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The Decline of Overwatch 2

Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Over the course of February vacation, I’ve been playing a lot of games, especially one of my favorites, Overwatch 2. Unfortunately, the game is a shell of its former self, so to explain why, I believe it’s time to go on a little history trip.

As a fan of Overwatch 1, I was heartbroken to see that Overwatch 2 would not be following the same 6v6 format, choosing to rather go for 5v5, a mistake that the game has never recovered from. Overwatch 1’s servers closed overnight in late 2022, and a few days later, Overwatch 2 opened its doors. Unfortunately, the servers were unable to handle the influx of players attempting to log on to play the new version of the game. For weeks after the launch, Overwatch 2 suffered from horrific waiting lists just to experience the game. The first day, my friends and I all hopped on a Discord call after school and talked while we attempted to get into the game. I believe only one or two of my friends were able to actually get in and play, and they said that the game was lagging due to the server issues. I believe that the closest in the 20,000 person queue I got to the front of the line was 2000. What didn’t help was that players would experience errors upon making it to the front of the line, telling them that they could not log in and instead sending them back to the end of the queue.

This rocky start had made a significant tank in the playerbase that the Overwatch Community has never recovered from, and soon lots lost interest in the game. However, to this day my friends and I have not. However, that means we’ve been here for every high and low of Overwatch 2. In Overwatch, there are 3 roles, Tank, Damage, and Support. Each plays their own roles, and their names are self explanatory to their roles. In the launch of Overwatch 2, there was one hero added to each of the roles, their names being Junker Queen, Sojourn, and Kiriko. While Junker Queen has struggled to be at the top of the food chain, season after season Sojourn and Kiriko stand atop as some of the best characters in their respective roles. Even today, with the absurd changes made in Season 9, which launched only a week ago, Sojourn has found herself atop the list as one of the top 3 damage characters to play.

In Season 1, the game felt it’s most balanced, while certain characters struggled in the new 5v5 format, most of the issues were remnants from weaknesses in Overwatch 1. However, as the seasons progressed, and new characters joined the game, cracks started to form. First was Ramattra, the first tank added to the game after its initial release. He is still my favorite character to play, and still able to function relatively well in most seasons, however he has fallen to the wayside in season 9. Ramattra had broken through the metagame, showing just how strong new heroes were set to be on release, and it has stayed consistent throughout Overwatch 2’s lifespan. 

The most polarizing one was from Season 8’s launch, with the next tank’s release, Mauga, and the introduction of Mauga Comp(osition). Mauga Comp was so utterly polarizing that if you had the correct lineup of just Mauga, Kiriko, and Ana (a support who has been strong since Overwatch 1) You would be able to dominate entire enemy teams in 3v5s. This was absurd and made the game seemingly unfun until counters were found to this comp a couple of weeks after the season had begun. With the mid-season patch, Season 8 had found itself in a sticky predicament, where the supports, who had always been strong in the game, found themselves even stronger. With the nerf to Mauga, the supports found themselves able to focus less on keeping their teams alive around the clock, and instead were able to focus on themselves. This made the role feel like the entire reason for won or lost games. This led to a phenomenon my friends deemed “Supportwatch.” Which we chose to call the game instead of its original name. Simply put, if your team’s supports were better than the enemies, you would win. The Overwatch team wanted to balance this out in Season 9, but rather than fixing everything, they broke it.

As of today, the current state of Overwatch 2 is in disarray. The new damage role passive which allows them to deny healing on hit allows characters with consistent damage outputs to roll through enemy teams. The supports are still strong even though they have to do more healing just to keep their team alive, as the more damage dealing healers have become stronger with the new season. The state got so bad that the Overwatch Team overnight 2 days ago let out a hotfix, nerfing many strong characters, but this has barely affected them because the problems are more on a core level.

The problem with Overwatch 2 started at its launch, All of the characters from the original Overwatch were balanced around a 6v6 game, and bringing them into a 5v5, although not sounding like a big deal, crushes certain characters, and elevates others. The changes the balance team have been making are intended to fix the issues with the game, but it never will. I miss Overwatch 1. Blizzard, please bring it back.

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