Back when I was at university, the game Quake was the thing. My brother worked at a small IT company, and I would often go with him to the office to play LAN games with him and his colleagues. Yes, I realise how much this paragraph dates me! Insert analogy about wine increasing in value and quality with age…or something.
I confess, I went along to these LAN games, for the social aspect, because of course you can be social while sitting in separate offices trying to mow down the other people, who were also there er…being social (and in 1996, the internet was still in its infancy, and LAN games were how one played with others). At the same time I was already a huge fan of my first ever RT Strategy game…Warcraft II and I was definitely in the camp that preferred RTS games over FPS.
RTS – Real Time Strategy vs FPS – First Person Shooter
When Chris Metzen was working the Blizzard hype magic in earnest during the Blizzcon when Overwatch was announced, as much as I was excited at the thought of a new Blizzard game, I was somewhat crestfallen that it was an FPS, since that genre didn’t really blow my hair back. My spouse is a long time fan of console FPS greats such as Halo, Call of Duty and just about every other one out there, and so I’ve seen them all come and go, and none of them held any attraction for me, at all.
The game’s introductory short movie, did catch my attention. Here it is below in case by some miracle you’ve missed it.
Now that you’ve heard my history with FPS games, you’ll understand why when Closed Beta rolled around, and I wasn’t flagged to receive a key, I thought that it was probably a good thing, since I was unlikely to enjoy it, and wouldn’t be able to provide Blizzard with useful feedback other than “it’s hard to aim and shoot and stuff“.
Then Blizzard threw a stroke of bloody genius into the mix, and they offered the tantalizing form of Tracer in all her blink blink pew pew glory to Heroes of the Storm…if you pre-purchased Overwatch.
Guys…I’m a little ashamed to say that this actually clinched it for me. I was willing to part with 50-ish quid JUST for the privilege of playing Tracer in Heroes of the Storm.
Most expensive hero purchase ever. This is coming from someone who prefers to use in-game currency for EVERYTHING 99% of the time.
I threw caution to the wind and thought SOD IT – if push comes to shove, I’m sure one of my minions would like to play it, so chaching…and the money was spent.
Early access open beta saw me install the game and finally try and see what all the fuss was about.
Perhaps Overwatch had a small advantage in that things are a tad slow in World of Warcraft right now (Senpai Blizzard is wise in the way of these things), so I had the time in the evenings, along with several other guildies to give it a real go.
Sweet RNGeesus but I have fallen in love.
Blizzard’s addition of roles such as tank, support, builder, offensive, and defensive heroes is nothing short of masterful. There is literally a role for every kind of player out there, even someone like me, who was sworn to loathe FPS games for all eternity. The first time I played Mercy, and saved a team mate from certain death, only to hear them proclaim over voice comms how fantastically dramatic it was and how it looked amazing too, swooping from the sky to do so (IN HEELS I MIGHT ADD), and that was the moment I thought…I AM IN.
Since then Pharah, Lucio, Mei and others have also grabbed me – as no doubt countless others still will!
I confess to being thoroughly seduced by the heroic theme music. I also hugely appreciate that the rewards for leveling up and getting achievements are purely cosmetic, and that there is zero advantage between Player X ‘Fresh Noob’ and Player Y ‘Seasoned Pro’ in terms of the game functions. There is no powering up, or pay to win scenario here, making this game absolutely perfect for Esports, and I for one, will be part of the madding crowd cheering the players on!
I even took a moment to appreciate the scenery outside of the action-area of the playable maps – just LOOK at HOW incredible everything looks!
Even the Numbani map…managed to make me miss Africa for a solid 10 seconds before I had to get back to my task of stopping the payload.
Blizzard deserve every accolade in the industry for this gem that even Game Informer reviewed and said their ONLY complaint was being unable to switch hero skins between matches.
There remains just one question, from me to you…
Are you with us?