Overwatch as an Esport
Photo Credit: Forbes
The three big games that dominate esports are CS:GO, League of Legends, and DotA 2. With the release of the new Overwatch game, it is possible that three will become four in the future. The release of Overwatch has been highly anticipated, with the beta and alpha versions grabbing the attention of many viewers on the popular streaming site, Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/. The game has been picked up by many streamers and already, there have been serious talks about the game turning into an esport. Many professional or semi-pro players from the Counter-strike scene have already expressed interest in trying to play Overwatch on a competitive level. The game itself features many of the aspects found in the top three esports games and could easily become one itself if it catches on. Additionally, the company who made the game, Blizzard, has planned to support the game become an esport and offer tournaments.
Overwatch as a Game
Photo Credit: PC Gamer
The game itself is a combination of many different ideas to produce a concept that is unique in itself. The game is primarily a first-person shooter game, but with a twist. Players are allowed to choose from a different heroes (there are 21 at the moment) which fall into four different classes: offense, defense, support, and tank. Each character has their own special abilities and weapons that perform a variety of things. The choice of hero and class could be the difference between defeat and victory as teamwork is essential to the game.
For example, if one team did not have a tank or support hero, and solely focused on the attack and defense aspect of the game, which is likely to happen in a non-premade team, the other team would have a huge advantage in utility. The game contains a similar idea to League of Legends and DotA 2, in that someone has to take the less-desired roles to have success on the battlefield. A team contains 6 players, which means that although a relative balance should be established for all the classes, a team has the choice of focusing two of their players on an additional class.
The game currently features four types of game modes with three maps, totaling twelve maps. The first game type is Payload, where two teams are separated into the attacking and defending team. The objective is for the attacking team to deliver the payload to the end point by escorting it. Once this is completed or time runs out, the teams switch and the other team gets their chance at delivering the payload. Point Capture is the second game type and features a domination gameplay, similar to the capture point game mode in Team Fortress 2. The attacking team has to capture points on the map while the defending team tries to prevent them from doing so. The defending team are allowed some time to set up defenses before the attacking team can begin their attack. The third game mode, Hybrid, is a combination of Payload and Point Capture where the attacking team captures points first before escorting the payload. The fourth and final game mode, Control, is similar to domination in Call of Duty. Both teams fight for control of neutral points around the map and hold on to these to win the game.
The maps also affects the strategy of hero choice. In a small, close quarter maps, players would want to have heroes that excel at holding choke points and ones that can deal area of effect damage, such as grenades and mines. In an open map, players may want to consider heroes with high speed and longer range attacks which can help in skirmishes. Heroes also can synergize well if their abilities are used correctly. For example, if one were to use Reinhardt’s (tank) ultimate ability, Earthshatter, to stun nearby enemies and then have Reaper (offense) use his ultimate ability, Death Blossom, to deal huge amounts of damage to said enemies, the team would gain a huge advantage.
Photo Credit: Blizzard
The possibilities that Overwatch provides to viewers is endless. There is a very high skill ceiling for players, however the game is not that easy to understand for a new viewer. If the game catches on, it could easily become one of the top esport games, but it is also likely that the game could dwindle away because of its complexity. Only time will tell, and soon everyone will be able to enjoy the game as its release date is set for May 24, 2016.