Warning: The entirety of this post is very long. But this is because I want to make sure that I cover every point to a reasonable extent. I’ll do my best to have things organized for the sake of readability for you guys. If you’re only looking to read or respond to a specific point in this, click the corresponding details part(s) in this post.
I understand that I can’t speak for everybody that plays on Console regarding this; I know some of you who play on Console may disagree with me on this, or at least on some of these points. And that’s fine! I’m more than happy to discuss with you as long as counter points are made clear and in a constructive manner. But after reading through this, I think this post will resonate with a good amount of you guys.
Introduction, and my thoughts:
I’m of the belief that OW-Console is in a very sub-optimal state. Sure, it’s not dead; but it certainly has been in a very declining state for a long time. Sure, it’s likely been the case for those of you guys who play on PC as well; even if to a lesser extent. But some of the issues which also apply to PC, are even worse on the Consoles.
I won’t try to beat around the bush here; but, to put simply, there are a plentiful amount of issues regarding OW-Console. To make things worse, none of them have been addressed. Each following block quote is in here for the sake of organization, so each point separation is more clear.
1. There's no Console PTR.
This means our feedback regarding upcoming hero changes can only be looked at from the PC Perspective. That in of itself already creates flaws in a Console Player’s arguments on such changes. Obviously this is because some characters are stronger on Console than PC and vice versa, due to the different control scheme. Like it or not, the game plays vastly differently on the Consoles than it does on PC.
- I am aware of Jeff’s statement in a thread asking about this in November of this year, in how it’s the PTR that allows for the patches on all versions to stay in sync. I can’t (and won’t try to) speak for everybody on this. But I honestly wouldn’t mind the Consoles being 1 patch behind PC if it meant that the Overwatch Team took the time to:
- actually think about the consequences of their balance choices on the Consoles before implementing such, (see point 2)
- and improve the quality of life for players on OW-Console (see point 7)
2. There's next to no Console-specific balancing.
Even despite Blizzard’s promise of such at launch. Now, I would agree that the game isn’t too out of balance on Console, and would also likewise agree that this point could see mixed reception. However, there are definitely some changes that Blizzard can make specifically for the Console platforms to accommodate such. As was stated before, the game plays vastly differently on Consoles; platform-specific changes should be made to accommodate that.
3. The Report System doesn't catch people fast enough.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t work at all, just to prevent confusions; I have personally gotten a couple in-game notifications that my reports resulted in action. What I am saying is that it doesn’t punish the rule breakers fast enough. As a result, people such as throwers can pretty easily run rampant without getting punished at all. In fact, there’s a good chunk of people who play on Console that consistently report people like throwers and griefers; and said throwers/griefers pretty much never get punished for it. Like, really; are our reports even looked at at all? Because it feels like this is pretty much never the case. And don’t even get me started with Console Players having to deal with no Report System of ANY KIND for the first 15 months of this game. At least on the Consoles, the Reporting System needs to be made much more strict so said offenders get punished faster.
4. On the flip side of that, there's no means for Console Players to appeal in-game suspensions.
If we contact Blizzard trying to appeal a suspension, they direct us to MS/Sony. However, MS/Sony don’t handle in-game suspensions; only Console-wide bans. And I’m not referring to either ranked suspensions, or Console-wide bans here. I’m referring specifically to suspensions in-game for things such as Abusive Chat or Inactivity; NOT something like getting disconnected from a ranked game.
- I’m not sure if I can even think of one instance off-hand where CS actually helped completely resolve an issue regarding OW on Console. Sure, CS may be limited; and I wouldn’t argue with that. But with each IP that gets added to Blizzard’s repertoire, surely Blizzard CS can expand reasonably enough to accommodate for that new IP on every platform that it’s on. Especially with Blizzard having a revenue of $7 Billion as of 2017.
5. Smurfs galore.
And I mean true smurfs; the ones who will throw endlessly just to stomp the lower tiers; not a player that tries on alternate accounts while wanting to learn other heroes. Smurfs can throw near endlessly, and pretty much never get punished for it. This is especially because the Report System doesn’t catch such people (throwers, glitchers, etc.) fast enough (see point 3). Sure, some of the smurfs issue is because of the designs of the Consoles themselves. However, even the enforcement of Suspension Evasion can deter people from doing such. Especially if the Reporting System is made much stricter.
- Just to explain what suspension evasion is, it’s using an alternate account to bypass a current temporary suspension from the game. It does not apply to permanent bans.
6. M&K users.
And before anyone states it, I will admit that it’s not nearly as rampant as people make it out to be. After all, there are people out there who are absolute monsters with a controller. That isn’t where this issue comes in though. Where this issue comes in, is that a updated, definitive, and decisive answer needs to be made on Blizzard’s end regarding this. Especially with API’s around that can detect, prevent, and/or filter the users of, M&K. Either make it ban-worthy, or support M&K natively and use said API’s to filter them accordingly. Blizzard’s last statement on this Console matter, which was made on January 18th, 2018, is kind of hypocritical, to put it bluntly. Don’t use it, but don’t report it either? This case is NOT something that can possibly go both ways; it’s either one way, or the other in this case.
7. Lack of Quality of Life improvements for OW-Console and for the Console Players.
Sure, some of the bigger items are also true regarding PC. But even some of the smaller QOL items, which are already on PC might I add, are not present with OW-Console. To name some of these, among others:
- FOV Slider
- Showing what mode friends are playing in the friends list
- Are they playing ranked, are they currently queuing, etc.
- Group Privacy Settings
- Why is this not on Console? And this has been implemented even in PS3/XB360 games that were released over 3 years before Overwatch was.
- The ability to hide the chat
- The commands from the communication wheel, i.e. ult charge/acknowledge, do appear in the chat; this is the chat I’m referring to (it’s the same chat window on PC). It is its own control on PC, but it doesn’t even need to be a Control; it can be a thing just by making it a toggle option in say, the Social sub-menu in Options.
- Text Chat
- They can make it so that it opens the Keyboard Interface of the Console. The same thing happens when you are trying to explain why you are reporting someone. And while the Console Keyboard Interface is open, USB Keyboards that are plugged in to a Console DO work; I’ve tested this very thing myself. Apply this same concept for text chat, and you’re good to go. Likewise with separate balancing, I can understand opinions being mixed on this. At least make an available option for such is what I’m trying to say on this.
- The removal of the region block for languages on OW-Console.
- If we want to play the game in German, Polish, Korean, Italian, Russian, or either type of Chinese, we would need to purchase the game from those corresponding regions. For those who might not be aware of this, the aforementioned languages, in addition to English, both types of Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Japanese are the 13 languages that Overwatch supports overall.
- And no, this is not on the Console Manufacturers either. This has been asked to them before, and it was answered with the following: "language support is down to the game developers. We have no influence on this."
8. No official E-Sports Representation from Blizzard for the Competitive Console Community.
This speaks for itself, but I’ll explain anyways. No chances for the Competitive Console Community to prove themselves to Blizzard on their own platform means, what is the point of the Competitive Mode on Console to begin with? There’s no end-goal to reach for, so what’s the point of having the competitive mode on the Consoles at all?
- Seriously, even OWL TEAMS have done a better job than Blizzard when it comes to giving the Competitive Console Community chances to prove themselves on their own platforms; even if that’s still not saying much (case and point, NYXL; in October 2018). And when something like that can be said, there’s obviously something wrong there.
- It’s also worth to note that I did not mention anything about a Console-specific Overwatch League on purpose. Even I’m aware that something like that is kind of unrealistic. However, just the simplicity for Blizzard to host just a couple of tournaments for the Consoles shows that they do at least care about said Competitive Console Community.
9. And what do I believe is the largest issue regarding OW-Console and its current state?
Well, you’d be surprised to find out that it’s actually not specific to OW-Console in-game. This actually comes down to the Overwatch Development team themselves. NOT in their work habit; but in their own lack of transparency to the Console player-bases.
- Take a look at all the responses from the Overwatch Development Team that occurred over the course of 2018. How many of those responses occurred regarding something pertaining specifically to Console? The answer to that question is 3. The first was on January 18th; the second was on September 11th (that’s right, almost 8 months later); and the third was on November 1st. I don’t think I really need to state how abysmal that kind of detachment is; especially since OW-team responses regarding other things outnumber their Console issue responses by some 50 to 1.
- And that’s just in reference to unique topics that they’ve responded to here on the forums; if you want to count overall posts that they have here on the current forums, then it actually outnumbers their Console issue responses here by some 80 to 1 (at the time of this post).
- The reference to this is the Dev Tracker, used within General Discussion. Each time the Dev Tracker needs to load more posts, it will load 20 more posts. Starting with the first 20, it will load 20 more posts 11 times as you scroll down (220 more posts), and then just a few more at the very bottom, which represents the beginning of the new forums on February 20th, 2018.
I guess as kind of as a tl;dr for this post: #HelpConsoleOverwatch