In case you slept through all of BlizzCon, you might not have heard that this year, Blizzard announced a new IP, their sports arena multiplayer shooter called Overwatch. According to lore, Overwatch started out as group of heroes, something like Blizzard's answer to the Avengers. Like the current S.H.I.E.L.D. series where the program gets shut down, Overwatch also becomes disbanded. Rather than having a bunch of rogue agents running around trying to do good in secret while fighting the Big Bad that is Hydra, Overwatch doesn't have some unknown fortune bankrolling the former members, so those guys become mercenaries.
Before they became mercenaries, Overwatch was comprised of a diverse group of adventureres, scientists, and soldiers, who were all brought together to help put the world back in order. Overwatch was created during a time of crisis, where a world-wide war was tearing the planet apart. Because of Overwatch coming together on an international level, balance was restored to the world and an era of peace and innovation was seen. Now that everything's all lovey-dovey in the world, Overwatch isn't seen as a necessary group anymore and is disbanded.
Blizzard has been crazy busy while waiting to unleash Overwatch on the world at BlizzCon. Not only does Overwatch have a fully fleshed out website, but each of the twelve characters has a page filled out with a backstory and several short gameplay videos, not to mention that the game's YouTube channel is also fully populated. After watching a few, as well as the first gameplay trailer, I'm having a hard time deciding on whether everyone will be playing Tracer or Reaper. Overwatch has four roles for people to choose from: Offense, Defense, Tank and Support. It looks like Winston, the giant armored ape who Hulk Smashes everything, will be a tank. Mercy, equipped with robotic angel wings, is a field medic with several skills at her disposal to keep allies in the fight.
Some say that the reason why we're seeing Overwatch for the first time in such a state where the game appears to be mostly ready for action, is that Overwatch was salvaged from the ashes of Titan. Considering that Titan was what people were calling the Planetside of Blizzard IPs, and now folks are referring to Overwatch as the Team Fortress of Blizzard IPs, I can see where that could be possible, but I have a feeling that Overwatch is more than just a new skin on an old game. What I've been looking at today looks like Blizzard has been thinking about the sports arena genre for awhile, whether or not Titan had anything to do with it, though, is beyond me. I will say that a sports arena game is more interested to me in theory than anything else Blizzard has come up with in awhile. I dabble in Hearthstone, but TCGs aren't really my thing. I'm not a big MOBA player, either. Really, the only Blizzard game I play on the regular is World of Warcraft, which I've been holding off on logging in for awhile now. Tomorrow, however, my real life friends might wonder where I disappeared to.
In his BlizzCon wrap-up, David agrees that the degree of what we have seen so far in regards to Overwatch has been impressive. David brings up some interesting points in his latest column, which has an Overwatch focus. He points out that Blizzard's MOBA that they have been working on for some time, Heroes of the Storm, will always need more heroes. That requires a team who can dig up new heroes from lore within the Blizzardverse and get them to make sense in a MOBA world. With Overwatch, however, there's a set number of heroes-turned-mercenaries to choose from in the world, while you duke it out through different maps. As David points out, this can save Blizzard plenty of time, resources, and ultimately, money.
Overwatch is currently slated to go into beta in 2015. While the year is right around the corner, it's also, well, a year. Years are kind of long things, which is necessary so we have a unit of measurement for long aspects of time. So, yay it's almost 2015, but when in 2015 is beta happening? There's a pretty big different between January and July, or even next November. The game does look fun, though. Each of the twelve characters have very desirable skills, each with abilities to bring something unique to an arena, rather than having three healers with all slightly different heals. I look forward to seeing more news for Overwatch coming out.
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