Overwatch Was Meant To Be Played Like A MOBA

Since launch, Blizzard’s highly acclaimed team-based shooter has allowed its players to participate in Weekly Brawls. Each one has sought to tweak Overwatch’s existing ruleset in fun and often quirky ways though it’s never been enough to pull me away from traditional quick or competitive matches. That was until last week, when the developer rolled out its “MOBAwatch” Weekly Brawl, a playlist that seemed to right some of the game’s emerging issues.


As the name implies, MOBAwatch carried over a couple of key rules and features pertinent to that particular genre. Not only were players prevented from choosing the same heroes on one team, they were also barred from changing that decision mid-game, effectively locking them in for the duration of a match.

Having put well over a dozen hours into Overwatch, there were two main problems I was starting to encounter, dampening my online experience somewhat. With hero swapping and stacking enabled, I’d found it hard to keep track of my team’s composition to see which characters complimented one another. Then, of course, there’s the ever-present temptation of always defaulting to my favourite picks whenever a match starts to get hairy.

Such a luxury simply wasn’t afforded in MOBAwatch and, in a way, I found that strangely empowering. Instead of reaching for that all too familiar 76-shaped crutch, I was forced to adapt, thinking of new strategies on the fly using the weapons and abilities I had.

Characters I had always shunned suddenly came to the fore. With no other option but to stick with them or ragequit, I found myself being gently eased into their nuances. After the umpteenth successfully placed sticky bomb, Tracer finally made sense to me as a character and I can only thank MOBAwatch for that.

Going back into standard play this week, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive. While hero switching and stacking allow for some truly awesome table turning moments, I believe there’s a solid enough argument to make last week’s brawl its own permanent playlist.

From what Blizzard’s Scott Mercer said to Gamespot last week, it’s clear that they feel the same way. Competitive play is already being overhauled with the removal of Sudden Death, allowing for matches to end in a draw, as well as, yes, limiting teams to just one of each hero type. It’s not as extreme as MOBAwatch dropping you in at the deep end, but it’s not far off.

Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.


  1. This will be a great game when it comes out of beta.

    • What do you mean?

      • It’s a full price game that’s not even nearly finished, so little content it’s shocking. I found it enjoyable in 2-3 game bursts, but the lack of variety got boring very quickly. Traded it while the price was high, so fortunately didn’t lose more than a few quid on it. Long post release support doesn’t mean it’s ok to release a barebones game for full price. Should’ve been f2p with character purchases.

      • I think you are completely mistaken and have missed the point of the game entirely.

  2. I thought that was the point of the game from the start?

  3. They’ve just patched yesterday so that you can no longer hero stack in competitive – a great change that means the end of multiple Torbjorns on defence etc. Quick play is still a free for all, but that’s fine really.

    Jim, it sounds like the problems you are on about were partly of your own making as much as a problem with the game. It’s a game where continually resorting to your favourites probably won’t get you much success when you start to get countered. Also, keeping track and knowing who to pick to form favourable match-ups will come with time (more than “well over a dozen hours”, which isn’t that much really).

    You mention being forced to adapt by Mobawatch, but I think that’s what Overwatch does by allowing continual hero swaps. You are forced to adapt, or end up failing more often than not. Mobawatch does force you to learn a hero if you’ve picked incorrectly, but you can’t adapt to situation mid-match by actually choosing the hero that has the skills you do need, which is what I would see as more fundamental and it seems like Blizzard do too.

    There are also times where you might want a certain hero for a phase of a match, but not the whole. For example, picking a sniper initially so you can pick off their backlines and force your way out of your base to get the payload moving, then switch to a high mobility hero who can keep the pressure on the enemy as they respawn, rather than allow them free run back to the rest of their defending team.

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