We Love Quick Play; And So Should You

To call Overwatch a ‘breath of fresh air’ may well in fact be the understatement of the decade for video game releases. Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment’s first new game world in over 17 years - quite literally their first this century.Today however, with the release of the game earlier this week, we are going to take a closer look at the Quick Play feature that comes with the game at launch.

Quick Play is where the majority of the player base will spend the most amount of their time – as with most games, especially in their infancy. It would seem that Blizzard has completely taken this fact into account and made sure the enjoyment and competition of the larger portion of the player base will not be forgotten. [Don’t worry for you higher level contenders though, I’ll be explaining the awesome competitive system in a future article.] Let’s do a bit of a compare and contrast to get the brain working. Heroes of the Storm Quick Play will play out something like this: Once you have clicked play you will enter a few minute queue where you can browse the shop or do nothing. The HoTS queue pops and you are loaded into a game within a few seconds. Upon completion of the game, you are sent back to the main menus to theoretically restart the process. Overwatch is a bit different.

OLD game modes
 
Like an audio medic, I’ll break it down for you. Once you click play on a Quick Play game, you are instantly sent into a skirmish match on a random map with no objectives, kill counts, etc. This skirmish can include 1-12 players depending on how many are queuing and at what time. Within this skirmish you’re encouraged to learn map routes, hero abilities, and other things you may not have time for in game. This is your queue time. After a minute or two, you are brought into a game lobby with 11 other players. Games have a 30 second break period wherein you can commend allies/enemies and see your stats. After the 30 second period a game will start, and it will inevitably end. Upon completing you are sent back to the same lobby, with the same players for the same 30 second break until the next match starts again. Fluid entry between one stage to the other is the name of the game, and it works like a charm. One never feels like they are truly waiting for a game.
 

Skirmish lobby

 
Another large difference between a MOBAs competitive and non-competitive ladders is the addition of drafting. Overwatch is a NON-draft based game, simply put. You are able to switch between any hero, at any time – supposing you are at a designated spawning zone. Because of the lack of drafting, players in Quick Play are given the ‘full’ experience of the game from the very first moment. An Overwatch player in Quick Play is able to change their hero at any time, constantly redeveloping the face of the battlefield – exactly like they would be able to on the competitive ladder.
 
Commendation Cards

 
Although these tweaks and twists to the Quick Play ladder (when compared to other games) seem somewhat minor, they become incredibly impactful when you experience it yourself. The simple ability to click play, and literally be playing (skirmish) makes you feel like you are spending much more time playing, and way less time waiting. The short game times would almost become annoying if you spent 3 minutes in queue between each match. On the other hand, you are almost immediately shot into the next intense match – often with some of the very same people you were just playing with or against. As I started this article, to call this game a ‘breath of fresh air’ is a serious understatement, and this is simply one part to that argument. Blizzard has done an incredible amount of work with this game, and their desire for excellence can be seen in every aspect of it. Look forward to many more articles by yours truly as this game grows to the pinnacle it deserves; but please remember, “The world could always use more heroes.”


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