The Highs and Lows of a Year of Overwatch

Overwatch has now been out for over a year. I played it solidly on release then, like the fickle person I am, drifted away to other games. I got the urge to return this year around March and have been playing it almost daily since. Overwatch is up there with my favourite releases since I bought my PS4 but it’s a game of mixed emotions and I thought that’s the best way to celebrate the game’s first birthday.

SURPRISE
I can see ‘outsiders’ thinking the game is predictable and too same-y. It’s the same maps over and over. Battle to the objective or fight to defend it. However, when you need a break from that you can dip into the arcade with several different modes, such as capture the flag or mystery heroes, to shake things up. The Uprising event was also popular and fun to play through a few times even if Overwatch PvE isn’t for me.

Also, how you play can change the feel of each map. You can sit back and snipe as Widowmaker, flit between teammates to heal them as Mercy, get behind enemy lines and grief from behind as Sombra, find sneaky places to hide turrets as Symmetra, get in the action with Reaper or take to the skies as Pharah. Each character makes you play the game differently, as do the enemies the other team chooses.

RAGE
There can be times Overwatch makes my blood boil. I’ve rage-quit games where my team were idiots. Maybe they weren’t bothering to push the payload leaving me getting slaughtered trying to move it alone or perhaps they thought Lucio, Ana, Hanzo, Widowmaker and McCree make a great team to attack Volskaya Industries. I give every game a chance, will change character if needed but sometimes the frustration with my designated imbeciles gets too much.

Sometimes the anger comes from myself having a bad game or my team not grouping up and ending up in a single file ‘conga line of death’. Sometimes it’s from the opposition being a good team or a freakily skilful sniper (or a not-so-skilful Hanzo that seems to pull off one shot kills by grazing my knee).

JOY
This is why so many of us are still playing a year later. There is so much satisfaction to be gained in Overwatch. Winning a game feels so damn good. That warm glow of a team gelling well, looking out for each other, grouping up, syncing Ults. The personal joy of getting a high kill streak or Play of the Game. Nothing beats that fist-pump “YES!” of taking back an objective when the other team had it at 99% on overtime. These can all give a buzz that makes any previous anger melt away.

DISAPPOINTMENT
Losing a closely fought game sucks hard. I don’t reach rage levels when it’s a tight match but it’s still disappointing to not push that payload the final few inches or seeing your last surviving teammate die on a 99% vs 99% objective.

Loot Boxes also get a mention here. I’m missing hundreds of cosmetic items – sprays, skins, voice lines etc, but every single time I open a Loot Box, it’s three duplicates and some coins. I thought I was cursed but friends encounter similar disappointment.

LOVE
Okay, so ‘love’ may be a bit strong but I often play solo or buddy up with only one friend depending on who’s online. This means I have frequent interaction with teammates and I’ll often find myself bonding with one via emotes, voice lines and ‘hellos’. At the time of writing, I just played a couple of games with a Bastion, while I went Mercy. We had a dance together and I healed/boosted him as needed. He’d wait for me when we died at the same time and tried to protect me from an annoying Genji. Then, like when a summer romance ends, the inevitable happened and I ended up back on the main screen ‘searching for new game’. We may never meet again DragoFire3142, but you briefly touched my heart with your endearing beep-boops.

LUST
I’ve already shared my embarrassing secret on the Balls On A Tray podcast so I may as well spill it here too. I bet most Overwatch players have a character they think is cute in some way. Widowmaker is hot, McCree is a handsome chap, Soldier 76 has the silver fox thing going on. My girl-crush is Mercy in her Sigrun skin but Reaper is the one who makes me weak at the knees. I love his original skin and the edgy sarcasm but that voice… *swoon* After searching YouTube for his voice lines, I saw lots of comments from others saying how ‘sexy’ he sounds. So I may be a weirdo but I’m not the only one.

HATE
Tracer.

No, really, that pretty much sums it up. I should feel some affection for her as the British character but I loathe everything about her. Her hair, her leggings, her infuriating zipping about, but most of all, the way she speaks. I want to put my fist through the telly the second I hear, “Cheers luv, the cavalry’s here!” I can fully appreciate her usefulness in a game. She’s great at annoying the enemy and getting round the back to destroy teleporters and turrets, but I never thought I could hate a fictional game character this much.

Overwatch is a rollercoaster of emotions but that’s part of the experience. The highs wouldn’t feel as amazing without the gut-punching lows. I may wax and wane with how much I play it but I can see myself being around for its second birthday. After a year, I still have several characters I’ve not played with properly and new ones will be added to master. Big thanks also to those friends who fight alongside me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must return to that Reaper voice video for, erm, research purposes.

A compilation of clips from my year on Overwatch

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