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April 12, 2018

Overwatch: Retribution: Uprising: Revengeance: Revelations: Subtitle

Well, I didn’t think I’d be doing another post on Overwatch so soon.  And by soon I mean, what, at least six months since the last one?  Eh, it’s fine.  With the new Retribution event in full swing until April 30th, I got back in to try and earn my “just rewards”, I.e. redemption for a certain failure last time.  And since I did a post on another popular shooter not too long ago -- Fortnite, for the uninitiated -- it seems like a good time to poke my head in and see where I stand with Blizzard’s bullet-loaded baby.

So yeah.  Welcome back to Overwatch.  Now watch me use 4,000 words to explain in grave detail why Mercy is the best and a waifu unrivaled by all.  As you know.

Nah, I’m just kidding.  I’m not going to do that…again.  But let me say this to start:

--I got back into the game after a long-ish break for one simple reason: I wanted Mercy’s combat medic skin, and the only way to get it is to partake in the Uprising festivities.  I missed out on it last year, partly because I was forsaken by the RNG gods, and partly because I got too discouraged from even trying.  But this year?  I can confirm I’m now an owner of one of my favorite skins in the game, and for my favorite character in the game.

--I’m still salty about not getting the Winged Victory skin, though.  And it’ll be that way for…I don’t know, the next four months or so.

--Admittedly, my acquisition wasn’t one born of destiny, but the future I created with my own two hands.  By which I mean I saved up enough credits -- and got lucky with one last loot box pull -- to buy the skin during the limited-time window.  Bizarrely, I got both the Young Hanzo skin and the Avatar skin for Doomfist in the same loot box.  I would be ecstatic if not for the fact that (at that point) I’d never touched one character, and learned never to touch the other.

--But at least I got mine.

--Also, I kind of love how getting the “Combat Medic Ziegler” skin makes it sound like I got a new action figure.  Which to be fair I kind of did.  (And would be OK with having in physical form.  Just sayin’.)

--Not to break character, but I’ll admit that I have played Overwatch a few times in the period between the Summer Games event and now.  In a sense, Blizzard is doing exactly what they need to: introducing new characters every now and then to keep things fresh.  If it works for fighting games, it’ll work here.  And lucky for me, the two latest were right in my wheelhouse: Support heroes.

--I wasn’t there on minute one to take Moira for a spin, but I got around to it eventually.  Based solely on her design, I knew she’d be a real change of pace from Mercy (though it seems like her new Blackwatch skin gives her elements of the Valkyrie system…?).  I didn’t know what to make of her or how effective she’d be in my hands, but now I’m happy to give David Bowie DIO Moira a whirl when the chance arises.  

--I’m no expert with her, granted, but I can at least do marginally better with her than I can with Attack heroes.  That death ball of hers is a lot more potent and useful than I would have guessed, especially in close quarters -- meaning she’s all green when it comes to breaching that room in FFA deathmatches.  You know the one.  When it comes to all-out healing I would rather be Mercy or Lucio -- if only out of sheer complacency -- but she’ll do in a pinch, and I’d wager she’s a better attacker than either of them.  Then again, I could just be saying that because you don’t have to aim so precisely with her attacks.  Just hold the RMB, throw balls, and you’re good.  Ish.

--I’m almost certain I’ve mentioned this before, but for the summer I played World of Warcraft, I went all in with my paladin Yoshvier.  I mean, I didn’t even make it to Level 40, but that’s still the farthest I’ve ever gotten in the game.  So having Brigitte join the battle feels like slipping on a nice pair of old, comfy slippers.  She may not have a stun-inflicting uppercut or a “screw all your attacks” bubble, but she does have a stun-inflicting tackle and a “screw all your attacks” shield.  I’ll take it.

--Thus far, I’ve only taken Brigitte out to play in deathmatches, so I’m not sure how well I’d do with her in the standard team format.  (Plus she’s still relatively new as of this post, so I assume everybody’s scrambling to pick her first.)  So as an actual supporter, I don’t intimately know how well she’ll do.  Probably fine, considering.  As of this moment, I think of her more as an attacker -- or a tank, at the very least.  Even if she doesn’t have much in the way of range, getting close to her = bad times ahoy.

--It’s crazy.  My very first session with Brigitte was in a deathmatch (so I wouldn’t have to worry about dragging my team down with inexperience), and I didn’t expect things to go my way.  Imagine my surprise when I flail my way, literally, to a third-place finish.  This girl can do some damage if you let her -- and with her shield, she can safely take plenty of it.  She’s fun to play, but conversely?  Not fun to fight for those exact same reasons.  I’m not about to say she’s OP, but it’s better to be with her than against her.

--Confession time, though: her default look?  OK with me, more or less.  Her alternate skin?  The one where she’s got the bandanna on?  Insert sleeping Shaq meme here.

--Loot boxes are stupid and I hate them.  I don’t think that anything more needs to be said, and I doubt that’s a controversial opinion.

--That said, I got, like, more than a half-dozen in a 24-hour span thanks to the freebie at the event’s start, gaining a few levels, winning in Arcade matches, and doing the Uprising/Retribution missions.  I still have the one Retribution mission with a forced hero selection left (if I can summon the will for it), but…I don’t know.  I got what I wanted, and I’m not going to go crazier than I already am just to get Moira with a new hat.  Also, I don’t trust my luck in getting to use her in the actual mission, which means I’m likely to get stuck playing as a character I either never use or outright dislike.  Pass-a-roonie.

--The Uprising event did let force me out of my comfort zone, though -- quite literally, as by the time I finished watching the cutscene, I was left with no one to pick but Torbjorn.  I don’t think I’ve used him in any long-form capacity since the beta, and suddenly I was thrown into the thick of it.  Somehow I made it work, though; I guess the dominant Torb strategy is “TURRET, LOL”, so maybe I’ll use him more in actual matches.  But there was one moment during a mission where everybody but me -- little Torb -- was dead, and I had to save them despite the hail of robo-bullets whizzing past them.  You can just imagine my enthusiasm.

--But I still saved them, and the mission, so it all worked out.  Go dwarves.

--This sudden Overwatch burst has taught me a couple of things.  One: I have terrible aim.  Two: I need to branch out and try different characters (which would presumably dampen problem number one).  In order, my most commonly chosen classes are Support, Tank, Defense, and Attack, and I’d wager there’s a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge power gap between Defense and Attack.  Because of that, when it comes to putting up an offense -- or even being a legitimate threat in a firefight -- I’m a mess.  An easy target.

--I think part of the problem is that when it comes to the Attack class, I don’t have a horse in that race.  Tracer, Reaper, 76, Genji, Pharah, McCree, Sombra, Doomfist; of those heroes (?), the only ones I’m even tempted to touch are Pharah and McCree.  And I usually don’t because Attack-types get scooped up at the start of a match -- though granted, I’m never in any rush to scoop first.  So I guess the first step to improving at the game is to start learning how to put up a fight, rather than relying on a teammate to do it for me.

--As of right now, I’m leaning towards gaining some semblance of competency with Pharah.  That could fall apart within the next day or two, because why wouldn’t it?  Navigating 2D space is enough of a crapshoot, so imagine what it’ll be like when I have to manage a Z-axis.  And I’ve tried Pharah a bit more recently; numerous missiles have whiffed, and BOY do I need to learn to watch my ammo count with her.  Reloading in the direst moments is…dire.

--On the other hand, it hasn’t been a complete wash.  If I have to manage the Z-axis, then that means my foes have to, as well.  If I can get the drop on them, I’ll have an advantage -- and playing as Mercy has helped me learn how to stay airborne with a mix of Spacebar and Left Shift.  Maybe more than anything, though, I need Pharah on my side so I can have someone who can do some damage.  Too many kills have been lost because I soften them up with Winston or Symmetra, only to bite the dust and let someone else seal the deal.  A rocket to the face seems like a decisive remedy.

--Though I doubt I’m the only one (or even if this is a worthwhile statement), I’m trying to build up a pocket Bastion.  He can heal himself while on the run, his turret mode lets him hunker down and inflict the pain, and even outside of that his recon gun has earned me some points.  It makes me think back to a time before the game’s release when I saw his art and thought “Yep, that cool robot is my guy.”  He still kind of is, purely from a design standpoint, but the stigma…well, I don’t know if it’s still there.  But it wouldn’t surprise me if the mere sight of him elicited groans from opponents and teammates alike.

--Characters I tried: Doomfist, Ana.  Characters I shouldn’t have tried: Doomfist, Ana.

--I wonder if deathmatches and the other arcade modes were always part of the Overwatch GDD.  I mean, initially it was all about working together as a team and composition and all of that; given that there are modes where you fight one-on-one duels with random characters, has the spirit of the game been broken for the sake of variety?  Was there ever a spirit to begin with?  Your mileage may vary, but I’ll go ahead and assume “no” and “yes” to the first and second questions, respectively.  If the game was in any danger, I doubt we would have an entire league built around it.

--Still, I do think that the extra arcade modes help expedite the loot box process -- or if not that, then certainly the immediate, appreciable, in-the-moment gains and thrills that you otherwise can’t get in the other format.  At least if I suck in a FFA deathmatch, the only one I’m letting down is myself, not the team.  And if I can’t hack it solo, then there’s a team deathmatch option where I can be of far greater use.

--It’s not as if I’ve always got a clock going to measure, but certainly, the arcade modes feel faster (save for the Uprising/Retribution missions).  Maybe it’s because there’s not as much of a pressure-filled push-and-pull between two teams and a single point/payload on the map.  Or maybe it’s because those extra modes reduce gamers to their baser instincts honed from hundreds of titles past: press the button, beat the enemy.  Far from elegant, but more than sufficient.

--I can’t say I have a very strong opinion on the event missions right now.  Admittedly I’ve never been in any rush to do any of them up until this one, but having finally sat down with what’s on the menu?  Eh.  It’s not bad.  I’m not going to do it any more than I have to -- like on any difficulty higher than Normal -- but it’s fine.  It feels like a sequence in a AAA console shooter jury-rigged together with the game’s assets, for good or ill.  Many robots/soldiers come at you.  You shoot them.  You complete the objectives along the way (including guarding the payload, because of course you do).  You’re in and out, relative to how long it takes your team to clear the next wave of foes.

--Still, I appreciate how the heroes have new lines to toss out during this mode -- and flat-out conversations if you choose a mode with a limited quartet.  Any bit of characterization is welcome, especially when you’re more likely to hear your teammates telling that one guy not to go ahead of the group.  You know that guy.  We all know that guy.

--You know, a thought occurs: since the enemies in the missions are mostly rejiggered versions of the cast, does that mean any variations are hints of future heroes?  Because, truth be told: I wouldn’t mind at all if we got Bladewolf.

Okay, so now I have a serious question.  It’s probably going to make me sound like a jerk for pushing it out there, but if you have an opinion -- especially if you’re in deep with the game -- feel free to respond at your leisure.  So here it is: where does Overwatch go from here?

I want to know, and I have more thoughts to share…buuuuuuuuuuuuuut not enough space to go into them without turning this post into a novella.  (I hate it when that happens.)  So let’s cut it off here for now and reconvene at a later date, shall we?

See you soon.  Good luck with your loot box hunting.  You’ll need it.


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