More Overwatch co-op can and will be good.
April 18, 2017

At the time of writing this, Overwatch has had two co-operative (PvE) events: The Halloween event which was shallow but a decent diversion, and the Uprising event which reuses a current map but with multiple objectives and constant robot assault (point control, defense, payload and deathmatch). The Halloween event left some murmuring for a better PvE mode, but Uprising has elicited a proper hunger in many, especially since the event is overall quite solid (save for my instances of character models and HUD elements not loading in sometimes). Nevermind that this is a relatively non-stressful way of trying out heroes for multiple situations in one map and getting some more crates, but it’s gone to show that not only would regular PvE events/modes be welcome, but it’s also thematically needed.

Next to the horrible amounts of salt and anger in casual games, my biggest issue I have with Overwatch is that it more or less ignores its own established lore; This anti-terrorist group that just fights amongst themselves constantly. Blizzard’s gone out of their way to establish these characters and backstories, but for them to butt heads instead of going out to beat up baddies feels like all this story crafting is being squandered. That’s why Uprising being a retelling of Overwatch’s historic mission feels right at home - Good guys versus bad guys. I don’t want to read comics about these fleshed out, memorable characters and how they came to be; I want to play through their experiences and missions alongside teammates while stacked against swarms of tough enemies.

In my initial draft of this piece, I was making some rather bold claims in how Battleborn did co-op ‘better’ than Overwatch (comparisons between the two have been frequent). On second thought, I figure that Blizzard didn’t bother with PvE features simply because they had an accessible, competitive game whose PvP they wanted to smooth out and polish before anything else - Excluding Roadhog’s time and space transcending hook that was only recently fixed. Now that things are more or less stable and on solid footing with the competitive content, Blizzard will have to come up with new ways of keeping players around lest the game stagnates, even though there’s no arguing the quality that Overwatch has as a finished product. The arcade modes have been a good start (despite also containing copious amounts of salt and anger) with randomized after-death picks and capture the flag, but with how each member of the cast can synergize and complement one another so well, competing with people and not against feels like the next best step. Going back to my earlier point regarding Overwatch’s story, there’s no doubt an abundance of foes the cast can clash against while reusing already established maps, or they could even go down the route of Team Fortress 2 or Gears of War with some kind of horde mode.

I’m not a competitive person by default. I’m much happier playing with others in cooperative settings than be up against human opponents who, nine times out of ten, are horrendously more skilled than I. For those of you who demand I ‘git gud’ or grow a thicker skin to ignore the negativity in Overwatch PvP, you clearly would rather be competitive and find your joy in that than anything cooperative, and that’s fine… To a point. I bought into the hype and peer pressure of Overwatch initially, and all I’ve gotten out of the PvP is needless stress and frustration from having to deal with players who have egos the size of Jupiter and tempers hotter than the sun.. The PvE events however have been mostly salt-free (save for arm-chair experts voting themselves as team captains and dictating who everyone else should play as) and, most importantly, just fun to romp through.

If Blizzard doesn’t take the hint that a good portion of their audience wants more PvE, then I’ll be quite surprised and disappointed. They have the resources and people capable of delivering experiences similar to Battleborn’s campaign or at worst, have events on a regular basis if they can’t come up with a new game mode altogether. As I said, Overwatch’s quality will keep itself from stagnating for quite some time, but not only would PvE modes be a welcome addition that’ll thematically make sense, it’ll also be an entertaining diversion for PvP players to burn off some steam while still getting experience and crates. I’m all for co-op, and Overwatch can only benefit from more of it.

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