Overwatch is Blizzard’s latest new game in a while and what a game! Ever since its release the game has managed to draw a large crowd of followers and attract players from across many different games. There are a few reasons why Overwatch managed to do this so well. First, Overwatch is structured to be a great First Person Shooter (FPS) hybrid that has some great Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) elements into it. Second, Overwatch has very low learning curve for new players joining the game. The gameplay mechanics are very easy to pick up and enjoy and the character line up provides different gameplay styles for different players. Third, the very active developer engagement with the game makes the world of Overwatch feel very immersive to the player base and always provides some form of new excitement.
About the game:
Overwatch is best classified as a team based FPS that has some MOBA elements, or a team FPS with MOBA elements for short. The classification of the game itself already ensures that it will draw players from two different gaming styles and offer them a new element of gameplay. FPS gamers that come from games like CS:GO and Call of Duty will surely enjoy the MOBA elements of Overwatch such as the amazing character line up that the game has to offer and the various skill sets and playstyles that each character offers . Similarly MOBA players joining Overwatch from popular MOBAS like League of Legends (LOL) and DOTA2 will enjoy playing a full 3D FPS environment where all their actions are in real time and all hero abilities are always available.
MOBA games like DOTA2 and LOL require a lot of hours before a player can safely say that they ‘know how to play’ the game, especially if they never played a MOBA before. This is mainly due to the fact that MOBAs have a lot of elements that need to be mastered in order for a player to be a viable asset to his team instead of a hindrance. MOBA players must know about the games ‘creeps’ and how to handle them, they must learn the layout of the map and learn which characters are best suited for what roles and lanes, they must learn how to utilize their gold (or any other in game currency) in order to buy the proper equipment needed to level them up, they must keep track of their levels and abilities, etc. In Overwatch, you point and shoot to take down your target! The main objective of the game, taking down members of the enemy team is fairly intuitive and easy to pick up. Make no mistake that even though Overwatch is an easy game to pick up, its very difficult to master. MOBAS on the other hand are both difficult to pick up for newcomers and even more difficult to master.
Blizzard is known to be active in player engagement and updates of their titles. They are the creator of World of Warcraft after all. The very active developer engagement in Overwatch is another reason why players may be drawn to the game. This engagement does not just revolve around the release of new skins or character emotes (books, toys and comics). In game events that mirror their world alternative are always announced and released in a very ‘fun’ matter. The events themselves such as the Dr. Junkensitne Halloween Survival event or the Year of the Rooster Capture the Flag event offer a new gameplay style that thrown the player into a new set of challenges and excitement, not to mention the cool skins that come with each event. But the real thing here, and this is where Blizzard outdid themselves, are the Alternate Reality Games (ARG), they play with the community when a new character is to be announced and released. The Sombra ARG is a perfect example of this. Blizzard took to the community to help with the release of the new hacker character. By utilizing videos, still pictures, in game map clues, blogs, hidden web codes, encrypted messages, etc. Blizzard actively made their community play a simulation of events that culminated in the release of Sombra at Blizzcon 2016. The community was busy making videos on the clues they solved, what to expect, how Sombra looked like, what was her objective, etc. That kind of player and developer engagement really sets Overwatch apart from other games.
Get ready for the big leagues:
Due to all the reasons above Overwatch did prove to be a huge draw for players. But the games design also enabled it to jump straight into the professional eSports scene. All the elements of an esports game are present in Overwatch; two teams battling it out in a gaming arena, red and blue team colors (this is a common staple for some reason), varied character roster (allowing for different levels of specialization for pro players), fast paced action that creates lots of hype and epic moments, and finally a very big and dedicated fan base. Overwatch climbed the ranks of the top eSports games very quickly and will only continue to climb once more tournaments and events will be put in place for the game. The most recent patch for Overwatch adds a lot of elements seen in popular eSport titles such as dedicated spectator view features and custom lobbies.