Everyone has something to say about Overwatch’s balance. Whether it’s D.Va’s Defense Matrix being deemed too powerful, or Orisa’s kit being perceived as underwhelming, Overwatch players aren’t shy about expressing their feelings.
And that’s not bad: Overwatch has a passionate fan base that’s invested in the game. But sometimes, the level of outrage gets out of hand—and Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has feelings about that. For Kaplan, extreme outrage at hero balance is unwarranted. Radical balance changes aren’t needed to shift the meta. Overwatch is already balanced, Kaplan said.
“What I mean is that I don’t feel like there are any heroes who are way too strong to the point of breaking balance,” Kaplan said on the Overwatch forum. “That doesn’t mean that I personally don’t think there are some problems with heroes.”
Kaplan isn’t entirely satisfied by Roadhog’s adjustments, he said. Mercy’s Resurrect could use a tweak, too, he added: Her ultimate is very powerful “in a very unfun way for both Mercy and everyone playing against that Mercy.” But these heroes aren’t broken to the point they’re breaking Overwatch. “They are better fixed slowly and carefully as the overall game is not ruined by them,” Kaplan added.
Perception of balance is more powerful than balance itself. It’s something Kaplan has spoke on before, noting that fans often perceive a meta’s dominance based on the professional Overwatch scene. Casual and competitive play on Overwatch’s ladder, however, is typically different. Dive compositions may be used most in the professional Overwatch scene, but the majority of Overwatch players—those who are playing in Quick Play—play Genji, Soldier: 76, Hanzo, McCree, Mercy, and Junkrat. That’s what most players are experiencing, not the dive composition.
Kaplan wrote that he, too, would like to see differing compositions in professional play, but the way to fix that is not to “throw a balance grenade at heroes to change pick rates.” Instead, the meta will shift naturally—with a new heroes’ introduction, with innovative strategies, or with needed balance changes.
“The desire for dive comp to go away will not be satisfied from some of you until Winston and D.Va are nerfed into the ground,” Kaplan said. “But we’re not going to do that. We are going to make balance changes to heroes when they need it—and we do this more frequently than you give us credit for.”