#Overwatch 2’s character design might study from the unique hero roster

Overwatch 2’s character design might study from the unique hero roster

Take us again to 2016

I’ve been enjoying Overwatch on and off mainly since day one, so I’ve seen the sport by means of all of its modifications, for higher and for worse. With each nerf, rework, and new hero drop, the sport has advanced a lot since 2016, and to many followers, it’s not even price enjoying anymore, particularly after the Overwatch 2 relaunch. Regardless of my qualms with the sequence (of which I’ve many, together with just lately getting hit with a ban from the whole thing of Season One after a sequence of unlucky disconnections from aggressive matches), it’s nonetheless one in all my favourite and most-played video games up to now. That being mentioned, the roster is filling out quick, and I don’t discover myself too thrilled with the newest additions.

I need to be clear right here–I’m completely biased and have a rose-colored view of Overwatch because it was in its early days. That mentioned, it seems like the sport has moved away from the simplicity each in its character and gameplay design.

The unique Overwatch lineup was nothing wanting good in my e book. Certain, some characters are all the time going to be too highly effective or too weak, however total, every authentic hero had a singular, robust design. The completely different characters catered to each doable playstyle you may want, from up-close brawling to dive heroes to across-the-map snipers. Clearly, the lore was superior, and people early cinematics and comics fleshed out the characters in actually compelling methods.

Unmatched character design

Overwatch Tracer waving

Most significantly, although, their kits have been easy and streamlined. Every hero had one factor they did very well, a secondary that supported their important potential, and an immediately recognizable final potential. Reinhardt had his protect, and whereas he might be a pressure to be reckoned with in case you acquired too shut, his position was to guard the workforce. Pharah’s jetpack and rockets meant she was the go-to selection for an additional angle of assault. Mercy modifications the best way you play the sport completely as a result of her equipment is constructed so that you can focus virtually solely on maintaining your workforce alive and boosting harm, solely specializing in the enemy for the aim of avoiding them. When you ask me, every character on that launch day checklist had that degree of focus and effectivity when it got here to their design.

The unique lineup included 21 heroes in whole:


  • Reinhardt
  • Winston
  • Zarya
  • Roadhog


  • Tracer
  • Reaper
  • Widowmaker
  • Pharah
  • Torbjörn
  • Hanzo
  • Bastion
  • Cassidy (previously McCree)
  • Soldier: 76
  • Junkrat
  • Mei
  • Genji


  • Mercy
  • Lucio
  • Zenyatta
  • Symmetra (now moved to DPS)

It was a fantastic roster to launch with, particularly for gamers to choose up and begin enjoying straight away. As a result of their kits have been so easy but efficient, it was simple for brand new gamers to dive proper in for the primary time and do tremendous, nevertheless it was nonetheless doable to hone your abilities and rise by means of the ranks with a hero you excelled at enjoying.

Even higher, the unique UI in Overwatch had star rankings to telegraph to the participant how tough every hero was to play. Seasoned avid gamers might strive their hand at characters like Genji or Symmetra, who had among the most complicated playstyles, whereas newer gamers might begin off with easy-to-understand heroes like Mercy or Soldier: 76. The sport didn’t count on any baseline understanding from you, which made it good for somebody like me to play as I used to be stepping into first-person shooters and multiplayer video games for the primary time.

Overwatch 2 beta character roles

With the roster increasing on a regular basis, it’s simply an excessive amount of to maintain up with, and I discover myself reaching for the characters from that authentic 21 as an alternative. I believe the place the difficulty actually is available in is that as a lot as I play the sport, I might contemplate myself an informal participant. I’m not trying to play into regardless of the present meta is or optimize my workforce composition to climb by means of the ranks. I similar to enjoying the sport as heroes I take pleasure in.

Jack of all trades, grasp of none

These days, I really feel prefer it’s extra of a “jack of all trades, grasp of none” state of affairs. In my eyes, it’s a problem that began with the heroes they added post-launch, and it’s solely grown with the discharge of Overwatch 2. The heroes outdoors of the unique 21 appear to have 4 or 5 important items to their equipment as an alternative of two or three, every of which has a special impact I’ve to maintain observe of, from momentary immortality to wounding to hacking to wreck mitigation, and so forth.

Particularly in terms of the newest hero releases like Junker Queen or Kiriko, I really feel like I can’t simply choose a kind of heroes and hope for one of the best, as a result of I’ve to learn paragraphs about how every potential works earlier than I can use them successfully (one other qualm: they moved the ability-explaining textual content from one thing you may entry at any time to hiding it in a menu within the Hero Gallery). It weirdly seems like among the kits have additionally been homogenized in order that single gamers can deal harm and get kills as they please, which form of defeats the aim of making an attempt to strategize and play collectively as a workforce.

The assist hero class is one of the best instance of this “jack of all trades” phenomenon. The sport launched with solely three healers: Mercy, Lucio, and Zenyatta. Once more, quite simple kits, however these heroes have been designed to heal their teammates. Mercy has her pistol in these tense moments with flankers, Lucio can present some assist hearth and knock enemies away, and Zenyatta in all probability has essentially the most damage-dealing potential of these three, however he’s nonetheless principally used due to his therapeutic final and debuff-providing Discord Orb.

Overwatch Mercy gameplay

The helps, then again, don’t appear to have the identical kind of focus. Moira and Ana are the one two who can maintain a candle to Mercy and Lucio’s uncooked therapeutic output, nevertheless it requires extra talent to take action, which implies they’re much less efficient in decrease ranks the place the vast majority of the participant base is. Different helps like Baptiste or Brigitte really feel like they have been designed as harm sellers first after which had some therapeutic talents tacked on.

I care most in regards to the assist class as a result of I’m a assist important, however I can’t assist however really feel like with every subsequent hero launch for the reason that authentic 21 (once more, solely accelerating with every launch in Overwatch 2), the characters don’t have that single factor they excel at anymore, however slightly, a mess of issues that broaden the main focus a bit an excessive amount of for my style.

Extra complicated doesn’t all the time imply higher

Then there’s the most recent assist, Kiriko, whose equipment doesn’t even really feel cohesive in my view. Her therapeutic often works finest at near mid-range as a result of it takes time to journey to your teammates, however her damage-dealing potential works finest at mid to long-range as a result of it’s solely actually viable with sniper-like headshots. It’s a must to be proper subsequent to somebody to make use of her immortality appeal, too. For expert gamers who’re devoted to studying her equipment in and out, she will definitely be a viable choose, however as for me–the filthy informal–I can’t be bothered.

I really feel like my sentiments are finest expressed like this: if I’m enjoying a kind of authentic heroes and I press a button, it’s fairly simple to intuit what I’m doing and why primarily based on how the skills work. If I play quite a lot of the newer heroes and button mash, I’m at a loss as to what’s occurring except I am going and discover that hero description data, which in my view, is a downgrade.

Overwatch Orisa bongo

Take Orisa’s outdated equipment, for instance. Her outdated final (lovingly known as the “bongo”) would supercharge her teammates’ harm output. All she needed to do was plonk it down in the course of the combat, and you can see blue vitality beams extending to every teammate, much like Mercy’s damage-boosting beam. It’s simple to intuit what’s occurring there simply from a look, it was all the time robust sufficient to show a workforce combat, and it offered some selection in methods you can use in battle. Now she simply, what, slams down and offers harm to these round her in a circle? You imply like Doomfist, Sigma, and Bastion’s ults? Obtained it. It’s tremendous; I’m simply bored.

To not blame the Overwatch League, however…

For me, all of it goes again to when the Overwatch League began. Don’t get me flawed, I really like seeing pro-level gamers kicking ass at my favourite recreation as a lot as the subsequent man, however as soon as the League began, it was fairly clear that the modifications Blizzard was making to the sport have been catering to professional gamers, the smallest a part of the participant base on the market, slightly than those that simply performed the sport for enjoyable. Perhaps I’m additional butthurt about Mercy’s rework as a result of she’s my woman, however in case you ask me, altering the sport for everybody as a result of the elite gamers didn’t like a hero was a nasty transfer, and it seems like quite a lot of the choices since have made Overwatch a much less pleasant atmosphere for brand new or informal gamers.

Overwatch League grand finals

Together with transforming current heroes or eliminating sure maps (RIP Anubis, I miss you each day), it seems like quite a lot of the newer heroes are trending towards having an increasing number of complicated kits, whereas on the identical time having fewer talents or ideas that make them actually distinctive within the lineup. Take Sojourn, for instance. Her gun feels precisely like Soldier’s, so she’s not on condition that a lot selection by the use of gameplay really feel.

Story-wise, Soldier has a transparent archetype with the “washed-up warfare hero” factor he has occurring. Whereas Sojourn’s lore is as complicated and fleshed-out as another, gamers must dig into media outdoors of the sport to get it, just like the animated shorts or comics. I want her design was a bit extra distinct from a single look, like others from the unique roster like Hanzo (“honor-bound archer”), Cassidy (“cowboy”), or Mei (“ice woman”). Perhaps I’m splitting hairs right here, however the latest heroes’ character design like Sojourn or Kiriko feels extra muddled to me than what I’ve come to count on from Overwatch.

Trying ahead, trying again

Overwatch Ramattra

With the most recent tank hero Ramattra on the horizon, I can’t assist however really feel pessimistic that the Overwatch roster can be additional muddled by samey, more and more complicated kits. Maybe Overwatch would have labored finest as a limited-hero-pool, story-driven multiplayer, and PvE expertise, however the ever-expanding and money-hungry free-to-play mannequin that’s at present dominating aggressive video games wouldn’t have that.

I don’t imply to be an excessive amount of of a downer, and I definitely don’t need to shit on anybody who’s having fun with the most recent additions to the Overwatch roster. I believe I’m simply having a tough time letting go of the design conventions that drove the sport in its early days whereas Overwatch has made it clear it left that every one behind a very long time in the past.


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