So Far, ‘Overwatch 2’ Only Makes the Biggest Problems With ‘Overwatch’ Worse

In its current state, Overwatch 2 does not feel like a sequel to Overwatch. So far, the player-versus-player beta feels like a very significant patch, filled with character reworks in line with the seasonal patches of dozens of other video games. It is also an extension of every single thing that frustrated me about the latter half of the original game’s lifespan.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/m7vyyn/so-far-overwatch-2-only-makes-the-biggest-problems-with-overwatch-worse
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They’ve been working on this game for over two years and…they came up with a glorified patch to OW1? Mind boggling.

TBF they’ve had some…stuff…going on. And that’s always the trick with making a sequel to your Very Popular Multiplayer Game: it has to be brand new but simultaneously the exact same.

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I was certain they were going to go all out with OW2 to jingle some keys in front of gamers so that they can sweep their “issues” under the rug/out of the news.

Looks like I gave them too much credit (of which, they deserve exactly 0).

Yeah, the thing I’ve been hearing routinely is “Overwatch 2 is just five years of patches that never dropped”.

A brief aside: I have always found it, for lack of a better term, annoying, how player bases respond to every update as if it is the death knell of the game. Change can be okay, y’all. I dunno. I suppose that’s a bigger conversation though, and this is a pretty different circumstance. Some of these changes are extremely drastic (Orisa in particular to me is bizarre) and this is ostensiby a sequel.

It’s pretty clear that OW2 development was put into overdrive due to the Actiblizz scandal, anyway, so it’s really hard not to come to this game with a level of cynicism.

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Yes! As much as players say they hate the live service model, they now expect games to be updated regularly with additional content that somehow does not upset or break the balance of the game temporarily.

I saw someone say that Tripwire had ‘abandoned’ Rising Storm 2: Vietnam because it had been years since an update. That’s like a 5 year old game at this point with no additional revenue streams beyond people continuing to buy the game, but apparently every game now needs to be a forever game.

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Seems like this is the logical next phase of the live service game. Where sequels to these games are what would have been the bigger feature updates for seasons 5-10 held back for when they want to pull players back for a surge before shuttering the game. That can’t be done more than once but the revenue lines might spike a little bit and really that’s what’s important.

Do players really claim to hate it? I very much feel like I’m part of a tiny minority when I say I don’t like it, but I know it’s successful for a reason across a huge spectrum of genres.

Still, my argument for Overwatch in particular is that I feel need to add so many new characters to it was to its detriment. There’s only so many mechanics you can explore in a shooting focused game and OW hit most of them in its first year after they added shoot-to-heal and stealth. Plus the extra burden of balancing every addition to the current cast isn’t sustainable with how heavy OW is on synergies.

If they had spent more post-release time to create better maps instead I feel the game would have been in a more stable shape. The most common complaints I ever heard were about having to play on a shitty map, not asking when a new character arrives. Save large character reworks and additions for OW2, make it a big thing. It’s fine for sequels to exist and be separate. But hey, here’s where I know I’m in the minority, that’s not how the industry works these days*.

Instead, OW2 seems to be in the awkward spot of not justifying it’s existence enough as a departure, or being good enough of a game. Edit: Plus, they’ve made no real progress in addressing toxicity which is the main reason I lost faith in the series. Although this doesn’t come as a surprise given the workplace abuse inside of AB.

* Then again, OW built its success by going against expectations of how live games should work in 2016: having both a high up-front price and giving you access to “all” content at once after that purchase. But of course they added the gacha skin system on top of that, the greedy assholes.

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I think the folks who are deep into the Battle Royales don’t have a huge problem with the live service model, but it’s adoption by the platform holders has rubbed both the Halo community and the Gran Turismo community the wrong way in the last 6 months alone.

Even when a live service game is getting huge amounts of resources dumped into it, the favourite thing for a player of a live service game like Destiny to do is complain about Destiny.

It’s my firm belief that nobody actually likes live service games, they’re just the most effective model to capture the attention of the eyeball economy. If all this existed within the same game at launch, people would enjoy it twice as much over half the time.

The Overwatch discourse continues to exhaust me. Everyone knows the game needs a major shakeup to be relevant again, but what needs shaking up seems to be different from person to person. Like, for me, role queue is essential for the game to be fun. I remember the heady days of 2016 when I had to decide between being the only tank or support on my team because everyone else had to be damage type, and then we get steamrolled. Nowadays I can count on a solid team comp every time, and I can use a flex pass to get a dps role in no time. Plus there’s still open queue in the live game for folks that prefer the old way.

Anyway, I’ve played a bit of the OW2 beta, and while this first impression is a bit conservative for what’s supposed to be a sequel, the game feels good to me. 5v5 is just so much more chaotic and exciting, push is a neat twist on payload maps, and Sojourn has a fun, if not flashy, kit. Does it justify three years of a stagnant OW1? Heck no, but what’s past is past and now my favorite multiplayer game gets a chance at redemption. I’m excited, and I can’t wait to see where they take it.

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I think the Halo community would have been OK enough with it, had 343 bothered to actually deliver any content to the game.

As it stands, it’s like the worst of both worlds - all the downsides of a live service game launch, but none of the steady content flow that you’re supposed to get on the back end. And the roadmaps for future updates don’t promise to change that anytime soon.

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Ken over at Fanbyte has a theory: Overwatch 2 Deserves Better Than Being Activision Blizzard's Shield

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I have no idea how successful Overwatch is financially relative to other Activision properties such that Overwatch 2 would be the “shield” here instead of just pulling from across their properties (such as they are) but it would not be the first time a large company has used shiny keys as a PR technique.

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This feels way too conspiracy theory like to me. Overwatch 2’s increase in information being rolled out probably has to do with, I dunno, the beta recently available, the Overwatch League running at the moment using OW2, the game’s impending release in mere months… All of this has to get planned out months or years in advance, things aren’t ready to drop the instant some negative news happens.

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I think the fact that information about games gets dropped around the time ActiBlizz is in trouble is less of an indicator of them trying to use popular press as a shield, and more of an indicator of how much of a shitshow things are over there. The press releases are already planned and timed in advance, the constant scandals and reveals about how bad their workplace environments are is decidedly not something they have any control over the release of. Scandal just happens to be an in-built part of that company at the current time, and they’re just trying to keep pushing content out while it’s all ongoing.

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I’d say releasing without the PVE mode is sign they’re rushing something out just to have anything at all, and regardless of motive the direction this game is going is depressing, especially since Overwatch 1 will end once Overwatch 2 starts.

It’s truly the end of the Overwatch I liked.

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It is annoying that it’s replacing OW1 when it drops, but I get the idea of not wanting to split playerbase and force people to try the new one. Despite all the crap that OW has been through, it still remained my friend’s and I “eh we don’t know what to play” game and it’s always a laid back and interesting experience. I’m sure there are many others in the same boat. I think despite all the middling to negative press, OW2 will be fine!