Blizzard Entertainment has been a giant in the gaming industry since its inception in 1994; with groundbreaking titles like World Of Warcraft and Starcraft, they have made a huge name for themselves. Their latest offering, Overwatch is considered by many to be the game of the year and has just launched its second season of competitive play. This game has been declared the next big thing in e-sports and has amassed over 10 million players since it’s launch in May of 2016, with credentials like that Overwatch obviously warrants a good amount of attention. At Escape Games Canada, Overwatch has gotten more than attention; it’s become our obsession. More than half of our staff play online together on a daily basis, we own versions on PC, XBOX One and PS4, in some cases, one staff member owns multiple copies. So trust us, we have some strong opinions, and here’s our take on season 2.
After interviewing our team about the changes to Overwatch’s competitive mode, we have all agreed that we are big fans of the changes that Blizzard has made. While the buffs and nerfs to various characters on the Overwatch roster have certainly improved the gameplay in an already very well balanced game, it’s the new ranking system that really has us sold. A huge upgrade from the system used during the first competitive season, Overwatch’s new tier system really makes you feel like you are achieving something as you play. Gone are the days of slowly climbing the ladder and fighting for every little competitive point. By increasing the unit of measurement between the tiers, Blizzard has created an environment where players are motivated to play. In the past, every loss set you back, you had to play three or four games to recover, now players can feel rewarded for their wins and not just punished.
The ranking system is also a huge boost to player confidence. The ability to keep your rank, even in the face of loss, means that players can stop being self-deprecating and work towards the next rank. A player’s self-esteem is good for their game (anyone who has ever rage-quit knows what we’re talking about), and this new system supports just that. While that sounds great, matchmaking also takes your competitive points into account, so you can’t just sit at the bottom of your tier and feel secure. The balance between the tier system and competitive score create a neutral ground where players can get an honest measure of their skill in the game. It’s an overwhelmingly positive change in an already exceptional game.
Overall, Overwatch has defied expectations since it’s launch. It’s proven itself with a huge roster of playable characters, engaging environments, and it’s charming sense of humour. Beyond these traits, Overwatch has something that few other games can boast, it has the unequivocal support of its developers. Not only that, the development team observes and listens to the feedback of the players. This kind of support has helped the game grow from its massive success when it released to the unstoppable juggernaut it now is. If Blizzard can keep up the maintenance on Overwatch, then we have high hopes for season 3!