Overwatch One Year Later...
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Oh lordy! What a year it has been! Happy May guys and with this month creeping by, it also marks the one year anniversary of Overwatch's official release. This piece will be an overview of my year with Overwatch but as someone who came from the original BETA, I won't be touching on some of the stuff pre-final build release, so no Bastion with a shield complaint bits here.
Overwatch firmly planted itself into my life in the grandest way possible. I was a fan of Team Fortress 2 (Sniper main) and that was one of the main aspects of Overwatch that drew me to the game. Admittedly, I was never that much of a Blizzard fanboy. I played Star Craft and Diablo II, briefly got into World of Warcraft. While I was always acutely aware of Blizzard Entertainment, it wasn't until Overwatch that I flung head-first into this developer and their games.
While I have jumped in to several multiplayer games, many of them lost their overall allure after a few months. I never fully got into the MOBA scene nor was I a “leet gamer” (do people still say leet?) in the whole Call of Duty culture. I liked my single player experiences, much of my backlog of games are adventure and role-playing titles, but if you had told me that a game was going to come along to completely capture my attention like Overwatch, I personally wouldn't have believed it myself.
For the first time in a very long time... I cared about patch notes in a game. The last time a competitive multiplayer type game captured my attention was when I got in to Smite. Like I said, I was never that in on the MOBA scene. Smite was the first MOBA that really had me hooked, and while I did pay attention to some of the games patch and balancing notes... nothing like I do now with Overwatch.
Much of my attitude towards Overwatch has to do with how my mind-set seemed to switch after I got in to this game. Even back in my TF2 days, I was a casual player. I never took the matches too seriously and I focused more on having fun over improving my game. Overwatch ignited a competitive spark in me that drives me in every match I play today. Mind you, I still focus on the fact that this is a game and when it's all said and done... I'm here to have fun. What I didn't expect was how I would push myself to further improve my overall game, learning the nitty-gritty of Overwatch's mechanics while actively challenging myself to be a better player. This competitive spirit in Overwatch has molded my game and further has improved my attitude towards other games as well. My will to improve felt like the days I used to shoot 100 free-throws in my driveway before coming through the door after school, a competitive spirit similar to my organized sports days. Even today, I actively try to practice other heroes in Quick Play to further improve my overall arsenal when I jump in to Comp.
Speaking of Competitive Play, this game mode has been equally one of the best... and at times the worst... parts of Overwatch today. First the positives, the game has almost overnight become a highly competitive shooter after Comp was integrated. Each season players battle it out in all tiers of play. What this also has done in my opinion is give rise to more instances of toxicity in game, Overwatch can be serious business to some people and while I don't want to fault a player for actively striving to win... games like this have the tendency to breed rampant toxicity. We've seen examples of this is everything from Call of Duty to League of Legends, how Blizzard plans to tackle the rise of toxicity is still up in the air... but based on how they have to date treated the game and the community, it's safe to assume that Blizzard will do right by their fans.
My personal favorite aspect of Overwatch this past year have been their seasonal events. Starting with the Summer Games and extending to the current seasonal event, the Anniversary, each seasonal event has brought to the game new game modes, unique cosmetics, and bits and pieces to the lore. Each seasonal event has been a fun addition to an already fantastic game, my favorite game mode brought to us has to be the PvE Junkenstein's Revenge brawl included with the Halloween event. Lucio Ball was fun, but the chance to play in a PvE mode with friends or randos gave the game new life. Countless rounds later, I never got tired of Junkenstein's Revenge and even now I still miss that game mode, here's hoping it comes back next year!
While more games today have adopted loot pack mechanics, something very common in the free-to-play mobile space, what I respect the most about Blizzard and the Overwatch team was how they have stayed true to the idea that the game's Loot Boxes are for purely cosmetic reasons. Everyone has a level playing field here, but if you want to purchased boxes to help support the developers and earn sweet digital swag... you can do that. New heroes, maps, modes... everything in Overwatch with deeper substance come packaged in with the price of admission. You are never required to purchase additional maps (looking at you Call of Duty) to play the current game. I feel like this has paid of considerably for Blizzard. Overwatch has been one of if not the most popular game of the past year and with the promise of more heroes, modes, and ways to play... this train isn't slowing down anytime soon.
In closing, my year with Overwatch has been a year to remember. I see myself getting more in to the game as the months go by, voraciously consuming as much media about the game as possible. So far, Overwatch has released three new heroes in Ana, Sombra, and Orisa... the much rumored Doomfist is expected next. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go download the patch for the Anniversary Event.