Overwatch is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released in May 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The game is a highly-stylized, team-based shooter set on a near-future Earth. Every match is an intense multiplayer showdown, pitting a diverse cast of heroes, mercenaries, scientists, adventurers, and oddities against each other in an epic, globe-spanning conflict.
Overwatch is Blizzard's fourth major franchise in nearly two decades, after Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft. The idea of Overwatch was born following the cancellation of the massively multiplayer online role-playing project game named Titan in 2014 after seven years of development. A portion of the Titan team brought forth the concept of Overwatch, based on the success of team-based first-person shooter games and the growing popularity of multiplayer online battle arena games, along with the design aesthetic inspiration from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which resulted in a hero-based shooter that emphasized teamwork. Some elements of Overwatch borrow assets and concepts from the canceled Titan project.
Overwatch was unveiled at BlizzCon 2014 in a fully playable state. Its closed beta began on October 27, 2015 and ended on April 25, 2016, in-between it went down temporarily from December 10, 2015 to February 9, 2016. Its open beta began on May 2, 2016 for pre-purchase buyers, and May 4, 2016 for anyone and ended on May 10, 2016, even though it was supposed to end on May 9, 2016. The open beta drew in more than 9.7 million players and became widely anticipated. The release of the game was promoted with short animated videos to introduce the game's narrative and each of its characters.
As Overwatch is an online game, console users require a subscription to either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold (depending on the console) to play the game.
Overwatch features team-based combat matches between two opposing teams of six players each for its standard modes, Quick Play, and Competitive Play. Players choose one of a wide range of hero characters, each with their own unique abilities and role classes. The game encourages the synergy among team members and the balance between team roles to achieve the objectives given for each team by providing tips and team tips during the setup, and allow players to switch to other heroes in the spawn room (as long as it abides the hero stacking rule).
When the match is happening, if the player quit for any reason which is not initiated by the server, this incident will be counted as leaving mid-game and may invoke the Leaver Penalty. The game also tracks player's activity in game and displays it on a meter, namely "On-fire Meter". It will be filled gradually if the player makes actions such as successful attacking, healing, contesting and capturing the objective and will slowly drop if no team-contributing action is made. When a certain threshold is reached, the player character's icon will be "on fire", representing that the character is a threat to the enemy team, but otherwise does not directly affect gameplay.
At the conclusion of each match, the game compares among best moments from all players in that game and replays for all players the best one from a specific player as the "Play of the Game". Up to four individual achievements for four players on both teams are then highlighted and players are given the option to select one to promote. After that, the experience which the player gained over the course of the game is displayed. In a competitive match, gained Competitive Points and skill rating change will also be shown.
Overwatch also has other play modes. Since the releasing of the game, each week a Weekly Brawl had been introduced, which provided players special-ruled matches each week. Later, Weekly Brawl was removed and its successor, Arcade was introduced. Brawl-rule games are now contained within Arcade, and so are new game modes Mystery Heroes and Elimination, which are for smaller-size team matches. Other play modes, such as playing against computer AI or custom games also exist to cater to the gamer's need. With the introduction of the Game Browser, Overwatch provides players another method to search and participate other people's custom game easily.
Overwatch brought the format of a seasonal event into the game when Summer Games was introduced in August 2016. Since then, each event has brought a special type of gameplay, limited items and maps to players.
The heroes of Overwatch each bring their own unique powers and game-changing ultimate abilities into battle. Along with their own roles on the battlefield, their potential is amplified when they assemble into a formidable team.
The four main roles include: offense heroes with their high speed and attack, always on the front line to deliver decisive blows; defense characters meant to form choke points for enemies and guard a location; tank characters that have a large amount of armor and hit points to withstand enemy attacks and draw fire away from teammates and support characters that provide buffs and debuffs for their allies and enemies respectively.
Each hero has a primary ability and other additional abilities that can be evoked at any time, some requiring a brief cooldown period before they can be used again. These abilities vary for each hero, it is ranged from dealing damage, healing teammates, building turrets, erecting shields, assisting movements and escape, etc. Some heroes have two types of weapons, and others have secondary fire in addition to their primary one. Some of them also have a passive ability to assist and cater to their play style. Different from other team-based games, these abilities cannot be modified, upgraded or replaced.
Furthermore, each player slowly builds up a meter towards the character's "ultimate" ability's evoking; this meter builds up slowly over time but can build up faster by defeating opponents or performing other beneficial tasks for their team, such as healing or protecting the team from incoming attacks. Once ready, the player can use this ability at any time. The ultimate ability may last for a few seconds while releasing effect(s) on themselves and/or other players; or it may be a single powerful action, such as a relentless powerful attack or an area resurrection. After which the ultimate meter will deplete immediately, and the player will not gain any ultimate charge when the ultimate ability is in effect. Opposing players will be alerted to the use of this ultimate ability by an exclamation from the character (often in the character's native language), giving opposing players a brief moment to try to take cover or respond appropriately.
Learning to utilize abilities in concert with teammates is the key to victory. Every hero plays differently, and mastering their abilities is the key to unlocking their potential. Together with the limitless number of combinations of skill and ability between heroes can be used to easily achieve the objectives. If the team is unbalanced or the combination provides a negative result, the game encourages players to change heroes, differentiating itself from other first-person shooter games.
- Main article: Maps
In Quick Play and Competitive Play, teams will compete in 6 vs. 6 objective-based battles which set across the world in one of four types of maps: Assault, Escort, Assault/Escort, and Control. Every map will ask the players on the same team to work together to achieve objectives, from capturing or defending the control point to pushing or stopping the payload. Assault maps task the attacking team to capture two control points, each in succession, within time limit, while Escort maps task the attacking team to push a payload to the end of the map, through multiple checkpoints; Assault/Escort maps are combination of Assault and Escort maps which require the attacking team to capture a point in order to activate the payload for them to push. Control map comprises several submaps, when both teams try to capture a point in the middle of the submap in each round.
Every battlefield is iconic and built to allow each character’s signature abilities to shine. Fights shift from streets to rooftops to open skies as teams play off of each other's abilities, clashing over dynamic mission objectives. That means the same combination of heroes will perform differently on different maps. Players are encouraged to get familiar with the map they play, and how their heroes will fulfill their roles effectively on that map. Furthermore, each of the maps is tied to the lore of the game; each of the locations is reflected in comics, animated series, or hero's bio. The reactions and exchanged conversations of each hero also vary and are unique to each map.
Arcade's Mystery Heroes and Elimination matches are played on a special type of map, which is smaller and suitable for a smaller-size team. Seasonal events also brought new maps for its seasonal brawls, and some special reskin of normal maps.
Progression in Overwatch is built around earning experience and leveling up, showing how long the player has been playing the game. Players gain experience by completing games in Quick Play, Play vs. AI, Practice vs. AI, Competitive Play, and Weekly Brawl. By winning Competitive Play matches, players can also receive Competitive Points. With each level gained, the player shall receive a Loot Box.
Loot Boxes contain a random selection of items that can be used to customize the looks of heroes, including Skins, Emotes, Victory Poses, Voice Lines, Sprays, Highlight Intros, and Player Icons. In addition to collecting these items from Loot Boxes, players can also unlock them by spending a new in-game currency called credits. There are also special cosmetic items which only can be unlocked by spending Competitive Points. Players can use Hero Gallery to review, equip and unlock any item chosen.
During seasonal events, there will be a limited series of items. Normal loot boxes are replaced with seasonal event loot boxes, which contain at least one item exclusive to the event in each box. Season event loot boxes and items are unobtainable after the event concludes.
Over thirty years ago, without warning or explanation, a decommissioned set of automated megafactories re-activated themselves and launched a worldwide military campaign against all humanity dubbed the Omnic Crisis. Despite deploying new technologies including powered armour and super-soldier programs, no nation alone could stand against the growing omnic army.
It was the United Nations that turned the tide by bringing the best operatives from each nation together to form Overwatch. This strike team was both small and nimble and powerful enough to deal devastating blows to the omnics, leading the way for the rest of humanity to fight back. In the end, Overwatch succeeded in ending the catastrophic war and went down in history as heroes.
After the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch experienced a tremendous rise in prominence. The core members of Jack Morrison, Gabriel Reyes, Ana Amari, Reinhardt Wilhelm, Torbjörn Lindholm, and Liao, were bolstered as more and more prominent and expert people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, professions, and ideals joined Overwatch, including Dr. Angela Ziegler, Winston, Lena Oxton, Jesse McCree, Genji Shimada and Mei-Ling Zhou. For twenty years, Overwatch served as a global peacekeeping force and an engine for innovation, making advances in scientific fields as varied as space exploration, environmental protection, and medical research.
But glory came at a cost. Controversial missions stoked public outrage, forcing some of the organization’s most famous and celebrated agents to retire in disgrace. Two decades after it ended the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch was dealt a heavy blow by a series of allegations: negligence resulting in high-profile mission failures; corruption and mismanagement; weapons proliferation; human rights abuses. Worse still, the existence of "Blackwatch" - a top secret covert operations division within Overwatch - was uncovered.
A special UN committee launched a lengthy and highly secretive investigation into the claims. During the investigation, Overwatch's Swiss headquarters was destroyed in an explosion that claimed the lives of its two leaders: Strike-Commander Jack Morrison and Blackwatch Leader Gabriel Reyes. Although the United Nations claimed it was an accident, the explosion at the headquarters was revealed to be the result of an internal clash between Morrison and Reyes. Nonetheless, the UN shut down all of Overwatch's operations and put forward the Petras Act, which declared all Overwatch activity illegal and punishable by prosecution.
Since, the world has begun to fall toward chaos. Local political leaders have accused certain corporations of using covert operatives to force government officials into accepting exploitative deals and going as far as hiring mercenaries. Some notable cases of this are the Vishkar Corporation destroying Calado Tower and its surrounding favela to gain absolute control of Rio de Janeiro, and Hyde Global hiring two international criminals, known as Junkrat and Roadhog, to swindle insurance.
The actions of criminal groups have also become more brazen and unrestrained, from the smuggling activities of the Deadlock Gang to the terrorism and assassinations carried out by the sinister organization known only as Talon. Even Overwatch's former bases and assets have been targeted. An individual known only as Soldier: 76 attacked Watchpoint: Grand Mesa and stole the Heavy Pulse Rifle and several other high-tech prototypes, and a Talon infiltration team led by the fearsome Reaper broke into Watchpoint: Gibraltar to procure the database of Overwatch's former members.
Worse still, the tensions between humans and omnics that have simmered since the end of the Omnic Crisis have begun to boil over; the assassination of the omnic spiritual leader Tekhartha Mondatta by the Talon agent Widowmaker may have sparked the human-omnic war in Russia known as the Second Omnic Crisis. Also, previous Overwatch scientist, Moira O'Deorain, is now apart of Talon's inner council.
Nonetheless, several former agents of Overwatch continued to aid the innocent and deliver justice. Their example has inspired a new generation of unique individuals, including Brazillian DJ Lúcio Correia dos Santos, who used his well-known music to inspire and lead Rio de Janeiro's citizens against the Vishkar Corporation, and South Korean professional video gamer Hana Song who employed her skills at the controls of a mech unit to defeat a colossal invading omnic.
And now, one former agent of Overwatch has decided that the time to sit by is over. After foiling the Talon attack on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Winston, the gorilla scientist who helped usher in Overwatch's golden age, has chosen to defy the Petras Act, by sending his heartfelt message to all former agents, officially reactivating Overwatch.
Game Modes, Menus, and Options
- Note: Some information here is extracted from the PC version, and may not apply for the console version.
On the upper right corner of the HUD, the player's name, the equipped Player Icon and their level are always displayed. Hovering over the name also show the BattleTag. If the player is in the group, the rest of the group and their Play Icons will appear there. There is a button to access the Social Menu as a reminder of where to look for a group.
- Main article: Main Menu
After successfully logging in from the BattleNet client application and gaining access to the game, the player will be provided the game main menu with these modes and options:
- Play: Accesses all game modes. This Menu will be locked if player is in a group and is not a group leader. After clicking into any of these game modes, the game will start to search for a match. If the player turns Skirmish on, they will go to a Skirmish; otherwise, there is an option to return to the main menu when waiting.
- Quick Play: "Jump into a game against other players of your skill level."
- Arcade: "New game mode! New rules! New maps! Enter the Arcade."
- After clicking on this mode, you will be prompted to choose between five game modes which can change from patch to patch.
- You also can right-click to read the rules and info.
- Competitive Play: "Play against other players with Competitive ruleset."
- You also can right-click to read the rules, info, reward, tier legend and leaderboard.
- Game Browser: "Find the perfect match or just create one."
- After clicking on this mode, you will be prompted to choose between three difficulties: Easy, Medium or Hard.
- Training: Accesses all training modes, which is recommended for new players. This Menu will be locked if the player is in a Group. After clicking into any of these game modes, the game will allow the player to access the mode immediately, except Practice vs. AI, which will require time to look for a match.
- Highlights: Displays five Top 5 Highlights (or Play of the Games), as well as instant captured Highlights. This options also allow players to record/save Highlight to their PC with various functions to control the quality.
- Hero Gallery: Accesses the Hero Gallery, either to review cosmetic items, Credits, Competitive Points, or to unlock items.
- Loot Box: Accesses unchecked Loot Boxes. The number of unopened Loot Box is shown next to the menu. You can also quickly review your Credits by accessing this menu.
- Social: Accesses the Social menu, in order to review friends, your current groups, teams, enemy teams, friend invitations and recent players. The number of friends who are in Overwatch is shown next to the menu.
- Career Profile: Accesses the Career Profile menu, to review your own statistic, Achievements, and change Player Icon.
- Options: Accesses the Options menu, including Video, Sound, Controls, Gameplay, and Social option.
- Exit Game: Logs out of the game and returns to the BattleNet client application.
Players can access the Pause menu almost anytime in game. It will show the menus for Social, Career Profile, Options, and Credits. If there is any unopened Loot Box, there will be an option to go directly to Loot Box menu. If the player is in the middle of a match, there will be an option to quit that current match. If the player is in the room creator on Custom Game, there will be an option to return to the Lobby. There will also be another option to exit the game completely.
Holding Tab when the game is in the initial Hero selection phase will show the names and levels of members on the enemy team, but their heroes will be hidden.
Holding Tab while a match is in progress will lead the player to the Tab menu. The names and levels of all players will be shown. If the game has not yet started or the two teams has not met each other, the enemy heroes will be hidden. The portrait of the heroes who are on fire will have the flame-burning effect. There will be a blue check mark under allies' hero portrait to indicate that their ultimate is ready to use.
On the lower side, the scoreboard statistics will be shown; general category on the left and individual category on the right. The statistics will not update until the doors in the Attacker's spawn room open.
Released Editions and Pricing
Overwatch has been released in 3 editions: OverwatchTM, OverwatchTM Game of the Year Edition and OverwatchTM Collector's Edition (a limited edition). Also, any pre-purchase buyers will get a bonus, the Noire skin for Widowmaker. Some retail stores also offer the Noire Skin for Widowmaker for after-release buyers.
|Edition||Price (USD)||Digital available||Retail available|
|OverwatchTM Game of the Year Edition||$59.99||PC|
|OverwatchTM Collector's Edition||$129.99|
The OverwatchTM digital edition is exclusive for PC, containing the base game only. Meanwhile, console players are required to purchase the Origins Edition or the Collector's Edition. The Origins Edition includes Origins-exclusive skins and Overwatch-related bonuses in other Blizzard games. The Collector's Edition is composed of Origins Edition along with a 28cm statue of Soldier: 76, the Overwatch Visual Source Book, the Overwatch Soundtrack and battlefield postcards.
After purchasing the digital edition of Overwatch on PC, player is still able to upgrade their version to the Origin Edition by buying the digital Origin Edition. Instead of being charged its full price, the players will be required to pay only the difference amount in price between two versions, and their game will be automatically upgraded to the Origin Edition after.
Updates and Patches
Overwatch is an online multiplayer game which has been promised to be updated frequently, either to bring more gameplay elements, more heroes to the roster, balance changes or to fix unintended issues. Blizzard has said that all Overwatch content released in future updates will be available free, with the only additional cost to players through optional micro-transactions to earn additional cosmetic rewards.
Overwatch received "universal acclaim" upon release, according to review aggregator Metacritic, scoring 91/100 (PC), 90/100 (PS4), and 91/100 (XONE). Most critics praised the game's characters and maps, while Slant users collectively voted it the best online multiplayer for Xbox One and agreed that the game offers exciting FPS gameplay.
- Concept art
- Cinematic shots
- The narrator for every game is Athena, an artificial intelligence companion in the game story.
- According to Jeff Kaplan, the only thing that all of the Overwatch heroes have in common is that they love pineapple on their pizza.