Not long after I offered up my opinions on the current state of Overwatch, that very state changed. A new patch landed recently that does little to shake up balance, but adds more incentives to keep playing, content, and ways to play.
Perhaps the most notable addition in this Overwatch patch is the inclusion of weekly brawls. Much like Hearthstone’s tavern brawl, these will add new and interesting ways to play the game. The first one features only being able to play as the brothers Hanzo and Genji on the Hanamura map. Abilities have a shorter cooldown, and ultimates take longer to charge to offset the fact that shorter ability cooldowns will end up charging them faster. In the end, seemed like ultimates charged about as quickly as they normally do. It’s a pretty hectic and fun way to play, and I’m excited to see what else Blizzard can come up with. Overpwn (I don’t like the name either, don’t worry, but that’s curse for you) has a list of data-mined brawls that will probably be the ones showing up for the time being. They’re mostly hero-focused ones – i.e. playing with a specific hero, or a set of specific heroes, but I’d like to see some crazier ones. Those probably take more effort, though.
The Overwatch patch also adds Achievements, which were expected – all major Blizzard games have them with the exception of Hearthstone. Nothing too surprising here. The new map is also nice, as it focuses on Route 66, the iconic US highway.
One nice change that’s been a long time coming is a revamp to the Play of the Game system. Now it’ll track plays that don’t simply revolve around getting as many kills as possible in the shortest window. There are now four categories. High scores, Lifesaver, Sharpshooter, and Shutdown. High scores are basically the plays that we know of now. Kill a lot of people quickly. Lifesaver is, well, saving lives. Sharpshooter favors difficult kills, taking into account range, speed, whether the attack was in the air, and if it was a headshot. Shutdown refers to killing a player as they’re about to do something impactful. Did you kill that D.Va just as she was about to kill everybody with her self-destruct? That’s a shutdown.
Blizzard goes on to say that these are just the first stage of what they want to achieve with Plays of the Game. Next up, they want to make camera angles more dynamic, and add more categories. On a similar note, Blizzard added highlights, which are your personal best plays each game. Stuff that was good, but not good enough to make the play of the game.
Overall, it’s a solid Overwatch patch, the most solid in a while, and it’s nice to see the game inching its way toward release.
Only two months to go.