The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Overwatch journey started from Blizzcon 2014. Of course, if we want to be more precise, the game was originally a canceled project called Titan, which started working on it in 2007, but it was in 2014 that we first saw a trace of Overwatch. In that year, a movie trailer and a gameplay trailer were released, which changed the course of the game world forever.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Overwatch journey started from Blizzcon 2014. Of course, if we want to be more precise, the game was originally a canceled project called Titan, which started working on it in 2007, but it was in 2014 that we first saw a trace of Overwatch. In that year, a movie trailer and a gameplay trailer were released, which changed the course of the game world forever.

Remember that at that time, Blizzard was not in its current state. Basically every game Blizzard made was pure gold. Games and series such as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and Hearthstone were all a phenomenon in their own right.

In the eyes of people, Overwatch is Blizzard's answer to Team Fortress. Team Fortress 2 was Valve's first multiplayer action game for Steam.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

But this Something was different in the middle. Overwatch was colorful and energetic. The heroes of the game and their capabilities were very diverse, and their combination led to new game styles in the context of the first-person action style, which had never been seen before. This was evident even from the gameplay trailer.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

The hype around Overwatch was insane. Game fans were eagerly waiting for Blizcon 2015. That year, more heroes were announced and a beta version of the game was released. The game beta was a huge phenomenon in 2015. The hype of the game was crazy and everyone was trying to play it. But the problem was that not everyone could play it. Popular streamers were all playing the Overwatch beta, but there was no guarantee that there would be a slot for you. This caused controversy and some people even called the game Onlywatch.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

The year 2016 came and the release date of the game was determined. A week before the release of the game, Blizzard released the Dragons movie trailer. This trailer became so famous in the gaming world that you, your friends and even your parents have probably watched it. This trailer contained one of the best story-telling and world-building that we have seen in the game world. It came out and all the reviewers had the same opinion: the game is awesome. Overwatch practically won all the awards in the game world and even won the best game of the year award at the Game Awards.

This was the good era of gaming. Everyone was playing Overwatch. Every so often, short movie trailers were released for each of the characters, in which the story background of the characters and the world of Overwatch was described. Seasonal events were being added to the game, a slew of new skins were being made for the game, and summer events were coming.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Then with the arrival of Halloween, a gift called Junkenstein's Revenge was presented to the audience. Jonkenstein's Revenge was the first player-versus-environment (PVE) co-op minigame added to the game. The addition of Johnkenstein's Revenge was exciting, as it gave the impression that Blizzard was going to keep adding new content to the game.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Two new heroes Ana and Sombra have been added to the game. The news of the addition of Sombra was hidden in a series of codes and secret messages that Internet users tried to decipher. Finally, at Blizzcon 2016, he was officially announced.

If you're an Overwatch fan, you probably remember all of these events, because they all made a lot of noise. BlizCon 2016 showed that Overwatch has a bright future. After the unveiling of Sombra, the Overwatch League was unveiled. If you were motivated enough to master the game, you could join one of the professional Overwatch teams and get paid. Anyone who cares about competitive gaming was pretty excited about this news.

This news was huge, as Overwatch's global team competition showed that the game was going to be huge. This is probably what the heads of Blizzard were thinking: League of Legends, your time and natural growth is over; Now is the time for artificial fertilization! (We'll talk about that later).

In 2016, all of this news seemed great. Everything seemed very new. As if the future depended on Overwatch. The game was selling great, the content production team was doing great, people were taking the competitive gaming scene seriously, and Overwatch tournaments were happening. All these events were happening very fast. So logic would have dictated that Blizzard get to work early and launch the game league, right?

A year has passed and we're into 2017. 2017 It was also a good time. The competitive gaming scene was still fun, some streamers were getting famous for streaming Overwatch, cinematic trailers were still being released, the Overwatch League was coming to life, and champions were being updated regularly. Overall, the game was in great shape.

Blizzard also added the Uprising event to the game, which was again a "player vs. environment" co-op mode that was essentially a story mission that you could complete with Play your friends. This content promised an exciting future where at any moment Blizzard could release the next big piece of content for the game and tell more of the story of the Overwatch universe.

Thanks to Electronic Arts (EA) and Star Wars: Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Star Wars: Battlefront 2), 2017 was also the year of lootbox controversy, to the extent that some governments started to look into this phenomenon to declare it illegal if they considered it to be gambling. Overwatch was also affected by this negative atmosphere because of its loot boxes. They are not abusive. These loot boxes do not affect the gameplay, they only contain decorative items and every time you level up, you get a free loot box. It means that if you play the game a lot, you might not need to buy them at all.

It was this year that PUBG was released and the release of this game coincided with the first time that many of Overwatch streamers streamed a new game. Mostly everyone enjoyed PUBG for a short time but still considered Overwatch as their main game. In 2017, three new heroes were added to the game: Orisa, Doomfist and Moira.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

The gameplay provided by these three heroes wasn't very healthy for a first-person action game, but we didn't know it at the time. The greatest hero was the trouble maker of Orissa. The addition of a new shield-centric hero meant that players were no longer limited to Vincent and Reindhart, but these two were among the best designed heroes in the game. However, these heroes were not bad enough to bring the game into a critical state.

On Halloween of that year, the game mode of Jankenstein's Revenge returned without any changes. Of course, we were happy to play it, but we hoped that new content would be released.

When 2018 came, the game turned 2 years old and the Overwatch League started. It was an exciting time to be a part of the Overwatch fan community. Famous players like xQc, Carpe, Seagull, Surefour, iddqd, Sinatra and Shadowburn were supposed to participate in it. Blizzard and Twitch reached a last-second deal for the rights to broadcast the league. Unfortunately, XQC didn't stay in the league for long and was kicked out of the league due to the drama surrounding the use of a racist emoticon.

All the gamers were getting better at the game and that's why the competitive scene of the game became very exciting. Over time, balancing the game and keeping its various aspects fair became more important for the fan community. That's why complaints were raised in this regard.

However, 2018 was still a good time to play. Then a new hero named Brigitte was introduced. This is where the bad times started.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

If you ask most gaming fans, they will. He said that it was at this time that the decline of the game began. Brigitte is known as the most hated hero of Overwatch. The main problem was that he was a support champion that was too strong. He single-handedly upset the balance of Overwatch's gameplay.

He had a shield that was as good as a tank shield, his healing ability was so strong that his teammates and even himself became practically unkillable, and his ability to merge was so strong. that if you were close to him, he could damage you as much as a fusion class. Worst of all, one of his most important abilities was his ability to stun you.

Needless to say, this character needed to be nerfed ASAP. But a lot of time passed and people started complaining about the poor balancing of the game. This was very disappointing, because Blizzard received a lot of feedback, but nothing happened. The situation was such that Brigette was always removed in every hand of the game and every team with Brigette won. Finally, she was nerfed, but being nerfed once was not enough. He continued to nerf and nerf and nerf and nerf until he reached his current state. She's still a pain in the butt, and after so many nerfs, her current strength shows just how powerful she was at release.

Brigette's release ushered in a new team composition in the game that fans call Goths. (GOATS) addressed. If you don't play Overwatch, let it Let me explain it to you. In the Guts team composition, instead of the players of all three roles 1. Tank 2. Merger 3. To play support, they only played 2 roles: tank and support. This means that instead of 2 tanks, 2 merges and 2 supports, players would play 3 tanks and 3 supports. Melee players can't compete with so many health bars and heals, so for a year Overwatch entered a mode known as the Goats Meta. The champions chosen in the Gotts meta have changed over time, but Brigette has remained a constant in the Gotts meta, giving all her teammates incredible durability.

In 2018, a new Archive Event called Punishment Retribution) was published. The new content was punishing, and it was fun to experience it once with friends, but it wasn't worth repeating. It was quite clear that this content was a kind of technology-oriented test that was presented to the game audience in the form of an event. These events were very welcome to the Overwatch fan community and showed that Blizzard likes to work on PVE content for the game. But we were looking for a complete experience in this field.

As Overwatch was struggling with the Goats meta problem in both Ranked and Overwatch League, Fortnite was gaining popularity at a breakneck speed. . You might not expect Fortnite to be mentioned in the story of Overwatch, but the popularity of Fortnite had a big impact on Overwatch. People don't talk much about the impact either.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

The release of Fortnite led to the first mass exodus of Overwatch content creators. Happen to another game. For the first time, we saw a series of stubborn streamers leave the game for good. Some of these producers include the following names:

  • Loserfruit
  • Tim TheTatman
  • Bazza Gazza
  • RiftyIsSpiffy
  • AimbotCalvin
  • Muselk

Many of my favorite content creators have moved from Overwatch to Fortnite. It was a gamble that paid off for them. Twitch added the Prime Sub option to its platform and it wasn't long before we saw Ninja playing Fortnite with the famous rapper Drake.

Fortnite was a free game, but compared to Overwatch a paid game that was two years old was releasing new content at a faster rate. Fans were asked if it was worth keeping Overwatch as their main game at all. Overwatch survived against the popularity of PUBG in 2017, but now there was room for concern.

Tim TheTatman would quit the game from time to time due to players intentionally causing their teammates to lose. Blizzard's very slow process for handling complaints against rogue players didn't help either. Even according to Blizzard, one of the players it banned ruined the game for "thousands of players". Why did this player manage to ruin so many games before being banned? Add to the equation the inherent imbalance of some champions along with the sabotaging players and you'll see why Overwatch was no longer fun for many players.

Fortnite Content Creator Codes in the Item Shop too It gave streamers and video creators more incentive to ditch Overwatch and move to Fortnite.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

In We lost a lot of original Overwatch content creators this time period. That's why this period was a tense period for many fans of the game.

Halloween came again and again the content we got was Johnkenstein's revenge. Really? Blizzard released the same event three years in a row? Something was missing.

New heroes like Ashe and Wrecking Ball were also added to the game, but the fan community still felt that something was missing. Adding new heroes to the game was expected, but it didn't seem like enough to compete with other games. Overwatch needed something more.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

The game was slow to release updates and Blizzard was slower to communicate with its fans. . It was during this period that Michael Morhaime, one of Blizzard's designers, announced that he was going to leave the company.

As 2019 arrived, Apex Legends entered the market with strength. became. The release of Apex Legends coincided with the mass exodus of a number of other content producers. Apex Legends was another free game that had a variety of characters and capabilities like Overwatch, but unlike Overwatch, it was made in the style of Battle Royale, which became the most popular genre in the game world in 2019.

This game is for gamers. It was very attractive; Practically, it was like Overwatch, with the difference that it was both free and Battle Royale! All this time, Gotts' meta was still a problem. Blizzard thought to himself: why teams of three Are the tanks and three supports formed? Instead of fixing the tanks and supports that caused this imbalance, they came up with a different idea: adding a 2-2-2 build to the teams. Thanks to this system, teams had to take 2 supports, 2 tanks, and 2 merges, and there was no way around this limit.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Under this new system, you had to choose your role and then wait for the game to choose your teammates.

The problem was that the waiting time was too long. This new system showed that no one wanted to play as a tank, so the wait for a new game to start was incredibly high, especially in the Ranked section. The professional players of Dajmazen classes sometimes had to wait in line for an hour for a hand. Obviously, this system had to be changed.

Blizzard worked on an algorithm, thanks to which the waiting time for the merge class went from 5 to 12 minutes. But if someone wanted to play tank, he would enter the game within 1-3 minutes.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Here is the question Why didn't Overwatch players want to play as a tank? The reason was that the heroes that were added to the game later did not fit the gameplay of the tank class characters. Anyone who played a tank was constantly being interrupted, thrown somewhere else, and generally losing control of their character. Basically, someone playing the tank class had to play the role of a meat shield and blindly throw themselves into the battlefield, hoping that their teammates could heal them before they were killed or trick enemies, because they missed It didn't work much.

Overwatch players didn't expect to wait so long for a game. On the other hand, if you were playing Fortnite or Apex Legends, you would get into the game very quickly. Naturally, the negative feelings towards the game were intensifying.

Meanwhile, Overwatch introduced another PVE event called Storm Rising. This event also provided a good experience, but it was very short.

Then it was time to announce the big news: the development of a sequel for the game.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Overwatch 2 was announced at Blizzcon 2019, a game that was supposed to have a heavy focus on both PVP and PVE. Of course, the news that the game was made was leaked a week before the event. However, you can imagine the excitement surrounding the news of a sequel. The sequel was supposed to deliver content that fans had been asking for for a long time: story missions, hero-centric mammoths, new PVP capabilities. The news of Overwatch 2, along with Diablo 4, made for a good Blizzcon for fans.

At Blizzcon 2019, it was possible to play the Overwatch 2 demo, and I was lucky enough to be there in person. and test it. The PVP part of the game was the same as before and that was not a problem, because I didn't expect that much change either. The PVE part of the game was much more exciting compared to the previous archive events.

Okay, this seemed like a good start. There was still hope for the game. But at the beginning of 2020, the situation deteriorated badly. 2020 was the year that Overwatch received its latest content in the form of a new hero named Echo.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Echo was the last champion released for the game, Blizzcon 2020 was canceled, Twitch's contract with Overwatch was about to expire, and YouTube paid $160 million for the rights to the Overwatch League and Call of Duty.

The Overwatch fan community wasn't too happy with this decision, as YouTube's streaming service wasn't as polished as Twitch. Other than that, Overwatch's biggest pro players were also retiring. In general, there was less and less reason to watch the Overwatch League.

Michael Chu, the lead writer of Overwatch, left Blizzard after 20 years. This was big news and a sign of a storm to come. We didn't know anything about it at the time, but Blizzard's internal situation was not good at all and it was getting worse day by day. The brilliant talents behind Overwatch were leaving the company one by one.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

With each major game release New like Call of Duty Warzone and Valorant Overwatch was losing more content creators. The situation was so bad that MVP Overwatch left the league in the middle of the season to play for Valorant. Have you ever heard of an NFL player leaving the league in the middle of the season to play in the MLB?

This was a slap in the face of the Overwatch League and an embarrassment to Blizzard. Overwatch was losing its audience to free-to-play games with constant content, and the wait time for a new game to start was getting longer and longer. The forced 2-2-2 structure of the game also worsened the situation.

Overwatch was 4 years old and was still being sold. Free games were crushing it. This led to the creation of a new idea: Priority Pass: This point allowed players who wanted to play the most popular role of the game, the merge, to be in a shorter waiting line.

However. The problem was that the priority points were given to you if you played other roles - like support and tank. In other words, to play a role you liked, you had to play roles you didn't like!

This system didn't solve the problem at all. If someone didn't want to play a tank to get priority points, they had to wait 13 minutes to play Soldier 76 for 9 minutes.

2021 was the first year that the game did not receive any content ( Of course, if we factor from the map of Dethmach). In 2021, Blizzcon was held and more information about Overwatch 2 was released. This information gave hope to Overwatch fans. After a year of complete silence about the game, this was exactly what we needed.

It was also announced that Overwatch will be reduced from 6-player teams to 5-player teams: 2 Support, 2 merges and 1 tank.

In April, the biggest blow to the Overwatch fan community came. Jeff Kaplan announced his departure from the Overwatch team and after 20 years of work, he left only a paragraph farewell.

This single paragraph farewell compared to Aaron Keller's full-page introduction. Aaron Keller) seemed strange. Of course, something had happened in the middle. But to this day, we don't know exactly what happened. There have been speculations about the reason for this: some say it was due to pressure from Activision, some say this separation was under the leadership of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, some say the reason for the separation was Jeff's disagreement with his teammates. In general, no one is sure. Either way, the split was a major disappointment for fans. Jeff Kaplan held a high place among fans and was considered one of the last members of Blizzard from the golden days of the past.

But things got worse.

News of Blizzard's collapse were heard left and right. . Everyone was talking about Blizzard's toxic work environment, and the company was accused of promoting a culture of harassment, sexism, laxity, irresponsibility, etc.

This news was a big blow to Blizzard. This company had turned from one of the giants of the game industry, whose job was to make great and stream-making games, to a hated company that could not even publish content for its games.

Every day there is new news about the departure of an old member of the studio could be heard The company's game development teams underwent major changes, and constantly changing project leaders made it harder to create content. Bobby Kotick had also become the hated face that ruined Blizzard.

This controversy continues and Blizzard has used all the propaganda and damage control to preserve its reputation as much as possible. . One such tactic was changing the name of one of the heroes of Overwatch from McCree to Cassidy, because he was named in honor of a member of Blizzard who later turned out to be one of the company's sexual harassers and accused of He was fired from the company.

At this point, the Overwatch League was very lethargic. There was no more excitement around the games, and because of Overwatch's poor management, the number of spectators was down, and the general atmosphere of the league seemed very artificial. It's as if Blizzard was trying to artificially simulate the natural and organic growth of competitive leagues in other games. We didn't know the players of the teams that were playing, and even the Overwatch teams didn't have much motivation to encourage these players to produce content. All the sponsors of the league disappeared and no logos could be seen on the website anymore. The question was, how could the league continue with this situation?

Overwatch's fan community had become very small, and loyal players and content producers were waiting to see what would happen next to make the game. to save him from the swamp he was trapped in.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

In 2022, glimmers of hope were seen. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced that it is going to buy Activision Blizzard. This news was welcomed, as many fans assumed that Microsoft could transform Blizzard's internal system.

In early 2022, the Overwatch beta was announced. This beta version started immediately after the secret alpha test, which was tested by content producers and professional players. All you had to do was sign up for the beta, hope the website doesn't crash in the middle, and wait patiently.

On April 26, the beta started. If you didn't register, you could watch 4 hours of streaming on Twitch and then get a beta key. This bet was very effective in boosting Twitch's stats and reached 1.5 million concurrent viewers. From this statistic It was clear that players were interested in trying out the game.

Overall the beta went well. Players responded well to the changes made, and popular content creators enjoyed it even more compared to the first game. But the game was mostly not significantly different from the previous version. The only difference was that there was one less tank per team.

Some champions were changed to align with the new version. For example:

  • Orissa no longer has a shield
  • Doomfist has changed from a melee class to a tank class
  • McCree oh sorry, Cassidy another flashbang No

Personally, I don't have a particular opinion about these changes, because I know they will change when the game is released. But I'm just saying that Tracer needs to be reviewed before releasing the game.

BingMag.com The rise and fall of Overwatch; How did Blizzard destroy one of the biggest online games?

Noting that the Ranked mode was not available, popular Overwatch streamers switched to Overwatch 1 during the Overwatch 2 beta version, but after the beta version ended, the Overwatch League switched to Overwatch 2.

This was a strange occurrence, Because the public still does not have access to Overwatch 2, but in the competitive and professional scene, Overwatch 2 has become the main game. What makes it worse is that even the pro players themselves - who are getting paid to play Overwatch 2 - can't play it in their spare time.

In 2022, one of the last known Overwatch players. Retired under the name of Super. Now, if you ask the average Overwatch player who plays in the Overwatch League, they'll probably be able to name two.

As things have been going on, Overwatch viewership on Twitch has plummeted. The beta test ended and the number of viewers dropped to less than 5,000. Until just a few weeks ago, this number was 1.5 million.

Perhaps the reason was that people decided that Overwatch 1 was no longer important to them and it was better to wait until the release of Overwatch 2. All this time, we've been waiting for news on the real sequel: the PVE content. If Overwatch is going to be redeemed, this is the way to go.

Personally, I'm skeptical of Overwatch 2, but Blizzard's track record of making PVE games is fantastic. Maybe there's still enough of the company's old DNA left to make this game right.

In my opinion, Overwatch 1 was before these heroes were added:

  • Ana
  • Sombra
  • Oriana
  • Doomfist
  • Moira
  • Brigitte
  • Wrecking Ball
  • Ashe
  • Baptiste
  • Sigma

The best first person action game of all time. That's why I'm personally waiting to see what kind of game fans like me are going to get after this long wait. It didn't happen.

Nobody talks about it in the Overwatch fan community, but in 2020, due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and content removal issues on Twitch, Overwatch content creators were forced to remove much of their content. Delete their content history.

Practically all streamers deleted all their old videos and clips to avoid having their channel deleted. Practically the only thing left of the old Overwatch content now is the content uploaded to YouTube. During this process, thousands of memorable clips - belonging to the channels of all major streamers - were removed. It was like losing a large part of our history overnight. Now the only thing we have from that era is the content that was uploaded to YouTube.

Another thing I wanted to mention was the total number of maps that have been added to the game over the years. New maps, like new heroes, were among the common contents that were added to the game, and talking about them is not very exciting, but it should be noted that some maps that Blizzard added to the game - such as Paris, Horizon Lunar Colony ) - were so hated by fans that Blizzard removed them from the game. It was really a shame for Blizzard to remove content from their game that was making it better.

Recently it was announced that on October 2nd, 2022 the Overwatch 1 servers will be shut down forever and the game will be replaced by Overwatch 2. This may seem strange, because it seems that Overwatch 1 is both destroyed and continues to exist. Hoping that Overwatch 1 and the memories we had with it will not be forgotten. But, with all the history that Overwatch lost for nothing, maybe we can't be too optimistic.

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