Jake Tucker . Games . Monday 10th July 2017 . 11:45
Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan has taken to the game’s forums to respond to recent vocal criticisms about the perceived lack of balance in Overwatch, including the recent shift towards a ‘dive’ meta.
Overwatch’s fanbase are particularly vocal about perceived imbalances, and according to Kaplan, these perceived imbalances are just that, perceived.
Kaplan responded in a forum thread calling for radical balance changes to Overwatch with a substantial post which you can read in its entirety here.
“I’ll offer some of my personal perspective but I’m a little nervous doing that for a few reasons.” said Kaplan, as an introduction to a series of thoughts. “Even though I am the Game Director and a spokesperson for OW, I don’t make decisions in a vacuum and I am only one part of a very awesome team. Not everyone on my team agrees with me and we have different opinions on the state of game and balance overall. We do have a lot of alignment, but we talk things through – a lot. And we don’t always agree.”
He continues on: “The most controversial thing I’ll say here (hopefully) is that I believe the game is currently balanced.”
While this no doubt has certain Overwatch fans gasping, he does go on to highlight a couple of heroes he’s not entirely satisfied with. Mercy is highlighted for her resurrection ability, which Kaplan says is powerful but not a lot of fun for people playing as Mercy or those playing against her. He’s also not “entirely satisfied” with hero Roadhog’s current place in the meta.
However, he’s keen to stress that none of these issues are game-breaking, with both completely resolvable without any drastic measures.
He also responded to allegations that the dive composition isn’t a massive problem. Although Kaplan said he’d like to see different compositions in professional play too, in quick play the most popular composition seems to be Genji, Soldier: 76, Hanzo, McCree, Mercy and Junkrat. The answer, Kaplan reasons, is not to “throw a balance grenade at heroes to change pick rates” and instead that the meta will shift naturally over time as pro players come up with new ideas, or new heroes at introduced.
"The desire for dive comp to go away will not be satisfied from some of you until Winston and D.Va are nerfed into the ground," said Kaplan. "But we’re not going to do that. We are going to make balance changes to heroes when they need it—and we do this more frequently than you give us credit for."
It’s an interesting read, and fans of both balance and Overwatch should give it a read, but there’s one particularly interesting passage I wanted to draw attention to.
“There are games with a set meta that evolve very slowly or remain stable for long periods of time and this doesn’t mean the game isn’t balanced or fun or fun to watch,” says Kaplan. “Most of the pro sports fall into this category. TF2 was largely played Demo/Medic/Scout/Scout/Soldier/Soldier and that was sort of just… accepted. It was fun to play and fun to watch. Baseball isn’t terrible or broken because every team puts their strongest batter 4th in the lineup.”