How to fix Overwatch

General Discussion
Yup, you read right. This is exactly what I'm going to be addressing. Each point will be broken down in turn and hopefully if this gains enough traction, it might actually make some change for this game. It is no mystery to anyone that this game is turning into a bit of a mess right now. Many of the people I play with it regularly or strangers in quickplay that I encounter all use the word "Overwatch" with a large portion of disdain and spite nowadays and at this point I think it's getting a bit ridiculous at the discontent there is. So I'm going to go down my list of issues I've seen since beta and see what can't be done.

The main philosophy one can take home from this if anything at all, are two extremely important considerations to make when designing and implementing changes. Player choice, and counterplay. These will be explained by example throughout this...manifesto. Good lord I'm complaining about video games on the internet. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Meta:

This is a big one. This involves a bit of everything honestly and I believe should be the first to discuss. The meta is not about what's fun, it's about what wins. The meta is what players should find themselves via experimentation and play. The issue is that the meta is defined seconds after a patch comes through. The developers decide what the meta is, not the players. How is that possible you ask? It's simple, a patch involving nerfs or buffs has been so watered down that players know simply from which hero is on what side of the buff wave who will be the "must pick" for their teams for the next month or two. New content is no longer new content, it's the new meta. Content has halted or slowed down to the point where the question is, who will be buffed this week and what sprays and skins will I get? New content no longer equals new gameplay. This causes balancing, variety of game pacing, and other mechanics to suffer greatly. The development team is stretching the roster as thin as possible to account for every issue they can without having to add new content. They'll tweak D.va here, they'll nerf Junkrat there, but they won't simply consolidate these issues together and make a new hero or gameplay mechanic to be the answer. If this continues at the pace it has been going, no heroes will represent their original iterations, for better or for worse. Add content, not buff/nerf patches. Kaplan has openly expressed his desire to have Overwatch differentiate from Dota or League in terms of rate of release, but these are not as detrimental as he believes and has led others to believe. The freshness of new gameplay mechanics provided by new heroes can only add to the variety and choice the player has. It doesn't make each new hero seem less special, this makes every hero more unique. It allows players to gravitate more the playstyles they enjoy and identify with. The rate of release and work going into each hero does not suddenly become underappreciated with more content. In just the span of 2016, League of Legends was able to have 6 new Champion implemented into the game. The development team has both the time, skill, and resources to release content in more variety and at a faster rate. Shaking up the meta with buff and nerf waves and release of cosmetics is not content, it is pacification. The highest amount of concern I've heard from players is the lack of depth in the roster and disparity of proportions in roles, not singular heroes being the "problem child" of the month in terms of balance.

The Roster:

This is the nitty gritty. This is to address each hero in turn and establish where they are on the scale of balance, design, etc. Some may need changes, some do not. A good number of these issues however will abstain from "buff this nerf that" as much as possible. Certain issues cannot be solved simply by changing the hero, and to reference the previously stated, this then is in the hands of the developers to address what can be added to the game to solve it.

Offense-

Reaper

This was just the first hero I thought of when considering needed changes. It took no effort to realize how badly he needs to be reworked. In my own opinion, he may be the weakest hero in the game. Firstly, his Wraith Form. For a dedicated escape, it is laughably weak. It provides no movement bonuses whatsoever. Reaper can be easily tracked down by even the slowest heroes and finished off after the ability ends. Unless he is close to a Mercy or Ana (who's rate of healing is enough to protect from subsequent damage or burst damage) or a source of complete protection (a Zarya bubble), a Reaper who's (supposed niche as an ambusher) caught out of position has no chance. A simple movement speed bonus would give him a fighting chance to escape. Heroes with "get out of jail free buttons", such as Tracer, Sombra, or Mercy, have incredibly powerful escapes by comparison. Even Mei, who's "escape" involves becoming completely immobile for a moment, has more utility that Wraith Form. Onto his Shadow Step, the weakest ability in the game. Yes there is a worse ability. A channel that takes years, a finishing channel that takes longer, Shadow Step is embarrassingly bad. Any player who has used it to get around can cite that one of two things happens when using it. You are a) immediately picked off by an enemy widowmaker that saw your entirely telegraphed teleport (you might as well have a sign up that say free headshot) or you are b) where your intended destination was realizing that it would have been faster to spend the time walking there because of how long the ability takes to use. Being completely at the mercy of the world when using this ability makes it a dice roll that doesn't take much to not bother with. So with all of this in mind Reaper becomes good for one thing, his ultimate. His ultimate is only good when space is made for him to use it or any number of players can counter the threat he presents, or he successfully manages to ambush the enemy team. With his rate of ultimate % build, it doesn't take a genius to realize that there are better options for a hero slot on a team composition. One good ability does not a strategic hero make. So with this addressed, how can this be fixed? Reduce his teleport's channel time immensely and remove the near-literal ball and chain that is the ending animation entirely. This gives the player much less disdain not only waiting for their ability to do what they wanted, but gives them a choice in which to initiate with this ability or escape with it. It frees the player to know that they can properly fill their role of ambushing a team beyond the safety of healing or a reinhart's shield.

Sombra

Sombra is a simple fix in my own opinion. There's only one thing to address and it's her bread and butter. Hacking. What's the issue? Damage negating the ability in its entirety. If one is supposed to hack technology and used to shut down cloistered defenses such as a Torbjorn turret, why is it that a turret can defend itself by sensing a person behind where it is supposedly scanning the environment? Sombra should be a direct counter to a turret fortress, not the other way around. The simple fix is to either up the channel time it takes one to hack the designated target, or allow Sombra to hack while stealthed. The stealth would end upon a finished channel, allowing the cause of the situation to be seen and the threat to be addressed, but give both parties a fighting chance to defend themselves. A Sombra player can then make the choice to followup on their assault and test their chances, or flee and allow their team to capitalize on an opened weak-point. The defending player can choose to flee to their team for support, or stand their ground without use of their abilities temporarily.

Mccree

Another incredibly simple fix. Mccree's Combat Roll is only ever good for one thing from what I've seen of players using him, and playing him myself, the instant reload. Mccree is good almost entirely for single target pick-offs as he is no longer the near-sniper he once was. His bread and butter is a simple combination that more often than not guarantees a single kill. While nothing to turn one's nose up at, it leaves the rest of his active time waiting for the cooldowns of his abilities to finish so he can rinse and repeat. This is stale gameplay without a doubt. Other than this, the distance covered does not provide the already Roadhog level movement speed he's stuck with. Mccree has no true dedicated escape and the simple fix is to double the distance traveled with his Roll. This provides the player with a choice to initiate or escape with his given ability set.

Doomfist

Good Lord. I saved this one for last for a reason. I'm sure many of you were waiting for when and if this would be addressed and I promise you it will be and is. Doomfist is the biggest mess of design both mechanically and design wise in the game. He is near unforgivable in the gameplay environment Overwatch is presented in. Each of his skills seem interesting on paper, but are a complete mess in action. These glaring red flags were raised in the PTR and to the hopes of many would be addressed with either a delayed release or a promise of rework. These hopes were dashed immediately as he was autopicked in every game in quickplay for the next month. Each and every part of his kit will be dissected and solutions that are more than ready to be implemented will be provided. This will not be complaints shouted into the void, this is a fix ready to be handed to Kaplan himself if need be.
His primary fire, or rather why there is one at all. It seems the development team forgot that not every hero needs a firearm after Reinhart was designed. Shotgun...knuckles? make no sense to Doomfist lore-wise, design-wise, or gameplay-wise in any form or fashion. The lack of manual reload, poor damage that calls into question their existence, and high spread makes it a part of his kit that rarely sees use. Similar to Reinhart, Doomfist from his inception should have simply had a melee swing of the weapon of namesake.

His melee, I'm sure everyone and their mother asked why he wasn't using the bloody Doomfist to punch with. I still am. Why, why on earth would you not think about that?

His charge ablility. This is the most egregious mistake in the entire game. The only warning of the ability is a charge noise that has no direction to it. More often than not, a player is sideswiped by a Doomfist they weren't aware of. The ability completely forgoes shields making counterplay by default nonexistent. The power of the ability is another point entirely. The ability can be simply equated to a Reinhart charge. Except most heroes can survive a Reinhart charge, have plenty of warning when the threat approaches, it cannot pierce shields, and isn't on cooldown every 4 seconds. That's the core issue. Doomfist's charge is at least 90% of the time a guaranteed kill every. 4. seconds. Even if Doomfists classically have little impact on the flow of competition on a given map, the mere fact that one person has this ability with near no repercussions is almost laughable if it wasn't so frustrating to play with and against. Between all of one's deaths, you can forget that he also receives bonus damage from colliding a player against a wall. If one looks at the confined, near all tunnel designs of Overwatch's maps, you realize that everything is a wall. He will always have this bonus damage (and this is before an Ana or Mercy, or Orisa boost). The mere fact that this was not taken into consideration upon designing the hero, shows the little amount of testing and forethought that went into Doomfist.

His Rising Uppercut and Seismic Slam. These two abilities give Doomfist movement on par with Pharah and Genji. He can leap in and out of fights near effortlessly, save himself from being knocked off certain maps (one of the few ways to actually kill him), and allow him to nearly fly with amount of air-strafing available to the player. While Rising Uppercut on it's own is not a mortal sin, and one of the few genuinely balanced skills in his kit, Seismic Slam is completely insane in its current state. The forward momentum Doomfist gets in his ability is on par with Lucio speed boost. The targeting in first-person with such a small FOV makes the ability messy to cleanly use, and the knockback it does prevents Doomfist from capitlizing and chasing down his prey that he just so eagerly leapt in to kill.

Lastly his ultimate, something that is on par with his free kill button in terms of crude design. The ultimate at its most basic description is this: The player gets movement speed equivalent to lucio speedboosting, Widowmaker levels of maphack sight from the given vantage point, Pharah flight, the ability to essentially no-clip based on the form of targeting one chooses, and complete invulnerability for the entirety of the channel time. And before one forgets, the ability has nearly no telegraph for when it is used, only the target reticle appearing when it's far too late to escape. All of this wrapped in a bow of a guaranteed double kill or kill at the least makes for one mess of design. As I said in my opening, the main philosophies are player choice (tactically) and counterplay. There is none against Doomfist. He is one of the few heroes in the game that needs a complete rework to match the environment he was placed in. Every ability and ultimate in the game has a form of counter. This is the essence of what makes a balanced game. Doomfist has no telegraph for his ultimate, it just happens, and every player has to wait until it's finished. When Doomfist ults, you're no longer playing a game, you're watching a movie and waiting to be allowed to have a choice again.

So Doomfist is a huge damn mess, what else is new? How do you fix him? Well it doesn't take much honestly. If anything, it took a 15 minute talk with two friends to figure out a rework for him, so it isn't very hard. Firstly let's address the ultimate. Make it counterable, make him targetable, make the player able to fight back. His new ultimate can be much more theme/design/lore-friendly as well. Doomfist's charge can now become his ultimate. It can be telegraphed much easier, has all the equivalent power to an ultimate as it is, and can be more exciting to earn than have available every few seconds. A Rocket Fist ultimate can use the knockback element but in a more clever way. Instead of nonsensical bonus damage against walls collision, make the chosen target of your ultimate a projectile themselves. Make whomever comes into contact with hero-turned-bullet take reduced damage as well. This adds an entirely new level of depth to gameplay. If the Rocket Punch is oldhat, another refurbished version of Meteor Strike can be implemented. Instead of an upward leap into the Aether, make it an arc that does what Seismic Slam should actually do. The easiest equivalent is to imagine Winston's leap, but much more dramatic and costly for the other team. It still fills Doomfist's forgotten role as an initiator, but does so with the ability to be countered by the other team. It would fill a role that Pharah's Raining Justice does. Even if it misses, the mental crowd control it provides is enough. It causes players to scatter to avoid the artillery. With the ultimate, ridiculous primary fire and melee, and Rising Uppercut being safe now, the last two things to fix are his remaining abilities. Seismic slam simply needs to be a standing AOE disruption. Give the ability a second to channel as he raises his fist, and as similar to his introductory animation, have him shake the ground similar to Reinhart's ultimate, albeit less powerful and dramatic. This can be used to still have knock-up effects, it can unroot Bastions that are cloistered inward with proper coordination, the utilities are endless. If used while airborn, it can send him rocketing downward to save himself from death off a cliff or disrupt a group of enemy team members. Lastly is his alternate fire charge, or lackthereof dependent on the changes we've chosen to implement. After short consideration, I was left with an idea that was as fun-sounding as it was gameplay changing. The intro short once again provided the inspiration as it was simple to come to terms with. A grapple. A very, very short charge ending in a grappled player similar to Doomfist's capture of tracer was exactly the kind of micro crowd-control that Overwatch needed. Once-grappled, Doomfist has the option to toss the victim into another player or hard surface. While no damage bonuses are added from either, the disruption it causes only fuels his theme as an initiator further. Some might argue that this level of control over a stun is too powerful, but when considering the stuns Mccree has at his disposal, and the freezing that Mei has, this is not very out of the ordinary. The exchange would be similar to how a Roadhog hooks a player (sans hook range), easilly disrupted by enemy CC and if not in proper line of sight, is limited by the environment one finds themselves in.
So there you have it, Doomfist is no longer a blight on the community!

Defense-

Mei
After that ridiculously long tirade, a simple fix should be a proper palette cleanser. She simply has too much ammunition. What issue does this create? Her freezing combination attack is too simple to use to get more often than not, a guaranteed kill. At the rate of ammunition cost Mei's freeze-ray uses, one can hold down primary fire in Hanamura spawn, and walk through the first chokepoint before having to reload. This translates to how long an enemy can chase you for and how the only thing defending you from her is the time it takes to pin you down. The simple fixes could be to halve her ammo from 200 to 100, increase the ammo consumption rate, and or make her ice wall take ammunition to use as well. All of these things bring up the important philosophy again, player choice. The player now must make a strategic decision with their limited ammo, dedicate to the combination kill, or attempt to freeze entirely and allow teammates to capitalize on the opening you've made. Enemies of Mei now no longer have to flail knowing they've spent they're own limited resources escaping her freezing abilities, yet she still having ammo to spare (and continue to hold down primary fire with no effort).

Support-

Mercy
Her latest change is concerning, not just in terms of gameplay, but in terms of priorities of the development team. The core issue is that in the attempt to pacify and pander to the louder and mislead players in the community, the team forwent design and balance. Having Mercy's Resurrection on a cooldown of 30 seconds is game-changing in the current state of Overwatch. With the way defenses can be cloistered, heroes would truly never die as the crux of any defense would just be immediately placed back on the battlefield. Having a teamwipe turn mass resurrect is not a broken and unfair mechanic. It is an active counterplay and punishment by the enemy team for not having forethought and strategic coordination. With the threat of a Mercy ult counter, most competent players don't sink their entire investment of ultimates into a teamfight blindly. Players actively ask and warn others of the status of and enemy Mercy's ultimate and react accordingly. Mercy's don't egg on their teammates to go die while she waits for a PotG Resurrection. Just because players use their ultimates, it does not qualify them to win. Yes it is frustrating to have your work undone, but you inherently let that happen. It is simply the theme of this essay: counter play and player choice strategically. Addi tonally the tossed in nature of Resurrection as a supplementary ability seems to be completely without thought. Why does everyone need a giant kit? Why does everyone need a full course meal? What does that add to gameplay?
What does that add to the flow of a match, the decisions one has to make etc etc etc etc ad naseum It seems none of these were taken into consideration and the action was just done. To quote Kaplan himself "you don't have to worry about generating ult". I doubt in every fiber of my being no Mercy player has had concerns over this. Mercy's ultimate is the easiest in the game to get and a competent player who doesn't overextend can more often than not have their resurrection ready in the first 40 seconds of a match. Now having no words addressing this rate of ult % gain at all, this only bodes to say that we'll be seeing super-buffed Mercy's at high intervals. Again, another issue gone unconsidered. In terms of the actual design of her new ultimate, it seems that it was made to be as flashy as possible and as overdesigned as can be to pacify players from the massive shift in playstyle. Mercy's cadeceus blaster is meant to be a supplement for competent players to defend themselves should they find themselves in a bad spot, or to add an extra amount of damage to finish someone off that your teammates have done most of the damage to. The new ultimate is a glaring red flag because it focuses on something that shouldn't be a priority for mercy - her damage output. Having a dedicated section of her ultimate focusing itself on the cadeceus blaster, to me, signals something very disturbing about the direction the developers are trying to push Mercy in. The focus isn't on her as a healer someone who stays behind the tank dishing out buffs and zipping out when things get hairy, but some sort of hybrid that would be better reserved for a new hero entirely. To add insult to injury, the intricacies of her new ultimate now also renders Orisa's ultimate completely obsolete by default.

Tank-

Orisa

Simply make her graviton orb have a more powerful AOE. It seems that it is too easily escaped in its current form. It is highly telegraphed and its movement speed provide ample time for one to escape before it actually reaches a tactically advantageous position.

Map design and overall gameplay

This are a minor issues, but long-lasting ones. The implementation of extreme chokepoints in every map has been openly discussed as repetitive, trite, and detrimental to overall gameplay. The addition of having infinite ammunition and easy-to-construct killing floors on certain defense maps only makes the experience to players of all skill levels less than what it could be. Every game being king of the hill or payload kills variety and expectation and negative metas will only be established faster. Team deathmatch implemented in the game may be welcome to some, but having a game mode that has existed since the inception of the genre just now added is not without concern. The playstyle established by blizzard for Overwatch simply does not fit a deathmatch style gameplay in the slightest. It simply doesn't work. It reduces itself to teams throwing corpses at one another until the time limit or score limit is reached. I understand how being more open to adopting existing gamemodes can be beneficial, but some square pegs simply don't fit in the Overwatch-shaped hole. Multi-point capture point as featured in Team Fortress 2 however, would be a welcome and perfectly appropriate fit for the game. It would be a wonderful and well-crafted addition to the game and provide the open-endedness that the development team would only benefit from designing towards. This is not something that one patch can fix, but it is a mindset to adapt in the creation of future content. Subsequently, the lack of a recycling or "dusting" system (as to cite Hearthstone) is a true shame in terms of the item drop system the game chose to adopt. Having duplicate items refunded for pathetically small currency, makes the value of the time spent to earn the lootbox get called into question (and calls into question the value of the box itself). Having the ability to recycle or refund unwanted or unused items not only helps revitalize fervor in the community, but allows players to adopt the styles they truly want to express in-game. The refund price themselves would also be increased to match the Hearthstone rate of exchange as well, to make any and all of these worth it in the first place. It can seriously kill moral to see a legendary shine and only have it be a duplicate. To add insult to injury, the refund amount not even coming close to the legendary's cost.

Yeah that was a lot, but it's been a long time coming. I've had growing issues with a game I was so infinitely excited to see released, and now I only look at this game with disdain and spite. I want this game to succeed. I want this game to be fun. I just want to enjoy the game again and maybe just maybe, my voice will be heard and once and for all the game can get back on track in the right direction again.
I think there should be a one time "sell" option for loot box items. Once an item is sold it can't be used unless you re-buy it. This will eliminate duplicates and still give players incentive to earn loot boxes.
And even if the refund rate is very low, I'd rather sell all legendaries for a character I never use to save up for items I want.

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