Overwatch has its sights set on e-sports, but it’s too much fun for that – Ars Technica

A few months ago, Blizzard launched a closed beta for its upcoming shooter Overwatch—and I’ve been engrossed in the PC version ever since. For all its faults—and there are many faults—it’s hard not to be impressed with not just how much fun Overwatch is, but how Blizzard has managed to successfully combine a solid first-person shooter along the same lines as Team Fortress 2 with the mechanics of a modern MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) like its own Heroes of the Storm and Riot’s League of Legends.

That Blizzard has managed to create a compelling online experience comes as little surprise. This is, after all, the same studio that kept millions upon millions of players hooked to World of Warcraft for more than a decade and created Hearthstone, one of the most popular online collectible card games. With Overwatch, it has its sights set not just on creating the most popular online shooter, but one that can take on MOBAs on their home turf: the e-sports arena.

It has been hard to picture Overwatch as a crowd-pleasing, e-sports giant as I’ve sat alone in my bedroom moaning about what a bully Bastion (a transforming battle robot character) is to others over a clip-on voice mic. But now, sat with a team playing a huge multiplayer game at an event in London’s Soho and struggling against an unfair number of turrets from the opposition, Blizzard’s e-sports vision is a little clearer.

Overwatch was born from the ashes of Blizzard’s famously scrapped MMO Titan. It’s a six-on-six, class-focused game, similar to DOTA, with the likes of offence, tank, and support heroes on offer. On release, there will be 21 of these heroes, including personal favourites like the defence-class Widowmaker, a goth sniper with a grappling hook that makes it easy for her to seek out a secluded sniping spot; and the tank class Zayra, who can spam particle grenades for epic kill frenzies.

There are three game modes in which to deploy your heroes: Assault, where the attacking team is tasked with capturing two target points on the map; Escort, where the attacking team is tasked with escorting a payload along a fixed track to a certain delivery point before time runs out (a mode nicked straight from TF2); and Control, where each team tries to capture and maintain a control point until their capture percentage reaches 100 percent.