Overwatch is notoriously hard to spectate. One of the most confusing features is how teams are colored in-game to differentiate them.
Teams can either be red or blue. When playing Overwatch, you’re always blue and your enemies are red. Watching Overwatch is different. Often times after games end, teams swap colors. The team that was red is now blue, and vice versa. It’s hard enough to keep track of what’s going on in Overwatch because it’s such a fast-paced game, but changing colors makes the experience more challenging to follow.
Viewers of competitive Overwatch have been complaining to Blizzard about the spectator system for ages with limited results, though we did see third-person health bars added in January.
Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan wants Overwatch fans to know the developer is working on the color problem, however.
“We’re working on a better team coloring system right now,” Kaplan said in the Overwatch forum. “We’ve put significant efforts against this issue. We agree, it’s a top issue and there are a lot of areas for improvement.”
Results from Blizzard’s internal coloring tests have been “really good,” Kaplan added. He expects the team to deliver a solution that will raise the quality of watching Overwatch by a lot. Kaplan first mentioned these experiments in May, noting that their solution could impact esports as a whole.
Some have suggested dropping red and blue from competitive Overwatch viewing entirely, but another option is just assigning colors that stay consistent throughout the entire series. Designate one team as red and one team as blue, with no swapping. Special skins that align with professional Overwatch teams could make the experience a bit better, too, regardless of the color.
Overwatch casting duo Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles and Erik “DoA” Lonnquist have been on hand at Blizzard to help the developer create a more user-friendly viewing system. A spectator or observer-specific Overwatch map, which would give new tools for viewing the game, may be part of the new system, Kaplan said in May.