The Overwatch Beta is almost at a close and it’ll be a couple of weeks before the official release, so we all have lots of time to think about the game before committing our $40. I’m sure 99.9% of the universe has already prepurchased Blizzard’s latest gaming behemoth, but I’m not sold just yet. Here are the five changes I’d like to see in Overwatch before I’m willing to buy it.
1. Toned down Ultimates or an Ultimate free mode
My biggest frustration with team-based objective-oriented FPS is being killed on accident. A sniper aiming for another team mate and accidentally headshotting me instead is annoying, but Overwatch has topped all of the frustration of being crit-rocketed in TF2 with the addition of Ultimates. “Die, die, die!” is now permanently burned into my brain after thousands of unintentional deaths at the hand of a stray Reaper. Some Ultimates require the user’s expressed intention, namely Junk Rat, Pink-Hair Lady (No, I refuse to learn their crappy names), and Tracer, but most represent a fire and forget attitude that lets players rack up team kills without actually meaning to.
My suggestion is simple: either tone down the effectiveness of ultimates like Reapers, McCrees, Pharah, and that stupid looking Samurai guy, or create a gameplay mode that restricts the use of Ultimates. I would gladly play an Ultimate-free mode, that relies on players actually aiming their guns at each other rather than just sitting back and waiting for their Q’s to build up.
2. Max Ammo (or some other mechanic to discourage spamming randomly into corridors)
Chock this up to the feel-bad mechanic of dying unintentionally, but I think Overwatch needs to do something to discourage players spamming their weapons randomly in the general direction of the enemy. I’ve fought snipers who can kill players just as quickly as skilled marksman by just rifling off two or three body shots into a crowd. Junk Rat’s primary use is to continually barrage an area with grenades, but there should be some penalty to mindless behavior. Team Fortress 2 has a max ammo system that works pretty well, allowing players to get the job done without being able to infinitely spew out projectiles. Overwatch seems to be all about simplifying the gameplay experience and cutting off all the extra fat, so a Max Ammo system may not be to Blizzard’s liking, but I do think they need to do something to at least encourage players to think before they fire.
3. Changing McCree’s Flashbang to either Caltrops or a Coin Flip
I promised myself this list wouldn’t just be a bunch of complaints about specific characters, but after hours and hours of gameplay, one character rose above the rest on my personal shitlist. McCree is one of the coolest characters in the game aesthetically, but has one of the most boring loadouts. His pistol is fine the way it is, allowing for skilled shots from afar as well as fanned shots up close, and while I hate his ultimate, it fits his character and playstyle. McCree’s flashbang, on the other hand, stands out like a sore thumb, not just because it doesn’t fit the flavor of a lone Cowboy, but that it is so good that it forces players with half a brain to distill their gameplay down to fire and retreat patterns between flashbang cooldowns.
The strategy is simple: throw your flashbang at anything that moves. Once it’s stunned, walk up to it and shoot it in the face for an instant kill. Rinse and repeat. This style of gameplay is incredibly powerful and makes McCree one of the best 1v1 characters in the game, but it also goes against his aesthetic. The stereotypical Cowboy should be all about one versus one duels, but should win them by quick drawing against his opponent, not by throwing grenades at them for an instant-kill.
My suggestion is to change McCree’s flashbang to either Caltrops or a Coin Flip. Caltrops are simple, acting as an area denial move that deals damage and slows enemies that walk over them. The Coin Flip is a bit more high-concept: The Coin Flip wouldn’t do anything by itself, but if McCree catches his coin, he gains a 50% damage boost on his next attack if it was heads. Alternately, McCree can also fire at his coin to ricochet the bullet off of it to attack from a different angle.
4. Maximum Character Locks or Singleton Mode
One of my favorite features in TF2 is for server owners to restrict the amount of specific classes that can be played. This limits cheesy builds (like all Scout to bum-rush point capture maps) and helps balance out PUG match making teams full of bad players that refuse to coordinate. I’ve already been shit stomped by enough full Winston teams that I’ve decided to not buy Overwatch on launch until they’ve implemented some kind of character restriction or singleton mode, and I know plenty of other people who are tired of dealing with team members that refuse to stop playing Widowmaker on an enclosed map.
5. More Game Modes (ctf, arena, horde mode etc)
Overwatch is just Team Fortress 2 with Waifus, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. The real problem is that Team Fortress has 18 years of development time on Blizzard’s newest attempt at taking over another genre. So far, there is only one real mode (playing against A.I. is not an actual gameplay mode, neither is Practice mode.) and it consists of capture point maps and payload maps, both of which we’ve had in Team Fortress 2 and similar games forever. What Overwatch really needs to do to stand out among the crowd beyond just creating characters that make cosplayers crap themselves with joy is to bring something new to the table. Give me a reason to want to play Overwatch over Team Fortress 2, Dirty Bomb, Paladins, Paragon, Law Breakers, Battleborn, and TFC. You know what, you don’t even need to give me something new. I would be happy with just about any mode, even if it’s just Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, or an alternation on the Horde mode. Overwatch is objective-oriented, and should stay that way, but there’s more to objectives than just capturing and holding points.