Up against established esports like LoL and Dota 2, how does Overwatch stand so strong?
Approximately a year since its release, there’s little doubt that Overwatch remains one of the biggest games of today. But just what is it that makes Overwatch so popular in Singapore, especially to younger gamers, when it faces stiff competition from established esports like League of Legends and Dota 2?
There are a number of reasons for Overwatch’s enduring popularity, read on to find out what they are.
It’s a Blizzard Game
Even before the game was released, Overwatch had garnered immense attention and hype.
With good reason too, since Blizzard is the company behind other hit games like Hearthstone, StarCraft, World of Warcraft, and the original Dota. StarCraft and Dota were favoured LAN games back in their heyday, and Hearthstone has done well in connecting younger players in the multiplayer space, so it’s easy to see a new multiplayer game from Blizzard joining their ranks.
There is a certain seal of quality behind the Blizzard name, and Overwatch being an immediately successful new IP in close to two decades for Blizzard just proves it.
The Gameplay Is Beginner-Friendly
When looking at games like League of Legends and Dota 2, their colossal cast of characters and heavy reliance on strategies result in a high skill ceiling that can be intimidating for players to try to get into.
That’s not to say that Overwatch has zero strategy, but its first-person shooter mechanics makes it much easier for players who have played arena shooters like Team Fortress 2 or Quake, or to a lesser extent plain ol’ mainstream first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield, to adjust to the gameplay. First-person shooters also tend to be friendlier to casual players while being fast-paced and complex enough for a competitive scene.
Furthermore, if you look at the Overwatch community, you’ll see some overlaps between it and the League of Legends and Dota 2 communities. Unique characters with distinctive abilities and teamwork all lie at the core of these games.
This means that Overwatch throws in a few twists to the traditional first-person shooter formula by offering a myriad of abilities and playstyles to suit players of all kinds. Whether you prefer to heal your teammates, sit in one spot and shoot at things, or march across the map with a big shield to protect your friends, Overwatch has got you covered.
Shorter Matches, More Fun
Matches in Overwatch Quick Play last approximately fifteen minutes each. This means that you can cram in more matches of Overwatch in the same time as a single session of League of Legends or Dota 2. For youngsters playing the game at a LAN café, it also means more bang for your buck.
A Vibrant and Interesting World
Despite not having a proper story mode, there is a lot of story conveyed through Overwatch. From set dressing and character interactions, to the Pixar-level animated shorts on the Overwatch Youtube page and online comics, Blizzard has created a captivating world where players are constantly eager to find out more. Of course, the only way to do that is to keep up with the game.
Diverse Characters and Representation
Not only are the fun character designs in Overwatch ripe for cosplay, they demonstrate a world that is made up of characters from different backgrounds, not unlike our own.
This plays a huge part in helping players identify with the game. One of the reasons I first fell in love with Overwatch was because I was immediately drawn to Chinese hero Mei. Mei isn’t the only Asian character represented in Overwatch either, an element that is often lacking in media. D.Va is Korean, Symmetra is Indian, and the Shimada brothers are Japanese.
Furthermore, Zarya defies conventional female standards, Symmetra is autistic, and Tracer—the poster-child of Overwatch—is gay. It’s little touches like these that lets players feel comfortable with who they are when interacting with the game.
Earlier this year, Overwatch also held a Year of the Rooster event, celebrating Chinese New Year. Will Overwatch eventually have Hari Raya and Diwali related events? I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.
This inclusive world that Blizzard is creating helps to boost its popularity as gamers can find a game they can truly connect with.
This story first appeared in Red Bull.