Is Overwatch Worth Playing/Buying Today?


Blizzard revolutionized the multiplayer team shooter genre back in May of 2016 when they released Overwatch. A mish-mash of game mechanics inspired by other popular shooters along with some MOBA elements baked into what is otherwise an FPS made this game quite unique. And it features a very interesting, almost cartoonish art style with exaggerated character designs and silhouettes that stand out.

The game sure exploded in popularity between 2016 and 2017, but is Overwatch worth buying/playing today? Definitely, if you’re looking for an FPS that places more focus on coordination and tactics rather than the pure aim. The gameplay is unique, fast-paced, and diverse with lots of opportunities for outplaying opponents based on your individual skill.

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It is by no means flawless or a 10/10 (sorry IGN). But its unique implementation of MOBA-like characters combined with the fluid gameplay and unique art design makes Overwatch a must-try in my opinion for shooter fans.

if that doesn’t motivate you to go and buy this game, remember that it costs just $20 for the standard edition on PC. The game costs more on the console, however, those are the legendary editions. 

Is Overwatch A Dead Game?

Far from it. While the game has been in decline for a couple of years, calling it dead is hyperbolic at best and misinformation at worst. The last player count data officially available from Blizzard was in May of 2018, stating that the game had 40 million unique players. While this is not representative of the daily player count, we can safely assume it is at least a couple million people playing this game regularly across all platforms.

But all isn’t well either, as Blizzard themselves normally released player figures thrice a year prior to May of 2018 and have maintained silence ever since. This indicates they aren’t comfortable with sharing data which might indicate a decline in the game’s player base. Adding to the general lack of enthusiasm surrounding hero changes and no new content patches. 

Many players on forums and social media are constantly talking about declining interest in the game, longer queue times, etc. And you can also notice a decrease in Twitch viewership for the game, especially its esports league which was hyped a lot in 2017. In decline? Yes. Dead? Not even close, unless you consider a game with several million active players dead.

Where Can You Buy Overwatch?

There’s the playoverwatch official website where you can buy Overwatch for all platforms- PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. On PC, you can choose between the 20 dollar standard edition or the 40 dollars legendary edition (prices at the time of writing this article). Unless Overwatch goes free to play anytime soon, these prices are what you should expect.

On consoles, you’ll have to pay more since there is no standard edition and they use the good old 60 dollar pricing model. However, you can find some discounts from time to time on the official store of your console. So, what’s the difference between standard and legendary editions? In my opinion, the Legendary edition isn’t worth it, especially if you’re new to the game.

It offers no actual gameplay benefits or bonus features/ game modes that aren’t already available in the base version. Of course, this only applies to PC since if you’re purchasing on the console you have only one edition to choose from. Later down the line, it is possible to upgrade from standard to Legendary edition. 

What Are The System Requirements For Running Overwatch

Overwatch isn’t a very demanding game and you should easily be able to get a smooth 60 fps to experience with any modern low to mid-tier GPU. A core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor will suffice, along with 8GB of RAM. As for storage, you’ll need at least 30GB of free space. 

Mid-Tier Overwatch Build

If you’re building a new PC for Overwatch, I suggest an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and GTX 1660 Super, in combination with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This should easily give you 120+ fps at 1080p resolution with every setting maxed out. In fact, this video shows how the game performs with that exact hardware configuration.

Low-Budget Overwatch Build

If you’re on a really low budget (perhaps you’re a student), then a simple APU will get the job done. A Ryzen 3 3200g in combination with some 3000Mhz or faster RAM will give you close to 60fps at low settings and 1080p. Make sure you are running dual-channel RAM while using an APU since it helps graphics performance significantly.

Ultimate Overwatch Build

If you want the ultimate in performance, get an Intel Core i5 10600k with a decent aftermarket cooler and pair it with an RTX 2070 Super/ RX 5700XT. This combination should easily hit 240fps at 1080p Epic settings.

Hardware evolves over time, and what is a high-end GPU now might become a middle-range model just a year down the line. So go on the internet, look for benchmarks at the resolution and refresh rate you’re targeting, and build a system with the best hardware available to you in your budget. 

What Are The Various Game Modes In Overwatch?

When you open Overwatch for the first time, check out the tutorial to get an idea of the basic mechanics and controls. Then, you can go into the main menu and try out the practice range where you experiment with your spells against targets.

A good idea for learning new heroes and improving your aiming skills. Then, there’s the AI practice mode where you can play vs bots on any map of your choosing (good for learning maps and figuring out playstyles for heroes).

Quick Play

Once you’re done training, you can jump into Quick Play which is a casual multiplayer mode where you fight against other people. Twelve players are dropped into 2 teams for a single match, and there are no strict rules governing leavers. 

The match itself has fewer rounds compared to competitive and scoring is based on your individual performance. You can queue solo, or with a party of friends. Two or more identical heroes aren’t allowed in the same team.

Competitive Mode

If you’re feeling like your skills are good enough to justify a more serious game mode where ranks are at stake, check out Competitive Play. Here you compete versus other players just like Quick Play, but there are seasonal ranks and you can lose or gain competitive points. 

At the end of each season, ranks are reset and there are unique rewards to be obtained. You need to engage in placement or calibration matches at the start of each season so the system can establish a baseline for your performance.

Arcade Mode

In November of 2018, Blizzard added the Arcade game mode. It is basically a lighthearted fun-oriented time pass for people to do between Competitive/ Quick Play matches. You play from a selection of primary modes like Low Gravity, All Brawls!, Mystery Heroes, 3 v 3 Elimination, 1v1 Mystery Duel, etc. 

The game rules and mechanics can vary significantly from normal Overwatch. Occasionally, there will be special game modes added to the Arcade like during an event or introduction of a new map/ hero.

Which Overwatch Characters Should You Choose As A New Player?

Tank characters like Reinhardt with a pretty straightforward game plan are good for beginners. Not only is their motive apparent just by looking at the character design, but they are also hard to kill so you won’t feed relentlessly as a beginner. Mercy is also a nice hero for newbies because she plays from the backline and supports her team with heals/damage boost. 

Soldier 76 is another amazing choice for newbies since he is basically THE shooter guy with an assault rifle and sprint ability. Anyone who is familiar with FPS games such as Halo and Quake will instantly understand the run and gun nature of Soldier 76. There are some quirks that make him unique, like an AOE heal effect that can be planted on the ground. 

Or the alternate fire mode which shoots rockets for extra burst damage. And his ultimate is really good if you aren’t very good at aiming because bullets will auto-lock onto the enemy.

Other heroes that are good for newbies include Pharah, Reaper, Roadhog, and McCree. Pharah is fun if you’ve played Quake or Unreal tournament, with a slow firing rocket launcher that deals tons of splash damage in a big radius. She can also fly in short bursts, so you get to dodge incoming attacks and get a view of the battlefield from up top.

McCree is slightly harder to learn but once you get the hang of it this hero is insanely fun to play and can teach you a lot about tactics. If you like old wild west style gunslinger characters, McCree fits the bill perfectly. He stuns and blinds enemies with a flash grenade, rolls up close, and empties his six-shooter in their face.

How Does Competitive Mode Work In Overwatch?

Competitive is a more serious form of casual play with ranks at stake. There is a seasonal system, meaning you work on your placing across a season which typically lasts around 50 to 80 days. At the end of the season, your rank is reset. And you have play some placement matches to set a new baseline for the next season. Plus, you get Competitive points which can be used to purchase exclusive cosmetics.

How are competitive games scored? There are 4 types of maps

  • Escort: There are two squads consisting of attackers and defenders, respectively. The attacking team’s job is to safely escort a payload vehicle to a specified delivery point within the map, and a defending team will try to stop them till time runs out. Teams are switched after each round.
  • Assault: There are two control points on the map, and the attacking team must capture both in the allocated time. Otherwise, the defending team wins. There is a 45s setup time during which the defending team roams around the map and organizes positions while the attacking team is locked inside a spawn room.
  • Hybrid: A combination of attack and escort objectives, in which you must first capture a point as the attacking team and then push a payload to a checkpoint. As usual, the defending team’s job is to halt the other team’s progress until the timer runs out.
  • Control: There is one point in the map that both teams must capture, and 30 seconds of pre-round setup time is given to both sides. It is the best of 3 and sides are switched with each round. Stages are symmetrical in design.

Competitive Ladder

In Overwatch, there is an MMR system with a range of 1 to 5000, and you get a skill rating based on your number. The lowest is Bronze, and the highest is the Top 500 which is basically the best 500 players in each region. After Bronze (1 to 1499), there is Silver (1500 to 1999), Gold (2000 to 2499), Platinum (2500 to 2999), Diamond (3000 to 3499), Master (3500 to 3999), Grandmaster (4000 to 4500), and finally- Top 500.

You will drop out of your tier rating immediately in Master and Grandmaster if you don’t have the minimum points required. Plus, there is a mechanic called rating decay which is implemented for Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster players. You must play at least 5 matches in 7 days or your skill rating will decay over time.

Role Lock

Like many other competitive online games, Overwatch has roles that you can lock beforehand while queuing. As of now, it is a 2-2-2 hard lock involving 2 tanks, 2 DPS, and 2 Supports. This is a very rigid meta and was designed to counter the 3 tanks + 3 support meta of GOATs which became stale after a while. You can’t change roles during the match, but you can switch between different heroes for the same role.

Leavers And Game Ruining:

Leavers in competitive play are scored with a loss, and their rating is reduced. If you leave an ongoing competitive match, you are placed on cooldown for 10 minutes during which you cannot queue for a new competitive game. Repeat offenders can receive a ban from competitive matchmaking for the entire season.

How And Why Did Overwatch Lose Its Shine | The Downfall Of Overwatch

OP heroes like Brigitte that single-handedly destroyed the existing “Dive” meta made it very hard to play popular heroes such as Genji and Tracer. Over time, these changes bled into competitive gameplay and the matches transformed from frantic quick-paced action that was dynamic and unpredictable to more methodical “deathball” approaches. This is where everyone sticks together and slowly crushes everything in the way.

The new deathball meta meant heroes like Zarya and Hanzo had to be picked every game to counter this specific style, it eventually felt stale and boring from a spectator perspective. Another factor in the downfall of Overwatch is the lack of updates and new content. Some blame Fortnite’s meteoric rise to be the reason Overwatch fell from glory, but that is a theory most people don’t agree on. Especially since both games attract very different audiences and Overwatch’s player counts were still climbing in 2017 when Fortnite came out.

Most Overwatch fans will point at the Mercy rework and introduction of Brigitte as the turning points that started Overwatch’s downward spiral. That is if you consider a game with roughly 40 million players “dead”. It is still one of the largest, most popular shooters in existence. 

Conclusion

All things considered, Overwatch is a fun experience that is best enjoyed with friends. This is really easy on PC since a single copy of the Standard Edition costs 20 bucks. So you and 2 of your friends can get 3 copies for the price of a single AAA game. A part of 3 where each selects one of the 3 roles- Tank, DPS, and Support can be really fun.

The game has had its flaws and downsides like mismanagement of priorities, poor balance decisions, and OP hero launches that singlehandedly defined the meta. But Blizzard has been taking steps in the correct direction and is still experimenting with various team comps. Overwatch 2 is bringing a story mode and co-op missions so there’s a lot of new content to explore.

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Jacob

As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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