two Fire Strike charges along with more precise control of his charge (which will now be cancellable). Winston, on the other hand, is getting an alt-fire, long-range shot of lightning that’ll allow him to dish out damage from afar. Mei will no longer be able to freeze enemies with her primary fire, but will instead only slow them (by a considerable amount). You get the gist. With the move to just a single tank per team comp, Blizzard wants to give those players a lot more agency going forward which is definitely the right call.
- A more streamlined UI — We’re getting a more streamlined user interface along with a couple of quality-of-life changes thrown in for good measure. Supports, for instance, will now be able to see whom they’re healing thanks to a small portrait of their affected allies.
- Role-specific passives — Overwatch 2 will bring unique role passives to the table as well. So, for instance, tanks will now have reduced knockback and will provide less ultimate charge to their attackers. DPS heroes, on the other hand, will get a small speed boost, with supports being able to self-heal over time. This is just a quick rundown, and seeing how we’re still a ways off from the game’s official release, take everything you read with a fair bit of reserve as it could change heavily going forward.
- Less CC all-around — The OW2 dev team is trying their hardest to keep crowd control to a minimum. Most “hardcore” CC abilities will be heavily adjusted and that should, in turn, result in a more enjoyable gaming experience (one that will be easier to balance) once the game is officially released.
Five new maps have been showcased including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Rome, and Monte Carlo, each of which has its own specific allure! Rome, like Toronto, will be a Push map.
A brand new game mode will be announced at some point in the future and will officially replace Assault/2CP maps in both Quick Play and Competitive.
All in all, the Overwatch 2 PvP developer livestream was definitely packed with interesting bits and pieces, although it’s fair to say that not all of them were met with enthusiasm. Regardless of where we stand on these matters, it’s impossible not to commend Blizzard for trying to make Overwatch 2 the best possible game it can be. They’re not always perfect in execution (not by a country mile), but they’re passionate about the game, much like everyone else.
There’s still no release date in sight, but by the looks of it, the game’s coming along at quite a nice pace. An early/mid 2022 release date feels pretty reasonable, although you can never be too certain whenever Blizzard is involved.