The latest news that Overwatch 2 may be delayed into 2023 has had a devastating impact on the morale within the community. With all of what’s happening at Activision-Blizzard currently, it should really come as no surprise that such delays and impacts are being felt on the development of Overwatch 2.
That being said, further delays on a game that was rumoured to have been released in early 2021 only further frustrate a community that has long being supportive of a game that, ironically has lacked much in the way of support.
And if Overwatch 2 is again delayed into 2023, it’s fair to assume that Overwatch as a game — and perhaps even as a franchise — could well be dead before the sequel is even made available.
That may seem hyperbolic, but anyone engaged in the community knows exactly what shape the game is in and how the community feels. If you speak with anyone in the Overwatch community, they’ll likely say that their breaks from the game are growing larger and larger. What used to be a few days away from the game has turned into weeks, then months. For some, it will soon be years.
Sure, there will always be a committed and returning Overwatch base, and this author will continue to return to Overwatch, but the reality remains that no new content in the way of a sequel absolutely has to mean some new content for what currently exists. Otherwise Blizzard may lose a sizeable chunk of its community, and they may never return.
It’s understandable that what may be needed to add new content to Overwatch is simply not available, as the resources required for Overwatch 2 are likely significant. That said, it’s rather astounding that a contingency plan wasn’t in place to keep the community engage in such a scenario that years go by without a new release or expansion.
We as a community have to simply accept that, but it doesn’t mean we have to sit silent. I think there are a few things Blizzard can do to boost engagement and get the Overwatch community jumping back in again.
Expand The Arcade
The Arcade in Overwatch goes these weird phases. On some days it has the perfect blend of modes. On other days it has the obscure blend of Team Deathmatches and 1v1 modes that take longer to find a lobby for than to actually complete. Granted, the operational demands of hosting every single Arcade mode at once may not be easy, but expanding the daily availability of modes may keep players playing more consistently. I for one would log in every damn day if I knew Total Mayhem was available (sorry, Jeff), but I know it’s only every second or third day.
Same goes for Classic Quick Play and No Limits. Hosting lobbies in a 24/7 style, similar to what we see in Call of Duty with 24/7 Nuketown lobbies, will at least keep the modes open and ready to play all the time. The current cycling system seems unnecessarily restrictive for a game that desperate needs a wider array of content.
Start Promoting Custom Games
DVa Egg, McCree 1 Shot, and countless others deserve more respect. I don’t know how Blizzard could do this, but perhaps a 24/7 custom lobby in Arcade could list a few of the week’s most played/hosted Custom Games.
I understand that this effectively defeats the purpose of Custom Games, but the Workshop is housing a lot of amazing talent that I feel goes greatly under-utilised, especially given how badly the community is calling out for more content.
Shorter, More Diverse Competitive Seasons
This may be a controversial suggestion, but shorter competitive seasons may actually prompt people to “bash and crash” their way through placements and seasons, knowing that the turnaround is quick. At currently a month each you’re looking at a pretty long period of time, and with a dwindling community size and doesn’t make sense to continue holding seasons that go for that long.
Could we maybe also look at Competitive seasons for the most popular Arcade modes? Beyond what’s already in there? Total Mayhem cops a lot of flack from the community, but if you have two teams stacked with Diamond-and-above players, matches are long and i.n.t.e.n.s.e. I’m talking balls-to-the-wall crazy. A Competitive Total Mayhem season would have been logged on every damn night!
What are your thoughts on how Blizzard could help boost interest in Overwatch before Overwatch 2? Sound off in the comments below!