Let’s be honest, when Overwatch fans complain, it’s with a grain of salt. We’ve got it pretty good. Blizzard is known for listening to their community and responding quickly to dissatisfaction or unintended consequences, while always keeping their fans informed. Overwatch‘s development team is no different. It’s like they are themselves an elite global task force recruited with one common goal: to deliver a fun and competitive gaming experience!
As spoiled as Overwatch fans may be, there are a few legitimate concerns and complaints that have resonated throughout the community, and many fans hope the Overwatch team continues to deliver by addressing these issues in the coming year. This list won’t be too concerned with ‘nerfing Symmetra’ or ‘buffing Winston’ as Overwatch is really good about making slight adjustments to their characters over time, and measuring their overall performance, but will instead focus on elements of the game that players either simply want more of or have found to be troubling for some time now. These are 18 Changes Overwatch Fans Want In 2017.
18. More New Maps
Blizzard promised us new maps in 2017, and boy did they deliver! The new king-of-the-hill map Oasis was released just three days into the new year. Now that’s what you call making good on a promise. With 362 more days in the year, though, Overwatch players are wondering what else may be in the works for the development team. Oasis comes chock-full of backstory as a technologically advanced utopia society, founded by eight of the world’s leading scientists. Despite having killer traffic (watch out, the cars will knock you off the map!) and boasting an amazing elevator of death, the three Oasis maps are actually quite symmetrical and seemingly basic. King-of-the-hill maps are fun, but players are also hoping to see more payload or multiple objective maps in the future. And although a flashy story is nice, fans also want to see more of the places they’ve already seen in Overwatch‘s digital shorts and comics. Can we build upon the lore a little more before expanding the universe?
17. Either Fix Rejoining, Or Ban Leavers
If you talk to players who queue up in Competitive Mode, they all agree to hate one thing: Leavers. But when you delve further into that topic, the conversation gets skewed, and people start talking about accountability. There seems to be two main camps, those that want to make it easier to rejoin a match once you’ve been disconnected, and those that want to increase the penalty for leaving a competitive match. The problem with leavers is that they force the remaining players to continue the match with five players versus six. Even if for a small amount of time, this can have drastic effects on the outcome of the game. So though a minority of players feel like they shouldn’t be punished for disconnecting, most other players agree that maybe they shouldn’t be playing Competitive Mode in the first place with a shoddy connection. In the end, it’s a team game, and can seem rather unfair when a teammate leaves.
16. Revisit Torbjörn Nerfs On Console
Did you know Overwatch is different depending on whether it’s on the PC or a console? Though the game is mostly the same across platforms, there are a few outlying situations where changes were made out of necessity. One of these changes is with everyone’s favorite Swedish engineer that they just love to hate: Torbjörn. Due to perceived differences in reaction time from PC to console, the console version of Torbjörn’s turret was adjusted to have lower damage, as it was difficult to notice and avoid his turret’s lock-on before it was too late. This was an adjustment made early into the game’s release, which has since seen most other characters get modified health or armor and altered damage outputs. Many players, either Torbjörn fans or teammates that just want their stubborn friends to be more successful in putting enemies down, think it’s time to revisit Torbjörn’s damage and make him more viable as a defensive hero. People always underestimate the engineers!
15. Improve Matchmaking
Ever been matched for a game that you felt was unwinnable? Those that solo queue feel it worse than others, but when teams face an MRR disparity of 300-500 SR points, it can be frustrating to think you were matched to take the fall. A lot of fans’ complaints allude to many levels of ‘unfairness’ including larger ‘grouped’ groups playing smaller or ungrouped teams, or that a good matchmaking system should feel like a win rate of 50%. Scott Mercer, principal designer of Overwatch tried to explain how the matchmaking algorithms work, while remaining committed to make the experience better. The situation often arises when it would take more than the ideal amount of time to make a fair match, or when players are playing in off-peak hours and there is simply not the right competitors online. This results mostly from the smaller pools of available players at either the extreme bottom or top of the ranks. The ‘Stay As A Team’ option has definitely helped immensely, but all players can agree the game is much more fun when you feel like you have a fighting chance.
14. Better Placements
In season one, you didn’t play competitive. In season two, you placed platinum but ended in silver. In season three, you placed 600 bronze? You might remember the big overhaul to Competitive Mode in season three, where the Overwatch team felt gold and platinum brackets were overcrowded. They warned players, ‘you might be ranked lower than you expected’ and they couldn’t have been more right. Players who had never seen the depths of ELO hell (the bottom of bronze, where it feels impossible to dig yourself out of) found themselves frustrated and hungry for a win, while new players were getting earfuls of criticism over their non-meta attack Bastion picks. This is because a huge factor in placement was now your previous season’s performance, not just the 10 placement matches, and varying levels of experience were being jostled together once again. Some players have called for the amount of hours of competitive play to be a factor in placement and matchmaking. Others have called for placements to occur in their own bubble, not in others’ competitive match. But all players just want something consistent, and would hate to suffer a big surprise like they did with the opening of season three.
13. Competitive 3v3?
Most conversations about incoming patches have to do with how it’s going to change the meta. Ana’s getting nerfed and Reinhardt is a must-pick, always. Even the professional e-sports teams start to look the same in their lineups. This is why some fans have been arguing to legitimize a narrow but popular niche community within Overwatch: The 3v3 players. Currently, 3v3 is in the Arcade and only has one map, but with any combination of three heroes to choose from there are countless possibilities for a quick win or a long drawn out battle. It’s arguably more dynamic, which is why many 3v3 players want to see a competitive mode made, and more attention given to this game mode. Without knowing your opponents’ hero selections, it becomes more about teamwork and how your team’s heroes can compliment each other. Oh, and of course it’s also about who can melt the most faces.
12. Why A Native American Skin On An Egyptian?
Overwatch may be an elite task force with the sole purpose of destroying killer robots, but Overwatch as a game has always had a message of inclusiveness with it’s global cast of heroes. Which is why it seems a little problematic that Pharah’s Raindancer and Thunderbird skins allude to the cultures of certain Native American tribes, in name and design, though she is explicitly Egyptian. She is the daughter of Ana, who is also Egyptian, and was formerly enlisted in the Egyptian Army where she held the rank of Security Officer. With so much attention given to backstory and especially to the linguistic verisimilitude of the voice actors, it’s difficult to pinpoint why these skins exist. Many Native American players have called for an easy solution: Give us a Native American hero. This might actually be Overwatch‘s intentions, or a brilliantly crafted retcon, because Reinhardt is not stated as Pharah’s father despite his romantic history with Ana. Perhaps we will get a Native American hero when Pharah’s real father is revealed.
11. Auto-join Teamchat On Console
This is the smallest change, but oh so beneficial. Currently on console, auto-joining teamchat is turned off by default. All Overwatch players on console want is to have it turned on be default. For a game that takes a lot of team cooperation to win an objective, it’s essential that the players be able to communicate. On PC, it’s fairly simple to press ‘p’ and click from ‘Group Chat’ to ‘Team Chat.’ But on the console, it’s not so simple, where you have to navigate through several menus each time. And if you join a match with some players already grouped, it’s almost impossible to communicate to them asking them to switch. On PC, you can always just type and ask your teammates to hop in the right chat, on console, there just isn’t time. This results in a lot gifs that look like this, with players having to pantomime yes’s and no’s to get their point across. Entertaining? Yes. But not all that good for you if you’re trying to win.
10. Bring Us More Heroes!
We want more heroes! Just please, please not another string-along ARG event like Sombra’s release. The months and months of anticipation really killed the hype. But there is still hype! There are some heroes fans have been hyped about since the first Cinematic Trailer was released for Overwatch. In this particular trailer we get nods to heroes named Soundquake and Fusionator. In the center of all the action is Doomfist’s gauntlet. And at the end we get a still image of some of our favorite founding members of Overwatch alongside some unknown faces. Some of these early hero concepts have been discarded, merged with other ideas to make heroes like Mei and Zarya, and some, we hope, are still in development. It’s this mystery that feeds the hype. We’ve only heard about founding Overwatch team member Liao, and seen some secondary characters like Mirembe in more than one digital short.
9. More Gold For Duplicate Legendary Skins
It happened during the Olympics. It happened during Halloween. It happened during the Winter holidays, and you can be sure it will happen again. Every holiday season that sees cool new legendary skins, players complain about how little gold they get for recieving duplicates from loot boxes. It’s a fair complaint when the coolest legendary skins are only available for a short time, and maybe you’ve received three of one you didn’t want. And when the price of a seasonal legendary skin is 3000 gold, it can be a bit frustrating to only recieve 200 coins. Or worst-case-scenario for an impatient player, who splurges on the skin they wanted only to get it’s duplicate in their next holiday box! It can take awhile to grind that kind of gold. Whether the Overwatch development team hears these complaints and addresses them or not, players can always take refuge in the fact that the Earth will make at least one more rotation around the sun, and whatever fancy seasonal holiday skin that eludes them will still be available next year. Well, maybe four years for the Olympics skins. Oops.
8. More Legendary Non-holiday Skins
Speaking of skins, fans have been very clear about what they want from the Overwatch team in online communities and forums. They want more ‘serious’ skins, and more legendary skins that are not holiday-themed or seasonal. And most importantly, they want a hand in designing them! Hundreds of fans have created original skin designs and fan art for their favorite heroes, sometimes referencing nerdy crossovers or taking it back to the little bit of lore there is. Even Overwatch characters in Heroes of the Storm have some pretty wicked skins that aren’t available in Overwatch itself. The solution here is pretty win-win for Blizzard: they should involve their dedicated community by periodically hosting design competitions for new legendary skins. They could roll them out very slowly over a couple years. They could even open up design competitions for sprays! Blizzard, are you reading this? This is an excellent marketing opportunity!
7. Give Us Terry Crews!
It’s hard to believe it all started with a single Reddit post in the subreddit for Overwatch fans, but thousands (maybe millions?) of fans have been demanding Terry Crews be the voice actor for Doomfist. Now, you may recognize Terry Crews from Mike Judge’s Idiocracy or from his current role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or his past career as an NFL football player, but you might not recognize the hero Doomfist because he’s not in the current Overwatch lineup. Doomfist is a highly anticipated hero that has been seeded throughout the game since the Cinematic Trailer. In Numbani, the payload is actually the Doomfist Gauntlet being transported, and you can see around the city banners for the Doomfist Exhibit. According to posters also found in-game, Doomfist is a generational hero, much like the Green Lantern, who passes on the mantle in due time. Fans erupted all over the internet when Terry Crews tweeted that he was at Blizzard headquarters, and then again early this year when he tweeted to ask fans if they indeed wanted him to VA for Doomfist. Even Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson chimed in to give his support. Terry likes his Overwatch. If we’re lucky, Terry’s gonna get his Doomfist on, real soon.
6. ‘Do Not Play With This Player’ Option
Easily the most controversial of all complaints and requests, players have been demanding a ‘Do Not Play With This Player’ option. Throughout Quick Play and Competitive Mode, every player has encountered either that horribly toxic player that ruins the match for everyone with their abusive chat, or the troll who plays Symmetra and puts the teleporter on a cliff towards death and ruination. When blocking or muting doesn’t work, sometimes a player just never wants to be paired with another player ever again. It may go against the creed of Overwatch developers, as Soldier: 76 says, “We’re all soldiers now,” but when you play match after match and get paired with the same noncompetitive player it can be frustrating. This kind of option will probably never come into fruition, as it’s possible to imagine some players using this option to try and game the system, opting to play with teammates higher ranked or at least not playing with lower ranked or unskilled players in order to increase their SR. Regardless, it doesn’t stop Overwatch players from demanding it.
5. Reporting, Banning With Results
We all get a little tilted sometimes, but when that extra salty player is super toxic in teamchat or voice chat, we have to remind ourselves that we are not playing League of Legends (with a notoriously, shall we say, angry player base), we are playing a Blizzard game, which takes abusive chat very seriously. At least, in its other games like World of Warcraft. In Overwatch, we’re still not there yet. There is the option to report for Abusive Chat, but no ticketing system that informs you some kind of action will be taken. And when players are trolling their team on purpose, or suddenly making personal attacks in voice chat with really offensive language, players assume or at least hope some kind of action will be taken to prevent it. Overwatch should be a safe space for anyone to escape from their everyday lives and fight in a global Omnium revolutionary war. Perhaps Overwatch moderators have bigger fish to fry, but we’ll get into that a little later.
4. More Shorts, Comics
If you’ve only focused on the game so far, you’re missing out on a ton of cool content in the form of Overwatch‘s digital shorts and comics. Not only is it where most of Overwatch‘s backstory is released, but it’s really the only place you can find out more about the heroes and their pasts. If you keep up-to-date on them, you might even notice a hint to a future hero’s release, like in the digital short Hero, when we’re introduced to Los Muertos and the LumériCo plant is not yet built, teasing Sombra’s origins before we even knew about her. It was also an Overwatch digital comic where we first learned of Tracer’s sexual identity, which was well received for including and representing the LGBTQ community in the form of Overwatch‘s cover hero. For Overwatch players with families, the digital shorts and comics is in the very least a great bonding experience to prepare for the next generation of heroes.
3. Story Mode
One thing you may have noticed when you decided to purchase Overwatch, is that for $39.99 (or $59.99 if you pre-ordered) you half-expected a single-player story mode. After all, with all new Blizzard characters from a whole new realm devoid of demons or dragons or orcs, how are we going to get to know this new world? And traditionally, most shooter games do have an immersive single-player story mode. But Overwatch is not traditional. Instead we get most of the story through in-game dialogue or through supplemental digital shorts and comics. Despite that, the success of Junkenstein’s Revenge (the Halloween Brawl) showed that Overwatch players deeply craved some PvE action with a small pinch of story, whether linear or not. So whether with small groups or single-player, any new PvE game mode would be well received. Can we get something like Call of Duty: Black Ops‘ Zombie mode, but with Omnics? You’re humanity’s last chance!
2. Team Stats
Every Overwatch player who’s joined a competitive match and asked another player to switch heroes knows what comes next: “But I’ve got gold elims!” As each player puts in the hours and climbs up the ranks they know, it’s not about what each particular person wants to play, but about picking a hero for the sake of the team’s composition — most often in response to what the other team is running. In this way, the current medal system has done a great disservice to its players as it gives a false incentive and emphasis on an individual’s performance instead of quantifying their actual contribution to their team. And currently, there is no way to view everyone’s stats at the end of a game. Though it may have been Overwatch developers intention to remove the ‘blame game’ of poor performance from the equation, it does the opposite by leaving a player’s faults ambiguous, with no knowledge of how they can improve. Overwatch players would definitely welcome a team stat system similar to Heroes of the Storm, where each contribution (eliminations, damage done, damage taken, amount healed, etc.) is quantified and displayed for everyone to see.
1. Prevent Hacking in Korea
This last list item is the elephant in the room. North American Overwatch players may have noticed a lot of their teammates have Korean names. What they may not know is that aimbotting and hacking is so prevalent on Korean servers, that many players would rather take the server lag over having to play with cheaters all the time. Any big game in the industry also knows, if a game is not legitimate in Korea, it will never become a professional e-sport game. So Blizzard has a responsibility to tackle this problem head-on, for the experience of its Korean players, and for the future of Overwatch.
In very recent news, Blizzard has actually started taking steps to ban over 10,000 cheaters in Korea after an epidemic of a hack called ‘Nuking‘ started taking place. The hack involves sending an overload of packets to the IP that resembles a DoS attack, which is totally all kinds of illegal according to Korean law. If Blizzard can tackle this blunder, perhaps it can secure a future as a top-tier competitive e-sport.
Overwatch: 2016 Game of the Year
After winning 2016 Game of the Year, Blizzard’s Overwatch is bound to be around for awhile, which is why it’s important to fans that their concerns are heard. Lucky enough for them, the Overwatch team is unearthly when it comes to listening to their players. It is very likely that most of the issues listed here will be remedied very soon. 2017 is rumored to see new heroes (maybe as early as in the first quarter!), new maps, and maybe even new game modes. Blizzard is already cracking down on hacking in Korea, and if they accomplish that goal everything else will surely follow. Overwatch players are devoted and hard to deter, so with a little time we will see the community grow in number and legitimacy as a professional e-sport.
Have some demands for 2017 but didn’t see them here? Be sure to leave any other suggestions you have in the comments!