The changes to DPS characters recently, such as with Bastion, McCree, and now Reaper, have made something that slowly snuck up on the Overwatch player base become far more apparent: power creep.
What Is Power Creep?
Power creep is an increase in relative power caused by updates, balance patches, and expansions. To give an example, Reaper was recently buffed to heal 50 percent of the damage he deals. This buff went to the PTR in an attempt to counter the 3-3 (GOATS) meta. Reaper has been an off-meta pick for a while because other characters can fill the same role better, like Tracer. However, Reaper at one point was a strong pick that professional players would unironically pick. Reaper, along with other characters, started to get outclassed, so they were buffed to keep up with the others.
The Reaper buff is the most recent example of something like this occurring. The reality of power creep has slowly increased to where we are now. @YourOverwatchYT, an Overwatch YouTube channel that talks about the meta and hero changes, had this to say on Twitter:
Power Creep in Overwatch:
Reaper at launch, could collect souls of deal enemies to heal 50.
Reworked to have lifesteal @ 20% for 28-56 health a shot.
Buffed to 30% , 42-84 … Not enough?
50%! Now he heals a WHOPPING 70-140 in effective range.
Those numbers are insane.
— Your Overwatch (@YourOverwatchYT) January 8, 2019
What Does It Mean?
Power creep in Overwatch means that some Heroes output more damage or healing than others, making the less powerful Heroes almost useless. This under-performing Hero is then buffed to keep up with the others, continuing the cycle. Power creep has led to people playing characters that have huge health pools, insane amounts of damage, and crazy amounts of healing. The standard amount of healing and overall damage output now has increased significantly since launch.
Is It A Problem?
Yes. At this time, certain characters and abilities are very powerful, while others are just don’t stack up. For example, McCree’s right click ability “Fan the Hammer” does 55 damage per bullet.
That amount of damage doesn’t seem that bad, but Fan the Hammer shoots 6 bullets, adding up to a total of 330 damage, not counting critical hits. When comparing this amount of damage to other abilities, Tracer comes to mind, her ultimate ability, Pulse Bomb does 300 damage. The amount of damage in the game has become so skewed that a regular ability, with possibly two cool-down cancellations, does more damage than an ultimate ability.
Power creep has a lot to do with the meta. Every balance patch will fix problems and simultaneously introduce new ones. Next patch could make Soldier: 76 very powerful, and the healers won’t able to keep up with him, so then they will be buffed. It’s a frustrating cycle that multiplayer games go through, but nobody, not even the developers, can avoid it.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @Hearin_Voices.
Featured Image Courtesy of Play Overwatch
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