With the recent patch coming through, many have already begun to discuss the end of GOATS-style Overwatch. While it may take a while for this tank and support heavy meta to fully dissipate, the developers have clearly shown they intend to have the game move away from it eventually. But are we sure we know what we’re getting into when there’s no more GOATS?
While nearly every Hero currently deals more damage than they did upon launch (and Reinhardt’s shield is still only at 2000), there are three characters that are particularly powerful after the newest patch. Reaper, McCree, and Hanzo have all been buffed to the point where each has some degree of escapability and a huge amount of burst damage. While other DPS like Pharah, Torbjorn, Symmetra, Bastion, and Solider: 76 have also seen buffs, none have been as significant as these three.
A couple of questions come to mind here: Why these three Heroes above all others and what can Blizzard do now that these Heroes have already been buffed? Here are some attempts to answer these questions and work through what may be on the horizon during season 2 of the Overwatch League.
Why Reaper, McCree, and Hanzo?
Each of these Heroes have failed to see regular play time in higher ranked Overwatch during the past year. With the exception of some GOATS comps which feature McCree and Hanzo’s brief stint in the double-sniper meta, these three have been rare and situational picks at best. But, then again, so have many other DPS heroes like Junkrat, Sombra, and Doomfist. So, why have the other three received such aggressive buffs?
This is largely out of speculation, but it seems that Blizzard developers are attempting to shape a meta that is more void of crowd control abilities than previous metas have had. Sombra, Doomfist, and Junkrat all have abilities that can slow, hack, stun, or trap enemies and preventing them from playing the game briefly.
Reaper, McCree, and Hanzo, with exception to McCree’s flashbang, have zero crowd control options. They are pure damage dealers. By focusing on these sorts of characters, Blizzard is leaning more towards its FPS roots and less towards making Overwatch like a MOBA, a genre that’s typically full of stuns and crowd control.
What This Means
If this sort of style stays with the game going into OWL season 2, a key philosophy of Overwatch may be up for grabs. GOATS is exactly the kind of team comp that Overwatch was destined to embrace. It’s quintessential Overwatch, in a sense.
If the game moves to become a more traditional FPS, rewarding players with the highest mechanical skill on DPS players, the GOATS-style of play will eventually fade out and a new DPS-centered Overwatch is likely to creep in. While this is a bit drastic sounding and maybe a bit overdramatized, it isn’t too farfetched given the recent patches. At the very least, we are bound to see something similar to the double-sniper meta in the upcoming OWL season in terms of it’s focus on the DPS players of a team.
Can Blizzard Prevent This and Still Remove GOATS?
This is a tough one, and one this author certainly doesn’t have the answer to. If you buff all tanks to counterbalance the increased DPS damage, then GOATS isn’t going anywhere. If you only buff non-traditional GOATS tanks like Winston, Wrecking Ball, and Orisa, you may create another dive meta and render healers like Zenyatta completely useless.
A sensible change would be to balance tanks in a way that lends them to being weaker against each other but not DPS heroes like Reaper which are meant to counter them. Giving Reinhardt an extra amount of damage on his shield, for example, would make him much sturdier to a frontline assault, while still leaving him weak to a well-coordinated Reaper flank.
Something like this could be tested and iterated by developers in order to keep Overwatch’s essential team-based focus, while still allowing DPS to win the fights against heroes they counter. If we are going to avoid a dangerous and different DPS-centered game, the developers need to get ahead on these changes and really look at the core tenants of what makes Overwatch, Overwatch.
If nothing else, please just do it for those of us playing ladder in Platinum. We don’t need any more reason for our teammates to choose five DPS Heroes – we see it enough already.
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