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Overwatch developer Josh Noh has gone on the game’s forums the past two days to discuss the issue of character balance and “power creep” that some perceive to be a potential detriment to the game’s health.
In his original post, Noh said that players being wary of a power creep following nerfs to tanks and healers was understandable. But he also backed up the precautions that Blizzard takes when tuning the game each patch.
In another post yesterday, Noh extrapolated on the points he made in the previous post by using character pick rates and win rates to respond to feedback that he’s gotten from the community.
But he expressed that stats aren’t the only thing Blizzard uses to balance Overwatch.
“We don’t balance solely off of stats anyway but they help inform us when something could be really out of whack or can give us a slightly more unbiased lens when trying to identify the root causes of gameplay issues,” Noh said. “Stats don’t do a great job of telling us subjective things like how fun something is, player feedback does. We can try to infer a little bit of that from pick rate but there are too many competing factors.”
One repeated sentiment Noh said he’s read is that Genji and Soldier 76 are “clearly the weakest” damage heroes, while characters like Baptiste and Mei appear to be overpowered.
“When I looked into the current patch stats, Mei and Genji are both very middle of the pack for GM where I would normally expect players to adhere more closely to the meta,” Noh said. “Soldier pick rate is low, coming in at slightly less than half of Genji’s and is on par with Ashe for both pick/win rate. One of the perceived strongest and one of the perceived weakest heroes have nearly identical pick rate and win rate. I found this personally very interesting and wanted to share.”
Noh added that the intent of his original post was to jog the minds of players who might think that whatever is perceived as being “meta” is inarguably the best way to play.
“My post above was intending to get people to consider that this data, while not absolute or conclusive of anything on its own, may suggest off-meta heroes are much more viable on the competitive ladder than players tend to expect,” Noh said. “Even at the highest levels.”