From what I’ve watched and played of Overwatch, I’m overall mostly satisfied with how it all works. The majority of the problems I have are with non-gameplay related things, or my own stupid eyes and brain that give me a stupid headache after 10 minutes of play time. That’s enough for one, maybe two games if I’m lucky. But the more I watch other people play Overwatch, the more I realise that there are two major gameplay things that bother me.
The first issue is the worrying amount of auto-aim going on. Off the top of my head, there are five auto-aim objects in the game. Soldier: 76 and McCree both have auto-aim ultimates. These abilities, when activated, lock on and hopefully kill anyone in your line of sight. A bit off and not really fitting for gun-slinging McCree who is using a small hand gun, but it takes time to charge these up so I can kinda forgive them.
Then there’s two kinds of turret – Torbjorn’s sentry turret and Symmetra’s mini turrets. Both auto-lock and auto-aim for you. Symmetra’s turrets are not too bad since they die on one hit, but I’ve seen a few too many death corridors, where some Symmetra has gone and placed all her auto-aiming, slowing turrets in one place, killing each individual who comes in until the team learns “maybe we should all deal with her.” Torbjorn’s sentry though will shoot you with a pretty long line of sight. I don’t know how long this line of sight is but it’s annoyingly long, perhaps even too long. Still, they take a bit of time. I don’t like them but they’re not going to change.
But the thing that bothers me most is the existence of auto-aiming primary weapons. Both Symmetra and Winston have weapons that require less aim than usual. Symmetra’s main fire homes in on enemies and Winston’s electric rail gun just aims itself. Call me traditional or grouchy, but what’s the point of having a gun if it aims itself? Auto-aiming features in games that claim to be fast-paced and skill-based don’t make any sense. There’s a reason why everyone hates sentries in TF2.
The second thing that bothers me though is just how much healing and shielding there is in Overwatch. The amount of sources of healing are pretty astonishing. Not just self-healing and shields, but all-round healing as well. Okay, all the support classes have heals (Mercy and Lucio heal all the time, Zenyatta heals with orbs and Symmetra has shields), that’s to be expected, but Soldier: 76 has a healing zone, Torbjorn can shield allies, Winston and Reinhardt have huge shields, Zarya has shields she puts on people, Roadhog heals himself, Reaper heals people when he kills them, Tracer ‘heals’ when rewinding time, Bastion can heal himself and Mei heals herself when frozen. A huge chunk of the cast has some form of shield or heal.
Normally I’d be “yay that’s great!” but for some reason, that doesn’t make me feel better. The problem is, with so much healing around, it cheapens the ability to heal and shield people. It’s all so commonplace that we start to undervalue it. If everyone can heal or create shields, then is that ability special any more? The same applies for auto-aim as well, perhaps that will become simple and not really cared about?
Of course the healing and shielding comes with another downside. Attacking is a lot harder when it’s so easy to heal up. It all feels very reactive rather than proactive.
Originally I thought that commonplace healing and shielding was odd because of Team Fortress 2, where the ONLY major source of healing is the Medic, but most other games are like this too. Even League of Legends, with its large roster of support champions, makes healing weak, so that the damage you do is actually worth the cost and risk of doing so.
Sometimes though, I just get sick of looking at all those smug, beautiful, female faces.