The highly popular, competitive hero-shooter Overwatch is making a huge change to gameplay. Despite the developer Blizzard expressing it's for the better, the change will have rippling effects in both casual and competitive play.
When you think of esports, there's a good chance that 2016's Overwatch is on top of your mind. With roughly 10 million active players and a well-established competitive scene backed by well-known investors, Overwatch is a bona fide powerhouse in gaming even 5 years since it's release. The game has a colourful roster of characters that can be categorized into three roles: tanks (characters designed to be more defensive), damage (characters designed to defeat opposing players), and support (characters designed to empower their allies).
In it's current state, players are accustomed to playing in teams of 6 comprised of 2 tanks, 2 damage dealers, and 2 supports. However, future changes to the multiplayer competitive mode will see teams shrinking from 6 to 5 with one less tank. According to the developers, this was done to clear up visual clutter (i.e. less "stuff" happening on screen at once) and to streamline the experience.
Imagine if the right wing position in hockey was removed from the game entirely. Not only would it change the fundamentals of the game itself, but it would change the spectator experience as well. Similar to hockey teams, Overwatch teams have a certain chemistry with each other as each role builds upon the other. Ultimately, this change will drastically affect how the game is played.
In esports, there's a power spectrum. The party with the most power are the publishers/developers who make the game, since other parties are forced to adopt any changes they make. With this change of having one less tank character, many pro players who specialize in this role have expressed concerns about losing their job. To add insult to injury, many of these players weren't warned by the publisher/developer ahead of time, which may lead to a rift between esports teams and Blizzard once these changes become realized.
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