Overwatch - Esports Outlook - Prima Games

Overwatch – Esports Outlook

by Bryan Dawson

With ESPN now covering esports and Blizzard having a number of titles in the competitive gaming scene, it’s only a matter of time before Overwatch, the upcoming shooter from Blizzard, is one of the mainstays in competitive gaming. There have already been tournaments for the game, which is par for the course when it comes to new Blizzard titles, but the real question is what do fans of the game have to look forward to once the title hits retail this June.

Many have compared Overwatch to Team Fortress 2. While there were some tournaments for Team Fortress 2, it wasn’t a big name in the esports scene. With that said, we all know Blizzard is keen on having their titles featured in many esports events. Even if Overwatch isn’t picked up by ESL, Dreamhack or any of the other big gaming events, it’s very likely Blizzard will hold its own tournament series for the title, just like they do with many of the company’s other game.

Blizzard just announced a competitive league for Heroes of the Storm culminating in a world finals at Blizzcon 2016. For the past few years we’ve see world finals for StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone at Blizzcon. When you mix this Blizzard magic with the competitive nature of team-based first-person shooters, it’s easy to say that Overwatch will be a big hit with competitive gamers.

Overwatch is essentially what happens when you take an FPS and add the team-based class system of a MOBA. Your team composition in Overwatch matters almost as much as it does in a game like Heroes of the Storm. Each character in the game has a specific role they play on the team. While you don’t necessarily need every role filled, the better your team composition, the better the odds are you’re going to win the match.

The main issue many people have brought up on regards to Overwatch being a competitive title is that it’s too easy for the attacking team to win the limited number of objectives in the game. In every Overwatch match you’re basically playing attack and defend. In most cases the attacking team completes their objective.

In the few tournaments that have been run for the game, we’ve seen a best of three set in which the teams alternate between attacking and defending. If there’s a tie after the first two games (which is common), a coin toss determines who attacks in the third game. If you assume the attacking team wins more often than not, you’re basically leaving the tournament winner to be decided by a coin toss.

There are a few ways around this, one such being a stop watch or timer challenge. In this instance the teams are clocked and the team who completes the attacking objective fastest is the victor. With this added element it would not matter if the attacking team is always victorious because speed becomes a significant factor.

Another factor in playing the game competitively is the platform of choice. Up until now the game has only been played on PC because that’s the only platform the game has been available on. However, by the time the game releases in June it will be available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well. There are plenty of console tournaments, and even though Blizzard games are traditionally PC titles, it’s not out of the question to assume we’ll see tournaments on console and PC respectively.

At the very least you can rest assured that Overwatch will have a competitive future. Even if it starts off slow like Heroes of the Storm, you can bet Blizzard will spice things up with its own tournaments. The company has scheduled another Overwatch beta for next week, so if you haven’t had a chance to try the game out, hopefully you’ll get a chance then. We’ll have more on Overwatch in the coming weeks and months, but for now you can check out our strategic preview of the game!

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