The support role isn’t “attractive” enough
As easy as it is to want more — much more — from the Overwatch 2 beta, especially after a long wait, it’s far from done. In a blog today, Blizzard said it will add “more content including heroes, maps, and features” leading up to the full PvP release.
The Overwatch 2 team reiterated that this initial PvP beta is focused on “[the new 5v5] gameplay and balance as well as stability,” meaning other aspects — “like menu screens, player profiles, multiple time of day conditions for classic maps, and the full set of hero 2.0 looks” — are progressing behind-the-scenes but aren’t being tested publicly yet.
The blog runs through a bunch of player feedback, much of which has to do with drawn-out queue times for support players, the lack of a Ranked mode in the beta, and the scoreboard that’s a more nitty-gritty look at individual players’ performances. On that last point, player medals are out, but the “Fire” mechanic could still live on with tweaks.
A solution for lengthy queue times
If you’re growing impatient over those lengthy role queue times, Blizzard says it’s readying “quick play classic” with an open queue in Overwatch 2, and it’ll be an “easy option for the remainder of the first Beta test.” And if you’re not into the beta, future updates might help.
For some players, the 5v5 format is a much-needed shakeup, and it’s nice to see characters like Orisa become more capable. Some of the “refreshed” kits are neat; you should’ve seen the look on my face when I popped Bastion’s new artillery-strike Ultimate.
On the flip side, as a support player, the Overwatch 2 beta hasn’t made a splash at all. I’m not going to uninstall it or anything (not yet), but I already feel like I’ve had my fill of the current content after a down-the-list training session and just a few live matches.
On that front, Blizzard recognizes the “need to make playing support more attractive to players” — although it also feels that, across the board, “most heroes are falling into a healthy range overall for play rate and win rate across different skill levels.”
For the time being, I’m glad that Moira is in my wheelhouse.
It’s about more than just “balance”
There’s a lot to take in, so feel free to skim the key takeaways (emphasis mine):
“More broadly, during our Alpha test, we observed support heroes feeling too vulnerable to diving and flanking attacks with fewer shields and no second tank focusing on protecting them. We made a significant adjustment to their role passive heading into Beta, allowing support heroes to recover more health faster and improve their survivability.
This change improved their overall power and durability, and overall supports are performing well in the Beta, but we know that balance is only one aspect of what makes a hero fun to play. We have heard clearly that support players feel both tanks and damage players have more new content to enjoy and explore in this Beta.
Longer term, we believe the most effective way to tackle this issue is to add exciting new support heroes to the game, and that is part of our plans. In the near term, our hero design team is also experimenting with significant, but shorter lead time, ideas including new and refreshed abilities for some existing support heroes. These types of ideas could be deployed later this first Beta test but more likely would be in our next test.”
I hope these plans come to fruition, as they’d help pull me back into Overwatch 2 — well, the beta, anyway. I’m sure the final PvP component will come together through brute force if nothing else, but it’s kind of tough to picture it as a compelling, energizing, long-lasting experience based on the way Overwatch 1 petered out for me and the way Overwatch 2 has unceremoniously entered the world with this first PvP beta.