Overwatch Goes Live

Blizzard’s new game, Overwatch, launches today, or yesterday depending on where you live.  May 24, 2016 is listed everywhere on the promotional material, though the worldwide launch schedule was a bit more complicated than that.

Ovwerwatch launching in a time zone near you

Ovwerwatch launching in a time zone near you

I think it is live everywhere it is supposed to be on launch day as of the time this post goes up.  There is a press release from Blizz about it and everything.

I had to be educated on this worldwide go-live because, I must admit, I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the game.  Not that my not paying attention is in any way indicative of what other people have been up to.  The open beta was such a success that it got an infographic.

So many players in the open beta

So many players in the open beta

The reason I haven’t been paying much attention is… well… I suppose three out of four Google responses can help me out with that:

Back to this game...

Back to this game…

I wonder if people search on “Overwatch is bad” are looking for reasons to dislike the title or searching out people who don’t like the game?  I suppose that at least Overwatch isn’t dead yet.  Give it a few weeks.

Anyway, the game being bad isn’t one of the reasons.  I suspect the game is actually good, given what I have seen people writing about it.

No, it is more of the other three, where it feels something like Team Fortress 2, cast as a MOBA, for which somebody expects me to pay $40/$60/$130, depending on which edition, which adds up to totally not worth it in my book.  But, as noted previously, I am long past my FPS days.  If I don’t care enough to play the free ones, I am not going to pay to play one.

And then there is the fact that it is one of the few Blizzard titles not to appear on Mac OS.  That is a factor in our house because my daughter has a nice iMac.  She has been into TF2 off and on, which is available on Mac OS, so had her eye on Overwatch… right up until Blizzard said support for Mac OS was off the table.  Then she was pissed and will hear no more of this game.  She feels let down by Blizz.

Then there is the MOBA aspect.  Blizz has been making a big deal about playing heroes rather than classes for Overwatch.  So you choose a hero with a special set of skills and abilities, which sounds very MOBA-like.  I think I said something about that back when the game was announced at BlizzCon 2014.

But then there is also the MOBA monetization coming as well.  They haven’t started selling new heroes… yet… but skins are already available for purchase along with my least favorite aspect of free to play, called Loot Boxes this time around, where in you can pay money… and Blizz doesn’t go for that microtransaction currency stuff, they straight up value things in real world currency and bill your credit card directly… for random items.  I didn’t like that system when I was a kid and tried collecting baseball cards and nothing has changed my mind about it ever since.

Ah well, that might just be me.

So I won’t be playing Overwatch.  But it is a major launch from a developer who also happens to run an MMORPG, so seemed worthy of note, and doubly so since bits of Overwatch were salvaged from the wreckage of Titan, the MMO project from Blizzard that was cancelled a while back.  Also, it seems to be dominating the gaming news cycle right about now.

So will you be playing Overwatch today?

[A multiple choice poll appears above this line which gets blocked by some browsers]

21 thoughts on “Overwatch Goes Live

  1. C. T. Murphy

    I thought it was a balanced, well-made game, with one of the best marketing blitzes in the industry ever. I also thought its mode selection was too shallow to take advantage of everything else it got right, and I don’t know that it is worth the cost of admission as it currently stands.

    If one of my IRL friends buys it though, then I may take the plunge just for a solid weekend of play.

    Like

  2. Mazer

    This is solidly in the “I’ll play it with friends but not solo” category for me, and I play with enough Blizzard fans that I picked up the Origins edition. It’s fun if you’re a casual to moderate FPS fan and have people to play it with. The loot boxes though… ugghh, seriously? I will happily drop $5-10 on a cool skin or $1 for a spray tag for a favorite character, but lottery? And I can’t disenchant or trade them?

    The MOBA comparisons are a little strange to me, though I suppose that definition is pretty loose these days. We’re just calling everything where you pick a fixed character with a small number of abilities a MOBA now? : P

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  3. Aywren

    I have no interest in FPS games. I hope those who enjoy it continue to, but it’s not for me. People can rave about how fun a game is, but if it’s not a genre I enjoy, I’m immune to the hype. :)

    Too many other games to play anyhow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenks

    It’s definitely not a moba, it’s a class shooter like TF2 and PVZ GW. Calling a character Widowmaker instead of Sniper or Cactus does not change the genre. FPS/MOBA hybrids are nothing new (Monday Night Combat) and there are plenty of upcoming games in that genre but Overwatch isn’t one of them.

    I’m skipping it because I don’t care for the characters at all, and the focus on a story which makes absolutely no sense in the actual game bothers me a lot. I have been a HUGE fan of Team Fortress since my Quake days so I do love the genre, but when I want something in the genre that isn’t TF2, I really enjoy the PvZ setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mazer – Well, the MOBA element is the classes vs. heroes thing. In TF2, like most shooters, you have a few classes and can only change things up via variations in equipment. In Overwatch, each hero comes with a set of skills and equipment that is supposed to make them different.

    @Jenks – Nobody sensible is saying that it is literally a MOBA, just that this spin of lots of heroes versus a few classes, is a MOBA-like element. As to whether or not that is a realistic distinction, I couldn’t tell you, but when they start selling new heroes that are all overpowered until they get nerfed, the parallels will be more obvious.

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  6. Sleepysam

    My FPS days are done until the kids get old enough to want to play. Looking forward to that.

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  7. Mazer

    @Wilhelm – That’s fair, most places I’ve seen the moba label have just been one-liners anyway. It just feels silly when stuff like MNC exists.

    Jenks: “the focus on a story which makes absolutely no sense in the actual game”
    ^– this aspect is really weirding me out; I am fully willing to get caught up in cool backstory and world building but it’s disconcerting here. I get that marketing is a thing and they probably had a lot of this content anyway from the wreckage of Titan, but it still seems over the top. Very curious to see if / how long they keep up the media blitz, they’ve been describing these first four shorts as a ‘season’.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mazer – This is Blizzard. They act like the rest of the gaming industry doesn’t actually exist most days of the week. Probably one of the biggest surprises at a BlizzCon was when they gave a shout out to EverQuest as inspiring WoW a few years back.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bhagpuss

    There was a time when I seriously considered playing Team Fortress 2. In fact it was before it launched I think. I made the mistake of showing one of the promo videos to Mrs Bhagpuss and her reaction was so unremittingly hostile that it has never been spoken of in this house again.

    I’m pretty sure she’d be a lot happier with Overwatch but I don;t plan on suggesting it all the same.

    Like

  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Talarian – That article is just loose enough (“Blizzard plans” is not a binding contract) that I am pretty sure Blizz could wave their hands and claim it was just launch characters that will always be free. Even the line in the press release, “Blizzard also plans to patch in new heroes and maps in the future at no additional cost.” does not explicitly exclude new heroes available for pay, though it would no doubt piss people off greatly.

    I know I am playing the cynic card here (yet again) but I have to think their HotS monetization options have to be weighing on their mind, and I suspect that over time Blizz will find a way. Maybe via an expansion pack that adds something besides maps and heroes.

    We shall see. Maybe they will sell enough copies that this won’t enter the picture for a while yet.

    Like

  11. Jeromai

    I might play it later, if it gets cheaper, and if I have nothing else to do. (Ha!)

    The one thing I didn’t really like about it was how quickly the kills/deaths occur. It felt very Blizzard and WoW-like in that respect, “just give every player easy hits of artificial victory every so often.”

    It makes everything feel very floaty and inconsequential. I prefer a tiny bit more struggle than that.

    Couple that with realizing that Total War: Warhammer launches at the very same period, and well, Blizzard IP or Games Workshop IP… It’s a no brainer for me. Especially since currency conversion means $40usd for basic Overwatch (playable only as pickup teams) or $43usd for five factions of Warhammer (playable solo.)

    Like

  12. Gevlon

    Sorry for the partially offtopic, but your “X is” Google search is a huge source of fun for me. I just tried “Hillary is” and fell off the chair

    Like

  13. SynCaine

    Considering the recent track record of current WoW, at-launch Diablo 3, HS, and HotS, Overwatch is an easy pass from the makers of so much recent garbage. Will be somewhat fun to watch this one burn ala HotS though, hopefully it gets enough coverage to give us at least that.

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  14. Random Poster

    I will not. Pay money for an oil e. Multi-player only game. I didn’t like it in titan fall and while what is there is good it holds no long term play for.me. If you want to give you us a story then give it in the game. Completely disconnected cg shorts do not make the actual game seem like T has one.

    Like

  15. Fenjay

    I think it’s telling about the crowd here that well over 50% give it the “not for me” vote. Meanwhile, many people I know from previous games that I follow on Twitter really like it. So I have no doubt that it’s fun and high quality like any Blizzard game, but I have a stabby reaction to FPS after playing too many of them in my youth.

    The spawn-die-respawn cycle seems so adrenaline-soaked and sweaty to me now that I get irritable just thinking about it. That’s why I never did get into WoW battlegrounds, despite being generally very PVP positive. That said, when things are this popular and I scorn them, I usually end up eating my words somewhere down the line, but I just can’t see it with this one.

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  16. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – Why are you commenting on my blog right when we are murdering hostiles in Saranen?

    @Fenjay – Well, I would allow that readers of this blog are unlikely to be FPS fans. On the flip side of that, Overwatch is clearly trying to be the Blizzard version of an FPS so as to attract people who might otherwise not buy an FPS. I was mostly motivated to create the poll in order to see if anybody bought the Collector’s Edition. 1 person as of this comment.

    FPS just hasn’t been my thing for more than a decade, and even then wasn’t really my main thing except for a couple of special games, Marathon, Tribes, and the Desert Combat mod, so it is hard for me to judge what Overwatch really represents in the grand scheme of the FPS genre, where the big dog is from Blizz’s stable mate Activision, which ships a new flavor of Call of Duty every year. Will one influence the other. Will Bobby the K tell Blizz they need to ship a new Overwatch every year to be a real player?

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