The Meta has NOT Changed.

General Discussion
I am going to preface this post with saying that I will be discussing the ESports scene.
The pickrates of certain characters are not the same as they were a few months ago, so the meta has shifted across all tiers by a decent amount.
I also want to say I have NOTHING against the developer team, or anyone specifically, as this game is awesome and their work on it has allowed me to enjoy hours of fun by myself and with friends.
With that being said, there will be a Tl:Dr at the bottom.

A lot of discussion has been centered around the ESports scene, with people talking about pro plays, team allegiances, and the current meta (the most optimal, flexible, and reliable strategy).
As far as I can tell, the most popular heroes in the pro scene (I was not able to find statistics online, so I watched a few OWL matches and asked friends who they thought were picked the most) appear to be the following:
-Mercy
-Zenyatta
-D.Va
-Winston
-Tracer
-Genji/Soldier (they were kind of even as far as I know)

Jeff Kaplan, lead game director for Overwatch, made a comment about the game’s balance in a thread on the Overwatch Forums.
While there was more information he talked about, I want to focus on his last paragraph:

I know this post will be met with a lot of disagreement. The desire for dive comp to go away will not be satisfied from some of you until Winston and D.Va are nerfed into the ground. But we’re not going to do that. We are going to make balance changes to heroes when they need it – and we do this more frequently than you give us credit for. 3 months from now there will be a new meta. If you’re the type of person who feels like the meta should shift every 2 weeks, then you’ll probably be sick of that meta and wishing it was back in the good ol’ dive comp days… I just caution against wanting change for the sake of change. The meta will shift soon enough.
-Jeff Kaplan, July 7th of 2017

Essentially, he says the community will have created a new strategy that surpasses the meta three months from when he typed this post.
It has been five months since he made that statement, and well... he wasn’t entirely correct.

Now what was the meta at the time?
According to old meta reports from Overbuff, the most commonly selected heroes were as follows:
-Lucio
-Zenyatta
-D.Va
-Winston
-Tracer
-Genji/Soldier (Genji had a bit higher pickrate though, but pretty close)

Out of the six characters, only one of them has fallen out of the meta team comp- Lucio, since Mercy’s Rez is a more valuable ability than Speed Boost.
But that’s not what I wanted to discuss, I want to talk about how the game’s meta has not changed much in half a year.
The pro meta has remained the same, which means the characters are usually pre-determined before the match begins (with the exception of some ‘cheese’ comps, such as Attack Bastion on Junkertown).

These constant hero picks cause stale matches that play out too similar.
Pro players are not able to utilize the 26 unique heroes on the roster as only about six to eight (about one-third) are considered optimal.
This is such a waste of potential, and limits the diversity this game has to offer.

While Jeff Kaplan stated that it is up to the community to create new metas, that is not really possible.
In the pro scene, the main objective of the competitors is not to be creative and have fun.
Their primary goal is to win, and that usually requires them to use the most viable strategy, which they know to be the meta.

Even in normal competitive Overwatch (the one you and I play), we are not able to attempt new strategies that often.
We are bound by the chains of the report system, throwing, etc. to play any character a team mate does not consider beneficial.
For instance, if I decided to play Torbjorn on Attack (assuming I play him at a gm level), do you think all of my teammates would be fine with that?
Not usually, as they will begin asking you to switch then get increasingly toxic if you do not.
However, if I play Tracer on any gamemode, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting reported as much (assuming I play her at a gm level).
These thoughts against off meta heroes lead to fear of being reported; thus, you stop trting new things with them and the off meta hero is still considered suboptimal.

Now one could argue that these heroes have remained meta because they are overpowered, or their counters are underpowered.
No matter the reason, the facts still stands that balancing from the developers is necessary if we are to shift the meta.
After all, what is the reason for Mercy becoming a “must pick”?
Not the community figuring out a new way to play her, but the developers reworking her into a very valuable asset for any team.

Tl; Dr
Five months ago, Jeff Kaplan said that the dive meta would change eventually, as long as the community would make a new strategy.
However, that did not work.
Currently, in the pro scene, the only change to have happened is Mercy replacing Lucio.
The developers need to make changes if this game’s meta is to change.

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I’ve made sense to you.
Yeah, and I doubt that they will change anytime soon. Gotta look good to viewers, while us actual players are second class citizens.
I didn't expect this to be a serious thread given the ones you've posting.

But damn, nicely worded. And I agree.
if it not dive thats the current meta, you can tell the current meta is heavily focused on high mobility and damage, its no coincedence the most popular are the most mobile in the game.

theres too much mobility, too much damage and too much instant travel/get out of jail cards, and very few character that cant counter it without resorting well i have mobility too so you better run to your team and hide.

mei should be okay and holding them but most can easily over or around as most paths ways are quite large.

orisa would be okay if she wasn't so hindered by her weapon and being so slow and being as tough as wet cotton candy when her shield inst up.

sym.... ahahahaha
I really hate to watch d.va and winston on all matchs (overwatch league).

And the first season on overwatch league, will be 100% pickrate of winston, d.va and tracer.

:/
12/22/2017 10:43 PMPosted by Fulmen
Yeah, and I doubt that they will change anytime soon. Gotta look good to viewers, while us actual players are second class citizens.

????????? How are players second class citizens when dive is way more fun than shooting into shields for 10 minutes straight. At least dive is actually engaging, and I say this as someone who loves every tank except dva to death. Dive is the most engaging way to play period, and the only reason you're not having fun is because you're on the receiving end of better players. In fact, now is as good a time as any to say this: you are not having fun because other players are having fun. It is not fun to lose. It is not fun to die. It is not fun to be outplayed. But it happens, and you need to get over your over inflated ego if you ever want to get out of platinum
12/22/2017 11:10 PMPosted by derision
12/22/2017 10:43 PMPosted by Fulmen
Yeah, and I doubt that they will change anytime soon. Gotta look good to viewers, while us actual players are second class citizens.

????????? How are players second class citizens when dive is way more fun than shooting into shields for 10 minutes straight. At least dive is actually engaging, and I say this as someone who loves every tank except dva to death. Dive is the most engaging way to play period, and the only reason you're not having fun is because you're on the receiving end of better players. In fact, now is as good a time as any to say this: you are not having fun because other players are having fun. It is not fun to lose. It is not fun to die. It is not fun to be outplayed. But it happens, and you need to get over your over inflated ego if you ever want to get out of platinum

I think tank meta is a lot more fun than dive, at least from a playing perspective.
I also feel like you only support dive because you’re a Winston main and this is the best meta for you.
12/22/2017 11:10 PMPosted by derision
12/22/2017 10:43 PMPosted by Fulmen
Yeah, and I doubt that they will change anytime soon. Gotta look good to viewers, while us actual players are second class citizens.

????????? How are players second class citizens when dive is way more fun than shooting into shields for 10 minutes straight. At least dive is actually engaging, and I say this as someone who loves every tank except dva to death. Dive is the most engaging way to play period, and the only reason you're not having fun is because you're on the receiving end of better players. In fact, now is as good a time as any to say this: you are not having fun because other players are having fun. It is not fun to lose. It is not fun to die. It is not fun to be outplayed. But it happens, and you need to get over your over inflated ego if you ever want to get out of platinum

I prefer dive as well but there's a lot you could have left out there...
Atm I hate junk so much, hes doing a lot of damage which u cant 1v1.
The meta has been slowly changing though.

With the introduction of Moira, anchor tanks have been getting a lot more play. They're nowhere near the dominance of Winston/Dva, but we're getting there.

But playing devils advocate aside, I do agree with your points. To use an example from another one of Blizzards games, WoW, "metas" are like Raid Tiers. You ask what was the best and worst raid tiers and almost invariably the worst ones will be those lasted a year or longer and overstayed their welcome massively (Hellfire Citadel, Dragon Soul and Siege of Orgrimmar), while the best ones will be those that actually didn't stick around all that long, like Ulduar and Throne of Thunder.

Now people won't say that they were good/bad because of how long they lasted, they'll generally reason it around the raid being interesting (because it didn't last long enough for them to get sick of mechanics), or boring (because it lasted too long and they got sick of mechanics).

I agree with Jeff that change for the sake of changing the meta isn't the way to go. But that's not our only option.

The Overwatch team still has the option of tightening their standards on how imbalanced a hero has to be before buffing or nerfing it. Tracer, Genji, Winston, Dva, Mercy and Junkrat could all use "toning down". They don't need massive nerfs, just small ones, like hitboxes on Genji's abilities, ult charge on Junkrat, maybe shield cooldown on Winston.

It feels like Blizzard have gotten complacent and decided that many heroes, whether they be trash tier or god tier are perfectly balanced, when in reality, there's still a lot more work that needs to be done at both ends of the spectrum.
I am pretty sure widow was picked more than genji and soldier. Pretty much every team was running widow
12/23/2017 06:17 AMPosted by BuddaǶ
I am pretty sure widow was picked more than genji and soldier. Pretty much every team was running widow

That may be true, but I’m pretty sure the only reason for that was the fact that she is the best at shutting down a Mercy in Valkyrie and a Rez.
tracer will be meta for a long time since mccree is bad and df/sombra/pharah are underpowered so they cant fill the second spot next to s76 or genji. Genji is there because of his ultimate actually. But dps heroes dont dictate the meta and they never will. Tanks do that and dva is god tier for a long time now. winston is bad without dva, he can be shut down really easy. Dva has the most effective kit in the game right now. there is no map or situation where dva is bad or even mediocre.

Shield tanks like rein, orisa or zarya cant match the value of mobility and defense matrix.
12/23/2017 06:17 AMPosted by BuddaǶ
I am pretty sure widow was picked more than genji and soldier. Pretty much every team was running widow


Ironic, the only thing to counter the most no-skill hero is the highest skill hero.
12/23/2017 06:42 AMPosted by CamRa
12/23/2017 06:17 AMPosted by BuddaǶ
I am pretty sure widow was picked more than genji and soldier. Pretty much every team was running widow


Ironic, the only thing to counter the most no-skill hero is the highest skill hero.

Eh, I think Ana is harder than Widow.
But yeah this definitely calls for an
ironic from Palpatine.
I wonder if I change the title to something about Genji, I’ll get more responses...
“3 months from now there will be a new meta” ... a statement made in July.

It is now January.

So Jeff, 3 months? You thought wrong. Quite frankly I’m sick and tired of having dive being shoved down my throat for almost 4 seasons (5 if nothing is done soon) straight.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum