Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Happy Overwatch Patch, Errybuddy!

I'm really pleased with the latest major Overwatch patch, while I still don't feel entirely sold on the Symmetra changes.  All the deets are here, but the short version is this:

  • Minor Doomfist ult and passive buff (speed during ult, 35 instead of 30 shields when landing skills)
  • Minor Orisa ult buff (charge decrease)
  • Minor McCree ult buff (range increase)
  • Symmetra 3.0
  • Social features - LFG and endorsements. 
I suggest you read up on Sym's changes and note that there's one major downside to this patch.  To use Symmetra 3.0's teleporter, you don't just walk into it - you have to walk up to it and hit the "interact" button.  What is the interact button?  It's a new thing that is auto-bound to L3 (if you don't already have something bound to L3) on consoles - for me, who has a custom control layout on literally every character, this meant going into 27 different menus and selecting 27 different heroes, individually, and mapping it to up on the D-pad for all of 'em.  

I feel like this is a stupid inconvenience for every player in the game, regardless of whether or not they play Symmetra.  It's dumb and I dislike it.  

As for Sym 3.0 herself, I don't mind it, but I don't love it either.  The teleporter is her survival/mobility skill, now - it's her escape from bad situations, her "oh shit I gotta' get outta' here," and also her "I'm gonna' flank you and fuck you up" skill.  The problem being, the tele requires more planning and - crucially - time-to-deploy than Sombra's translocator or Tracer's rewind.  When you turn a corner and go "oh shit!" as Sym, if you don't already have your teleporter laid down, ready to go, you're fucked.  

Its uptime is kinda' ridiculous.  It has a 12-second cooldown that begins as soon as you set it, and once it's set, it lasts for 10 seconds.  Most of the Syms on my team were terrible about dropping it - like if they did, they dropped it 2 feet from the entrance - and for my part when I used it, it was far too rare - it was always for a maneuver I wanted to make, without actually thinking about my team's mobility at all.  

I shoulda' been using it on cooldown, all the time, to give low-mobility heroes more options - but perhaps that'll come in time.

In terms of damage output, she is pretty fierce, now.  I was duelling a Hanzo on her and he ducked behind a pillar, for example, and started taking potshots at me while peeking out from behind it.  

I shot one of Sym's new amped-up turrets to the left of the pillar, and one to the right, and started walking towards the pillar.  He jumps outta' there, right into my gun.  She can really dish it out.  Her alt-fire, the orb, feels more like a primary fire now.  It remains a huge projectile - super-easy to land a hit with - and it's far faster than it was, now dealing a massive 120 damage on impact (is how it feels, at least).  

She's vicious, but - again - her survivability being tied to that teleporter means she's only a step or two up from McCree, in terms of quick-reflex escape options.  

Elsewhere, it's the social features they've added that I am, for the moment, absolutely thrilled with.  Folks across the Penny Arcade and Resetera forums are reporting the most cooperative, positive matches of their Overwatch lives, and on my end, it's just... nice.  It's nice to get some Sportsmanship endorsements from my enemies, some Good Teammates or Shot Callers from my team.

I love giving endorsements out, too.  I love saying thank you in a meaningful way to my team's healer or tank, or to an enemy who made the game more fun by being fun to fight.  You get a star and you get a star and you get a star!


Worth noting - there's an incentive to endorse others.  You can give out 3 endorsements per match, and every time you do, you get 50 XP towards your next loot box.  Not giving endorsements is 150XP you're leavin' on the table.  So yeah - I love it!

At this point though, it may be worth calling out this counter-intuitive positivity that you may've heard rearing its chipper head when the boys and I discuss Fallout 76 on the podcast.  I've heard that one of those MOBAs - League or whatever - implemented a nearly-identical system, and the subsequent summer of love lasted ohhh two weeks.

So check back in a month - Overwatch may be a writhing pot of toxicity once again.  Keep hope alive, says I!

Oh, and if you'd like to see me get a sweet 4K PotG and the endorsement system in action, check this out:

2 Shot Callers and a Sportmanship! 

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