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Jeff Kaplan on Mercy, Competitive Play and Player Toxicity

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Overwatch's Game Director posted about three current concerns the developer team and the community share.

After the developer update on esports improvements, Jeff Kaplan strikes back with a post about some important issues currently affecting the game.

The aim of Mercy's recent rework was to balance her. However, this backfired completely, since the Support heroine is more powerful than ever, which led to a Mercy dominated meta. The team is experimenting with toned-down versions of her Resurrect ability and we will see the results on the PTR very soon.

Moreover, the team has many plans on Competitive Play. Jeff didn't share much, since these announcement are probably being saved for BlizzCon. A point, that was mentioned, was improvements on matchmaking, especially on higher ranks. Lastly, Jeff talked about player toxicity, encouraging players to keep using the report system and assuring them that player feedback will be soon added ingame.

Blizzard LogoJeff Kaplan

Hey all,

Thanks for all of the discussions here on the game. We've been reading as much as we can and appreciate all of the passion.

Sorry we haven't posted as much as we usually do lately. We've been working really hard on some pretty awesome stuff for Blizzcon and we're super excited to share it all with you next week!

I know some of you have concerns about some issues in the game so I wanted to just take a quick minute and tell you what our current focus is internally.

We've been discussing the state of the Mercy rework a lot and listening to all of the feedback. Overall, we feel like the new direction for Mercy is much better for both Mercy and non-Mercy players. But we do feel like she's too dominant right now. In particular, we feel like the resurrect ability is changing the tone of the game to a degree which is simply too powerful. As such, we're experimenting with different toned-down versions of the ability. After all, resurrect is no longer an ultimate and is now an on-cooldown ability so it needs to be less powerful. I know that you're going to want more details but we're nearing a point with internal iteration where we feel comfortable putting something on the PTR soon. We'd rather have you play the changes than theorycraft them.

Another topic that we've been focused on a lot lately is Competitive Play. We don't have immediate changes to discuss right now but we're closely studying issues and perceived problems with the system with an eye toward improvement. Along with that, we talk a lot about matchmaking within the competitive system. We have some plans that should improve some issues that players are seeing -- especially at the high end of the skill rating spectrum. We have long and short term plans for Competitive that should hopefully improve the experience over time. We're hoping that we can get more of these changes in at a faster pace rather than waiting for major milestones. Some of the matchmaking work we want to do is strictly done on our servers which means that we don't have to wait for a big patch to go out. Again, I know you want more specific details but game development is a process and we're actively discussing and iterating on ideas and systems right now.

The third big focus that's being discussed is toxicity. A lot of what we do here we cannot and will not discuss publicly. The more players understand about how these systems work, the more they will be able to game them. There have been a lot of improvements in this area and the number of actioned players continues to rise. The more we restore your faith in our systems, the more we hope you use them (talking about reporting here specifically). We're also hoping to have player feedback in the game when someone you reported was actioned by the end of the year. The email pilot program has gone well so far and we keep trying to expand that until we get the in-game system up and running. Please keep using the reporting system. I swear to you, it does work and we're really focused on improving it. But we need your help.

Obviously, there is a lot more going on besides the three topics I brought up. But I think those three things are some of the issues the community as a whole is most concerned about and therefore I think those should be my team's top priorities. We have a ton of cool, fun stuff coming -- some of which will be announced at Blizzcon. And we're also really proud of some of the work we just completed to make spectating esports better. World Cup should be pretty cool and will teach us a lot for when it comes to improving spectating in the future.

We really appreciate all of the passion you've shown for the game. We're lucky to have players like you.

All the best,

ow team

(source)

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How about a 10 minute ban (increasing with the number of incidents) for being obviously toxic (like writing easy gg at the end of the game, I mean, that gets censored anyway automatically), and then let's see how many people are willing to keep on flaming after they realized, that it will only get them banned..

 

(I know, there will always be toxic players, but still, let there be hope)

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I really hope they keep getting better against toxicity. That's the main reason why I quit playing months ago. I love the game, I was an alpha tester and bought the collection edition, but the community destroyed the experience for me. I really want to come back but sometimes I don't even get to hit quick play because I now there's a huge chance I'll have to deal with toxicity, and I really don't need that in my life right now.

Edited by ChackO
Typo

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Matchmaker have to improve (a lot) to make Competitive enjoyable. Yesterday I was on a team with 5 Mercy mains, it wasn't fun and they started to throw the match just because they weren't playing with their favorite main. 

Mercy is another problem atm. A hero that is a ''must pick'' is terrible. Ress shouldn't be a ability, it makes her a ress/heal bot that is so annoying to deal with. I love the other three healers (specially Ana), but people start to say a lot of shit to you if you don't pick Mercy because of her ress. 

I hope Hero 26 is a healer, and a really good one, so people can forget Mercy and let us play whatever we want.

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Pretty sure this game is right next to the dumpster in terms of quality, shoulda won the worst game of the year award. Community is pretty much on the same scale of toxicity as league of legends, and I thought even that was in a world of it's own in terms of how bad it is. The balancing is also one of the poorest things i've ever seen, how do you boycott a single hero for a month and then manage to have it still be universally hated and disliked by everyone? Are you just that incapable at balancing your own game? I don't doubt their intentions, they're probably trying but from recent balance changes they actually just can't do it, they want to cater to everyone and end up catering to no one and everyone's unhappy. They've said the game is meant to be played like Rock, Paper, Scissors, but half the roster is like an exception to that, Doomfist is piss poor, counters basically nothing, i guess he's supposed to be good against Genji but blizzard won't nerf our favorite weeaboo's mobility and Doomfist can't get high enough to actually hit him with his abilities, extremely backward thinking. McCree is supposed to be a flanker counter and yet he can't even do that properly because the flankers are just on another level in terms of power. It worries me for the Overwatch League, if you can't balance a single hero where the majority is happy then how're you going to balance an entire roster of characters? People like myself, would get extremely bored, and I already am extremely bored of seeing the EXACT same roster of heroes used in professional play since the game's launch. Tracer, Genji, Winston, D.Va, its not intuitive and it's not fun to watch, even in regular games.

Edit: Just want to clarify I used to enjoy this game, a fresh new take on team based FPS, but it's lost it's touch and also lost my interest and commitment.

Edited by leapingshadow

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7 hours ago, Istinon said:

How about a 10 minute ban (increasing with the number of incidents) for being obviously toxic (like writing easy gg at the end of the game,

But it's kind of become a meme now by itself. Especially because it gets censored now. Besides, especially when it was a very close call (like a minute or two long overtime in QP), I like to type out "good game, easy *coughs up blood*"

 

True toxicity should be punished for sure, but when it becomes questionable (Such as our ggez argument), just let it go.

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The whole competitive ranking system based on matchmaking idea does not work.  It's not just OW.  The problem is that personal ranking is dependent on the team's collective play and inevitably leads to solo players not being able to enjoy the game.   As the system does it sorting, players that engage in pre-made teams will rise simply because they have less chance of an uncooperative teammate on their team.  Players that don't will see their rank suffer, regardless of actual skill, because theres nothing a person can do if no one on your team wants to play support or tank (This happens all the time to me, I will wait to fill and see the entire team pick DPS heroes and refuse to change).  So what you end up with is a bottom-tier filled with uncooperative players as well as skill-lacking players that you will have to claw through to get to a point where you can start encountering players that are more cooperative and skillful so that you can start to play the game the way its meant to be played.  I would prefer they  have 2 separate ladders- A solo ladder and a pre-made ladder. 

The pre-made ladder could have a Clan system of sorts where the clan rank would be posted as the sum of the members ranks- matchmaking would still be based on the sum of the pre-made's rank and not off of the clan rank. Clans would get fame and recognition and players could be able to find teams to join in order to enjoy the game.

The solo ladder would have old-school matchmaking and be about fun.  Playing in the solo ladder would not jeopardize your pre-made rank.   A big problem with the matchmaking in terms of a solo queue in a team game is the competitive nature of it itself.  Games are matched to a bunch of players of the same rank to see who will rise and who will fall.  Due to all the reasons I mentioned, this is bad gameplay at the low tiers.  The solo ladder would just match players quickly and fairly.  One team might have a Master player and golds where the other team would be all diamonds.  This is how matchmaking in games used to be and it was fun- you realized it was 4am because the sudden exhaustion broke the pull of "one more game".  It also gives players who are new or learning an opportunity to learn from higher-tier players.   This would hopefully help break the split-culture between the lower and higher tiers as players gain more exposure to winning strategies and attitudes -(someone is more likely to listen to a Master/Grand Master about what hero to pick than someone of their own rank who they view as a potential rival next game)

Frankly, I believe the reason that OW is in its dismal state because of the lack of expectations set by the developers at launch which was compounded by the ability to pick duplicate heroes.  The game should have launched with a Competitive Queue, A Quick Match Queue, and an Arcade Queue(where duplicates could be picked).  This was actually something I sensed from day one and hoped would not lead the way it did.  Launching the game in this fashion, would have let competitive and quick match develop their own culture where quick match could be used as serious practice for competitive play.  It surely wouldn't have guaranteed it but it would have given it a fighting chance.  Instead we have the "its QM" mentality so new players are woefully unprepared for the reality of competitive play which leads to a further mucking of the bottom tiers because you have frustrated players who chose to give up in the face of such a stark challenge which is a human reaction hence why you typically want to "set someone up for success".  The low bar for entry into competitive play also did not help set expectations- players IMO should have to play a certain number of matches on each type of hero before being allowed to play.  There are far too many players in competitive who only know how to play one hero.

Hopefully developers are taking note, and we can see the quality of games for those not just "at the highest end of the spectrum" increase.  Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the system, its not worth trying to fix the bottom end.

 

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26 minutes ago, Brauchief said:

The whole competitive ranking system based on matchmaking idea does not work.  It's not just OW.  The problem is that personal ranking is dependent on the team's collective play and inevitably leads to solo players not being able to enjoy the game.   As the system does it sorting, players that engage in pre-made teams will rise simply because they have less chance of an uncooperative teammate on their team.  Players that don't will see their rank suffer, regardless of actual skill, because theres nothing a person can do if no one on your team wants to play support or tank (This happens all the time to me, I will wait to fill and see the entire team pick DPS heroes and refuse to change).  So what you end up with is a bottom-tier filled with uncooperative players as well as skill-lacking players that you will have to claw through to get to a point where you can start encountering players that are more cooperative and skillful so that you can start to play the game the way its meant to be played.  I would prefer they  have 2 separate ladders- A solo ladder and a pre-made ladder. 

The pre-made ladder could have a Clan system of sorts where the clan rank would be posted as the sum of the members ranks- matchmaking would still be based on the sum of the pre-made's rank and not off of the clan rank. Clans would get fame and recognition and players could be able to find teams to join in order to enjoy the game.

The solo ladder would have old-school matchmaking and be about fun.  Playing in the solo ladder would not jeopardize your pre-made rank.   A big problem with the matchmaking in terms of a solo queue in a team game is the competitive nature of it itself.  Games are matched to a bunch of players of the same rank to see who will rise and who will fall.  Due to all the reasons I mentioned, this is bad gameplay at the low tiers.  The solo ladder would just match players quickly and fairly.  One team might have a Master player and golds where the other team would be all diamonds.  This is how matchmaking in games used to be and it was fun- you realized it was 4am because the sudden exhaustion broke the pull of "one more game".  It also gives players who are new or learning an opportunity to learn from higher-tier players.   This would hopefully help break the split-culture between the lower and higher tiers as players gain more exposure to winning strategies and attitudes -(someone is more likely to listen to a Master/Grand Master about what hero to pick than someone of their own rank who they view as a potential rival next game)

Frankly, I believe the reason that OW is in its dismal state because of the lack of expectations set by the developers at launch which was compounded by the ability to pick duplicate heroes.  The game should have launched with a Competitive Queue, A Quick Match Queue, and an Arcade Queue(where duplicates could be picked).  This was actually something I sensed from day one and hoped would not lead the way it did.  Launching the game in this fashion, would have let competitive and quick match develop their own culture where quick match could be used as serious practice for competitive play.  It surely wouldn't have guaranteed it but it would have given it a fighting chance.  Instead we have the "its QM" mentality so new players are woefully unprepared for the reality of competitive play which leads to a further mucking of the bottom tiers because you have frustrated players who chose to give up in the face of such a stark challenge which is a human reaction hence why you typically want to "set someone up for success".  The low bar for entry into competitive play also did not help set expectations- players IMO should have to play a certain number of matches on each type of hero before being allowed to play.  There are far too many players in competitive who only know how to play one hero.

Hopefully developers are taking note, and we can see the quality of games for those not just "at the highest end of the spectrum" increase.  Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the system, its not worth trying to fix the bottom end.

 

Honestly don't see it happening. Don't get me wrong I totally agree with everything you're saying they can't get it right. But I just don't think they're going to be willing to do any of it. I mean, look at Jeff's response today, most of it was just "We hear you, but we're not doing anything that you want or have asked for." He even stated that they had listened to player feedback about Mercy, blatant lie, most people on the forums and myself have asked for a ress as ultimate revert and then valkyrie as a toned down E ability, but nope, apparently THEY like the way that Mercy is headed even though 100% of people disagree with every change. Downright ignorant.

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5 hours ago, Brauchief said:

The low bar for entry into competitive play also did not help set expectations

 

5 hours ago, Brauchief said:

Instead we have the "its QM" mentality so new players are woefully unprepared for the reality of competitive play

 

5 hours ago, leapingshadow said:

frustrated players who chose to give up in the face of such a stark challenge which is a human reaction

Don't forget that these are also the people that shout the loudest. I have plenty of friends that can only dedicate an hour - or two at best - an evening and they have been playing OW for more than a year now and still enjoying QM and the occasional competitive when they have a bit more time for that in the weekends.

 

All I can say is that - no matter how much you are "setting someone up for success" - 14 year olds that are expecting to be top 500 GM and then realize they're stuck in Silver/Gold/Plat for a long time, will still be "the apple that spoil the bunch". All the censorship and "safeguards" and "setting up for success" blizzard sets up won't prevent people with this kind of mentality to ruin the day of as many people as possible.

 

So, for all the criticism that Blizzard - rightfully so - deserves, there's a reason why ESRB/PEGI state "online interaction not rated".

 

Blizzard's design decisions and balance changes (Not just OW...) leave very much to be desired and will always stay that way. As long as there's a LEAD balance tester out there being PAID to think:

 

"Hey, in WoW, having Warriors be completely CC immune in PVP for 30 seconds straight is perfectly justifiable by our standards, theorycrafting, testing, measurements and QA, until there's a shitstorm about it on the forum, and then we'll still take 3 months to balance it out, by completely destroying any viability and giving this advantage to another class, causing this process to repeat for the entire duration of the xpac, or longevity of the entire game"

 

If you play a Blizzard game assuming they're capable of balancing things reasonably well, you're either playing SC:BW/SC2 (With exceptions...) or asking for a miracle.

 

Instead, I suggest you play using these to your own advantage and attempt to tolerate Blizzard's behavior. Because the latter is not going to change any time soon(tm).

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8 hours ago, Yridaa said:

 

 

Don't forget that these are also the people that shout the loudest. I have plenty of friends that can only dedicate an hour - or two at best - an evening and they have been playing OW for more than a year now and still enjoying QM and the occasional competitive when they have a bit more time for that in the weekends.

 

All I can say is that - no matter how much you are "setting someone up for success" - 14 year olds that are expecting to be top 500 GM and then realize they're stuck in Silver/Gold/Plat for a long time, will still be "the apple that spoil the bunch". All the censorship and "safeguards" and "setting up for success" blizzard sets up won't prevent people with this kind of mentality to ruin the day of as many people as possible.

 

So, for all the criticism that Blizzard - rightfully so - deserves, there's a reason why ESRB/PEGI state "online interaction not rated".

 

Blizzard's design decisions and balance changes (Not just OW...) leave very much to be desired and will always stay that way. As long as there's a LEAD balance tester out there being PAID to think:

 

"Hey, in WoW, having Warriors be completely CC immune in PVP for 30 seconds straight is perfectly justifiable by our standards, theorycrafting, testing, measurements and QA, until there's a shitstorm about it on the forum, and then we'll still take 3 months to balance it out, by completely destroying any viability and giving this advantage to another class, causing this process to repeat for the entire duration of the xpac, or longevity of the entire game"

 

If you play a Blizzard game assuming they're capable of balancing things reasonably well, you're either playing SC:BW/SC2 (With exceptions...) or asking for a miracle.

 

Instead, I suggest you play using these to your own advantage and attempt to tolerate Blizzard's behavior. Because the latter is not going to change any time soon(tm).

I don't understand what their demographic is, it's like they're trying to cater to everyone but don't they realize that you can't do that? AGAIN, it just reminds me of how not esports ready Overwatch is, the game is imbalanced as a stone and a feather on a scale. 50% of hero picks in professional play are the same 5 heroes. In a roster of 25, half of your heroes played are the same 5? doesn't that say something? It's boring, it's just flat out not fun to watch and theyre putting millions, no, hundreds of millions into the overwatch league and yet they can't even balance their own game at a casual level, let alone that of esports. That huge mercy feedback thread on the forum with thousands of responses managed to do absolutely nothing because the entirety of people asking were asking for a revert and valkyrie as an E, then we get jeff-freaking-kaplan come in say he's listening (clearly not) and comment that they feel this is better for Mercy players. This also leads me onto another problem people who pick the game up once every few months are not going to want to come back to a completely different game, their favorite heroes have a rework they don't like them anymore and they just can't balance. Overwatch as a game, won't do well as an esport naturally because of how it's built, ask any e-sport commentator. It's a team game, what does your average viewer want? Amazing, god tier players who can carry the entire match, think like a Faker. No one wants to see oooh, look, my team of 6 clones just beat the enemy team wooo who are using the exact same comp as me, attack and defense. So to compensate you would have an amazing viewing experience and game. Neither of those exist. The game is absolutely awful at casual and esport because of how bland it is. I am actually sick of going into quick match, having the other players on my team, instalock, Hanzo, Widow and Genji and then say "Oh it's Quick Play so who cares?" Add an unranked mode, so people can practice in a competitive environment without having to worry about gaining or losing SR.

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1 hour ago, leapingshadow said:

I don't understand what their demographic is, it's like they're trying to cater to everyone but don't they realize that you can't do that? AGAIN, it just reminds me of how not esports ready Overwatch is, the game is imbalanced as a stone and a feather on a scale. 50% of hero picks in professional play are the same 5 heroes.

This is true for a lot of games though. Games like League of Legends, where there's always those 5-8 champions that either get picked or banned. Very rarely do you get to see someone pick something out of the meta, at which the crowd cheers wildly of course. Last week someone picked Singed, something that wasn't done in the entire tournament for 65 games or even the entire year in any competitive tournament.

 

Edit: if it helps, the dude that picked Singed had great success with it and the opponents were forced to ban him in a later match. Showing that non-meta picks can still be viable.

Edited by Yridaa

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21 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

This is true for a lot of games though. Games like League of Legends, where there's always those 5-8 champions that either get picked or banned. Very rarely do you get to see someone pick something out of the meta, at which the crowd cheers wildly of course. Last week someone picked Singed, something that wasn't done in the entire tournament for 65 games or even the entire year in any competitive tournament.

 

Edit: if it helps, the dude that picked Singed had great success with it and the opponents were forced to ban him in a later match. Showing that non-meta picks can still be viable.

You're comparing it to League and I understand that, but with League, both teams have the same objective on a mirrored map, destroy the enemy core, in Overwatch, except KOTH, there are attack and defense and vastly different maps, even on all of this maps and on attack AND defense you see the exact same comps and heroes, that's where I have a problem, I expect to see a meta for certain things, but when the meta is the same, in every gamemode, on every map.

Edit: Point is, there should be a vast selection of heroes for the different maps, some perform better on some maps then others but there's no diversity, it's all exactly the same and it's irritating.

Edited by leapingshadow
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10 minutes ago, leapingshadow said:

You're comparing it to League and I understand that, but with League, both teams have the same objective on a mirrored map, destroy the enemy core, in Overwatch, except KOTH, there are attack and defense and vastly different maps, even on all of this maps and on attack AND defense you see the exact same comps and heroes, that's where I have a problem, I expect to see a meta for certain things, but when the meta is the same, in every gamemode, on every map.

That's a fair point. I guess it is this way in OW because - no matter the objective - if the opponent team dies while you stay alive, you get that objective. So it comes down to "Combo the best ults in the game and shut them down that way to secure the victory".

 

Then it boils down to a simple "Which ults have the largest impact when combined?" or at best "Which hero is best to shut down their ult combo?" - and in the former you get things like Zarya ult into tracer bomb, in the latter, you had the old Mercy ress and the good ol DVa to counter ults before they land (Such as that Zarya ult and/or tracer bomb).

 

It is because these ults are powerplays, that some of them outshine any other ult in the game for their role. Some heroes' abilities counter so many other abilities (DVa matrix), which just means that no matter what kind of objective you're playing for on the map, it takes a simple 1-2-3 combo to take that objective. If you look at a game like LoL, positioning and finding a way to engage the opponents is just as important as chaining ults (Sometimes ults are the initial engagements such as gragas cask).

 

In OW, you can just apply pressure by either forcing them onto the objective (CP/payload) or just keep damaging at long range. You usually aren't required to make positional plays, because the objective does that already. In LoL you can decide to take an objective of theirs while they try to take yours, in OW you are forced to attack or defend the very same objective, and I think therein lies the problem with balancing heroes around that system.

 

Say, you do something ambitious instead and apply a DOTA type of gameplay around a first-person team based shooter like OW, how incredibly different the hero picks could be. You don't have to defend that one turret together, you could split push and take other objectives, you don't necessarily have to engage in a 6v6 teamfight but instead have skirmishes here and there like all these DOTA games have sometimes.

 

OW is just one blob fighting another blob for a single blob objective on the ground. All it takes is just one big chain to turn the game on its head. The heroes that do that best become the meta, and the other 15-19 don't get picked. You don't need too many counter picks in OW because if you just chain 6 ults together, you get the job done anyways. I'm not saying its easy to do that, but it is the win condition, and it is a very bland one at that.

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39 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

 

That's a fair point. I guess it is this way in OW because - no matter the objective - if the opponent team dies while you stay alive, you get that objective. So it comes down to "Combo the best ults in the game and shut them down that way to secure the victory".

 

Then it boils down to a simple "Which ults have the largest impact when combined?" or at best "Which hero is best to shut down their ult combo?" - and in the former you get things like Zarya ult into tracer bomb, in the latter, you had the old Mercy ress and the good ol DVa to counter ults before they land (Such as that Zarya ult and/or tracer bomb).

 

It is because these ults are powerplays, that some of them outshine any other ult in the game for their role. Some heroes' abilities counter so many other abilities (DVa matrix), which just means that no matter what kind of objective you're playing for on the map, it takes a simple 1-2-3 combo to take that objective. If you look at a game like LoL, positioning and finding a way to engage the opponents is just as important as chaining ults (Sometimes ults are the initial engagements such as gragas cask).

 

In OW, you can just apply pressure by either forcing them onto the objective (CP/payload) or just keep damaging at long range. You usually aren't required to make positional plays, because the objective does that already. In LoL you can decide to take an objective of theirs while they try to take yours, in OW you are forced to attack or defend the very same objective, and I think therein lies the problem with balancing heroes around that system.

 

Say, you do something ambitious instead and apply a DOTA type of gameplay around a first-person team based shooter like OW, how incredibly different the hero picks could be. You don't have to defend that one turret together, you could split push and take other objectives, you don't necessarily have to engage in a 6v6 teamfight but instead have skirmishes here and there like all these DOTA games have sometimes.

 

OW is just one blob fighting another blob for a single blob objective on the ground. All it takes is just one big chain to turn the game on its head. The heroes that do that best become the meta, and the other 15-19 don't get picked. You don't need too many counter picks in OW because if you just chain 6 ults together, you get the job done anyways. I'm not saying its easy to do that, but it is the win condition, and it is a very bland one at that.

The game is supposed to be Rock Paper Scissors, and I like that idea and mentality, the battle and heroes constantly shift as a match goes on to combat the current tactics and enemy heroes, everyone changes to counter things, but at the moment it never ever happens, because the game is imbalanced and the idea of counters and being countered is basically non-existant in most situations. The most obvious 3 way is Roadhog, McCree and Reaper. Roadhog gets destroyed by reaper, constantly healing and tank-ness with no armor. McCree counters Reaper, stunning ult and also being able to flash and fan to kill him. Roadhog counters McCree, being able to hook and then kill him since he has no escape or way of absorbing damage and McCree would find it hard dealing with all that health. McCree is also interesting to talk about because he's supposed to counter flankers like Tracer and Genji, yet he can't ever seem to do it? Because both of those heroes are crazy and can literally just avoid him, Flashbang is such an easy ability to bait and also miss, the explosion is tiny, and once its gone that's it, the McCree is dead. I think thats one of the main reasons why those 5 heroes are so dominant, because their counters flat out just aren't functioning properly. Doomfist is supposed to counter Genji. I play Doomfist more than any other hero and Genji's can so easily just jump above me and around me while im charging and just get away from a Rocket Fist, same with seismic slam and uppercut, just can't reach him, another counter that isn't working. 

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20 hours ago, leapingshadow said:

McCree is also interesting to talk about because he's supposed to counter flankers like Tracer and Genji, yet he can't ever seem to do it? Because both of those heroes are crazy and can literally just avoid him, Flashbang is such an easy ability to bait and also miss, the explosion is tiny, and once its gone that's it, the McCree is dead. I think thats one of the main reasons why those 5 heroes are so dominant, because their counters flat out just aren't functioning properly. Doomfist is supposed to counter Genji. I play Doomfist more than any other hero and Genji's can so easily just jump above me and around me while im charging and just get away from a Rocket Fist, same with seismic slam and uppercut, just can't reach him, another counter that isn't working. 

The thing is, counters in Overwatch are heavily influenced by the SR and skill-level of the players trying to initiate the counter. I solo queued DPS for most games this season at around 4000-4300 SR over 3 accounts. I have another account at 2300 I use to play with friends, never solo. 

At higher SR, McCree's force me to swap as Tracer/Genji/Pharah to either my own McCree, or Hanzo/Widow to deal with them. Tracer dies in flash + headshot, others die to two headshots, which makes flanking incredibly difficult. When ulting as Genji, you have a choice of either killing Mercy first and dying to McCree or killing McCree first and having him ressed. 

At lower SR, McCree gives me a tiny bit of trouble as Pharah, since she's far easier to counter, since the aim requirement is so much smaller. As Tracer, I dance around the McCree with no issues. Same for Genji. 

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12 minutes ago, Blainie said:

The thing is, counters in Overwatch are heavily influenced by the SR and skill-level of the players trying to initiate the counter. I solo queued DPS for most games this season at around 4000-4300 SR over 3 accounts. I have another account at 2300 I use to play with friends, never solo. 

At higher SR, McCree's force me to swap as Tracer/Genji/Pharah to either my own McCree, or Hanzo/Widow to deal with them. Tracer dies in flash + headshot, others die to two headshots, which makes flanking incredibly difficult. When ulting as Genji, you have a choice of either killing Mercy first and dying to McCree or killing McCree first and having him ressed. 

At lower SR, McCree gives me a tiny bit of trouble as Pharah, since she's far easier to counter, since the aim requirement is so much smaller. As Tracer, I dance around the McCree with no issues. Same for Genji. 

Im at like exactly 3000 because I don't play ever since I completed my placements because I can't ever find the energy to do them cause it's pretty boring, I find myself just playing Roadhog most of the time if I need to play. Counters should work at every level, even if the degree at which theyre effective changes they should always be positive at any SR.

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24 minutes ago, leapingshadow said:

Im at like exactly 3000 because I don't play ever since I completed my placements because I can't ever find the energy to do them cause it's pretty boring, I find myself just playing Roadhog most of the time if I need to play. Counters should work at every level, even if the degree at which theyre effective changes they should always be positive at any SR.

But, against a Genji or Tracer that belongs at that SR, they do work. If it is that you can land a flashbang but then can't land the headshot on a stationary Tracer, it's likely that you need to practise the move more. It's just that at higher levels of SR, the flashbang doesn't matter as much. It's just double headshot for all flankers. My point was that, when playing with people of my own SR, the counters work fine. When I play Genji or Tracer, I normally end up swapping when they take McCree. 

The counters work fine, but you can't expect to quickly swap to a character you don't practise and then have it work. A counter shouldn't allow you to kill someone just because you picked it. You should still have to practise with it somewhat. 

Reaper counters Roadhog to the extent that if you own a mouse and monitor, you can kill Roadhog. On the flip side, McCree countering flankers requires you to actually practise aiming with him. You don't need to be a god at aiming, but you need to be able to hit a shot on a stationary target after landing flashbang. If you can't, then ask someone else to play him and counter the flankers, or take another character that counters without needing to be practised as much, like Winston.

Winston is to flankers as Reaper is to Roadhog.

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2 minutes ago, Blainie said:

But, against a Genji or Tracer that belongs at that SR, they do work. If it is that you can land a flashbang but then can't land the headshot on a stationary Tracer, it's likely that you need to practise the move more. It's just that at higher levels of SR, the flashbang doesn't matter as much. It's just double headshot for all flankers. My point was that, when playing with people of my own SR, the counters work fine. When I play Genji or Tracer, I normally end up swapping when they take McCree. 

The counters work fine, but you can't expect to quickly swap to a character you don't practise and then have it work. A counter shouldn't allow you to kill someone just because you picked it. You should still have to practise with it somewhat. 

Reaper counters Roadhog to the extent that if you own a mouse and monitor, you can kill Roadhog. On the flip side, McCree countering flankers requires you to actually practise aiming with him. You don't need to be a god at aiming, but you need to be able to hit a shot on a stationary target after landing flashbang. If you can't, then ask someone else to play him and counter the flankers, or take another character that counters without needing to be practised as much, like Winston.

Winston is to flankers as Reaper is to Roadhog.

I understand what you're saying and i'm not the one having the express problem with this, when i'd play with friends that are in much lower SR's than me and they need to switch to McCree to deal with those flankers, it's difficult for them because they can't do it and essentially don't serve much of a purpose, im saying that at every skill level the counters should work to some extent, I agree with at higher and lower SR's the degree at which theyre effective is lower/higher but they should all still function to some level at every SR. Sometimes you can't switch to Winston because having 3 tanks is just ineffective if there are already those on your team. Think about Torbjorn, meant to be an express counter to Tracer, his armor reduces her damage by 50% and also renders her unable to one clip someone (even though this only happens at higher SRs) but Torbjorn isn't very effective at higher levels of SR's because his counters can easily take him out.

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19 minutes ago, leapingshadow said:

I understand what you're saying and i'm not the one having the express problem with this, when i'd play with friends that are in much lower SR's than me and they need to switch to McCree to deal with those flankers, it's difficult for them because they can't do it and essentially don't serve much of a purpose, im saying that at every skill level the counters should work to some extent, I agree with at higher and lower SR's the degree at which theyre effective is lower/higher but they should all still function to some level at every SR.

That's where I think the comparison of double headshot vs. flashbang comes into play though.

McCree deals 120 damage with a headshot. With perfect aim, you can two shot any flanker. At high SR, it's an ideal way with very good aim. When your aim isn't the best at low SR, that's when Flashbang is your go-to.

I think that if you can't do the flashbang + headshot combo, then I think it's better to simply let someone else switch, or simply practise it more. 

In regards to 3 tanks, you can always ask a tank to swap to Winston, or one of the tanks to swap to DPS? And if you're suffering against a flanker heavy team comp, then it's actually not bad at all to run triple tank. Genji is absolutely awful against tanky comps. When triple tank was the meta, I think one pro touched Genji (Shadowburn) and even then he said it was incredibly difficult. 

27 minutes ago, leapingshadow said:

Think about Torbjorn, meant to be an express counter to Tracer, his armor reduces her damage by 50% and also renders her unable to one clip someone (even though this only happens at higher SRs) but Torbjorn isn't very effective at higher levels of SR's because his counters can easily take him out.

The thing is, a counter isn't necessarily needed to kill someone to be a counter. A good example is Torb vs. Genji. Genji can't ult while the turret is up, even at rank 1 or 2. It's incredibly infuriating when playing Genji. The same can be said for Tracer - her best flanking tool is recall and, more often than not, even if it doesn't kill her, the turret forces Recall. This is a serious issue for Tracer, since she can't dive properly without it, especially with someone like Winston or Zarya on the enemy team. 

A well placed turret, even at high SR, can be impossible to get rid of without a proper push which, sadly, even at GM, doesn't happen often. With proper hiding, Hanzo and Widow (2 of the best counters) can't touch Torb and, especially not if you combo properly. The biggest issue with Torb is that people won't play with him, instead just abandoning him. Playing around him with Orisa makes it impossible for a flanker to stop the turret.

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58 minutes ago, Blainie said:

That's where I think the comparison of double headshot vs. flashbang comes into play though.

McCree deals 120 damage with a headshot. With perfect aim, you can two shot any flanker. At high SR, it's an ideal way with very good aim. When your aim isn't the best at low SR, that's when Flashbang is your go-to.

I think that if you can't do the flashbang + headshot combo, then I think it's better to simply let someone else switch, or simply practise it more. 

In regards to 3 tanks, you can always ask a tank to swap to Winston, or one of the tanks to swap to DPS? And if you're suffering against a flanker heavy team comp, then it's actually not bad at all to run triple tank. Genji is absolutely awful against tanky comps. When triple tank was the meta, I think one pro touched Genji (Shadowburn) and even then he said it was incredibly difficult. 

The thing is, a counter isn't necessarily needed to kill someone to be a counter. A good example is Torb vs. Genji. Genji can't ult while the turret is up, even at rank 1 or 2. It's incredibly infuriating when playing Genji. The same can be said for Tracer - her best flanking tool is recall and, more often than not, even if it doesn't kill her, the turret forces Recall. This is a serious issue for Tracer, since she can't dive properly without it, especially with someone like Winston or Zarya on the enemy team. 

A well placed turret, even at high SR, can be impossible to get rid of without a proper push which, sadly, even at GM, doesn't happen often. With proper hiding, Hanzo and Widow (2 of the best counters) can't touch Torb and, especially not if you combo properly. The biggest issue with Torb is that people won't play with him, instead just abandoning him. Playing around him with Orisa makes it impossible for a flanker to stop the turret.

140 damage even with the headshot, meaning a headshot and a body is all it takes, that's where the problem comes into play for a lot of people, the flankers are extremely mobile and hitting a headshot on a genji who is constantly double jumping is extremely difficult, Tracer is also really hard to pin point with a headshot, the point you're making, that at higher SR's the mccree being able to aim is all it takes, you can apply that to any hero, a roadhog, a soldier, if they can aim the flankers are pretty much dead and it's true, but no one hits every shot. These flank heroes at such high SR's aren't stupid either, they'll more than happily just know and play around your flashbang range in which case it comes down to who can aim, despite the fact that one is MEANT to have the advantage. These flank heroes are also just extremely strong in most if not all situations, why else would they have been used since the games launch in pro play if they weren't the strongest heroes, on both sides.

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2 hours ago, leapingshadow said:

140 damage even with the headshot, meaning a headshot and a body is all it takes, that's where the problem comes into play for a lot of people, the flankers are extremely mobile and hitting a headshot on a genji who is constantly double jumping is extremely difficult, Tracer is also really hard to pin point with a headshot, the point you're making, that at higher SR's the mccree being able to aim is all it takes, you can apply that to any hero, a roadhog, a soldier, if they can aim the flankers are pretty much dead and it's true, but no one hits every shot. 

The thing is, often a jumping hero is exactly what a McCree needs. Unless the Genji has something to keep bouncing off from, a jumping hero is a perfect opportunity to track and headshot. Assuming you are waiting for the double jump, as soon as he uses it, he has to fall to the ground in a directly trackable line. It's one of the reasons why Orisa works so well with McCree or Widow or Hanzo, because her Halt has the same effect. She drops them and leaves them to be tracked by whatever DPS is there.

For Tracer, as soon as she forces your Flashbang, if you miss it, just roll away from the fight. She'll use Blinks to chase you and, when she has 1 or 0 left, she becomes easy to track.

2 hours ago, leapingshadow said:

These flank heroes at such high SR's aren't stupid either, they'll more than happily just know and play around your flashbang range in which case it comes down to who can aim, despite the fact that one is MEANT to have the advantage. 

McCree definitely still has the advantage if both can aim. Genji's projectile shurikens and Tracer's spray is a lot less reliable than the double tap from McCree.

2 hours ago, leapingshadow said:

These flank heroes are also just extremely strong in most if not all situations, why else would they have been used since the games launch in pro play if they weren't the strongest heroes, on both sides.

At the start of OW, it was because of hero stacking. Playing 3+ tracers, Winston, Lucio was perfect for stalling a cart or point. There was no reason not to have them. Even with this though, McCree was extremely powerful at the time and there was a fairly low pick rate of Tracer prior to the nerfs.

Come McCree nerfs, Tracer suddenly shot up in popularity. There was a rise in both her and Genji, but Genji fell once again and Tracer hit nearly 100% pick rate at the time. 

Tank Meta hit and suddenly Tracer and Genji were useless. Triple tank or even quad tank reined supreme, and squishy flankers had no place in the fights. You ran a single sustain DPS, almost always Soldier, and triple tank with it. Ana helped bring this about, but also just the power of Roadhog.

We're now in a meta where flankers are needed in every game, but not because they are so powerful. Mercy is a huge issue and the heroes best equipped to deal with her are flankers. Widowmaker and Hanzo can certainly do it, but while she is alive their picks mean nothing. It's better to have a reliable flanker to deal with her instead.

I think they are picked less for their power, but instead for their ability to focus down single targets that are often too OP to deal with for others (Ana pre-nerf, Mercy now).

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      Yes he isn't really 'channeling' it, it just changes his weapon's fire mode for that time. You can even fire a Sonic Arrow as one of your 6 shots if you want. (source)
    • By Starym

       
      For those of you that aren't among the 30+ million Overwatch players, another chance to try the game out has arrived! This weekend brings another free ride with all the content available, including the most recent seasonal event, the Year of the Dog. And, as usual, if you choose to buy the game after the weekend, you get to keep your progress and those sweet, sweet skins and other cosmetics!
      February 16-19 (source)
      Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance.
      From February 16–19, we're calling on all prospective agents: assemble your team and dive in during the Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One!
      For this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 26 heroes and 16 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.
      Plus, if you decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, you'll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.
      For more details and to learn how you can participate, read on below!
       
      Deployment Schedule Installation and Play Instructions Free Weekend FAQ
      The Overwatch Free Weekend will run from February 16–19. PlayStation 4 owners with a PlayStation Plus membership, Xbox One owners with an Xbox Live Gold membership, and Windows PC users with a Battle.net account will be able to download and play Overwatch for FREE during this period—no special keys or sign-up codes needed!
      The free period will begin on February 16 at 11:00 a.m. PT and end on February 19 at 11:59 p.m. PT in all participating regions across all platforms. If you'd like to see when the weekend will go live in your region, check out the guides below. For additional time zone assistance, please visit timezoneconverter.com.  
       

       
      EUROPE: THE AMERICAS: ASIA: 19:00 GMT on Feb 16
      20:00 CET on Feb 16
      22:00 MSK on Feb 16
      11:00 a.m. PST on Feb 16
      12:00 p.m. MST on Feb 16
      1:00 p.m. CST on Feb 16
      2:00 p.m. EST on Feb 16
      3:00 p.m. AST on Feb 16
      3:30 p.m. NST on Feb 16
      5:00 p.m. BRST on Feb 16
      3:00 a.m. SGT on Feb 17
      6:00 a.m. AEDT on Feb 17
      8:00 a.m. NZDT on Feb 17
      3:00 a.m. CST on Feb 17
      4:00 a.m. KST on Feb 17
      4:00 a.m. JST on Feb 17
      The Overwatch Free Weekend may not be available on all platforms in all regions. See our FAQ for details.
       

      Before your watch can begin, you'll first need to install Overwatch on your chosen platform. Every platform is a little different—to install and play, please follow the instructions below.
      FOR WINDOWS PC (February 16):
      Step 1: Download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app, if you haven't already, and launch it.
      Step 2: Create a FREE Blizzard account, or log in with an existing account. 
      Step 3: Click the "Overwatch" icon, located on the left-hand side of the Blizzard desktop app.
      Step 4: Select your region from the drop-down menu, then click "Install" to begin the installation process.
      Step 5: Once installed, click "Play" to begin!
      FOR PLAYSTATION 4 (Pre-download starting at 11:00 AM PST on February 13):
      Step 1: Turn on your PlayStation 4 and log in to your preferred local user. 
      Step 2: Go to PlayStation Store and select "Search" from the top menu. 
      Step 3: In the search field, type in "Overwatch."
      Step 4: Select "Overwatch Free Weekend" from the search results and then click "Download."
      Step 5: Once the download and installation process is complete, click "Start" to begin!
      FOR XBOX ONE (Pre-download starting at 11:00 AM PST on February 13):
      Step 1: Turn on your Xbox One and log in to your Xbox Live account.
      Step 2: Go to the Xbox One Store, then select "Search."
      Step 3: In the search field, type in "Overwatch."
      Step 4: Select "Overwatch: Origins Edition" from the search results and then click "Free Trial."
      Step 5: Once the download and installation process is complete, click "Launch" to begin!
      The Overwatch Free Weekend client will be available for download from February 16–19. 

      Q. In what regions is the Free Weekend available? 
      A. The Free Weekend will be offered in all regions on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. On PC, it will only be available in our Americas, Europe, and Asia gameplay regions—excluding Korea. For more information on which countries are associated with each of our Blizzard gameplay regions, click here.
      Q. What game content will be available during the Free Weekend? 
      A. During the Free Weekend, players will have access to Overwatch's full roster of heroes, maps, and a selection of features—including Quick Play, Custom Games, the Arcade, and Loot Boxes.
      Q. How many heroes are available in Overwatch? 
      A. There are 26 heroes available to play in Overwatch! To learn more about these heroes, click here.
      Q. How many maps are available in Overwatch? 
      A. There are 4 different game modes and 16 different maps available in Overwatch!
      Assault: Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries Escort: Dorado, Junkertown, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar Assault/Escort Hybrid: Eichenwalde, Hollywood, King's Row, and Numbani Control: Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, and Oasis Q. How many players does each mode support?
      A. Quick Play maps supports 12 players in a 6v6 format. The Arcade features alternate games modes and maps that support players in a 1v1, 3v3, 6v6, and free-for-all formats. 
      Q. What different play modes are available in Overwatch during the Free Weekend?
      A. There are a variety of ways to play Overwatch during the Free Weekend! 
      Quick Play: Jump into a game against other players of similar skill. Play vs. AI: Hone your skills against a team of AI-controlled heroes. Custom Game: Customize the rules and play a game with your friends or AI. The Arcade: Change things up with alternate games modes featuring different rules sets and restrictions. Players can also learn the ropes in a series of training modes: Tutorial, Practice Range, and Practice vs. AI.
      Q. Do I need Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership to participate in the Free Weekend? 
      A. Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are required to play during the Free Weekend. 
      Q. What languages are supported during Free Weekend?
      A. The Free Weekend will be supported in 13 languages across all platforms: English, French, German, Polish, Italian, Russian, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
      Q. Will my progress from the Free Weekend carry over if I purchase Overwatch  later? 
      A. Yes. Any progression you earn, including levels as well as skins and other items you get from Loot Boxes, will carry over to the full game if you purchase Overwatch® Game of the Year Edition on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 or any version of Overwatch on PC—just be sure you purchase the game on the same account you played on during this free weekend.
      Your stats will also be retained. (Trophies and achievements, however, have been disabled for the Free Weekend.)
      Q. Will PC and console gamers be able to play together during the Free Weekend? 
      A: No, cross-platform play is not available in Overwatch. 
      Q. Will there be any sort of maintenance planned during the Free Weekend?
      A. There's no downtime or maintenance currently planned for the Free Weekend. If this plan changes at any point, we'll be sure to provide information about major service interruptions in the official forums. For additional status updates, be sure to follow @PlayOverwatch on Twitter.
       
    • By Mournflakes

      Is Overwatch League Stage 2 Ready for Mercy Changes?
      In an article I wrote just a few weeks ago, I broke down what we could learn from the first seven days of Overwatch League. One of the first things I mentioned was the fact that Mercy had, by far, the largest play time of all heroes. As we head into week 4, Mercy’s reign as “Queen of the League” has not ended. In fact, her use has increased, with her pick rate extending into 95% of matches, a whopping 8.75% more than the next most-picked hero (D.Va 86%.)  However, today marks the end of the Queen’s reign in competitive play due to her changes in the most recent patch, and questions remain as to how she will affect the league in the future. Here are some of my speculations.
      1.       The Mercy changes won’t affect the league until the end of February
      No one is sure how patch changes will affect the Overwatch League, but the main talk of the town is that patch changes will cross over between Overwatch League stages. As the league is currently in stage 1 week 4, we will probably see the Mercy/Junkrat patch hitting the league at stage 2 week 1. Stage 2 week 1 will start February 21, so I don’t expect to see the patch hit the league until then.
      2.       Zenyatta will become king of Overwatch League supports.
      Also something I talked about in my article from week 1, Zenyatta sees a high amount of Overwatch League playing time. In fact, Zenyatta is present in 78% of all Overwatch League play. This percentage currently places Zenyatta as the third-most played hero in the league. Once Mercy has her wings clipped, it is likely that Zen’s play time will only increase, making him the number one picked support in Overwatch League. In my opinion, this change may even push Zenyatta to take the number one spot as the most played hero in Overwatch League compositions. Let’s see if Zen can transcend his way to the top!
      3.       Other supports will see a dramatic increase in play time (except Symmetra)
      With Mercy falling back down to earth, the void she leaves needs to be filled by other characters. Part of Mercy’s dominance as a support was because other heroes could not match her kit. The other support heroes weren’t broken, Mercy was just super overpowered, and was almost impossible to pass up in league play (thus the 95% play time.) However, now that she stabilized, I imagine that other support heroes will see a dramatic uptick in play time. I think Mercy will still get picked, but I know that Ana, Lucio, and Moira will be way more viable with the Mercy nerf in place. It will be interesting to see who will be the second most picked support, and it’s something that I will be looking into once the patch hits the league.
      If I had to guess, I would say that the play time after the nerf will see this distribution of support heroes
      From greatest to least:
      ·         Zenyatta
      ·         Ana
      ·         Mercy
      ·         Lucio
      ·         Moira
      ·         Symmetra
      What do you think? Will Mercy still be the top picked hero in Overwatch League play? Will Zen be the new top? Will Mercy sink to the bottom of the barrel? Tell us what you think by commenting below!