Overwatch 1

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Overwatch 1: And just like that, Overwatch 1 is gone. Blizzard shut off the servers at noon Eastern time today so that it can prepare for Overwatch 2 going live tomorrow. I’m enthusiastic about the sequel, which will bring in many long-overdue steps forward for the series.

Still, I want to take a moment to reminisce about the original game. I got into Overwatch a little late. I first tried it during a free weekend in November 2016, not long after I got a PS4 (I missed the Ana introduction, Sombra ARG and the chaotic early days of completely open hero selection). I enjoyed my initial time with it and bought Overwatch while it was on sale.

It wasn’t until the first Lunar New Year event, and the introduction of Capture the Flag, that I really got hooked I haven’t tallied up my total playtime across all my accounts, but I’ve easily played north of 5,000 hours of Overwatch. As frustrated as I get with certain aspects, I love the game deeply.

It is my second-favorite game of all time nothing’s ever come close to topping The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The world, characters, gameplay, skins, voice lines, interactions, sprays… All of it was obviously designed with care and love. Every single animated short is incredibly well done. The bright, vivid art style was such a welcome tonic to the many militaristic first-person shooters out there. The onus on teamwork and focusing on objectives drew me in too, not to mention the ethos of positivity and inclusivity.

The Overwatch community is, for the most part, wonderful too. You just need to ignore (and, more effectively, report) those who poison the well. I’ve gotten to know quite a few players over the last few years, including those who create content around the game and others who build terrific Workshop modes.

I could talk all day about this game and why it’ll be with me for the rest of my life (at least in spirit). It’s been my go-to method to wind down or blow off some steam for the last six years. I hop into Mystery Heroes, by far my favorite game mode, to relax for at least a couple of rounds most days. Overwatch is a warm blanket through which I only sometimes feel the unfortunate barbs of toxic players.