Overwatch is a multiplayer game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released not that long ago in 2016, and yet it has become an astounding success reaching over 50 million players since. The game has also become a critical darling, with many calling it one of the best video games of all time.
Overwatch can be described as a first-shooter game that consists of more than 30 heroes with diverse characteristics. Players are assigned into two teams of six, with each of them controlling one of the heroes. Every team should take into consideration the nature of its characters, who can possess one of the three prominent roles in the game.
These roles include the ‘damage’ characters. Their biggest strength is to attack, as they can cause a lot of harm. They also excel at protecting a location through enemy traps. The ‘support’ characters, on the other hand, are not strong physically. They are meant to provide buffs for their team and debuffs for their rivals. For context, buffs are beneficial effects, and debuffs are the complete opposite. In Overwatch, such things are health aid and more speed.
And last but not least, the third role is represented by the ‘tank’ characters. Their best feat is their armor. They can withstand longer than the others, as they have a high amount of hit points. They are great protectors of their teammates and can focus on the attacks on them rather than the team.
Based on those roles we mentioned, every team should come up with the maximum balance, so there's enough of everything. Thankfully the game alerts you before the match if your team is lacking. During a match, a player is able to switch to another hero, either after a death or by returning to the base.
Other than the roles, heroes also have several abilities, one primary and some additional. Once used, the ability can come back, but there's some time for a cool down before it becomes available to use once again. The 'ultimate' ability indicates the performance of the hero as a whole. It goes up over time, and to raise the bar. Heroes have to benefit their team in some way or keep defeating the opposite side. Once the meter is full, that ability is unlocked. It's personalized for every character, but it can be only used a single time before the meter becomes empty again. When the time has come for a hero to use their ultimate ability, their opponent is warned, so they can prepare their next move. The game also keeps track of how many points each player has scored and how they managed to do that.
Overwatch offers two types of game modes: a casual one and one that is competitive.
The casual mode is a battle with matched players or specifically invited ones such as a group of friends. Quickplay is designed to select people with similar skill levels. Arcade players can experience all game modes as they are rotated throughout the play. During different times of the year, such as Halloween Overwatch, honors the celebrations by including holiday-inspired events. Custom games are part of the casual mode as well. They allow gamers to choose a map, adjust the match length, or limit the available characters' set. Through Workshop, players can further customize their game using scripting tools.
Competitive mode separates each user based on their region or platform. Then they are grouped during a several-month-long season with organized matches. The point of it is that players improve their skill ranking. The algorithm chooses people with similar results via a matchmaking technique. Winning a match helps you advance and gives you more opportunities to purchase weapons (also known as golden weapons). Depending on the skill ranking, users join a certain tier. There are six existing tiers ordered from highest to lowest rank. The top tiers in the season are Master and Grandmaster. When the season comes to an end those are the most rewarded among the participants.
Now let's take a look at where all of the action takes place. Overwatch has incorporated a variety of maps, all of them categorized in groups. Real-world locations inspire the maps.
The first group is Assault. The attacking team must capture two target points located somewhere, while the opposite team must prevent them from doing so. The maps here are called Temple of Anubis (based on Ancient Egypt), Hanamura (based on Japan), Volskaya Industries, which takes place in a St. Petersburg Omnic factory, and the two latest additions: Horizon Lunar Colony (located on the Moon) and Paris.
The second group is Escort. The attacking team has to escort a payload (unique for every map) to a delivery point before the countdown stops. Locations include Dorado (inspired by Mexico), Watchpoint: Gibraltar (set on the rock of the same name), Route 66 (after the iconic American highway). Overtime Blizzard added more sceneries, including Junkertown, Realto (in Venice), and Havana.
The third group is named Hybrid. As the name suggests, this type of game merges Assault and Escort, twisting the well-known concepts. The places represented here are King's Row (London), Hollywood, Numbani, Eichenwalde (located in the ruins of a castle in Germany), and a theme park inspired location called Blizzard World.
The Control group is all about capturing and holding onto a control point until the percentage level is full. These maps are more symmetric than the others and allow each team to have an equal chance. Maps include Ilios (Greece), Nepal, Oasis (Iraq), Lijiang Tower (China), and Busan (South Korea).
Smaller maps are available in the different game modes. Some of them are Ecopoint: Antarctica, Castillo (Mexico), Necropolis (near the Anubis one), and Black Forest (near the Eichenwalde castle).
Despite being released not that long ago, Overwatch has built itself a big legacy. The game has one of the most dedicated communities, as people make game-inspired art, cosplay as the characters, and make related memes. It's safe to say Overwatch won't go away anytime soon, especially with a sequel being in the works.