Overwatch Beta: First Impressions







Ok, I know this is obviously a bot game vs AI, but….




I have shit accuracy. I am a total noob. I’m not familiar with the map at all.

How the hell does this happen?

Then I went to play an actual game with players.

First round: Went via some side route or other (as inferred from seeing other players charge up a central path toward the objective.)

Managed to be fast enough to overtake the objective by a half metre, set up in an unobtrusive corner slightly behind the presumable viewpoint of the opposing team staring straight ahead at the spawn objective.

They had no chance at all.

First round won.

Second round: One or two opposing team players switched to Reinhardt. The frontal barrier shield puzzled me a bit and I spent a little way too long a time dicking around out of turret form trying to reposition and figure out how to get around behind them and failing and totally ignoring the team fight and objective, while the opposing team sat on it.

Second round lost.

Final round: Decided not to play Reinhardt’s game any longer. Remembered during trying out all the heroes’ skills on the practice map that the frontal shield only has 2000 health. Turreted up a nice long distance away, held down the left mouse button while aiming in the general vicinity of the big blue glowing rectangle thing sitting on the spawn.

Another Bastion on my team did the same thing. Two Reinhardts on the opposing team = no more shield, then dead.

Our team moved in onto the capture point. I de-turreted and went around the sides again, looking for a nice angle on a completely unfamiliar map. Found a cute side room whose only entry seemed to be nearer our team than theirs. Had a decent enough side view of the capture point. Finished off about 3-4 people that were dumb enough to move into my sight line aka on the capture point, while the other five members of my team destroyed those that didn’t dare get on said capture point for obvious reasons.

After that game, I uninstalled Overwatch.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s got that super well-polished Blizzard look all over it.


I was deeply impressed by the very guided tutorial, which really assumes the person playing it is completely new to FPSes and may need some adjustment time with getting familiar with the controls and so on.


After that, you get to play around in a little private Practice Range map to shoot bots (literally robots) and have friendly bots to test out all your skills on. You learn about Hero Swapping and have all the time in the world to try out every Hero’s skill in blissful peace and quiet.

(Albeit, the map closed on me once because I stayed too long, and I had to start it again.)

This is worlds apart from trying to learn MOBA hero skills from either watching a video or having to be in a serious business game lasting 45 minutes where your teammates will rip you apart for being noobtastic.

Then you can ramp up to something less potentially hostile and 100% cooperative by going up as a player team against a set of bots, or Practice vs AI.

Which I think it is a GREAT idea… except a little HAHAHAHAHAHAHA WTF HAHAHAHA in practice. See above.

I suppose they were easy bots or something. Who knows. I was yolo solo-queuing by just hitting the Practice vs AI button.

After which, I presume it’s vs other players time, and/or ramping up AI difficulty in some way that wasn’t obvious on first glance.

Given how lethal every hero appears to be capable of being, I suppose Blizzard decided to err on the side of generosity by ramping up the chance that everyone will get at least partial “wins” by scoring some kills here and there, even if their team loses.

However, this may be at odds with the snowball mechanic of MOBAs or some such. Apparently, it’s less fun to be on the losing team’s side because you end up with one or two men down, and promptly keep losing from being outgunned and outflanked or whatever.

I dunno. I was busy playing Bastion.

Now, I’m -sure- Bastion has counters, as more skilled players would tell you. I’ve been a TF engineer, my turret and I have been outplayed countless times by skillful medics.

Apparently the Widowmaker can snipe Bastion to death from really far away (presuming not noob player with good aim), Genji can reflect a Bastion to autokill themselves (counter = recognize a Genji and don’t freaking shoot until the skill is over), etc.

I’ve been on the receiving end of a Reinhardt charge and pinned against the wall and shotgunned to death (during the lost round in which my positioning was very very bad.) Not fun.

I hear Roadhog can do a Pudge and meathook a turreted Bastion into his waiting arms of insta-death.

Is it going to take a little while for newbie players to realize this? Yep.

Is it still going to be possible for a thinking Bastion or Torbjorn to outwit many of the casual players out there? I’m guessing, YEP.

Is Blizzard going to nerf Bastion a teeny bit more because it seems quite ludicrously OP compared to other heroes? A qualified maybe-yep.

(I heard some guy on Reddit went up against a pre-made team of 4 Bastions and 2 Reinhardts. I laughed my ass off on reading that team composition.)

Is Bastion still going to be playable and enjoyable post-nerf? Is it possible to learn a bunch of other heroes to counter Bastion? Is it still going to be possible to play and position Bastion skillfully to out-counter the counterers? Probably all of the above, yep.

But you know, I realize that I don’t have the patience nor the time for it, personally.

It feels a little like I’ve done this before, with Team Fortress, and TF has a bit more of that jump-in, jump-out, soloqueue, play your own minigame fun, as opposed to the small team, very objective-focused, MOBA-like teamfight style of Overwatch, where team synergies are likely what you’d want to focus on at higher levels of play.

If you had a team of friends to get together and knock out a few rounds while voice coordinated, sure, yeah, it’s probably a little more fun like that. (Then again, MANY other games would be a little more fun like that.)

I’m especially NOT paying $40 USD or more for the privilege of jumping in to casual play a few rounds here and there for kicks.

$20 USD, maybe. I’d buy it if/when it ever goes on half-price or free to play.

I mean, TF2 is free to play. Dota 2 is free to play. League of Legends is free to play. That’s their competition right there.

It’s a little bit of a shame because the polish could knock your socks off, the heroes all feel pretty unique and cute; if you were a play-all-the-things player, you’d have a really fun learning curve mastering each hero; many of the heroes all feel like they’ve stolen a little bit from MOBAs or other FPSes here and there (a pudge meathook, an enigma black hole pull, dwarf turret playbook is nearly a dead ringer for the TF engineer, etc.) and it’ll be interesting to see how players put them together in new and surprising ways…

… but um… there’s probably still a few more balancing passes and iterations to go in order to make sure that a few heroes aren’t overwhelmingly favored over everything else…

…and ultimately, it’s me. I’m playing too many other games, most of them free or already with initial outlays paid for, to have 1-3 hours a night to commit to Overwatch. So… why should I pay $40 USD for a game I have no time to play just yet?

Does not compute.

I’d give one thing to Blizzard though. They got me to download the Battle.net Launcher. It is a super-slick well-polished affair like pretty much all their other games. Which are conveniently displayed in super-slick fashion in a vertical row screaming “Play Me For Free” or “Try It For Free.”

I already downloaded Diablo 3 to give it a spin. Cute. Also another thing I actually have no time to sit through a long story for, but maaaybe, if it ever goes on 50% sale ever ever again.

I have been waiting for a cheaper Starcraft 2 for eons. All three of the chapters are finally out now. Some kind of battlechest bundle can’t be much farther away. Maybe 2017 or 2018… In the meantime, I could actually ‘try it for free.’

No doubt, I will take Heroes of the Storm out for a free spin too at some point.

(Already messed around with Hearthstone on the Android phone. Meh. It’s a card game. It makes money off selling the promise of power/options in card packs. Standard schtick.)

So the only thing I probably WILL be keeping for now is the launcher and the Battle.net account. The rest can wait for another day, far far ahead in the future. That’s probably already a win in Blizzard’s book.

6 thoughts on “Overwatch Beta: First Impressions

  1. If I’m not mistaken, buying the last starcraft 2 expansion unlocks all three. But I could be mistaken. Diablo 3 is worth the money because they keep adding content for free. Outside of those titles is a lot of meh.


  2. I also tried Overwatch over the weekend, but while i agree with some points, i don’t really get your negativity.

    On the easy tutorial, you missed one point: the ENEMY were bots. The others on your side were other players. (I understood that, as my first AI match had a waiting time, for other players to be found. There’d be no delay finding other bots. ) As you obviously have massively outperformed them, you just learned about their performance and capabilities, and that the difficulty setting for that training match apparently was set correctly for them.

    You might consider yourself to be mediocre when comparing yourself to players of other often played FPS games, where the community usually is there for a long time already, and everybody with lower skill level has left a long time ago.

    In contrast, Overwatch is also bringing this genre to players who got into it not because “FPS is my game” but “Blizzard makes my games”, thus people who have no FPS experience. They have to build their introduction accordingly. The other thing is, i noticed that the player rating there does work. I had the same experience of killing everything to the left and right, while using a healer class, in my first games. But i played for three evenings, and while the first evening it was like “i am a god”, the third evening i already was grouped with people who posed a serious challenge.

    On the bastion, i personally found that one where i know the location never is a problem. Not only is it highly vulnerable to anything with explosive weapons, it also has a very wide profile in turret mode, allowing me to shoot it from behind a corner while it can not see me yet.

    As soon as the bastian is covered by some teammates, it’s of course a completely different beast, but for that you also have your own team to work with.

    That all being said, i agree that considering the F2P alternatives out there, buying Overwatch is not attractive for the casual player. For the dedicated player, the B2P business model is better, you pay once and get all your stuff, while the F2P games constantly find new things to try to milk money out of you. (TF2 hats, i am looking at you. )

    So for the cost aware casual FPS player, the price for Overwatch, even if it would be only 5$, would probably be “too much”. But considering how polished the game already is (hey, an open beta for a Blizzard game is more of a free trial than an actual test) and how well it plays, even i consider to just buy the smallest package, so i can play it for a little whenever i feel like it, despite knowing that i’d only have limited time for this title. The dice are still up in the air on this.


    1. You may be reading negativity into something that isn’t there.

      I don’t feel negative about Overwatch. Let us say, I feel positively amused. It’s like having lived your life only playing Dark Souls games and then giving Marvel Heroes a try, or playing tabletop RPGs with a skinflint GM and then suddenly your new GM is a Monty Haul one who throws around magic items like they grow on trees.

      Edit: I took an easy no explanation shortcut to my first immediate impression of the bot game. Essentially, it was about me, a first-timer noob, completely stealing the show and indeed all the bot kills from the other players, by virtue of the no-skill turret setup in full view of both spawn entrances (I don’t think the bots ever figured out the one window on top as an exit.)

      About 4 mins into the defence, I started feeling almost embarrassed to be depriving my team of anything to do whatsoever, beyond the Lucio just toggling on his healing aura every now and then. So I let up on my shooting to let one or two enemies at a time out while wrecking the rest, and that let the other five have, urm, something to do.

      The main overall reaction is “lol, wut, I don’t know how to react or respond to this embarrassment of riches. I am sure, given time, I could figure it out, but this feels like an alien environment in the meantime.”

      It took me a considerably longer time to learn the engineer properly in TFC and start climbing to second on the leaderboard of a pub server match, and that was usually something in the 12 kill mark, with 2-3 deaths, rather than 1 kill 24 deaths of newbiehood. 44 Overwatch kills with the potential to have gotten more is beyond the limits of my comprehension. 😉

      “Also, I think they need a bit more time to tweak things to a level that feels nicer, and I don’t think I should get used to what is currently being presented. Better to step in only when things have settled down some.”

      If I didn’t feel at least a bit positive about Overwatch, I wouldn’t have listed a price tag of $20. I am a skinflint when it comes to games, I buy stuff on Steam for $5, Minecraft is still going super strong at $17. It’s about relative worth.

      And at the moment, I don’t have the time to play a $40-80 game to the extent I would need to play it, in order to feel my money’s worth. The amount of gameplay I would get out of Overwatch is about $0-20. So it goes.


  3. So you won a match or two on one of overwatch’s easiest intro-level heroes during a beta weekend against shitty pickup teams – gratz! 😉
    Bastion rul0rship only exists against newbie groups and almost everyone was a newbie last weekend, myself included. That is, before I gained more knowledge of maps and typical bastion vantage points and started playing in a coordinated group. Overwatch seems easy at first, thats the whole point I believe – but it really is not. Bastion is the best example, a horribly immobile and easy to kill enemy once people know the game better which is very soon.

    What made you uninstall and think the game trivial, is the opposite for me; Overwatch comes with a motivating learning curve because from the get-go, you’ll have these “happy feels” moments thinking you’re doing well. But really, every hero has several nemesis and every map can be pwned differently, once people familiarize themselves with different characters. I never found this level of variety in TF2.


    1. I don’t think the game is trivial. I said that, at higher levels, I sensed the focus is distinctly on a MOBA-like team synergy.

      I think it’s made to be a great eSports spectator game. I will probably watch publicized matches on Twitch or elsewhere and enjoy them, with commentating.

      However, actually playing a team game at a pro level is not a gameplay style that I have time for, nor personally appeals to me.

      Therefore, I must evaluate Overwatch on the basis of how much casual jump-in jump-out amusement it can afford me, versus the price. The answer is “some” and “too much, right now” respectively.

      I leapfrogged a LOT of this thought process in my blog post, mostly because it was a first impressions piece and truly, my first impression was laughing my head off, going WTF, and being deeply amused at how cleverly Blizzard can drop the ‘success’ threshold to the absolute lowest point of entry.

      Mind you, I don’t think it is easy to do. It’s easy to make a hard as nails game that no one wants to play. It’s much harder to make an ‘easy to grasp, hard to master, reveals more depth as time passes’ game. I can sense Blizzard going for that with Overwatch. All it took was two matches and playing around with all the heroes on a practice match to grok that intuitively.

      I do think they maybe skewed a little too over-the-top on certain heroes, eg. Bastion versus newbies, as opposed to Bastion being supposedly useless against pro players.

      But ultimately, it boils down to, I don’t have time right now to play a MOBA-like game up to a ‘deep’ level. Dota 2 is staring at me. League of Legends is staring at me. Hell, GW2 PvP is starting season 3 and I don’t even have time to learn that.

      Progress in Overwatch beta will be wiped. So. Why play more matches when I am not going to buy it for $40 right now and can wait? Thus, the uninstall.


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