The Ever-Changing Meta Game of Overwatch
Overwatch continues to enjoy success from a growing fan base thanks to the love and dedication put in by the developers. Updates, bug fixes, nerfs, and buffs roll out almost daily. Thus, the competitive scene is always changing to accompany hero changes. Here’s what I found when I dived into the competition.
Ever since her release Moira has been absolutely dominating the console support playing field. Match after match after match I found myself pitted against Moiras, and for good reason. Her basic attack drains the life from an enemy player and heals Moira. The range is enough to suck the life out of a flying Pharah. And Kaplan help you if you’re in an enclosed space with her as a squishy. With one click, she’ll throw a damage or healing orb that might as well be a second teammate helping murder you. And if things get hairy for her? Poof, she vanishes to haunt your dreams another day.
Moira is easily more of a support-attacker than an attack-supporter like Zenyatta. Her healing abilities are decent, but only if the whole team is around to enjoy the spoils of her healing mist. Her healing can also run out if she uses it too much. On the other hand, players have found that she’s great at assassinating lone targets, as her damage never depletes and targets take extra damage if caught in her damage orb. If she wants to heal, she needs to attack, and her DPS ability puts her right above even Tracer.
I loved Symmetra. I understood her potential before many others did, and I fully exploited many tactics before they became popular. She was a diamond in the rough when I saw her. Now? Symmetra has truly become the useless support people once saw her as, and it’s not hard to see why. The age-old tactic of stacking Sentries doesn’t work when everyone knows where they are or will be. Teleporter and shield generators are potentially game-changing; however, their hiding places are common knowledge. Her damage beam remains great, as long Symmetra can remain on target.
At lower tiers, people may have trouble singling her out. The higher you go, though, the better team coordination in a match. That means Symmetra can’t focus her beam on one target without instantly dying. A Tracer or Sombra take out Teleporters and Shield Generators before they can even become useful. Moira’s damage orb destroys turrets instantly. She may be able to hold a choke point for half a minute, but a team without a second healer remains handicapped.
This competitive season could easily be called the D.Va Season. Where Reinhardt and Zarya once lived, D.Va reigns supreme. D.Va essentially functions as two separate characters: Mecha D.Va and Baby D.Va. Her reworked abilities gave her greater DPS potential, while still remaining a hard-to-kill tank. Even after her tank is destroyed, Baby D.Va’s pistol packs a power punch. So long as she’s not surrounded, D.Va will get her mech back in no time and it’s back to business.
D.Va’s viability is such that, high or low tier, players will encounter her often. A low-skilled player can use D.Va’s revamped DPS potential to act as a more hardy attacker. At higher tiers, D.Va can fly around, negating Pharahs while simultaneously taking them out, then return to the battlefield and lock down enemy attackers. She’s great no matter the situation.
Oh, Winston. It seems that no matter how hard the developers try, you’ll never make it big. Winston sits in a spot where even the people he’s supposed to counter can easily kill him. A skilled Tracer can bully Winston to no end. It seems that his only real use is to take down Symmetra Sentries; however, he’s easily killed while trying to do that. His lackluster shield is overshadowed by the more popular Reinhardt and Orisa. His jump ability just means jumping into death. Even his Ultimate, Primal Rage, simply tosses the enemy around a bit and makes it slightly harder to kill him. Granted, whoever Winston focuses his Rage on will suffer a bouncy death, but Mercy quickly undoes any damage while flying outside of his range.
The simple fact remains that Winston just can’t compete with other, infinitely more powerful tanks. Even after Roadhog’s many, many nerfs, his hook combo remains for players to gleefully pull. Winston can only idly sit by.
Soldier 76 remains a consistently solid offensive character. His entire kit is easy to use and devasting at all tiers. His ability to deal solid amounts of damage puts pressure on enemy teams. He can also heal himself and his teammates, which can come in handy with single-target healers like Zenyatta. His sprinting ability may not seem like much, but it allows him to catch up to an objective and unleash his Tactical Visor on all unfortunate enough to not be behind a shield. He’s also one of the few characters who can survive getting assaulted by a Moira, though Sombra may cause some difficulty with her enhanced hacking abilities.
Overall, Soldier 76 remains one of the best offense characters because he’s reliable no matter the tier and skill level. He’s best and being boring and safe, but safe is crucial to survival.
Blizzard has something against newly released Offense characters. After all the hype surrounding him, Doomfist came out of release leaving many players unsatisfied. Understandable, given how weirdly he’s implemented. Players would be forgiven for seeing his character model and assuming he’s a Tank. His hitboxes are large enough to be one, while his health pool disagrees. People can see (and hear) him coming from a mile away and can kill him fast enough to not even be worth informing the team.
Despite the name Doomfist, his basic attack has him fire bullets from his arm. Any damage dealt with his abilities give him increased shields so that when he does get up close and personal, players are in for some pain. And here’s where his fault lies. Doomfist is great once he zeros in on a target. His Rocket Punch deals massive damage depending on the charge and following it up with a Rising Uppercut means that his victim is effectively dead.
Doomfist can never get to that point, though. He doesn’t have the mobility or stealthiness of a flanker, which means he has to be in the front line. But if he’s in the front line, his large frame means swift death. He can try to sneak around, but the loud yelling announcing his attacks alerts enemies to his presence. Finally, his Ultimate, Seismic Slam, has the longest charge-up of any Ultimate in the game. As soon as enemies see the red circle, they scatter into different directions long before Doomfist hits the ground. He has potential, but he’ll need some major buffs before becoming even close to being viable.
Defense heroes have a weird place in Overwatch. No matter what metagame the current season plays, the standard placements remain: 2 DPS, 2 tanks, 2 healers. Sometimes, like back in the early seasons, a 3 tank, 2 healers, 1 DPS system reined. The point, though, is that Defense heroes rarely saw any serious action outside of a few maps that gave an edge to Mei or Bastion. With the downfall of Zarya, though, Junkrat has come along on a parade of grenades. With the current meta seeing a rise of Orisa shields and flankers, Junkrat’s kit has proven immensely useful. His traps keep unaware Tracers and Sombras from attacking, while his basic attacks decimate shields. This is true both when defending and attacking a shielded point.
His concussive mines have been nerfed a few times to offset his sheer damage-dealing prowess, but he still remains one of the most consistently-picked defenders to act as a secondary Offense DPS.
You would think that Torbjorn would be the worst defender. You would be wrong. Torbjorn’s abilities, while still underwhelming, help his team survive with armor while his turret picks off any flankers. The honor for worst defender goes to Mei.
Mei, like many other heroes, has good abilities. Her ability to self-heal makes her almost tank-like, and she can lock down entire portions of the objective. But in a meta filled with flankers and movers, she’s being overwhelmed. For Mei to be effective, she needs to freeze an opponent and either kill them or let her team handle it. But Tracers, Soldiers, Moiras, Mercys and a bunch of other current meta picks can stay out of her range and shoot her from afar. D.Va’s new damage output makes freezing Mecha D.Va a hassle, and having to kill the resulting Baby D.Va while low on health is not worth the effort. Even freezing the whole objective works more to get enemies off a point temporarily, as Moiras and Tracers can blink out of them, while Mercy can Valkyrie her teammates from safely above the playing field.
Whether good or bad, I saw far more Hanzos, Widowmakers, and even Torbjorns than I saw Mei. They at least have killing potential for any mode. Mei just doesn’t have the skills for this meta to be effective.