Blizzard has this whole "games as a service" thing under control. I've been playing Overwatch for about two years now - actually since the beta - and somehow I just can't seem to stop. To be honest I didn't have a ton of interest in the game when it was first announced. My previous experience with competitive shooters was stuff like Team Fortress 2, which just didn't click with me at all. But I had admired what Blizzard had done in recent years with games like Hearthstone and Heroes Of The Storm. They seemed to have a certain knack for making these sorts of competitive games very accessible.
My early experience with Overwatch was nothing special. For whatever reason I picked Mercy to try first and rather quickly discovered that I was pretty lousy at playing support. This was during the official launch of the game. I mostly just shrugged and said "eh, it seems like a pretty cool game. I'll fire it up again from time to time I guess." But here's the thing - I didn't really get the game at the time. I guess I just saw it as like... two teams who shoot each other. Y'know? But that's totally not the point of Overwatch. It would just take me some time to figure that out.
Over the next year or so I slowly started getting more into it - partly because I'd continue to read up on what was going on... who was being added, what the new meta was like and so on. Eventually I started experimenting with D.Va and suddenly the game became totally awesome to me. I loved D.Va. Well, I mean I still love D.Va. Then I started using Soldier 76.
Overwatch is the sort of game where I need to play a few matches before bed. Y'know? And this before-bed game changes throughout the year. Sometimes it's Rocket League. For a while it was Spelunky. For much of the fall it'll be Madden. But Overwatch is always in that rotation.
I had taken some time away from Overwatch again this past year, but then they announced the Halloween event and it just sounded so awesome. And so I picked up an Xbox One copy of the game so I could play with some friends there. That was three and a half months ago and I'm still playing a few matches almost every night before bed.
Part of the relaxation of it all is that I barely play in Competitive Mode. I'm really just here for funsies. I have no delusions about ever being great. I just want to be competent and have a good time.
But I'm always learning. I'll settle on one character for a while, and then decide that I should really know how to play some other role. I still think I'm terrible at support, but at least I can manage playing Ana better than Mercy. And I actually kind of love playing as Zenyatta, though I play him more aggro than support, which can be a big help or detriment depending who you ask. I'm not great on defense but Bastian is fun to play as. And I guess you could call Orissa defensive with her shields. If someone snatches up D.Va and it looks like a second tank is a good idea, then I'll grab Rein. Though Soldier 76 is great, Sombra and Tracer both offer different angles on offense. And so on.
I wish I could play Widowmaker well. Just saying.
I've actually been trying to force myself to play whichever role is needed rather than who I feel most comfortable with. Sure this can be frustrating, but it's also a trial by fire. The other night I saw a glaring hole in our Tank department, so I went with Rein. Our team ultimately lost, but all my teammates gave me the little digital thumbs-up thing at the end, so that made me feel good. Like trying is really worth something here.
It's not just characters of course. I'm also constantly learning How To Play. I'm always trying to develop better habits. Trying to better understand my role at any given moment. Trying to keep the objective in mind.
Maybe the weirdest thing about all of this is how I've gotten interested in Overwatch as a so-called esport. I'm a guy who neer watches streams of other people playing video games. But I'm always checking to see when the Uprising is playing in the Overwatch League. So weird.
I don't know if or when I'll ever stop playing Overwatch, though. It seems like I find other games to steal away my attention, but I always end up coming back to it. I'm currently trying to convince a group of friends to take the plunge, so there may be no end in sight.
I think in a lot of ways, Overwatch has become my favorite game of the generation. However you define that. To me, the game is ubiquitous with the era of gaming. It got me into playing a competitive game heavily; it made me a fan of e-sports, at least for a while. Heck, I own Overwatch shirts and socks and blankets and even a pretty awesome figure of D.Va. I'll probably never be great at the game, but I always consider it fun.