A few weeks ago I had a chance to test out Overwatch in a beta weekend, but the excitement got to my head and I forget to analyze it from a designers view point. Although it would have been interesting to read a blog on my thoughts, i feel that this blog will go deeper as i understand a lot more. During the Analysis i will be discussing character design, as i feel that this is the most important part of the game and makes it very different from other shooters.
In this blog i will be analyzing 2 heroes although before i continue, if you haven’t heard of Overwatch i will quickly explain all of the basics. Overwatch is a team class focused first person shooters, where your objective is to either push a cart or capture control points. There are four main roles Defense, Offense, Tank and Support. Defense includes 6 heroes, Offense also includes 6, support has 4, Tank has 5, giving us a total of 21 different personalities to play with. The heroes i will be analyzing is Bastion a defense hero and Zarya a tank hero.
I will start will Zarya, she is the perfect example of learning curves that will be involved in overwatch, teaching players that it will be important to learn each character. I feel that the learning curve is quite basic and will know everything after playing this game for only 100 hours. I understand that this is intentionally designed to make the game feel welcoming and easy to pick up. Returning to Zarya she has an ability to put a shield on herself or others this shield makes her stronger if it is damaged. For a new player they might Damage the shield increasing her strength and effectiveness in battle. By doing this they will most likely lose the fight, and after doing this a few times they will learn. Although this could be seen as poor design, creating a character that depends on a lack of knowledge, other character have been created to make her stronger. By adding in characters that use turrets or long range projectiles, Zarya no longer becomes a useless tank instead she joining in on the game of rock paper scissors which is overwatch.
Bastion is a character that i believe was purposely designed to teach the players about this rock paper scissors game play. Although i see this design to be new, others could think of team fortress 2. Although there is some truth in this, tf2 doesn’t fully use the rock paper scissors build. Lets first image that you could have three teams, Red, Blue and Green. Green has a spy, Blue has a Engineer and Red has a pyro. From hearing these three names you would first assume that the spy would counter the engineer who would counter the pyro who would counter the spy, this isn’t true because of one small detail, load outs. Because in overwatch load outs don’t exist you know who you are facing as soon as you see the hero. This allows for stronger counters and a makes the game easier to learn. Returning to bastion this week I got to play the game with some friends this allowed me to see their views on overwatch. One hero i keep hearing was bastion and how he was overpowered. A lot of new players think this because of his insane damage output, later in the week we decided to all go bastion, and we lost. I feel that this experience taught them a lot of the counters to bastion and about the rock papper scissors system that exists in this game.