Should I play Overwatch in 2021? I’d previously been involved with the local competitive scene in Australia at the very early stages of the the game. There’s even a clip of me from a pro tournament in beta dropping a delicious 5 man Reinhardt ultimate on Kings Row floating around somewhere on the internet. I spent most of my time bouncing around Plat/Diamond level so safe to say I’ve had some experience with the title. I stopped playing a few years back as the player base dwindled and Blizzard delivered a lack of meaningful content updates (Not long after Overwatch 2 was announced with a promise to focus on single player to the delight of nobody.)
So after about 24 months of underwhelming support from Blizzard Entertainment (Thanks Activision overlords), I did what any reasonable individual would do and reinstalled Overwatch. While the game downloaded I took a quick look at some of the sites that report news on the title.
This post answers the age old question, Should I play Overwatch, in 2021The most recent news is over a month old at time of posting and was merely a recap of some recent Blizzcon panels, a Blizzcon that was light on thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pivoting to the news feed on a Google search of Overwatch delivered similarly disappointing results with the top hit being a report of a player embroiled in sexual abuse accusations.
So far things weren’t looking good for my return to the game. Atleast the games launcher had some interesting tid-bits. The PachiMari Challenge is running 10th – 23rd of March offering some underwhelming icons, an okay Junkrat Emote and a pretty on point Roadhog skin. Certainly offering a skin that looked like it took a bit of work to create as an even reward was a step in the right direction.
Sitting at about 76% on my download I began thinking about the state of the queue system when I left. The game had begun forcing people to queue for roles. Something that Blizzard had originally vowed not to do. When the player base began to dissolve Blizzard started throwing hail mary’s and this was definitely one of them. I’m pretty confident this was since rolled back or adjusted as the player base loved it for all of 5 minutes before turning on Devs about how broken things had become.
My last months spend in game before abandoning on my last swing involved playing primarily DPS or Support, as at the time those roles offered the best opportunity for ranking up in competitive (my main focus for most games). DPS Queue was almost impossible to play given the lengthy queue times. Playing only one or two matches an evening this was less than ideal so I was forced into the Support role more often than not. The games then became more a roll of the dice on which team had been lucky enough to get the better DPS players. A game that had originally pride itself on individual player skill in unison with teamwork and become a simple game of chance. Now yes you can argue that one can (If they have a stack of time) carry yourself out of lower ranks if you were any good. That simply just does not fly for a Part Time Gamer like myself.
So finally I get into the game, I open the few loot boxes I’d acquired in my absence no surprises really a couple of legendary skins that existed before I stopped playing two years ago. Let’s get into some placements! I hit competitive and am dismayed to find they have split the queues apart into the ‘Role Queue’ and ‘Open Queue’ formats. Immediately I think to myself that this was a brilliant way to further dilute a dwindling player community.
I press on. ‘Role Queue’ it is. I did wait in the ‘Open Queue’ for about 5 minutes first with no joy before swapping. DPS Queue was still more than a 5 minute wait so I queued as flex. I immediately got into a game. A healthy sign!
Tank it was – we had a Reinhardt I picked bae Zarya. The next 20 minutes was excruciating. We had a Mei and Hanzo on DPS and a Ana and Mercy as support. Beyond the pick the Hanzo got on an enemy healer in the first 10 seconds of the game there was no further upside to report for our team. Reinhardt continued to over extend on his own and be picked off while leaving our supports to be picked off by enemy flankers. DEFEAT.
It’d be a while since I’d felt the frustration of that screen. But it was clear to me that Overwatch didn’t deserve any more of my time. A game that was once a unique take on the strategic shooter is struggling with an identity crisis. It’s aiming to please everyone and in doing so has spread itself so thin that it impresses nobody. This take may differ for a more casual player but the distinct lack of content updates this title has received has truly put the proverbial nail in its coffin for me.
So now you’ve asked, Should I play Overwatch?
At this point it would be more enjoyable to do Aim Training in Aim Lab than play Overwatch.