Reluctantly this will be my third and final attempt to try and form any type dialogue with the Overwatch development team on if real ultrawide support will ever make its way to this game.
The last we heard anything surrounding the matter was back at Blizzcon 2016 where during the Overwatch QnA panel a forum user by the name of @DrLegend raised the question to the developers as to why during beta in which true support was implemented, did they go out of their way to remove it and implement a more crippled version of it for the final shipped version of the game.
The developer replied and I quote:
“We spent a fair bit of energy trying to figure out what works for the 21:9 with respect to fairness of the game, field of view and performance. When you have to take all those trade-offs together the solution that we came up with, the one that’s in the shipped game right now is the one we think is the best to take all those trade-offs into account.”
The Major Issue
For those that were not following along during the lifespan of the first thread in the old forums or the second thread in these new forums let me get you up to speed.
The argument from Ultrawide users is that the current implementation that is in Overwatch for 21:9 essentially zooms in the image thus cropping 30% of game leaving out important information you would normally be able to see in the 16:9 standard aspect ratio. Not only is the Ultrawide user being crippled and seeing less, but then they are also crippling other players that are on their team putting them at the big disadvantage. Imagine being a Roadhog player trying to hook the Tracer blinking around you but you can’t because your FOV is decreased on the sides.
The main concern from the developers is that Ultrawide users having a larger FOV would be unfair to other players. Meanwhile numerous other external advantages users can gain through hardware are not mentioned. For example it has been proven that higher refresh rates past 60hz such as 144hz or 200hz monitors provide better accuracy and reaction times yet Overwatch developers have chosen to fully support higher refresh rates. Theoretically speaking if they really wanted to they could very well restrict Overwatch to 60FPS only. Meaning the advantage higher refresh monitors could bring would be rendered useless. Why they continue to carry this double standard is beyond me.
You could also mention high internet speeds and low latency or special mice and keyboards, all external variables that can give players and advantage. With this in mind isn’t it hypocritical to cripple ultrawide users but then allow all these other advantages people can gain?
Adoption of New Technologies
Ultrawide monitors or the 21:9 aspect ratio is by no means new and has been around for a long time while also gaining more market share every day.
Being completely honest since I’ve owned my Ultrawide which has been almost a year now its been really hard for me find a games that don’t support 21:9 including older games. In fact other competitive shooters and MOBAs such as CS:GO, Destiny2, Gears of War 4, HOTS, DOTA2, Battlefield 1, and even Call of Duty all FULLY support this aspect ratio without restriction; so for me I found it very odd that this one game Overwatch doesn’t want to get on board with the future of technology.
What’s even more strange is that during our transition from 4:3 to 16:9 not once did I ever notice this debate going on of 16:9 giving players an advantage in games. For the most part people just made the transition and enjoyed their games on their new monitors. This is exactly what Ultrawide users are trying to do, which is just enjoy their monitors and gain an awesome experience while playing games.
Obviously being a past 16:9 user myself for years I can truthfully say I could never EVER go back to it. Once you see how gorgeous and breathtaking some games like Witcher 3 are in the 21:9 aspect ratio it’s like you’re playing a completely different game; you just become immersed into what you’re playing.
What pains me even more is that when companies like Asus and Acer try and display new Ultrawide monitors they use Overwatch as a demo and I don’t understand why knowing full well it’s cropped gameplay and not real.
The goal for the last 2 years now has been to get an official update response from the Overwatch developers on this subject because up until now they have remained suspiciously silent. You would think Blizzard would want to welcome and support all players and not push them away. Since purchasing my Ultrawide and finding out about the cropped version of 21:9 I have seldom logged in to play because the experience is just awful. You either deal with losing 30% of your screen or play with black bars and experience bad latency at which point there isn’t even a reason to have bought the monitor if you’re just going to get black bars.
Blizzard please do the right thing and let us know.
For further information please watch this YouTube video to truly understand what is going on.