I've never been much into online gaming. Maybe it's because I'm anti-social, or because in my old life I had precious little time to play anything, and just wanted to kick back and relax on my own.
But today, with shooters in particular, there's a heavy competitive scene, and millions of people spend a ton of time playing them every day. Those titles are often difficult for new players to enter, and the experience becomes frustrating, and just not enjoyable.
Enter Blizzard, and Overwatch. Things are done differently here and it's quickly become a game I'd encourage anyone to spend some time with, whether you're into shooters or not.
I recently got into Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, a fair time after its launch. The multiplayer there is so far removed from Overwatch it's crazy. As a brand new, level one player I'm thrown in to a match alongside and against players 100 levels more experienced.
And in Black Ops 3 you'll need to lay your hands on better weapons to stand much of a chance, too, as I quickly discovered. I like the game, but I don't have the time to catch up to a point where I can enjoy the multiplayer.
The same goes for Star Wars Battlefront. I've played this longer than Black Ops 3, but I'm still fairly low ranked and haven't yet unlocked the killer weapons and jet packs and whatnot. I'm not bad at the game, but it's still a struggle a lot of the time.
You don't get any of this in Overwatch. You're not mismatched and you're not at a disadvantage if you haven't been playing 10 hours a day since it launched. Unlocks are purely cosmetic; skins, audio phrases and sprays. There are no better weapons to be had at higher ranks, so everyone plays with the same.
You're also better paired up with teammates and opponents. While occasionally you'll find a seriously high ranked player in the mix, most of the time you're playing with folks at or close to the save level as you. It doesn't mean you're not playing with good players, but you're playing with people of similar Overwatch experience. The learning curve in Overwatch comes from trying out the different heroes, figuring out which you like best, and honing your skills.
It's no surprise there are already millions of people worldwide playing this shooter across Xbox One, PC and PS4. Competitive mode is now in play, but you're required to be level 25 and above. So at least if you go into this "try hard" mode, you're fairly adept at how to play.
Blizzard usually gets a mass following for its games, and Overwatch is another raging success. The way it has been managed is only going to help that continue. There won't be nickel-and-diming for future content (apparently), which is good since you're paying full whack for this up front.
As it is today, it is enjoyable for everyone — new and experienced. If you're new, you can jump right in and have a good time without someone of vast experience destroying you. Mastering it is tough, but picking it up and playing is simple. If you've been pondering having a go, I can't recommend it enough.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine