I’m having an absolute blast with the Overwatch beta for a number of reasons. This is one of them.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing the Overwatch beta over the past few days — it’s open for everyone from today — and you can read my full impressions here, along with a few handy tips to help you get started. Without reading that preview, I’ll tell you that I’m enjoying it…a lot! There are a number of reasons why: I love the character variation, the map design, the presentation, and just the general pacing and structure of matches. I think Blizzard is onto something here. I still have concerns over pricing and depth, and whether the final game can justify a full retail game price, but as it stands, the fundamentals are fantastic and I think it’s going to have an active community for a long time.
However, no amount of words could encapsulate what I love about this game more than the video below.
As you can see, I go through a pretty lengthy stretch of domination playing as Bastion. I’ve actually had longer killstreaks since I recorded this, but there’s an underlying message on display here. Don’t worry: this isn’t about me racking up killstreaks. That’s not why I play Overwatch.
Firstly, though, I want to talk about Bastion. He’s my character of choice when playing defense, because he offers the sort of perimeter defense your team needs to protect the objective. I didn’t play the closed beta, but going by some reports it seems as though he has been significantly nerfed. Understandably, some people still think he’s overpowered, but I disagree: I think he’s perfectly balanced next to the constant barrage of attackers coming to claim an objective. Further to this, he’s no where near as invincible as some make him out to be: he’s easy to flank, and has a relatively weak health meter. Sure, he can self-heal, but he can’t repair if he’s being hit. In fact, the self-heal ability makes him incredibly vulnerable, and if opponents play their cards right, they can attack and take him down at the moment he repairs himself. I’ve died many times trying to repair because I understated his vulnerability in such a state, but sometimes it’s worth the risk to stay alive and in the match, especially considering how far away spawns are from the objective.
So you’re probably wondering what it is about that video that makes me love Overwatch as much as I do. As you can see, for 99% of that video my team is doing a pretty good job of protecting the final objective after losing the first one. We have defenders covering the vantage points, the flanks, and myself covering the objective area to ward off enemies from a distance before they can get close. The opposing team’s error for most of this match is that they keep falling directly into my hands: they simply can’t move forward. This is why I am getting so many kills, as they are either willingly — or are forced by my teammates into — entering the central corridor.
Towards the end there it seemed as though we had things covered. But there’s a massive lull there towards the end. My teammates are all sort of floating around looking for the enemy, and it was eerily quiet. “We have this won,” I thought to myself. With about 30 seconds left, it seemed as though we’d survived losing that first objective and had successfully protected the second. Then suddenly, as you can see, the enemy regroups, and rushes through the corridor. They do it in such an organised yet sporadic way that it’s almost poetic. Suddenly, after five minutes of being utterly slaughtered, this team had come together as a TEAM, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It was beautiful.
This actually isn’t all that uncommon. I’ve played many games where one team appears to be dominating for a long stretch, only for the desperation of the final minute adding some sort of structure to the attacking team.
This is why I am loving Overwatch. It’s not over until it’s over. Generally, if you’re being smashed for such a long period in a match, you’re going to lose. But that just isn’t the case in Overwatch. The ability to change characters during a spawn and adjust your team structure to the pacing of the match ensures that matches are always there to be won…and always there to be lost.
What this video shows is a sort of team dynamic that, even if completely unintentional, can very quickly change the outcome of a match. That team may very well have just come together at the right time, but something tells me that they all knew what role they had to play, and what they needed to do to win the match.
My team might have lost, but I had a weird sense of satisfaction in defeat. Maybe it’s because I know that when I play Overwatch, a match is going to run until the final seconds, no matter how much my team is dominating. Of course in this situation, losing the first objective cost us big time, but we had objective B covered well, and held off for five minutes only before crumbling in the final seconds.
It’s exhilarating. Never have I felt so satisfied in defeat in an online game before.
That’s why I’m loving Overwatch.