Was Overwatch 2 really worth the hype? – Initial reactions to the new game

Having now been out for over a week, Overwatch 2 is constantly being discussed, especially in the esports industry.

But is it really as clean and exciting as we were made to believe in the months leading up to its release? We spoke to members of our community to find out their thoughts and opinions on the new title, and how they think it will affect things like the Student Champs.


Omnic – Volunteer Admin for the Student Champs:

“Overwatch 2 moving to 5v5 is one of the best choices they can make. The reduction in tanks and crowd control (CC) means there is a lack of peel which leads to faster paced games with individual skill being more important than ever. However the monetisation of the game is questionable to say the least. 

“I believe the main composition Champs teams will play are rush/dive comps with Lucio or Kiriko for the speed boost. This will reduce the time needed to reach and delete the enemy backline without much punishment because of the less CC and less peel from a tank. However, this can be countered by dps taking flanks to create a killbox to either protect their supports or kill the enemy supports in a backline trade. Therefore it depends on the playstyle of the individual teams, and so I doubt we will see a stable meta that everyone uses.

“One thing I am sure about is the best teams will have the best scouting. Seeing a rush/dive get set up and acting before it happens is the best way to keep your supports alive. The best way to survive an engagement is to simply not be there, so rotating your supports out of the killbox the enemy set up will keep you in the fight and help set up a counterattack.”


Pro_Suzie – Overwatch 2 Caster for the Student Champs:

I knew there would be issues getting in on day one, but the new intro splash screens are beautiful and I live for the music on the Genji one. I played a lot of the Beta and I enjoyed it but it always felt a bit… dirty and unpolished, can’t really describe the feeling, but I’m glad the game feels so much better now. 

“Kiriko is my new main, and she seems like a high skill character but super fun to play once you get used to her. The single tank selection will change a lot of teams’ approaches to the game, we may see players who have been with us for a few years as tank players changing their role to DPS and vice versa. 

“Overwatch had a history of introducing new heroes who are a little bit broken for the first few weeks, so the earlier matches could well be won by which teams have the opportunity to master the new characters and work out how to incorporate them into a team first, rather than those who stick with comfort picks.”


‘Ollie Froolie’ Baxter – Team Manager and Overwatch 2 Coach for Andover College:

“Overwatch 2 changes freshen the game up, but keep it familiar. Losing the second tank and reduction of crowd control across the board has given heroes like Genji a major boost as they will be harder to contest and slow down. 

“The new hero Kiriko has no stun or slow for enemies but her ultimate and its ability to turn a fight keep her as a viable option for drafts. I also see Roadhog being completely pulled off the table due to his lack of defence against a coordinated team, this is unfortunate because his style and threat fit perfectly into the duo tank setup we had before. Let’s hope with some patches that Blizzard brings him back into relevance.”


EkoCasts – Freelance Caster, and Flex Caster for Student Champs:

“As an old off-tank player, I’m sad. But for most people the game is an upgrade (despite the vocal people that dislike it) – and being 5v5 like a lot of other competitive games is a massive bonus to the games potential as a team esport and should help facilities on site at least.

“For LANs and events, they’d typically provide 5 PCs per team (plus backups) but with Overwatch 1 that had to be 6 (or a backup was used). At least now that’s less of an issue because it’s 3v3 (BRs and RL) and 5v5 (FPSs and MOBAs) with Overwatch 2 now being 5v5.”


Servitude – Overwatch Caster for the Student Champs:

With a little over a week on from the release, Overwatch “feels” better. The haters will be saying it’s just like the first one, and there have certainly been some issues with the launch (name a big game launch in the last 10 years which hasn’t) but how does it play for both new and returning players? The first few days had a mixed minigame of Queue Simulator and levelling up my Disconnected From Server. Problems with merged accounts and a later DDOS attack meant it took 2 days for me to even get into the game, and another 2 days to be able to play longer than 10 minutes. That said, as someone who managed to play the beta, the general overhauls in the game experience has come through – the weapon sounds and environmental effectors are a massive improvement. Queue times seem relatively quick, though an opposite swing from days of past where the tank role has been the longest at around a 5 min average wait time.

“The obvious change of 5v5 means each player has a bigger part to play – 20% slack in fact. Tanks have been beefed up meaning their presence is a more impactful one but the switch to a single tank means far less bunker style comps and no more double shield. While space-taking is still equally important, it’s about following up with more coordinated “push and pull” tactics and playing around abilities even more than before. Yes, high ground on maps like Circuit Royale and Paraiso should be forward defence points not to be given up without some sort of fight, but dropping back until everyone’s topped up and ability-ready is a safer option than brawling it out like you could with tank combos of the past. 

“Junkerqueen has seen almost exclusive play in Overwatch League in the “new goats” with not only an almost constant passive heal but a mini-beat and speed boost for her and nearby teammates. Release saw a slight nerf, but she’s still fairly strong with some decent close range damage. Sojourn is a similarly overtuned DPS that is a mix between Soldier76 and Widowmaker, and anyone who can hit flick shots will be a constant threat to any of the enemy team (tanks included) with the rail gun. Her mobility can make it difficult to pin down, but she is not the highest dps output if you can avoid or dodge the rail shot. 

“Kiriko. Simply put, and not a surprise, she’s broken. With a healing output similar to Mercy’s and her Kunai hitting for 120 damage on a headshot (granted this can be tricky to hit) basic abilities are already too competitive. The biggest part of her kit is a 14-second mini Baptiste Lamp in the form of her Suzu. Yes it’s a splash skillshot and only lasts 1 sec, but it provides complete invulnerability stopping all damage and interrupts from abilities and ults ranging from Ana’s anti-nades, Rein’s shatter and D.va bombs. Without going into a full Kiriko breakdown (sorry, halfway there already) why do I think this is “broken”? Without a shield, the biggest issues for tanks like Roadhog or the meta as a whole with only a single tank now, is the openness of the game. Roadhog’s biggest counters is anti-nade and hack. But if both of those can be cleansed on a fairly short cooldown, he’s going to be a real contender for meta play. The other side is more of a dive oriented team setup, such as a typical Gibraltar attack. Kiriko strengthens that dive potential with having a decent healing output, escape ability and burst save with her kit vs the older options for the support lineup. What’s most interesting at least, is wondering how this will impact live play at the top level and how OWL and players who have had a lot more time on the new heroes will show exactly the capability of comps with Kiriko can stomp. If only Orisa was just slightly more survivable!”


Mince – Coventry Crosshairs Overwatch Coach, and former Student Champs competitor:

I think even high ranked (SR) supports will struggle for a long time as the philosophy of how to play the backline has changed. Sombra, who has already been buffed heavily is made stronger by the fact backlines are less crowd control reliant too. Teams that utilise her well will see great success in the Swiss stages.”


Gjallarhorn – Weston Waveriders Overwatch player, and Student Champs 20/21 OW MVP:

The move from OW1 6v6 to OW2 5v5 will mean that more teams will be eligible to compete as they won’t need as many people to submit a full roster. This will open up more opportunities to more schools/colleges who may have been struggling to find enough players to compete. With there now only being 1 tank, there will be much more demand on tank players to be flexible and have a wide hero pool. This may mean that we see much more frequent substitutions between maps, which could be very interesting to see in the Student Champs.


Bryony-Hope ‘Athxna’ Green – Content Manager at British Esports:

“Opening the game gives you an entirely different feel, but when it actually comes to gameplay – everything still feels like classic Overwatch. I am on the fence about the removal of a tank in order to make it 5v5 (coming from someone who played D.Va constantly for the last three seasons of competitive in Overwatch 1), but it means that there’s a lot more opportunity for fully engaged combat. Teams are having to focus a lot more on strategy, and how to break through without so much crowd control – and this makes for more interesting gameplay.

“In terms of the Student Champs, teams are going to have to work a lot harder to pick the best compositions in order to counter their opponents, and I can guarantee players will be coming off of their comfort picks at some point in the season just to fit into meta. I am excited to see how the students work to adapt to these changes, and potentially use strategies or compositions from Overwatch League teams (who have had much longer to master this game than anyone else) in order to take their gameplay to the next level.” 


Looking for more Overwatch 2 content? We’ve got you covered. Look out for Student Champs streams on the British Esports Twitch channel, as well as match reports from our Student Champs volunteers.

Want us to do more opinion-driven pieces? Let us know on the British Esports Twitter and we may do your suggestion in the future.

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