Overwatch made a predictably huge splash when it was released a few weeks ago. While there are no official sales numbers, indications are good, and Activision-Blizzard reached a new high in the stock market (thanks Blizz!). From a personal perspective, I immediately saw the hype regarding Overwatch light up Twitter, and the regular complaints of not getting in at launch day, and people showing off fancy loot box openings. On my Bnet friends list, I saw a bunch of people reemerge to play Overwatch. While I did thoroughly enjoy playing the game that one day I did for a beta invite, there are a few reasons as to why I currently am not playing Overwatch.
- It costs $60 – This is the typical price for a new release, “front line” game nowadays. I would spend $60 for something I am truly hyped about (D3 Collector’s Edition, sigh), but that time has yet to come. Also, it is not a free-to-play game like other Blizzard stalwarts Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone.
- There is only 1 game mode – This is another biggie in my book. Overwatch is setup as a
4v46v6 team game. While there are different objectives for each game, it is cemented as 812 players duking it out for something in a closed arena. Single-player story modes are something that I enjoy, but Overwatch currently has no role-playing element.
- I missed the hype because of Hearthstone – True fact.
Okay, those 3 reasons are important reasons as to why I currently don’t own Overwatch. But the biggest reason is because there is unlimited ammo.
Personal gaming history
Despite having played video games for most of my life, my repertoire is rather limited. Here are a sample of shooting-related games I have played to some extent:
- Syphon Filter series
- Halo series
- Grand Theft Auto series
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series
- Mafia 1 and 2
- Borderlands 1 and 2
Every game has some way of preventing you from using your best attacks all the time. Typically big weapons/moves have limited ammo, cost a lot of resource, or have big cooldowns. Let’s take a look at the ammo system from the list of games I played.
- Syphon Filter series – This game series taught me the importance of ammo conservation and reloading the full clip. While SF 1-3 had an “unlimited backpack” system, ammo certainly runs out. Certain objectives could only be completed with the limited number of shotgun rounds or grenades they give you. Ammo and armor are looted off bodies and crates.
- Halo series – Guns and melee weapons run out of ammo rather quickly in Halo. Of course you were limited to just two guns at a time. In Halo, guns are chucked rather quickly in a level and constantly swapped with something else.
- Grand Theft Auto series – GTA features the unlimited backpack system as well and they typically give you enough ammo to think about worrying about conservation. If you get arrested though, you lose all your weapons.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series – The STALKER series is a true survival grinder that really puts a draconian tone on ammo conservation. While your backpack can store an enumerable amount of objects, everything has an assigned weight. So your guns, body suit, gas masks, ammo, food, bandages, etc all could not exceed your max weight. So there are things to consider like whether carrying armor piercing rounds is worth carrying an extra bottle of Cossacks Vodka. Because ammo conservation is so important, needlessly shooting to annoy a ranged enemy is typically a bad strategy.
- Mafia 1 and 2 – Mafia 1 has a rare system where reloading would waste the remaining bullets in a clip. Like GTA, getting arrested will result in confiscation of all weapons. Also like GTA, it is hard to use all your ammo.
- Borderlands 1 and 2 – Borderlands features upgrades to storage space and ammo capacities for cash or eridium. It is typically difficult to run out of ammo, as ammo loot boxes are everywhere, though against certain raid bosses, ammo regeneration is a must-have.
No true ammo system in Overwatch
From what I can tell in Overwatch, there are ammo and cooldowns. Gun characters (almost everybody) do have different ammo sizes in their weapons, forcing them to reload periodically. However, the players tap into an unlimited number of magazines, making the reload penalty just a pause in the action of sorts. There are no implications for ammo conservation. The closest thing to conservation is managing the cooldown for your abilities.
Because of my personal gaming history, especially with shooters, I am very drawn to the concept of managing ammo. The idea of just unlimited ammo is a bit radical. Though in defense of Overwatch, there are likely a few reasons as to why this is:
- Unique characters and weapons – Notably, heroes cannot use each others weapons. No corpse looting can occur to have any benefit. Further heroes have different ammo needs. For example, Junkrat will need to reload on gun ammo and mines/traps. Other characters like Tracer, only have one type of ammo. Then you get muddled into reducing cooldowns in lieu of ammo and it gets confusing.
- No adventure/story mode – Ammo conservation is something more geared for a story/role-playing mode. Given that Overwatch appears to be only a closed PvP game, the point of having ammo conservation is lessened.
- Easier for new gamers – This is probably the main reason why there is unlimited ammo in Overwatch. The fuss of worrying about ammo conservation could be an extra layer of difficulty to those not familiar with it.
Recharging stations or ammo crates
I’m not sure if anyone else out there is not drawn to Overwatch because of this one particular issue. Not sure if anyone has thought of fixing in strategic reloading stations on the map that could be contested or destroyed by the opposition. Or the concept of “parachuting” ammo crates that could drop onto the map. Without an ammo system, I just see a free-for-all of unlimited, brainless shooting in a game.