Prof. Peter Bryan
29 August 2018
Overwatch: The Gaming Phenomenon
“The London Spitfire are your Overwatch League season one champions, winning the inaugural
trophy and a $1,000,000 prize!” (Moore).
7257893-15944850-3292688-1487040-3124208-1446000The latest historic event in the eSport gaming scene by the newly founded Overwatch League. Overwatch League; is a place where the best of the best play in a large gaming arena that is live streamed, and watched, by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. From a simple game to a multimillion dollar phenomenon, created to be the pinnacle of team based competitive online multiplayer to date. A game for everyone regardless of skill and experience that is meant for competitive play or casual gaming. It is a great game created to enjoy with friends or to challenge your own skills with people online. As a well-versed competitive player in Overwatch that has over two thousand hours in game and ranked in high diamond, I have a great grasp of the fundamentals and mechanics of the game. Overwatch, a hero-based game which two teams of six choose from a roster of over twenty heroes to complete certain objectives in order to win and dominate the opposing team. These heroes are all unique in their own perspective and are separated by three categories and can impact the dynamic of the overall game. Since it is a team-based game, in order to win, there must be cohesion in the character selection of each teammate. Teamwork is crucial to the overall experience of the competitive and casual matches in game.
Overwatch a high intensity competitive first-person shooter that was designed by the world-renowned Blizzard Entertainment. The format of the game is a “hero shooter,” where two teams of six compete against each other by choosing from a roster of twenty plus characters that are divided into three categories; tank, damage, and support. Each of the twenty plus characters have a variety of abilities that differ from the rest, which plays a big role in the outcome of all the matches you play competitively or causally. For instance, Soldier 76 who is more of a team oriented dps stays with the team and attacks with the team, unlike tracer who attacks around the tanks and tries to subdue the backline where typically the healers are. No one character is the same as they all have their own various strengths and weaknesses. Which plays a big role in the overlying scheme of the game which depends on various components such as characters composition, map type, game type, and heavily relies on a great deal communication between you and your team. This game is not meant for people who may think that one person can win it all as it is quite hard especially at the higher levels of the game. This game is not without a reward system as it has an abundance of cosmetics and customizable accessories for specific characters.
The overarching objective of Overwatch is for players to work as a group to capture and secure points or escort an objective(payload) across certain maps. For the basics of capture/ assault maps each team will be able to have a chance to attack certain objectives in a certain amount of time. Each time a team has captured a point it counts as one point and there are two points in each type of the assault maps. Then when both teams have completed their attack phases the team with the highest amount of points win the game. For example, “…if team 1 captures both points A and B, the score at the end of the game will be 2:0. If team 2 then only manages to capture point A, the final score will be 2:1 in favor of team 1, who will win the match immediately.” (Vlad, “Overwatch Competitive Rules Guide”) In an event that both teams get all the points then another set of games are played. However, both teams will only have the time they had remaining after the first set of games to attack the points in the second set of games. If a team captures both points in overtime in the first set of games, they will get one minute in their attack phase on the second set of games. For escort maps the premise is for both teams to move a payload across the map and to win the team that moved it the furthest wins, also if both teams make it to the end of the map they do a second round with the remaining time they had left after their first completion. Then there are the control maps which simply are maps in which a team must control a point by securing it then defending it until the meter hit one hundred percent and it’s a best to three map style. Lastly are the hybrid maps which has both aspects of an escort map and an assault, each team have an attack phase in which they need to capture the first point which contains a payload which they must push through the entire map.
Strategies a key essential in any game, especially in Overwatch, which has various components that are needed to be met in order to win. The strategies in Overwatch are based on the character compositions, map types, and teamwork. Character compositions are a big part in the strategies as they are the main driving force in any strategy. Choosing a character must be well thought out process as one can not just choosing any character. As mentioned before, each character brings a different element to the composition of the team and if it cannot pair up or synchronize with any other character it is useless. So, you must communicate your choice with your teammate to let them try to work with you hero choice or give you some feedback. Specifically, when trying to create a viable composition ask if there is anyone willing to play a healer as the majority of the players in Overwatch dislike the healer heroes or you must decide to take it upon yourself to switch to a character that is more beneficial to the team. Throughout all the games I have played in my online competitive Overwatch career I have seen that a majority of people hate to switch from what their comfortable playing but in order to win you must try to flex a little by playing other characters that you do not typically play. I typically am a dps player but if the team needs it I can switch to another hero as now I am proficient in a multitude of characters. A basic easy to setup composition is two damage, two tanks, and two supports which provide ample damage to the enemy team while the tanks take the heavy blows, and the two support heal the team. It is good to note that since this is a game that relies heavily on specific strategies, throughout the course of a game strategies will tend to shift to counter the opposing teams composition, you must be able to adapt on the fly to counter the enemy team. From my experience adaptability is a hard ability to learn as you must try to outsmart any ideas the enemy might do. Such as if they try to play three tanks instead of a typical two tanks composition, you must be able to adapt by switching to anti-tank characters such as Reaper, Junkrat, Bastion just to name a few. Map locations and map type are also a big part in strategies as you want to choose characters based on the location and type of the match as different heroes are good at different map types. Teamwork the main component of strategies working out as good communication creates good cohesion throughout the team which leads to synchronization of the team to focus and use their specific hero abilities to win the match.
The meta a big part in truly understanding what Overwatch is capable of. Though it may seem hard to understand in the beginning it becomes progressively easy to comprehend. Meta refers to the concept of what is the strongest composition at the moment. What strategies are best at the time and what heroes are the best to play in order to win. The meta fluctuates due to changes in characters from the game patches that are released throughout the year. As now the meta is still on dive comp. orientated strategy meaning characters such as; Reinhart, Winston, Ana, Lucio, Moira, Doomist, Pharaoh are the best characters to play and dominate the enemy team. That brings us to the characters of the game a roster of twenty-eight characters that all are different in their own ways. The characters are split up into three categories tank, damage, and support. Tanks are the heroes that are basically the defenders of the team as they have a large health bars and can take a lot of damage to protect the team. The damage heroes are the damage dealers of the team they produce a high amount of DPS (damage per second) potential, they are the ones eliminating he other team the main offense. The support one of the most underestimated category of heroes they are the backbone of any composition as they not only responsible for healing the team they must be great communicators as they are like the brains of the comp. telling the team where to go and what places to push through.
Overwatch an amazing game to flex some brain power to defeat your opponents through better strategies, hero compositions, and communication. Though it may seem to be a hard game to get into but, once you get into the flow of the game it is truly breathtaking and addictive. That’s why millions of people still play this game and recently it has blown up through the introduction of Overwatch League that inspired many by the high level of competitive playmaking. Overwatch is still a game in its infancy that has yet to become a giant in the world of gaming.
Blizzard Entertainment. Overwatch. Multiplatform, 2016
Moore, B. (2018, July 28). “The London Spitfire win the Overwatch League inaugural Grand
Finals”. Accessed 31 August 2018, from https://www.pcgamer.com/the-london-spitfire-win-the-overwatch-league-inaugural-grand-finals/
Vlad. (n.d.). “Overwatch Competitive Rules Guide”. Accessed 7 September 2018, from