Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
Five Ways Overwatch Is Better Than TF2 - One Way It's Worse

Ian Cheong | 5 Nov 2015 15:00
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Upward Mobility

Pharah Hero

One of the issues with classic first-person shooters, including Team Fortress 2, is the lack of mobility among classes. For the most part, players simply run around on foot and fire their weapons at each other. There's little in the way of verticality, with only the Soldier and Demoman capable of rocket jumping or grenade jumping to reach higher ground-and even then, it's a skill that came about through wonky physics in Quake so many years ago.

Lately, some newer shooters have offered players the ability to jetpack, powerslide and wallrun. Overwatch is a part of this trend, accommodating the movement abilities of its characters with vertical platforms, roofs, and even columns that characters like Lucio can jump across, pillar to pillar. There's a lot more to do in the game than simply aiming down your sights.

It's More Competitive

Team Fortress 2's competitive scene pales in comparison to Valve's two other multiplayer games, DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Valve has hinted at adding competitive matchmaking to the game, but it's long overdue and has never really been the focus of the game since its release in 2007. There's a competitive scene with some high-level play, but unless you go to Reddit and frequent its communities, you'd hardly know it existed.

It should be no surprise that many Team Fortress 2 pros were ushered into the Overwatch beta during the first wave of invites. Blizzard has made no secret of wanting to build Overwatch as a competitive title from the ground up, with matchmaking functions designed around this philosophy.

In various interviews, Blizzard has made it clear that they intend for Overwatch to be accessible and welcoming to both newcomers and pros without sacrificing approachability. However, the studio recognizes that the game will become an esport regardless of how they see it, so they're designing the game accordingly.

As a competitive team-oriented game, Overwatch's systems also reward players for taking on support and tanking roles. Unlike other shooters, which emphasize K/D ratios above all else, Overwatch doesn't even tell you what your teammates' and opponents' K/D scores are, so players (theoretically) feel more inclined to work together as a team and win matches together by completing objectives instead of lone wolfing in every match.

Finally, the addition of an instant replay/killcam system in Overwatch allows players to view who killed them, and analyze what they could've done to avoid death. It's true to the competitive spirit of the game, and it makes you wonder why more competitive games don't also do it.

A Point to TF2: It's All About the Hats

tf2 hats promotional

Team Fortress 2 has customization going for it. The introduction of hats and other aesthetic items into TF2 was a masterstroke for Valve, allowing them to make bank on the sale of goods that don't do anything besides change how your character looks.

However, some recent datamining into Overwatch's files has revealed that Blizzard may yet have plans to introduce character skins into the game, so fears that the game will be without customization may be entirely unfounded.

That being said, it's unlikely Blizzard will ever feature player-created items and skins in the way Valve does with its marketplace. The studio also continues to support the TF2 and DOTA 2 communities by encouraging players to trade, buy and sell items from each other, fostering a micro-economy around their games. So kudos to Valve for finding great ways to keep the community flourishing and rewarding community members (and monetizing their creations, it should be noted).

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