Overwatch is a video game that I love. Not counting the times I’ve logged into the PTR for work, I’ve “played” Overwatch three times in the past six months. I say played in quotes because all I did was log in, buy some seasonal loot boxes like a dumb ass and log back out. I wish I was playing Overwatch all the time, but there just isn’t enough content coming out to keep me interested.
Overwatch has a content problem. I know it. You know it. Even Jeff Kaplan knows it. Since Overwatch launched, Blizzard has released four new heroes in Ana, Sombra, Orisa and Doomfist. We have seen four new main mode maps, a new deathmatch map, an arcade map and several map variations. But in today’s day and age, this amount of content seems so small.
When we look at games like League of Legends, there are over 100 different characters to play as. While it’s not necessarily fair to compare the roster sizes in these different kinds of games, more heroes means more play styles to experience and the small roster of Overwatch exacerbates the content problem. There is little reason to balance the game frequently, which leads to metas getting stale quickly. Balance is, in a way, just as good as content. If only eight of the heroes are viewed as “good,” those are the eight that will be played. Shifting the meta frequently is an easy way to create the illusion of more content.
Mastering a hero, no matter what game you’re playing, is part of what makes games like League endlessly re-playable. When the game launches with 21 heroes you think “oh boy well at least we’ll get some more soon.” But when we’re a full year and a half out of launch with only four more heroes, it makes the game feel thin. Every new hero added brings new strategies to learn for those playing with and against them. A single addition can revitalize the entire game for weeks, but not for months.
There is no doubt that Overwatch can be highly competitive, even with the small character count. The point of this isn’t to say that the game is dying. Instead, Overwatch is still a fun game that just gets boring.
Speaking only for myself, my friends and friends of my friends, I haven’t heard much about Overwatch recently. The positive word of mouth has certainly dwindled and on a lazy Wednesday earlier this week, Overwatch was the 17th most watched game on Twitch, behind World of Warcraft and Hearthstone.
This content drought should, hopefully, be coming to a close soon. Blizzcon is only two weeks away after all. Who knows what kind of surprises Jeff and the Overwatch team will have for us. But telling us what’s going on once a year isn’t really enough. I understand the fear that comes with stating something will happen only for it to be cancelled. But as a player, there is nothing I would appreciate more than a simple update on when we should expect new heroes. But before that happens, we need to see heroes hit more regularly.
In the world of “games as a service,” players chew through whatever developers put in front of them. Overwatch is the kind of game that people never want to stop playing. But at some point, the maps and the heroes get stale and the lack of choices really sets in.
In a couple weeks, the future of Overwatch will be laid before us. Maybe we’ll get a new hero, an expansion of sorts, or, god willing, a campaign mode. Hopefully something big will hit Overwatch that breaths some life back into the game and reminds us why we all fell in love in the first place.