Support Heroes Overwatch
MMO’s and team-based games like League of Legends, Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft have made support classes a necessary element to victory. Medics, buffers and debuffers have become the foundation of any winning team, however they are still overlooked. Overwatch addresses this problem in a very smart and creative way but the problem still isn’t completely fixed. Lets talk about the Overwatch support class and its unsung heroes.
Support classes have always been considered an after thought. The least popular kids at the lunch table. While tanks and DPS are have fun killing and making plays, the healers and buffers are relegated to the background. Quietly doing their job. Unless they are doing their job poorly. They then become the target of anger from other players. Its a thankless job and you get yelled at if you screw it up. Every kid grew up wanting to be a fireman or astronaut, not an EMT.
Overwatch employs an voting systems that allows players to upvote for others. And it seems like players are showing their love for the support players. Characters like Mercy and Lucio regularly get the highest number of votes over 55% of the time. While its not a overwhelming majority its a big improvement from basically nothing. Blizzard built a system into the game that makes players feel good about playing a support class. Its allows the player to feel like they accomplished something and helped.
On top of all of this, Overwatch’s supporters don’t play like traditional support characters from games past. Mercy is the only pure medic in that game. She is remarkably quick and capable of buffing damage. Lucio can constantly heal nearby teammates or boost their speed. Plus he also has some sweet roller blades. Zenyatta can focus healing on a single ally, debuff a single enemy, and up everybody to a state of near invincibility for six seconds. He’s also not completely hopeless in a fight. Symmetra isn’t even a healer. She aids defense with turrets and shaves precious seconds off pushes with her portal. Oh, and then there’s Zarya, who’s not classified as a support, but is essentially a tank/support hybrid.
The maps also subtly affect how support characters play. Find a map where Symmetra can’t lay down a decently effective turret setup, or Lucio can’t maneuver. There isnt another game out there in which the map cant effect tanks and support. Blizzard clearly put alot of time and effort into making these maps work for all players.
Now of course alot of players will never play a support role. Its not a sexy job but Overwatch is finally is addressing that in alot of ways. alot of players are finding themselves tempted to converting. That is awesome. Support deserve just as much love and respect as the tank and dps. Many players are starting to find out supports deep dark secret: Its fun to help other people. It feels good, especially when teammates (and even opponents) appreciate your hard work. The bond a good healer-tank duo shares? There’s nothing else quite like it.