Few games have as much of an explosive impact on the gaming community as Overwatch has had. Between millions of concurrent players, countless works of fan art, a wide range of merchandise and more, it's undeniable that Blizzard's hero shooter has become a household name in modern gaming culture.
Despite this, the game is only a few months away from its second birthday, and typically many players leave aging titles in search of new experiences. However, if one of Overwatch's biggest inspirations, Team Fortress 2, is still one of the most played PC titles a decade after its release, surely Overwatch can achieve longevity. Here are a few ways Blizzard can pull that off.
In a game such as Overwatch where every character uses the same weapons in every match, the progression system is tied solely to cosmetic items. Each new event over the last two years has brought at least three or more skins into the game, on top of things such as special emotes, sprays, and event-specific voice lines. Blizzard has done an excellent job cycling new cosmetics into the game, but it needs to continue that work into the future.
This is important because it gives players an incentive to play more; by leveling up your account, you get a loot box that can contain any of these items. As Overwatch grows older, and some feel a desire to leave the game, the prospect of limited time skins or other cosmetics may very well keep them playing. In addition, new playable heroes and new game modes (like the recent capture-the-flag mode) also encourage people to come back and try out all the new stuff.
More competitive rewards
Overwatch's competitive mode is a playlist in which you are matchmade into a team of five other players and are pitted against another team that is close to your team's skill rating (SR). By winning matches and ranking up, you earn an exclusive currency called competitive points (CP) that you can use to unlock a solid gold weapon for a hero of your choosing.
Though the gold weapons are popular with the Overwatch community, this is currently the only type of reward structure in place for competitive players. As Blizzard continues to evolve the game, it would be awesome to see some new types of competitive rewards. An example idea I think would be viable would be exclusive skins that you can only unlock by reaching a certain rank.
More rewards would also improve competitive as a whole because it would give people a valid reason to want to win. Currently, some players choose to "throw" games, intentionally trying to make their team lose. While Blizzard already punishes these people with bans, a more fleshed-out reward structure would likely reduce these issues.
Dedicated balance updates
As Blizzard adds more and more heroes to Overwatch's already huge roster, it is absolutely imperative that the company focus on making sure the game is as balanced as possible.
In Overwatch, even the smallest things about characters can have a huge ripple effect throughout the entire game. For example, when Blizzard reduced the amount of time it took for the character Sombra to hack enemy players by a few fractions of a second, she instantly became a more viable hero. Because of how fragile this balance can be, Blizzard needs to keep a close eye on things.
How do you think Blizzard can keep Overwatch going strong in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Overwatch is available on Xbox One and PC for $59.99.
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