It may sound hyperbolic to say but Overwatch, Blizzard’s new 6v6 multiplayer shooter, feels like a revelation. Blizzard has not only crafted an excellent game from an overall design standpoint, but has also managed to inspire such a passionate fan following that Overwatch feels more like a cultural event than a simple piece of software. Still, while there’s a lot to like about the Overwatch cosplay, memes, and (of course) porn that has sprung up in the wake of its release, the main draw is still the game itself. And as a pure slice of multiplayer gaming, Overwatch is very, very good. Still, no game is perfect, especially right out of the gate, and although Blizzard has made an outstanding first impression, there are still many ways they could improve the game. Right now, here are the 10 additions and fixes that would make Overwatch an even better experience.
10. Add Some Variety To The Play Of The Game Highlights
Every match of Overwatch ends with a “Play of the Game,” a highlight reel of sorts designed to show off a particularly exciting or impressive … well, play of the game. The only problem right now is that the majority of these highlights just show off a player getting some crazy kill streak, which feels like it sort of goes against Overwatch’s design philosophy of downplaying kills in favor of a more inclusive approach. The endless parade of Reaper and Bastion multi-kills need to be balanced out with more fun stuff like a Winstone launching three enemy players off a ledge with his pounce attack. The game picks each Play of the Game based on an algorithm, so it’s probably difficult to fix this overnight, but it would be refreshing to see some of the less showy support heroes get some love at the end of a match.
9. New Heroes
Overwatch is all about its colorful cast of 21 playable heroes, who are all kind of awesome in their own right; in fact, this is why I personally can’t wait for Blizzard to introduce more of them. Every hero feels special in this game and although it takes a considerable amount of time to get comfortable with any of them, let alone 21 characters who play significantly different from one another, having more to choose from certainly wouldn’t hurt (as long as the game remains balanced, of course).
Blizzard has already confirmed that they will be introducing new heroes in the future, so there’s no need to worry that these are we’re going to get. That being said, it would be a mistake for Blizzard to try and introduce a roster of 100+ characters like League of Legends. The sweet spot is arguably somewhere in the ball park of 5-10 new heroes all told, as it would keep things from spiraling out of control and help maintain the feeling that every hero is essential and likable.
8. New Modes
One of the chief complaints lobbed against Overwatch right now is that it’s lacking in variety when it comes to game modes. There are only really two types: Capture the Zone and Escort the Payload. Now, despite the limited nature of only having two gameplay types, Overwatch matches are surprisingly varied, as there are different combinations within these mode parameters (some maps have teams vying to capture a neutral zone, while other transition from attacking a fixed point to escorting a payload across the map). Still, it’s hard not to feel like Overwatch could use a few new modes down the road, such as Capture the Flag or even another assault variant where one team tries to plant a bomb at the opposing team’s base. It’s probably only a matter of time before Blizzard introduces new modes (and maps!) but the sooner, the better!
7. Cross Platform Play On Consoles
Overwatch is such a delightful social experience that it feels wrong for the game to be closed off to each of its respective platform ecosystems. Blizzard should seriously consider introducing cross platform play between PS4 and Xbox One players (I would say PC too, but PC players would have way too much of an inherent advantage over console players in a game such as this). Sony and Microsoft traditionally don’t play nice with each other on these kinds of initiatives, but developments like Rocket League developer Psyonix revealing that they have cross platform play figured out and are just waiting for Sony and Microsoft to give the green light gives me hope that we will one day see Overwatch players on PS4 and Xbox One face off against one another.
6. Better Map Balancing
Although Overwatch’s characters are (for the most part) surprisingly well-balanced, but one area that doesn’t seem to be getting enough attention is that certain maps need some work. The main issue right now is that attacking teams in maps such as Anubis, Hanamura, and Volskaya are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to trying to capture each map’s final zone. The geography of these areas makes them very easy to defend, making it so that all but the most coordinated attacking teams regularly find themselves entering a punishing meat grinder.
Of course, it shouldn’t be easy for an attacking team to capture an objective, but neither should it be easy for a team to defend that same objective. On the flip side, Payload maps are heavily in favor of the attackers, as it requires much less coordination to stand near a moving target than it does to defend a moving target. Hopefully, Blizzard will make some small balance tweaks to these modes and maps soon because no one likes banging their head against an objective with nothing to show for it but an immense level of frustration.
5. Some Sort of Story Mode
There’s certainly nothing wrong with Overwatch being a multiplayer-only shooter, but considering the game is so character-driven, it feels like a disservice for there not to be some form of story mode. I’m not exactly sure how a story mode would work in Overwatch considering single player content doesn’t really fit in with its gameplay design, but there is definitely potential here. It would be great to see missions with a heavy story bent that have players fight against A.I. enemies, perhaps in a co-op situation. The game already gives you the ability to duke it out against A.I. bots, so the framework is already there a potential offline mode.
However, if Blizzard decides to not go this route, they should at least make it so that existing story content is actually accessible from in-game. Overwatch has a number of fun videos that tie into the game’s lore, but you have to go to places like Youtube to see it. Call me crazy, but it would be nice to be able to learn about the game I’m playing while I’m actually playing it.
4. Daily / Weekly Challenges
Experience points are relatively easy to come by in Overwatch, as the game includes boosts for a variety of different things such as playing with friends (which nets you 20% extra XP per game), as well as just sticking with the same lobby between matches. That being said, it would be great to see Blizzard get a little more proactive with Overwatch’s meta game aspects, and a great way to do that would be to introduce daily or weekly challenges.
Objectives such as “Complete X amount of games” or “Push an opposting player off a ledge” would keep players even more engaged, especially if each challenge comes with an XP reward. The only potential downside would be that chasing challenges might cause players to focus less on the actual match objectives, but as long as Blizzard is smart about the kinds of challenges they implement, it shouldn’t really be much of an issue.
3. More Rewarding Loot Boxes
In addition to making each match very quick, Overwatch also gives players more incentives to keep playing in the form of Loot Boxes, which are awarded to players each time they level up. Opening a Loot Box and revealing the treasures inside definitely provides a nice dopamine rush, but all too often, the actual contents of a box are pretty disappointing. The thing that most players are after are new hero skins, but you sometimes have to earn multiple boxes before even finding one skin because the rewards are dominated by things like sprays, voice lines, and new player icons.
These are all fine rewards in their own right, but I’d be lying if I said that opening a Loot Box filled with these items exclusively isn’t a major bummer. Occasionally, you’ll get currency as a reward, which can be used to unlock things you actually want, but currency is only a random drop. Blizzard should at least make it so that every Loot Box contains currency in addition to the 4 unlocks you get already because Overwatch is quite stingy on doling out currency right now. Speaking of which …
2. More Ways To Earn Currency
There needs to be another way to earn currency because right now, the only way to do so is to hope you’ll get a few coins from opening Loot Box. I’ve already touched on the need for guaranteed currency drops in Loot Boxes, but additional ways to earn cash would certainly be welcome. Perhaps a periodic reward every time you gain an additional five levels or so, or even after earning a certain number of gold medals. There really are a number of ways that Blizzard could implement new ways to earn currency; they just need to find a way to balance it so that players aren’t earning too much too quickly, and run out of new items to buy in the shop.
1. More Cosmetic Items
Overwatch is the kind of game that is just screaming for an avalanche of cool cosmetic items to earn and unlock, and although it has a pretty good selection so far, Blizzard definitely needs to keep the loot train rolling. If Team Fortress 2 — the game that Overwatch most often gets compared to — has taught us anything, it’s that people love decking their characters out in cool swag, especially hats. Overwatch does not have hats. Overwatch needs hats. As well as a variety of cosmetic items, it would also be cool if Blizzard added alternate skins based on their other franchises, such as Diablo or Warcraft. And if we’re getting really greedy, let’s ask for some pop culture related outfits too! The sky really does feel like the limit when it comes to this game’s cosmetics potential.