I’ve been playing video games for ages. Over 20 years to be exact. And while I’ve played plenty of excellent titles over the years, only a handful keep me playing long after I finish them. These are the games that I will treasure forever, the games that make me proud of this odd little thing that so many of us call a hobby. Until last year it had been a while since I’d last played something like that. While I knew that Overwatch was something special from the moment I saw its announcement trailer back in 2014, I don’t think I realized just how much I was going to fall in love with it. If you had told me that I’d still be playing the game a year later and have invested hundreds of hours into it (also hundreds of dollars in the form of loot boxes), I’d probably think you were crazy. And yet here we are, a year later and I’m still playing and still in love with this incredible game that has changed a lot over the past year.
Overwatch has gone from Pixar meets TF2 to something all its own. In the last 12 months alone the game has had dozens of new features added. New heroes, an overhauled arcade mode, a pseudo-team deathmatch mode, and even a competitive game scene that I’m actually compelled to play rather than avoid like the plague as I do in so many other games. But of course, the real gems of these constant updates are the seasonal events. Sure we’ve gotten Halloween and Christmas, but we also got the Olympics, Lunar New Year, and a Lore-based event that seriously made me wonder why the fuck there isn’t another Overwatch short. Or better yet a movie.
Even the gameplay itself has changed for the better through constant balance changes. Heroes got buffed (seriously thank you for tweaking Symmetra, she’s the best), while others got nerfed (seriously why haven’t you nerfed Mei yet). The constant adjustments force us as players to adapt and encourage us to go beyond our usual mains. It’s all these changes and more that are part of the reason why I keep coming back.
But the main reason why I’m more than happy to keep coming back is the community that the game has managed to create and foster. It’s one of the few games that most of my friends are still playing and enjoy doing so. The Overwatch subreddit is a constant source of entertainment and creative inspiration. Even Blizzard is an active participant through its regular listening to fan feedback and often hilarious responses. Seriously, give the person running the Twitter account for Overwatch a medal, they deserve it.
I should add that I know the game isn’t perfect. The loot box system is terrible and even the anniversary event has only made that even more apparent. Capture the flag, despite being fun ends up in draws 90% of the time, which still count as a loss rather than a win. There’s still no permanent PvE mode despite two different events having one. And matchmaking is a bit hit and miss when you’re playing solo.
Also, snipers exist for some reason. But if that’s all I have to complain about then I think that’s pretty impressive.
I may still not be the best Overwatch player out there, but I’m getting better with the constant changes and updates that keeps Overwatch fresh and exciting. If this is what happens in Overwatch’s first year, then I can’t wait to see what Jeff Kaplan and his fantastic team at Blizzard have in store for us in Year 2. I mean, they’re already working on giving us the ‘Moon.’
From myself and all my friends who love this game just as much as I do,
Thank you, and congratulations on an incredible first year.