No More Bastion Please - How Overwatch's "Play of The Game" Works

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No More Bastion Please - How Overwatch's "Play of The Game" Works

salt powered robot

Blizzard explains that it's really hard for the computer to figure out what makes a "cool" play.

Overwatch has a cool little feature at the end of every match, the "Play of The Game." It shows something really cool or impressive that happened during the game... or at least, that's the theory. More often than not it shows Bastion left-clicking, or Torbjorn walking back to his turret. In an interview with GameSpot, Blizzard gives a little bit of insight on why this is happening, and what it was going for with the Play of The Game.

"We wanted to make it a really cool social moment at the end of the game, where it's not just your team but the other team seeing this epic thing--well, hopefully epic thing--that happened during the game and you can all chat about it and bond over how cool that Mercy res was," said Overwatch lead software engineer, Rowan Hamilton.

As for why we usually see damage dealers on a PoTG: "From a technical standpoint, it's a really hard problem to have a computer figure out what is cool. They're not very smart. They take some numbers in, they put some numbers out. It's hard to figure out what is cool there." Essentially, the computer sees massive damage as "cool," even if the circumstances creating that damage are... not so cool. In the past, the system weighted healing more heavily than damage - the problem with that being that Zenyatta would almost always get PoTG whenever he popped his ultimate.

Hamilton explains that "We've added some stuff recently, such as determining how hard a shot was to hit based on how fast the target was moving, how far away the target was moving. So a snipe of someone half a screen away who was just chilling out and waiting to be headshot won't be weighted as heavily as a Tracer zipping across, barely in sight that you manage to pick off. We're constantly looking at different things we can add to that."

"It's going to be an ongoing process, and hopefully we continue to improve it," he assured.

Source: GameSpot.

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Yeah...it's pretty damn stupid when I had four kills/healing as Zenyatta, and the play of the day went to Torbjorn who died, and only got one killed (The rest were assists from my kills)

so far its really always bastion. i have never had one with mercy, even resurrecting 3 at once. or seen anyone else getting it playing her besides for one.
its clear that it focuses on damage and therefor shows the part you have made the most damage. but then you see POTG were the player just kills 2 wile i have killed 4 in a row with widowmaker. so again it makes you question your self what is going on there.

well, the game it self is still fun. i just know that that a player playing bastion will always get the POTG. but i have managed to get it playing as d.va, phara and widow. mostly with the first 2.

Outcast107:
Yeah...it's pretty damn stupid when I had four kills/healing as Zenyatta, and the play of the day went to Torbjorn who died, and only got one killed (The rest were assists from my kills)

saw yours after posting mine.
pretty much that. when i play mercy, most of the people who got POTG got it because of me healing and damage boosting them. these kills should count for mercy because she is the one keeping the guy alive during his killing spree.

I like it even when it doesnt work.

If it works, we get to see a cool play.

If it doesnt work, we get to laugh and rant on the game for being dumb, or on heroes for being cheap.

Either way its a win. Unless we lose.

I feel the PotG is usually "who hit Q at the right time"

Yeah, that takes merit. You could waste your ultimate. But some of us main characters without a damage dealing ultimate. Some of us realize our best use is making sure the team can stay in the fight.

Some of us went against half the enemy's team, skating, speed boosting, and healing at the right time to buy time for the rest of the team to get back to the point... Making that Overtime turn into a cap.

And our reward? Seeing the next Death Blossom, or Rip Tire, or Justice raining from Above being the play of the game.

I get the computer is stupid. Then program it smarter. Time capturing a point? Healing to maintain a team capturing a point? Given that this is not a death match game, not having a single algorithm to measure time at an enemy's point to force a cap is kind of silly. Yeah, the other team might have had a Rip Tire that blew apart half of our team, but we stuck it out and forced impossible caps. That should weigh more.

I

Metalrocks:

Outcast107:
Yeah...it's pretty damn stupid when I had four kills/healing as Zenyatta, and the play of the day went to Torbjorn who died, and only got one killed (The rest were assists from my kills)

saw yours after posting mine.
pretty much that. when i play mercy, most of the people who got POTG got it because of me healing and damage boosting them. these kills should count for mercy because she is the one keeping the guy alive during his killing spree.

I just got a POTG with mercy by killing bastion and hanzo and then reviving an ally, I also have had one by reviving 4 team mates on the control point while someone was capturing it.

Seems to me like most of the problems with POTG could be avoided if they just allowed for 2-man Plays (i.e. Showing off the guy who got 3 kills in a row AND the person who froze the enemies/healed that guy/generally made said streak possible.)

Aeshi:
Seems to me like most of the problems with POTG could be avoided if they just allowed for 2-man POTG (i.e. Showing off the guy who got 4 kills in a row AND the person who froze the enemies/healed that guy/generally made said streak possible.)

Building on from this, even a team play of the game. I had a game where the enemy team had wiped us and we're capping the point. My team all grouped together and wiped them out to win the game. Mei froze everyone with her alt and all of us finished them off. One guy got the POTG when it should have been joint.

ObsidianJones:
I feel the PotG is usually "who hit Q at the right time"

Oddly enough I've been seeing a lot of non-ultimate PotG's lately. Notably multi-kills at the end of the game, during last minute pushes or something.

But I do feel that damage done and kills had during an ultimate activation should get a lower point value than regular damage and kills. An ultimate PotG should be a 'last resort' if nothing more exciting happens during a match because it's arguably the easiest to get.

The Bastion thing is way overblown. Any player that has played more than 5 matches can very easily counter Bastion, he's almost never played by any player over lvl 5 because he's just not viable. If you're succesfull as bastion depends a lot more on the competence and teamwork of the enemy team.

Medal system also needs work.

Under 5 eliminations as Roadhog, an executioner tank excellent for rampaging solo = gold medal.

15 eliminations as Zenyatta, a fragile support that is intended to assist more than kill by himself, very vulnerable alone and in the open, not recommended to chase targets with = bronze medal.

Numbers are based on how well I can remember them, but they were definitely around 5 and above 10 respectively. It seems to be based on k/d roughly, but I must have only died about three or four times in both rounds.

Headsprouter:
Medal system also needs work.

Under 5 eliminations as Roadhog, an executioner tank excellent for rampaging solo = gold medal.

15 eliminations as Zenyatta, a fragile support that is intended to assist more than kill by himself, very vulnerable alone and in the open, not recommended to chase targets with = bronze medal.

Numbers are based on how well I can remember them, but they were definitely around 5 and above 10 respectively. It seems to be based on k/d roughly, but I must have only died about three or four times in both rounds.

Pretty sure that you receive medals based on your standing on your team.

For example, if you have the most eliminations on your team, you get a gold medal. Second most = silver, third = bronze.

Having 15 eliminations and a bronze medal isn't that farfetched for Zenyatta.

plekpot:
The Bastion thing is way overblown. Any player that has played more than 5 matches can very easily counter Bastion, he's almost never played by any player over lvl 5 because he's just not viable. If you're succesfull as bastion depends a lot more on the competence and teamwork of the enemy team.

That was the case in beta, back when Bastion could only aim in a small cone instead of 360, but he's consistently pretty decent throughout most levels of play. He falls off at higher levels, but he never becomes terrible.

Also, chances are, if a Bastion gets into a good position at any point of the game, he's going to get play of the game, just because he can do the highest amount of damage in the shortest space of time. He completely shreds things like Reinhardt shield. Pretty much only weak against long range characters and Genji.

My only surprise is that people expect this to ACTUALLY show cool plays all the time.

gact:

I just got a POTG with mercy by killing bastion and hanzo and then reviving an ally, I also have had one by reviving 4 team mates on the control point while someone was capturing it.

nice. i have managed to get few kills when i have no other option, but reviving so many at once is rather hard for me to do since i mostly die with them or before i even get there or some of the time expired that i have maybe 1 left. the teams im with are usually sticking together and i heal them all as good as i can and this mostly works pretty well.
i guess one day this will happen but i will be very old when this happens.

Kibeth41:
Pretty sure that you receive medals based on your standing on your team.

Perhaps you're right, but I'm remaining dubious. I probably participate in a good number of kills given the nature of Zenyatta anyway, and even early and mid game I have checked and seen no medal at all for kills, but a silver at least for healing with a Lucio or Mercy on the team.

Although I don't have any hard evidence and I've only just started to get into the habit of tabbing throughout the game to check how I'm doing. I'll continue keeping my eye out for patterns.

Reminds me of the replay feature in Dota that was only supposed to show highlights. What it would actually show was usually just somebody casually hitting an enemy tower or faffing about in the jungle, when there were triple kills and ultra kills that game...

Headsprouter:

Kibeth41:
Pretty sure that you receive medals based on your standing on your team.

Perhaps you're right, but I'm remaining dubious. I probably participate in a good number of kills given the nature of Zenyatta anyway, and even early and mid game I have checked and seen no medal at all for kills, but a silver at least for healing with a Lucio or Mercy on the team.

Although I don't have any hard evidence and I've only just started to get into the habit of tabbing throughout the game to check how I'm doing. I'll continue keeping my eye out for patterns.

A silver for healing as Zenyatta would be correct if you had a Lucio or Mercy on the team, honestly, if your aiming is good enough, you could even surpass Mercy in healing done. Also, Zenyatta IS supposed to get kills. He deals metric truckloads of damage. Each orb he fires hits for 45 damage, while his discord orb makes enemies take 50% more damage. So you should be dealing 67 damage per orb. double for headshots.

Zenyatta is listed as a support, but you can easily play him as a damage dealer. His weakness is lack of mobility and low HP.

Also, if you had a gold medal with a low amount of kills, then you were probably just on a bad team.

Kibeth41:
snip

Okay, first of all I said I was taking what you said on board, but seeing as neither of us have produced hard evidence and seem to be pretty sure in our assertions, I'm not going to say anything regarding who is right or wrong.

Second, I'm not sure what had you feeling the need to explain Zenyatta to me. I'm aware he can do tons of damage, but is unable to take the same risks as others. Few are that accurate with his orbs, and most of his time is spent focusing fire on the tank and passing orbs to enemies and allies alike.

Then there's a good Widowmaker dominating most games currently...Zenyatta drops very quickly in the open because she's not punished enough for missing. It makes his lives considerably shorter and less productive as he's forced to hide and wait for his team if a widowmaker is overlooking the path to the objective. Sorry, this was a bit of a side rant.

As for the Roadhog gold, I was in a group of 6 over voice chat, none of us seemed to be doing that bad.

I can't argue with the silver, you seem right. I can say Roadhogs healing at least seems to be based on K/D. It makes the most sense seeing as nobody's responsible for that statistic but myself.

tzimize:
I like it even when it doesnt work.

If it works, we get to see a cool play.

If it doesnt work, we get to laugh and rant on the game for being dumb, or on heroes for being cheap.

Either way its a win. Unless we lose.

Yeah, these are pretty much my thoughts too. Even with the 'dumb' POTGs, I find I can still have a bit of a laugh at them.

I don't really see any of this as a big deal. The POTG feature is just a silly gimmick anyway; everyone should just enjoy its silliness.

Headsprouter:

Kibeth41:
snip

Okay, first of all I said I was taking what you said on board, but seeing as neither of us have produced hard evidence and seem to be pretty sure in our assertions, I'm not going to say anything regarding who is right or wrong.

Second, I'm not sure what had you feeling the need to explain Zenyatta to me. I'm aware he can do tons of damage, but is unable to take the same risks as others. Few are that accurate with his orbs, and most of his time is spent focusing fire on the tank and passing orbs to enemies and allies alike.

Then there's a good Widowmaker dominating most games currently...Zenyatta drops very quickly in the open because she's not punished enough for missing. It makes his lives considerably shorter and less productive as he's forced to hide and wait for his team if a widowmaker is overlooking the path to the objective. Sorry, this was a bit of a side rant.

As for the Roadhog gold, I was in a group of 6 over voice chat, none of us seemed to be doing that bad.

I can't argue with the silver, you seem right. I can say Roadhogs healing at least seems to be based on K/D. It makes the most sense seeing as nobody's responsible for that statistic but myself.

He's able to be about as risky as Mcree. They have similar health pool and similar vulnerability. Hell, they even do almost the same amount of damage with their projectiles. Zenyatta can easily 1v1 most characters in close range, he's just weak to Hanzo and Widowmaker. If you have a Reinhardt, you can still probably kill them though, just stand behind his shield.

His orbs projectile speed is quite fast, his fire rate is quite good, his damage is quite high. Not to mention that the majority of his health is shields, which means it recharges. In a pinch you can pop your ult and heal your team.

Also, Widowmaker is punished for missing, she has to wait approximately a second before firing a good damage bullet again, meaning that you have time to juke her or break the line of sight.

There's a large difference to YOU being a passive Zenyatta player, and saying that he's ALWAYS a passive character. Honestly, they could list Zenyatta as an offense/defense and he'd still fit.

Also, no need for being aggressive considering I'm giving you genuine advice.

Don't forget the times where it literally says "Fuck it, I don't know..."

People complain that Torbjorn PotG's are just him whacking the crap out of his hammer...but at least in those his turret is actually getting kills. This Torbjorn literally did absolutely nothing. He apparently got PotG for spraying a wall.

Eh, people get waaaay to salty over POTG, it doesn't really mean anything. I think it's cool but I wouldn't mind if it was removed so I can stop hearing all the complaining.

RJ 17:
Don't forget the times where it literally says "Fuck it, I don't know..."

People complain that Torbjorn PotG's are just him whacking the crap out of his hammer...but at least in those his turret is actually getting kills. This Torbjorn literally did absolutely nothing. He apparently got PotG for spraying a wall.

I'm morbidly curious what goes through the computers brain when it chooses some of the really bizarre PotG.
I had one where I was Symmetra and I threw down my teleporter, nothing else happened, PotG. People sarcastically were like OMG PERFECT PLACEMENT 10/10!

OT: I kind of wished they went away with PotG and the end card voting. It's just a giant salt mine. You can be absolutely amazing but the enemy team who loses will just dump their votes to the single teammate that gets on the board while the winning team spreads its votes among their three. I rarely see it used to actually acknowledge that someone did an amazing job in the match.

Cowabungaa:

ObsidianJones:
I feel the PotG is usually "who hit Q at the right time"

Oddly enough I've been seeing a lot of non-ultimate PotG's lately. Notably multi-kills at the end of the game, during last minute pushes or something.

But I do feel that damage done and kills had during an ultimate activation should get a lower point value than regular damage and kills. An ultimate PotG should be a 'last resort' if nothing more exciting happens during a match because it's arguably the easiest to get.

I agree to an extent but I disagree if its like 5 or 6 kills from the ult because 2 or 3 kills from an ult isn't uncommon, but a whole team wipe is still some pretty nice play.

An opposing McCree got PotG in a game the other day managed to sneak around the back of our point whilst we were fighting off a big push onto it from the other direction. One grunted 'Its high noon' later and the entire team was gunned down. That was pretty nice (I was super jealous too, I don't have that achievement for getting 4 with Deadeye yet, though I had it in beta).

Also, to blow my own trumpet, back in beta I pulled off a 5 kill ultimate with Genji defending a point (would have been six but someone stole the last kill :( ). Made for actually quite an exciting replay with me bouncing through the enemy team hacking and slashing.

I can't quite get why people still complain about Bastion of the Game though. I see it way, WAY less than in Open Beta. In beta it was about 80% Bastion, 15% Hanzo ult and 4.9% Torbjorn afk turret kills. Now I see a lot more diversity.

Rednog:
OT: I kind of wished they went away with PotG and the end card voting. It's just a giant salt mine. You can be absolutely amazing but the enemy team who loses will just dump their votes to the single teammate that gets on the board while the winning team spreads its votes among their three. I rarely see it used to actually acknowledge that someone did an amazing job in the match.

PotG's can be pretty neat, they just need to come up with better algorithms to determine point values for such things so that you don't end up with Spray of the Game.

As for the End Card Voting: yeah, considering it's absolutely pointless they could do away with it. Most of the people I've played with aren't afraid of spreading the points around, though. I frequently pull votes from the other team...but then again I tend to play Mercy more often than not and people seem to have a soft spot for her when it comes to voting.

Kibeth41:
.

I didn't intend to come across confrontationally.

Advice, genuine or not, can be seen as patronising or foolish depending on who it's given to. You might feel quite silly giving obvious or basic advice to a player you didn't know was pro, but while I'm not pro, I can still feel a little miffed being told a bunch of things I already know about a character I have most hours in.

I never said he always had to act a certain way. Anything can work if you're positioned right and if your opponents are right. There's so many variables though. I'd be pretty arrogant to not speak generally most of the time. I'll never say you just can't where human error is involved. Maybe I should have been clearer.

Flashbang, roll and fan the hammer make a huge difference between Zen and McCree in close combat.

I don't think either of us are going to gain anything continuing with this, so maybe we should stop.

My best PotG was yesterday when I -as the Knight with the big hammer- directed a D.VA using my shield to soak the damage as she continued to fire her auto-cannons. Turned a corner just right and charged her straight off a cliff. Everyone in the match had a kick out of that scene and nearly all agreed that it was for sure PotG.

Its great they are fixing it and making it better but it honestly doesn't bother me that much. When it is a really stupid play of the game we all get a good laugh. When it is impressive we are all impressed. Either way we have a good time. It will be nice to see what comes from the adjustments though.

RJ 17:

Rednog:
OT: I kind of wished they went away with PotG and the end card voting. It's just a giant salt mine. You can be absolutely amazing but the enemy team who loses will just dump their votes to the single teammate that gets on the board while the winning team spreads its votes among their three. I rarely see it used to actually acknowledge that someone did an amazing job in the match.

PotG's can be pretty neat, they just need to come up with better algorithms to determine point values for such things so that you don't end up with Spray of the Game.

As for the End Card Voting: yeah, considering it's absolutely pointless they could do away with it. Most of the people I've played with aren't afraid of spreading the points around, though. I frequently pull votes from the other team...but then again I tend to play Mercy more often than not and people seem to have a soft spot for her when it comes to voting.

I know I tend to give extra love to supports when it comes to voting because they never get play of the game. I feel like the extra votes give extra recognition and sorta even it out.

It seems to me that it should be fairly easy to weight the numbers so a deployed Bastion has a lower chance of getting the PotG. Come to think of it It should not be that hard to make some less damage reliant changes to make a play into PotG. A suggestion:

Make defensive plays a thing by rewarding players that are able to hold down a point against superior odds like a Mei surviving long enough on the point for friends to arrive. Give a bonus bump if the point is actually held in the end even if it is the friendlies that do the killing. A good defensive play can often win matches and it should be rewarded.
Another option is great saves, either personal or for others. Especially if these then lead into a further "bonuses" to the PotG. A tracer being flung of the side of the level only to rewind and stick a bomb on someone would be a great play, even if it only takes down one enemy. Similarly a Lucio going up the inside of a well and coming out into a "drop the beat" would also look cool provided there are people to take advantage of it.

Another thing that could make it better is having "camera spots" in the maps. They will then be used to show PotGs where it may not be obvious what is giving the PotG. It could show of the placement of a well tugged in turret (also making it so the focus of the PotG can be moved to turrets) or a well placed ambush. This would also open up the possibility of dual-, trible- or even Team-PotGs, where the cameras can hold the whole action and not just the point of view of one of the participants.

PotG is a cool thing to have and most of the plays are genuinely good in some way. It just seems it could use some polish.

Wait, there's instant kill attacks? As in "press a button and your opponents die with little to no effort or skill on your part"?

Headsprouter:

Kibeth41:
Pretty sure that you receive medals based on your standing on your team.

Perhaps you're right, but I'm remaining dubious. I probably participate in a good number of kills given the nature of Zenyatta anyway, and even early and mid game I have checked and seen no medal at all for kills, but a silver at least for healing with a Lucio or Mercy on the team.

Although I don't have any hard evidence and I've only just started to get into the habit of tabbing throughout the game to check how I'm doing. I'll continue keeping my eye out for patterns.

Its definitely got to be based on your standing on your team, I noticed in matches where I get a great headstart (like five to ten kills in the first few minutes) and proceed to get royally wrecked for a long period and not gain any kills, my medals started going down from gold to silver to bronze, which I think must mean it's because someone got more kills than me and so.

Blitsie:

Headsprouter:

Kibeth41:
Pretty sure that you receive medals based on your standing on your team.

Perhaps you're right, but I'm remaining dubious. I probably participate in a good number of kills given the nature of Zenyatta anyway, and even early and mid game I have checked and seen no medal at all for kills, but a silver at least for healing with a Lucio or Mercy on the team.

Although I don't have any hard evidence and I've only just started to get into the habit of tabbing throughout the game to check how I'm doing. I'll continue keeping my eye out for patterns.

Its definitely got to be based on your standing on your team, I noticed in matches where I get a great headstart (like five to ten kills in the first few minutes) and proceed to get royally wrecked for a long period and not gain any kills, my medals started going down from gold to silver to bronze, which I think must mean it's because someone got more kills than me and so.

It is, me and my friends generally try to overtake each other for fun.Person with highest elims on the team gets gold, second place silver, third place bronze. This is true for everything except deaths where there are no medals.

plekpot:
The Bastion thing is way overblown. Any player that has played more than 5 matches can very easily counter Bastion, he's almost never played by any player over lvl 5 because he's just not viable. If you're succesfull as bastion depends a lot more on the competence and teamwork of the enemy team.

He'll still get PotG on the losing team if he knows my entire team down once at the start, then does nothing but die the remainder of the match now that we know to look out specifically for a bastion. I think that's the issue a lot of people have.

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