I follow a lot of TF2 players on Youtube, so it was very exciting to see MuselK upload a video where he reveals that he got the chance recently to play against the Overwatch devs with a number of other big names from the TF2 community. He’s said a lot of things that make me really excited, because MuselK is an amazing Rocket Jumper and I trust his sense of game balance.
I had something of a surprising realization when looking at the Overwatch classes and trying to compare them to each other. As an immigrant from Team Fortress 2 the first thing I tried to do was to figure out which classes countered each other. In Team Fortress 2 the classes have a delicate web of connections where each of them keeps another in check. The Demoman counters the Engineer, who counters the Scout, who counters the Pyro, who counters the Spy, who counters the Sniper, who counters the Heavy, etc. Whenever someone posts in the TF2 forums asking, “I can’t beat X class as Y class, how can I improve?” the usual answer is, “you really should just switch to Z class.”
But does this system even hold up for Overwatch? Who counters Widowmaker? Who counters Winston? Or Tracer? To my surprise, I think the classes are balanced using a different system from the classic countering system I see in most games. What that system is, I’ll need to learn more before I’m making any proclamations, but the Offense/Defense/Tank/Support class dichotomy seems like the player gets to choose their favorite way to play one of four playstyles, without worrying as much about the specifics of their teammates’ and opponents’ class choices. This could hopefully stop the “2 Soldiers, 2 scouts, 1 demo, 1 medic” problem we see in TF2’s comp so often.
In general, certain sources are revealing more and more information that make me excited for this game. This user on the Steam Powered User Forums has some great links to information about Overwatch, again for a TF2 audience, and the signs are pointing to Blizzard working hard on designing a game that will attract people from similar communities.