Overwatch is Blizzard’s latest offering and is wildly successful. The first season of the Overwatch League saw itself rise to the fourth most watched channel on Twitch. This comes on the back of the Overwatch League Season 1 which saw eight teams compete for the glory of winning Season 1.
However, as the game is constantly under development; we are witnessing professional players publicly state their opinions on certain matters. One of the most common problems for players is the lack of a hero ban system in Overwatch. Currently, there are no vetoes available for either the characters or the maps in Overwatch. As such when we see a particular playstyle define the meta, there are long periods of similar playstyle.
In the past, we have seen metas involving Reinhardt, the Dive Meta, Widowmakers and more recently the GOATS meta. These so-called ‘metagames’ become stagnant and repetitive after a period of time. This is when the Overwatch community urges the developers to implement changes in the game.
A Ban system would help keep the scene afresh
There are many advantages to the implementation of a ban system in competitive Overwatch. At least at the very top of the esports scene, allowing teams to ban a character would keep the games afresh. Often times, we see teams copying each other’s ‘successful playstyle’. So it is not a big surprise to see both teams playing Dive or GOATS comp.
Over a period of time, this becomes extremely boring to watch from a spectator perspective. We have had casters and analysts complain about the stalemate in Overwatch meta for a long time. Allowing teams to ban [ one or more ] characters would definitely provide the necessary push to a constantly changing meta.
Overwatch has more in similarity to Dota than CS: GO
For many players, Overwatch is an approximate mixture of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike, Having MOBA elements in an FPS game provides a unique market which has a lot of potentials. However, for a developer, this presents a unique problem. Do they implement changes which tide towards the MOBA aspect of the game or the FPS aspect of the game?
So if Dota 2 can introduce a veto system, why should Overwatch not have a similar system? The answer lies in the size and scope of Dota 2 as a game.
Dota 2 has a total of 116 heroes in the game right now. Along with the diversity in the number of heroes, Dota 2 also has a lot more diversity when it comes to items and item choices. Even if teams choose to play the same lineup over and over again, there is always diversity in the movement and the playstyle due to item choices and ‘laning stage’.
Overwatch does not have the same level of diversity to successfully implement a hero ban system. The game has just 29 characters in the game. While this is a decent number, we have to remember that each team plays with six characters on their lineup. This leaves just a few characters in the pool.
Overwatch gameplay does not need hard counters all the time
In addition to the gameplay, overwatch also has a vertical element to its playstyle. So it is obvious that the game is definitely in need of counters. Certain characters can be hard countered with specific characters only. However, the game is very diverse when it comes to the movement and positioning of players. Even if a particular lineup is at a disadvantage on paper, a team can choose to play in a different way. Taking fights in a particular area which provides them with an advantage
Over the past few weeks, we have had multiple talent and personalities come forth to support a ban system.
There are also casters from other game such as Rainbow Six Siege who mention the successful implementation of the system. Using bans in Rainbow Six Siege only helped to make the gameplay more exciting and fun to watch.
The need for ban trials
Blizzard will always have their own view on certain features in the game. Their view might not always the correct one but they cannot ignore the need for bans in the game. It might not be the best decision to suddenly implement it in the Overwatch League. However, Blizzard needs to start taking the initiative when it comes to lower tier matches. There are many matches leading up to the Overwatch League.
Once they start implementing the character bans in competitive or esports matches, we will see the pros and cons live in action. It’s time for Blizzard to step up, listen to the community feedback and implement the ban system. It will provide for innovative and creative leadership. Teams will come up with new compositions all the time. The stagnant nature of Overwatch games will be replaced with energetic and creative playstyles.