Overwatch is a dynamic game, it’s best played when there are as many different heroes in the game as possible. A repeated problem is undoubtedly the consistent mirror matches seen […]
Overwatch is a dynamic game, it’s best played when there are as many different heroes in the game as possible. A repeated problem is undoubtedly the consistent mirror matches seen in pro play. All the meta comps suffer this burnout, Goats is less fun when you see it 24/7 in the Overwatch League or you have to play it for 8 hours a day in scrims. Due to the nature of Blizzard’s balance, there is always a meta comp built around the overturned heroes of the time, tracer, reaper, Mei, Winston, Zenyatta, Brig etc. There is light however with the addition of Hero Pools to help bring us back to the golden age of early innovation.
For this article, I will mostly be talking about Pro Play as ladder is a whole other seemingly unfixable rampant beast.
It is possible to look back at old metas with rose-tinted glasses and ponder where it all went wrong, But I’m looking further back than that. Hero pools won’t ever recapture that love and excitement every player had learning the game discovering their favourite hero but what It will offer if done correctly is a sense of identity amongst OWL teams in pro play and remove the idea of a “meta comp”. If done correctly ban’s will lead to the oppressive hard counters being zoned out leaving matchups like Mcree vs Reinhardt which Seagull pointed to almost 2 years ago as skill-based and interactive. These micro matchups where you don’t counter an enemy carry by just existing is what makes OW such fun and highly addicting.
Within every meta, there are always 2 or 3 problematic heroes which everyone has grievances about. Whilst it is possible that a new meta will emerge after ban’s the lengths of the rotations will leave teams needing to be either constantly innovative in figuring out the flavour of the week or develop their own style and identity, the latter is what I hope for and seems much more likely. The ability to constantly find the meta comp and perfect it in 1 week seems like a mammoth task and just too impossible especially when teams will spend days travelling to homestands. The homestand model also helps this as OWL teams aren’t all in packed together scrimming each other, A team going to the Philly Homestand won’t likely be scrimming any opponents they play there, that’s just obvious.
My point is, teams will not be able to scrim everyone one all the time which leaves a lack of information and therefore opportunity to innovate and play to your own team strengths. In season 1 NYXL made every team they scrimmed better, there was no benefit to scrimming teams they would easily 4-0 they admitted this in their infamous “stage 4 sandbag”.
Why scrim when you know the meta and can practice mechanics elsewhere?
This is mostly early speculation and a wish BUT if done correctly which I believe player feedback can lead it down the right path the idea of a “meta” will be a loose saying not as defined as it has been since before OWL. In a metaless pro scene we will see teams create an identity unique to them which will lead to (a likely micro drop in quality) a high spike in the viewing experience and reduce risk of burnout for our favourite players, I wonder how many pros who retired citing burnout would come back or never left if this was in the game from an earlier point.