Blizzard is a company that makes success look easy. World of Warcraft has been the most popular MMORPG for the last decade, Hearthstone is a hugely successful digital trading card game, and Heroes of the Storm is swiftly becoming a mainstay in the MOBA genre. That's not to mention the massive success of Starcraft, Diablo and other Blizzard properties. Now the company is heading into brand new territory with the upcoming release of Overwatch.
First unveiled at Blizzcon 2014, Overwatch is what remains of the failed MMO project, Titan. While the game was designed fresh from the ground up, it only came to be after Titan was scrapped, and features some influences from the never-to-be-released MMO. Don't think Overwatch is an MMO though. It's very much a team-based first-person shooter that almost feels like Team Fortress. Even now Blizzard doesn't yet know if the game with bee free to play or have a more traditional release.
While there's still a lot of mystery surrounding the title, it's been playable at multiple events and quite a few people have gotten the chance to try the game out. It's scheduled to enter a closed beta period sometime this Fall and has already appeared on the Battle.net client. So let's take a more in-depth look at what Overwatch has to offer.
Overwatch is a team-based FPS that features six-on-six combat. Each hero falls into a specific class which makes it feel similar to a MOBA. We'll touch on the classes in a moment, but you basically have the full gambit with healers, tanks and damage-dealing (DPS) classes. Similar to changing classes in Battlefield, you can switch classes after every death if you so choose. There's a 10-second respawn time, during which you can determine if you wish to stay as the same class, or switch to another hero.
At present there are two modes of play, Payload and Point Capture. In Payload, the offensive team must escort a vehicle to a specific point on the map within a given time limit. The vehicle moves along a set path as long as a member of the offensive team is close by. The opposing team must stop the vehicle from reaching its destination. In Point Capture, the offensive team makes an attempt to capture specific points on a map. Meanwhile, the defensive team has to stop the other team from capturing those points.
Heroes in Overwatch can jump or crouch and even wall climb. There's no fall damage, and headshots inflict double the damage of a normal attack. You can stand in a spawn point to replenish lost health, or you can be healed by your team's support hero. There are also multiple health packs scattered around the maps.
While every hero has special abilities and a melee attack (used to interrupt reloads and attack at close range), it's their Ultimate abilities that really bring the flash and uniqueness to Overwatch. Every hero has a unique Ultimate ability that can be used once your meter is full. You can fill the meter by inflicting damage, healing teammates, shielding against damage, and taking damage. The meter does not reset when you die, but it will reset if your change heroes during the respawn period.
Offensive - These are your typical DPS heroes. They have high offensive abilities and are generally very agile and quick. However, they have very low defense and will die easily if they're focused by the opposing team. You need to know when to flee and when to press the attack as an offensive hero, otherwise you'll find yourself dead more often than not.
Defensive - While not a tanking class, defensive heroes are specifically designed to create choke points for the opposing team. They fortify the team's defensive abilities and make it easier to clear out the opposing team.
Tank - As you might expect, tanking heroes have a lot of health and various armor and shield abilities as well. They are meant to take a brunt of the damage and help keep the attention off of the squishier offensive hero types.
Support - The support heroes are there to give the other members of the team as much support as possible. Depending on the support hero you play, that might be healing your teammates, creating shields and barriers, or even providing boosts to attack damage.
Overwatch is shaping up to be an interesting and unique FPS experience. Blizzard is known for making its games easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master, and Overwatch seems to be adhering to that mentality. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we offer more insight into Overwatch as we approach the closed beta this Fall.