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Why Overwatch is still not for me

To be honest I can still have fun playing Overwatch - grouping up in QuickPlay with the new "Find a Group" feature is definitely an improvement, and it's also a much less toxic environment in both QuickPlay and Competitive thanks to the new endorsement system, which effectively prevents toxic players from taking advantage of Find a Group if they get reported for bad behavior.

However, after much debate with other players I came to the conclusion that the root issue with Overwatch is not the toxic players, although they clearly aren't helping the situation. The root issue is the culture at Blizzard. As a quick example, I provide you with this sample footage of a Blizzard developer responding to what I thought was a fair question:

Obviously this is in reference to another Blizzard game (World of Warcraft) and I'm sure that the smug, superior attitude displayed by the developer in response to the question was not indicative of every person who works in Blizzard's development teams. However, it does indicate an issue that I've seen lurking behind the scenes of every forum post, web article and individual complaint while playing the game.

In my opinion, the issue is that while the Overwatch team claims that they follow the mantra of "every voice matters", in reality they only choose to listen to those voices when enough of them send a consistent message, and only if they don't see any other way to address the problem. You see this in the way heroes are tweaked, how some are buffed who probably shouldn't be buffed, how others are nerfed when the nerf doesn't necessarily seem warranted, and how almost every new hero introduced to the game is so overpowered that it's impossible to win matches without someone playing that hero on your team.

You see this in how the development team will only acknowledge that a hero has severe bugs when someone takes the time to create an elaborate post on Reddit, complete with recorded video footage, displaying not just one but multiple bugs in the character.

I just completed my placements in season 11, and ended with the lowest Skill Rating (low silver) I have ever received upon finishing my placements. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how I've become a worse player by playing the game more. But when it finally dawned on me, I understood completely.

I'm not a highly skilled Overwatch player and it's unlikely that I ever will be. I have my moments, but I cannot make amazing plays consistently, all of the time. This is almost certainly true for a large portion of the player base. But I'm reasonably sure that I'm not a worse player than I used to be. I might not be as good as other players, but it just doesn't seem right to me that I would keep getting lower SR when placing each season. Something is askew. At the end of the day, I cannot trust the game, and I cannot trust the Overwatch developers. So why the heck am I playing this again? Honestly...I think it's just because I'm just killing time, waiting for the PC Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. to launch.

Addendum: Shortly after I wrote this post, Blizzard announced a series of changes for the support heroes that will be coming down the pipe in the not too distant future. Among them I saw the following:

Mercy

  • Primary fire healing beam reduced 17% from 60 HP/s to 50 HP/s.
    

Mercy

Mercy is intended to be able to consistently pump out more healing than any other healer over the course of a match. While this is currently true, the difference in healing is so significant that it makes it very difficult for other healers to compete with her for a spot on a team. Reducing her healing output will close this gap a little, but she will still maintain her status as the go-to pick for raw healing power. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she is still a strong pick.

The first hero I consistently did well with in this game was in fact, Mercy. I remember when her healing beam was considered too weak for her to be a viable member of the team, and her ultimate was too powerful and forced her to hide until the best possible moment to use it. I remember the rework of her character and how she has subsequently been nerfed multiple times, to the point where it has become a meme.

A loss of 10 HP/s healing translates to a maximum loss of 600 HP/minute, which, while unlikely to be reached over a minute of play, is still significant enough to be felt in competitive matches. The reason for this change? Blizzard wants players to choose other healers over Mercy.

They are literally nerfing Mercy to force a meta change.

There are so many things wrong with this I can't even begin to start, it's going to require a whole additional post. But for now let's just say it like it is:

Jeff Kaplan, this is wrong and you know it.

Why Overwatch is still not for me
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