Over the years, staying relevant in the competitive video game market proved to be a difficult task for Overwatch. Despite its steadily rising player count, the game lost momentum a few years after its release. Players complained about the lack of new content and the lack of communication between the developers and their community. A spike of dissatisfaction with the game began to grow and fester among its community. Now, Overwatch 2 has risen, but what will stop it from falling down the same road as its predecessor in 2023?
One of the biggest problems with the original game was actually a problem on the outside. Any successful live service game requires good communication with its player base. Aaron Keller, the head of the team behind the futuristic FPS actually admitted during a Developer Update that this was an area in which they’d failed their community. He then vouched to improve the communication going into the sequel’s release.
Have the developers stayed true to their word? So far, yes. They’ve been very communicative regarding balance changes, their plans for the near and far future, and the roadmaps of when to expect new content have set accurate expectations for Overwatch 2 in 2023. There definitely is room for improvement here, though. While nothing can ever be perfect, consistency needs to remain, as the community deserves to know what plans lie ahead for the game.
Fulfilling New Content
Only a few years ago did the original game see the same events every year. Players quickly grew tired of this. Rarely did new game modes come to light. New heroes stopped appearing. The game became very stale very quickly. In fact, when two maps, Horizon Lunar Colony and Paris were removed from the map rotation due to popular demand, the game actually had negative new content numbers for a year.
Despite Overwatch 2 promising new heroes and maps in 2023, events are a crucial part of keeping things fresh. Luckily, Junkenstein’s Revenge: Wrath of the Bride pleasantly surprised players. A spin on a classic event with a new game mode featuring some of the more recent additions to the roster and giving them a chance to shine in a PvE game mode. Winter Wonderland was a slight regression, with only a new PvP game mode to keep it feeling new. Hopefully, the developers will continue to spin these old events around to bring truly new content every year.
One of the most crucial aspects of the game is its core mode. The whole game is balanced around competitive play, and this is how the game was intended to be played. For the game to truly stay fresh and ever-evolving, its competitive mode needs some drastic changes. In its current state, players are unhappy with how rank-ups work and how every season, players have their ranks partially reset. Progression still doesn’t quite feel like it’s where it should be, and often, players who were previously in a lower rank in the original game would find themselves in much higher ranks and vice versa.
As well as this, the core game modes could do with some attention. People have been quick to comment on how the new Push game mode is turning out to feel quite unbalanced. Some players even went as far as saying that it was worse than the now-removed 2CP, into which Horizon Lunar Colony and Paris both fell. I’m not sure how much I agree with this, but I’d like to see some tuning as the game continues through its ‘early access’ phase. Many players have either forgotten or aren’t aware that this is the official state of the game, which actually links us back to my first point.
Download Overwatch 2 for free on all major platforms.