Overwatch’s fourth season has just come to a close. This marks the completion of one full year of the game’s release and competitive play. With it, we can look back and see what Blizzard has done and what we can expect from them for the future.
Overwatch’s four competitive seasons were all uniquely different and each season showcased different kinds of players and strategies. Season 1 featured the standard 2-2-2 (2 tanks, 2 supports,
2 DPS) team composition with Mercy and Lucio. It also featured the overtime coin flip, much to a player’s dismay. Season 2 featured Ana, Genji, and Reaper in the fast-paced beyblade meta, with short quick fights determining it all. Season 3 highlighted the triple tank composition, a slugfest of high HP tanks that never seem to die due to Ana’s insane HPS (healing per second). And finally, Season 4, where Bastion became President for a week until he was axed. After the Bastion apocalypse, Season 4 became a hybrid of the past three seasons, featuring triple tanks, standard 2-2-2s, and even some Ana-Genji/Soldier combos. We also witnessed the re-popularization of Mercy hide-n-seek.
With the ever evolving metas and the introduction of new maps and heroes, the game retains its freshness and playability. Without the patches, updates, and new releases Blizzard has offered to us, the game would have become stale, boring, and dead by now. With Blizzard’s activeness in trying to create a better game, Overwatch is able to evolve and become more complete and fun.
Of course, Blizzard’s new releases are always a delight to players. However, while Blizzard’s they are always welcome, new hero releases have sometimes not been what many players may have hoped for. So far, they have released a reasonable amount: one hero after each season, excluding Season 4. However, among the three heroes of Ana, Sombra, and Orisa, Ana is the only hero that is actually seen in competitive.
As we know, Ana is an oddball in that when she was first released, she was seen as one of the worst heroes in the game. When Blizzard buffed her, however, she transformed into a behemoth that no one could stop leading to a virtually 100% pick rate in Seasons 2 and 3. With the most recent Ana nerf, she is now an average hero seeing some competitive play, but not at the same level as she once was. Unlike Ana, the two other heroes, Sombra and Orisa, almost never see the light in competitive. Both Sombra and Orisa rank in the bottom three picked heroes across the seasons they have existed in. However, since the Ana fiasco, Blizzard has been hesitant in buffing these newly released heroes. The question now is how Blizzard can convince people to try these newer heroes. While Blizzard constantly states that these heroes are balanced and good to go for competitive, players tend to disagree. So far they have been unable to convince users to try and work with the new heroes. It will be interesting to see how Blizzard will deal with the eventual releases of other heroes like Doomfist. Hopefully, they will come up with a better plan as these heroes are not what players wanted in competitive.
Responding to the community
Blizzard’s job is not only to release new
content, but also to communicate and talk to their users. Throughout the year, players have complained to Blizzard about their problems, such as the Season 1 coin flip, the cheaters in Korea’s PC Bangs, Ana in general, Reinhardt’s pick-rate, and Bastion’s ironclad, to name a few. Although Blizzard sometimes takes its time in formulating or pushing out responses, so far Blizzard has done a pretty good job in responding to the community. They are active and try to respond to every players’ complaints on the Blizzard Forums, Reddit, and YouTube with their Developer Updates. Listening to the community, they got rid of the coin flip because of the frustration it gave players and they also eventually nerfed Bastion’s ironclad. They found a solution to deal with cheaters and they have backed up their rigid stance on hero nerfs and buffs with their statistics and explanations. As long as Blizzard keeps up their communication with the people playing Overwatch, they will be in good shape.
Blizzard has shown us a lot this year. We can expect many things in the near future. Not only can we expect the many goodies they have planned this year, like new and revamped events, maps, heroes and game modes, but we can also expect a developer team with good communication and activeness with the player base. Expect to see another year with Blizzard communicating with the players and trying to satisfy everyone, and ever-changing gameplay and experiences.