Recently Ex-Overwatch player and current full-time streamer Brandon ‘Seagull’ Larned vented some of his “frustrations” with Overwatch on his Youtube channel. His main issue is that "Good games are really good and bad games are really bad”, and that “they need to find a way to normalize the experience so when I click on competitive it’s not a coin flip." He attributes many factors such as: Lack of public player statistics, counter-play heroes like Sombra and Bridgette being introduced, and a stale composition meta. These are all valid parts that Seagull dissects in further detail, however two other points he makes resonates with me; as in the past couple months I’ve experienced and come to the EXACT same conclusions he made. These two points being the polarization of hero matchups, and the dominance of ultimates in team fights

Some heroes are natural counters to other, that’s just the nature of any game that has unique characters. However when this is taken to the extreme, an unhealthy “rock, paper, scissors” meta develops. Character’s like Brigitte have kits that completely nullify other heroes like Tracer, and the Tracer player is forced to switch or risk throwing away a game. If the Tracer player doesn’t want to switch, they must completely rely on their teammates to help them out, and when individual performance is dependent solely on assistance from teammates, the gameplay experience can be equally as frustrating. Seagull gives the example of Ana vs. Doomfist. Besides one sleep dart, the Ana’s life is essentially in the hands of her teammates, as Doomfist’s combos are too potent for her to do anything. As a main tank player, and in particular a Reinhard main, this meta can be quite frustrating. Reinhardt’s shield is his best asset, protecting him and his team from up to 2000 damage and any potential stuns. When a myriad of characters can simply CC him out of this, it leads to an incredibly frustrating experience. Doomfist rocket punch, Sombra hacks, Brigette bash, Ana sleep, and Mccree stun all combined together into a flurry of attacks essentially renders Rein as an ultimate farm for the opponent. Some Reinhardt games feel incredibly discouraging (another one of Seagulls points, quitting due to sheer frustration), as all game I’m simply a glorified punching bag, and quite literally not able to do much of anything. Again my liveliness, and therefore the amount of fun, lies in my Zarya’s ability to bubble me, or my team’s ability to kill the enemy Brigette/Sombra/Doomfist. To make matters even worse for me, one of the few DPS characters I did play USE to be Tracer, but as Seagull puts it “If you’re playing Tracer and a Brigette shield stuns you, there’s no way to survive and there’s little to no counterplay”. Blizzard is taking steps such as Brigette nerfs in the PTR that rectify this issue, but in it doesn't erase the fact for the past few months ranked has been somewhat of a mess.

On a macro scale, Overwatch gameplay is 75% composed of teamfights. In these teamfights both teams use their ultimate en-masse, and attempt to overwhelm their opponent with a series of powerful abilities in quick succession. Sadly the outcome of teamfights is tipped heavily in favour of teams that can throw more of the strongest ultimate out the fastest. I first noticed this in my own matches, when I realized a reoccuring callout I gave to teammates was “well they just have their ults here… so I guess we lose”, or “we have graviton and transcendence so we can't lose”. Of course these predictions aren’t fulfilled 100% of the time, players won’t follow on grav, an Ana will land a sleep on a nano-blade, but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t accurate AT LEAST 70% of the time. So if games are won by team fights, and teamfights boils down to ultimates, in can be inferred that team fights are won by whoever can charge their ultimate the fastest. If this chain of logic is still true, then whole matches are decided by whoever can win the first team fight, as the winner of the teamfights will walk out with a significant ultimate lead over your opponent. Seagull cites the statistic: In Overwatch League Season 1, out of the 771 King of the Hill/control points played, winner of the first teamfight won 64% of the time. Now some players might argue that ultimate farming. Ult economy, and ult management are all core skills that will never change and is imperative the Overwatch competitive experience. I would agree, but when ultimate usage constantly tip change the tides by 180 degrees, a line has to be drawn.

-Eric Yeung

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