Ok! So before I get started let me start off with this; both of these games are ones that I consider to be two of my favorite games of all time. I love both of these games with a passion and they are both incredibly special to me and have impacted me significantly. That said, I wanted to dive into both of these games properly and give a fair analysis on where each game’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what kind of people would typically prefer either game.
This is NOT a bashing of either game, and there is absolutely no need to start a war here. And you can also rest assured that this will be VERY different from The Game Theory portrayal of this question – nothing against MatPat, and not saying he didn’t do the research before making his video…but if he did do research it’s obvious that he did little to none and had minute experiences with either game going into his video – and in contrast I have over 150+ hours logged in to both games… so you can rest easy there.
With all that said, it’s going to be a long one – so buckle up and let’s get to learnin!
To have a fair assessment of both games we need to outline them both first and see the immediate similarities and differences. Both are First-Person objective-based shooters with varying classes, characters, and play styles to choose from. They both feature cosmetic changes to characters in the form of skins and they both continuously add new content in the form of new items, new maps, and holiday events. This is about where the stark similarities stop though – as in their own respects, they are two very different games.
For instance, Overwatch features the implementation of Ultimate Abilities – which are powerful abilities each hero has to grind for over the period of the match through damage dealing and eliminations. Team Fortress 2 doesn’t feature this mechanic and relies solely on primary weapon, secondary weapon, and melee in most cases.
Team Fortress 2 released on October 10th,… 2007!!!!! WHOOOAHH I’m old. ANYWAY, for over a decade TF2 has remained a steady haven for fans of the game and hasn’t seen a great decline in its player base as of this writing. Shockingly, the game’s multiplayer is honestly strong – clocking in at a peak of 86,000 players in September 2020.
Overwatch in contrast released on May 24th, 2016 and has also remained steady despite the internet claiming both are dead games. In 2020 Overwatch clocked in at a peak of 700,000+ active players. By these statistics, it’s evident that both games are still going strong and are still capturing the attention of their respective bases – which is undoubtedly a good thing in my view.
The amount of characters you can pick from is a massive difference between the two, with Overwatch having an astounding 32 heroes to choose from as opposed to TF2’s 9 mercenaries – which makes for two very different ways of play. Overwatch also has 3 distinct class types as opposed to TF2’s 9 individual mercanaries that don’t belong to any set class. Overwatch’s class types are known as Tank, Damage (DPS), and Support. The role of the tank is typically to be the damage taker as they have the most health out of all the Overwatch heroes. These heroes typically have crowd control abilities or have a central mechanic of providing “meat” for your team. While the tank’s main responsibility is to keep damage off their team, a DPS’ responsibility is typically to INFLICT damage to their enemy. These heroes typically have the most potential to do the most damage, but are more vulnerable than your tanks and often have no way to heal themselves. This is where your supports come in, as their main responsibility is providing support for their team through means of healing, increased damage, and immortality. Overall protection of the team is their wheelhouse. In Overwatch, you also have 32 different combinations of kit to choose from in attempts to swing a battle your way. Let’s go over each character from both games!
In TF2 you have:
Scout – Stock Scattergun, Stock Pistol, Stock Bat
Special Features: Speed, Double Jump, Double Capture Rate for Objectives
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Pretty Boy’s Pocket Pistol
Soldier – Stock Rocket Launcher, Stock Shotgun, Stock Shovel
Special Features: Rocket Jump, Wall Jump
Notable Alternate Weapons:
The Black Box
Pyro – Stock Flamethrower, Stock Shotgun, Stock Fire Axe
Special Features: Compressed Air Blast
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Demoman – Stock Grenade Launcher, Stock Stickybomb Launcher, Stock Bottle
Special Features: Demo-Knight Subclass, Stickybomb Detonation
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Chargin’ Targe/Splendid Screen
Heavy – Stock Minigun, Stock Shotgun, Stock Fists
Special Features: Highest Class Health, High Damage Output
Notable Alternate Weapons:
The Family Business
Engineer – Stock Shotgun, Stock Pistol, Stock Wrench
Special Features: Construction PDA (can construct Teleporters, Dispensers, and Sentry Turrets), Destruction PDA (can destroy Teleporters, Dispensers, and Sentry Turrets)
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Medic – Stock Syringe Gun, Stock Medigun, Stock Bonesaw
Special Features: Healing Medigun
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Sniper – Stock Sniper Rifle, Stock SMG, Stock Machete
Special Features: Potential for OSK
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Spy – Stock Revolver, Stock Knife, Electro-Sapper
Special Features: Disguise Kit, Invis Watch
Notable Alternate Weapons:
Cloak and Dagger
Your Eternal Reward
Aw shit there’s 32 of em in Overwatch…*inhales deeply*
Here we go in Overwatch you have:
Primary – Biotic Rifle (Deals damage to enemies and heals allies)
Ability #1 – Sleep Dart (Puts enemies to sleep)
Ability #2 – Biotic Grenade (Heals allies and leaves enemies vulnerable)
Ultimate Ability – Nano Boost (Increase health and damage to ally and decrease damage taken by ally)
Primary – The Viper (Hitscan Shotgun)
Ability #1 – Dynamite (Deals explosion damage and residual fire damage)
Ability #2 – Coach Gun (Knocks back enemies and Ashe herself)
Ultimate Ability – B.O.B (Calls in robot butler B.O.B to deal damage to enemies)
Primary – Biotic Rifle (Semi-Automatic Rifle that deals damage)
Secondary – Biotic Launcher (Lobs healing grenades for allies)
Ability #1 – Regenerative Burst (Heals yourself)
Ability #2 – Immortality Field (Launches field that protects from allies and yourself from death while inside)
Additional Ability – Super Crouch Jump
Ultimate Ability – Amplification Matrix (Creates field that when allies shoot through it amplifies damage)
Ability #1 – Reconfigure (Changes Configuration)
Configuration: Recon – Able to move, shoot automatic rifle, and repair itself
Configuration: Sentry – Stationary, able to shoot minigun and repair itself
Ability #2 – Self-Repair
Ultimate Ability – Configuration: Tank (Able to move quickly, shoot explosions)
Primary – Rocket Flail (Uses melee flail to damage enemies and heal nearby allies)
Secondary – Barrier Shield (Shield that protects from damage)
Ability #1 – Repair Pack (Heals targeted Ally)
Ability #2 – Whip Shot (Whips melee flail to damage enemies and knock them back)
Additional Ability – Shield Bash (Bashes with shield causing damage and a quick jerk forward)
Ultimate Ability – Rally (Gives protection to nearby allies and increases damage output)
Primary (In-Mech) – Fusion Cannons (Automatic spread rifles with unlimited ammo)
Primary (De-Meched) – Light Gun (Automatic pistol)
Secondary – Defense Matrix (Shields from incoming damage)
Ability #1 – Boosters (Allows for mobility and temporary flight)
Ability #2 – Micro Missiles (Shoots mini missiles that inflict damage)
Ultimate Ability (In-Mech) – Self-Destruct (Mech explodes and inflicts huge damage in immediate area.)
Ultimate Ability (De-Meched) – Call Mech (Calls in a Mech to pilot)
Additional Ability – Does not die on Mech death and can eject to save herself. Using her ultimate will also eject her. While De-Meched she cannot use abilities other than her Ultimate.
Primary – Hand Cannon (Shoots small projectiles from hands for damage)
Secondary – Rocket Punch (Charges punch and releases for impact based on charge)
Ability #1 – Seismic Slam (Slams down from the air to inflict damage)
Ability #2 – Rising Uppercut (Uppercuts enemy into the air for damage)
Ultimate Ability – Meteor Strike (Specifies area and comes down from the sky to inflict big damage)
Primary – Tri-shot (Echo fires 3 shots at once in a triangle pattern for damage)
Secondary – Sticky Bombs (A volley of sticky bombs that detonate after a delay)
Ability #1 – Flight (Surges forward quickly then can fly quickly)
Ability #2 – Focusing Beam (Channels a beam dealing very high damage to targets with less than half health)
Additional Ability – Glide while falling
Ultimate Ability – Duplicate (Duplicates a targeted enemy hero and gains use of their abilities)
Primary – Shuriken (looses three deadly shuriken stars in quick succession)
Secondary – Shuriken (can alternatively throw three shuriken in a wider spread)
Ability #1 – Deflect (reflects oncoming projectile and sends it rebounding toward opponent)
Ability #2 – Swift Strike (darts forward, slashing with his katana and passing through foes. If the target is eliminated, ability is instantly recharged.)
Additional Ability – Can climb walls
Ultimate Ability – Dragonblade (Killing melee strikes)
Primary – Storm Bow (Nocks and fires an arrow)
Ability #1 – Sonic Arrow (Launches arrow that shows nearby enemy locations)
Ability #2 – Storm Arrows (Shoots multiple weakened arrows in quick succession)
Additional Ability – Lunge (a double jump that can change direction in mid-air)
Additional Ability #2 – Can climb walls
Ultimate Ability – Dragonstrike (Summons spirit dragon which travels through the air in a line, dealing massive damage to enemies it encounters)
Primary – Frag Launcher (launches explosive grenades)
Ability #1 – Concussion Mine (Places an explosive mine and can then trigger it to damage enemies)
Ability #2 – Steel Trap (a trap that clamps onto enemies and leaves them temporarily immobile.
Additional Ability – Total Mayhem (Drops several live grenades on death)
Ultimate Ability – Rip-Tire (Motorized tire bomb that rolls across battlefield and can be detonated for serious damage)
Primary – Sonic Amplifier (can hit enemies with sonic projectiles)
Secondary – Sonic Amplifier (can knock back enemies)
Ability #1 – Crossfade (Lucio continuously energizes himself and nearby teammates with one of two songs: a healing song and a speed song. This ability switches between the two songs.)
Ability #2 – Amp It Up (Increases the volume on his speakers boosting the effects of his songs)
Ultimate Ability – Sound Barrier (Protective waves radiate out to teammates – providing personal shields for them and Lucio)
Primary – Peacekeeper (Pistol)
Secondary – Peacekeeper (Unloads entire cylinder at once for a six-shot blast)
Ability #1 – Combat Roll (Dives in the direction he’s moving and instantly reloads
Ability #2 – Flashbang (Blinding grenade that staggers enemies in a small radius
Ultimate Ability – Deadeye (Takes a moment to aim and shoots every enemy in sight. The closer the shot is to lineup, the more damage it deals)
Primary – Endothermic Blaster (Short-range stream of frost that can slow and freeze enemies)
Secondary – Endothermic Blaster (Shoot icicle-like projectiles at medium range)
Ability #1 – Cryo Freeze (Surrounds herself with a block of ice that heals and provides ammo)
Ability #2 – Ice Wall (Generates an enormous ice wall that obstructs sight, movement, and attacks)
Ultimate Ability – Blizzard (Deploys weather-modification drone to emit wind and snow in a wide area to slow and freeze multiple enemies)
Primary – Caduceus Staff (Engages one of two beams; heal or damage, on an ally)
Secondary – Caduceus Blaster (Automatic pistol)
Ability #1 – Guardian Angel (Flies toward targeted ally quickly)
Ability #2 – Resurrect (Brings a dead ally back to life with full health)
Additional Ability – Angelic Descent (Can glide when falling)
Ultimate Ability – Valkyrie (Gain the ability to fly and abilities are enhanced)
Primary – Biotic Grasp (Expend biotic energy to heal allies)
Secondary – Biotic Grasp (Sap enemy health and replenish biotic energy)
Ability #1 – Biotic Orb (Launches biotic orb [either healing orb for allies or damage orb for enemies])
Ability #2 – Fade (Quickly teleports a short distance)
Ultimate Ability – Coalescence (Channels a long-range beam that both heals allies and bypasses barriers to damage enemies)
Primary – Fusion Driver (Automatic projectile cannon that slows movement when firing)
Secondary – Halt! (Launches graviton charge to slow nearby enemies and pull them towards the explosion upon detonation)
Ability #1 – Fortify (Temporarily reduces damage taken and cannot be affected by action-impairing effects.
Ability #2 – Protective Barrier (Throws out stationary barrier that can protect her and her allies)
Ultimate Ability – Supercharger (Deploys device to increase damage inflicted by allies within her line of sight.)
Primary – Rocket Launcher (Launches rockets with splash damage)
Ability #1 – Jump Jet (Pharah soars high into the air)
Ability #2 – Concussive Blast (Wrist rocket that knocks back any enemy it strikes)
Additional Ability – Boosters (Can hover in the air for a short amount of time.)
Ultimate Ability – Barrage (Directs a continuous salvo of mini-rockets to destroy groups of enemies)
Primary – Hellfire Shotguns (Automatic Shotguns)
Ability #1 – Wraith Form (Becomes a shadow for a short time and is unaffected by damage or enemies)
Ability #2 – Shadow Step (Marks a destination and teleports to it)
Ultimate Ability – Death Blossom (Empties both shotguns at breakneck speed dealing massive damage to all nearby enemies)
Primary – Rocket Hammer (Swings wide arc with hammer for damage)
Secondary – Barrier Field (Broad protective barrier with immense protection)
Ability #1 – Charge (Charges forth in a straight line and pins the first enemy in his path)
Ability #2 – Fire Strike (Whips rocket hammer to sling a flaming projectile)
Ultimate Ability – Earthshatter (Slams rocket hammer into the ground, knocking down enemies in front of him.)
Primary – Scrap Gun (Fires short-range blasts with wide spread)
Secondary – Scrap Gun (Fires shrapnel ball that detonates farther away for medium-range)
Ability #1 – Chain Hook (If it catches a target, they are hurled into close range of Roadhog.)
Ability #2 – Take A Breather (Restores a chunk of his health over a brief period of time)
Ultimate Ability – Whole Hog (Cranks out a stream of shrapnel that knocks back enemies)
Primary – Hyperspheres (two gravitic charges which bounce off walls and implode after a short duration for damage)
Secondary – Experimental Barrier (Propels floating barrier that can be dismissed at any time.)
Ability #1 – Kinetic Grasp (Freezes incoming projectiles in midair converting them into shields)
Ability #2 – Accretion (Gathers a mass of debris and flings it at an enemy to knock them down)
Ultimate Ability – Gravitic Flux (Lifts enemies in a targeted area and launches them into the sky before slamming them back down into the ground)
Primary – Heavy Pulse Rifle (Automatic Rifle)
Secondary – Helix Rockets (Tiny spiralling rockets propelled in a single burst that cause explosion and splash damage)
Ability #1 – Sprint
Ability #2 – Biotic Field (Plants energy projection field that restores health to himself and allies)
Ultimate Ability – Tactical Visor (Locks aim to enemies)
Primary – Machine Pistol (Automatic SMG)
Secondary – Hack (Temporarily stops a single enemy from using abilities or makes first-aid kits useless for opponents)
Ability #1 – Stealth (Becomes invisible, boosted speed, but attacking or hacking will lose stealth)
Ability #2 – Translocator (A beacon that can be instantly returned to from anywhere on the map)
Ultimate Ability – EMP (Temporarily stops multiple enemies in the radius from using abilities, destroys barriers and shields.)
Primary – Photon Projector (Ranged beam that increases power as continuous damage is connected)
Secondary – Photon Projector (Releases explosive energy ball that deals high damage on contact)
Ability #1 – Sentry Turret (Turret that automatically fires on opponents in range. Up to 3 can be built at once.)
Ability #2 – Teleporter
Ultimate Ability – Photon Barrier (Symmetra deploys a massive energy barrier which prevents attacks and is big enough to cut through the entire map.)
Primary – Rivet Gun (Fires rivets at long-range)
Secondary – Rivet Gun (Ejects molten metal from his gun in a short, close-range burst.
Ability #1 – Deploy Turret (Turret that automatically fires on opponents in range.)
Ability #2 – Overload (Gains additional armor, improved attack and movement speed, reloads quicker)
Additional Ability – Forge Hammer (Repairs turrets and doubles as melee weapon)
Ultimate Ability – Molten Core (Creates pools of molten slag that deal massive, sustained damage [plus bonus damage to armor])
Primary – Pulse Pistols (Automatic Dual Pistols)
Ability #1 – Blink (Zips horizontally through space in the direction she’s moving)
Ability #2 – Recall (Recalls time to return her health, position, and ammo on the map precisely where they were a few seconds before.)
Ultimate Ability – Pulse Bomb (Large bomb that adheres to any surface and deals high damage to nearby enemies)
Primary – Widow’s Kiss (Sniper Rifle)
Ability #1 – Grappling Hook (Zips Widow to location)
Ability #2 – Venom Mine (Adheres to any surface and poisons anyone who triggers it)
Ultimate Ability – Infra-sight (Allows her and allies to see enemy heat signatures)
Primary – Tesla Cannon (Fires short-range electric barrage)
Ability #1 – Jump Pack (Can lunge through the air and deals significant damage to enemies upon landing.)
Ability #2 – Barrier Projector (Bubble-shaped barrier field that protects from damage)
Ultimate Ability – Primal Rage (Significant boost to health, strengthens melee attack, allows more use of Jump Pack)
Primary – Quad Cannons (Medium Range Auto Rifles)
Ability #1 – Grappling Claw (Anchors Ball to an area and allows to swing from it)
Ability #2 – Adaptive Shield (Temporary personal shields that absorb damage)
Additional Ability – Roll
Additional Ability #2 – Piledriver (Slams onto ground below when in the air, damaging enemies and launching them upward)
Ultimate Ability – Minefield (Deploys a field of long-lasting proximity mines which explode on contact with enemies.)
Primary – Particle Cannon (Short-range beam of destructive energy. Increases in power based on how much damage her shields have taken)
Secondary – Particle Cannon (Lobs explosive charges to strike multiple opponents at mid to long range)
Ability #1 – Particle Barrier (Emits personal barrier)
Ability #2 – Projected Barrier (Surrounds one of her teammates in personal barrier)
Ultimate Ability – Graviton Surge (Launches gravity bomb that draws in enemy combatans and deals damage while they’re trapped)
Primary – Orb of Destruction (Projects destructive energy orbs individually)
Secondary – Orb of Destruction (Charges power and rapid-fires a volley of destructive energy orbs)
Ability #1 – Orb of Harmony (Casts healing orb over ally)
Ability #2 – Orb of Discord (Casts orb over enemy that amplifies damage they receive)
Ultimate Ability – Transcendence (Casts field that immunizes himself and allies from damage and restores their health)
Oh my god that was an ordeal…
Anyway, you can provide aerial assistance with heroes like Pharah and Junkrat, provide additional fire and zoning potential with heroes like Torbjorn, Symmetra, and Ashe, provide defenses for your team to move up with heroes like Rein, Winston, Sigma and Orisa, provide diversions and greeting the enemy with power with heroes like D.Va and Wrecking Ball, provide different methods of healing while simultaneously inflicting damage with heroes like Lucio, Moira, and Ana – the list goes on.
In contrast, in TF2 you are limited to 9 classes who broadly encapsulate the more specific traits of the 32 Overwatch heroes. Like Pharah, you can use TF2’s Soldier to rocket jump and provide aerial support. Like Torbjorn, you can use TF2’s Engineer to provide additional fire with his sentry. Like Tracer, you can use TF2’s Scout for speed and infiltrating the back row. Medic can heal, Spy can spy, Pyro can pyro – you get the picture. With these classes being so broad though, Overwatch’s heroes can seem like they can do more for a fight with their specific abilities.
This also creates more reliance on teamwork though, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what kind of player you are. With such a vast array of options to choose from in terms of attack in Overwatch, a complimentary team makeup will make much more of a difference than in Team Fortress 2. TF2’s classes are built so broadly that you can use many of them in the same situations and see results at varying degrees. In contrast, if you have a bad team composition made up of 6 heroes that don’t compliment each other in the slightest, you’re going to get crushed every time.
This naturally makes engaging with Overwatch a much more threatening and time-consuming task in general, as learning the basics of 9 heroes who do very broad things is much easier than learning the ins and outs of 32 different heroes while keeping in mind which situations are most appropriate for which hero, which heroes can soft or hard counter other heroes, what map you’re going to be on and how that affects the hero you choose, what hero to choose based on what heroes your team is choosing, you get the point.
It’s definitely important to mention though that despite the 32 heroes featured in Overwatch, all 32 of them have a set kit to be used in battle. This is different in Team Fortress 2, as you can customize each weapon in your kit to your liking based on what class you’re playing. Instead of using the Scout’s stock Scattergun, you can switch it out for a Soda Popper or Force-A-Nature instead – both of which behave differently than the stock Scattergun.
This is true for each of the 9 classes, creating more customizable experiences with each one. In these cases, strong technical skill is still required to make the most of these weapons and none of them change up the dynamic so much that it becomes overly team-reliant. In fact, it may just do the opposite – as customizing the Demoman class for instance into the Demo-Knight subclass using those specific customizable weapons can turn a player into an imminent danger for the enemy by themselves.
Some of the most recognizable weapons that change this dynamic include the Chargin’ Targe, Tide Turner, or Splendid Screen for the Demoman to procure his Demo-Knight subclass, the Thermal Thruster for the Pyro that essentially gives him a jetpack, the Sandvich which that gives the Heavy health upon consumption, and the Crit-A-Cola for the scout which increases the chance for the scout to get crits to name a few.
These two different systems make for two completely different styles of play – one where you can rely on mostly technical skill alone to make the difference for your team, and one where you must know a hefty bit about what you’re doing in order to succeed.
This isn’t to say that technical skill alone is the sole gameplay mechanic of TF2 either. The biggest example to the contrary is the concept of Uber Charge, where a Medic can make himself and the person he’s healing indestructible for a short time after charging them with his medigun. This, however, seems to be one of the only examples of a teamwork dynamic in TF2 – which is why my original point stands more firm than the contrary.
Now that you know the basics of your characters for either game, let’s go over how each batch of protagonists can affect gameplay, and what it means for you. As I touched on previously, TF2’s classes can have much more of an individual impact on the game as opposed to Overwatch’s teamwork-based style. This isn’t to say that TF2 doesn’t require teamwork and that individual performance alone is going to win you competitive games in TF2, but it makes much more of an impact as opposed to Overwatch.
A good spy or a handy medic can lead your team to victory with a good back row infiltration or good healing coverage respectively, A good sniper can keep the enemy team from establishing dominance, or a good Heavy can take the attention off his team and be cannon fodder. Whatever the case, if you have the technical skill and game knowledge, you have a pretty decent shot at being able to swing the game your way with the right play.
In Overwatch, if you try to charge in guns blazing while balls deep in a squealing wholehog…you’re gonna get wrecked no matter who you’re playing. A good individual technical player can definitely BEGIN to turn the tide, but it’s up to the rest of the team to take that turn and keep turning it – one person can’t do it all.
One aspect of the game that is constantly talked about as a game-changing moment is the combination of certain heroes’ ultimate abilities. Combining Soldier 76’s Tactical Visor with Sigma’s Gravitic Flux or Combining Zarya’s Graviton Surge with Junkrat’s Rip-Tire are both game-changing combinations that could potentially wipe the enemy with a team kill.
Those sorts of sweeps are nearly only possible through the power of teamwork and typically can’t be performed by individuals alone. That isn’t to say I haven’t seen a Genji Dragonblade the whole team or that I haven’t clutched a Quintuple with Torb’s Molten Core before – but those rarities are inconsistent and can’t be relied upon to happen every time.
Plus, in most of those instances, the player executing these multikills had help from his team in one way or another – whether the rest of the team set up the enemy line that way or if the enemy were simply too distracted by the other players to notice you.
This wide range of potential events leads to more strategy and coordination on the part of Overwatch players, as there are hundreds of combinations of ultimates in the game that can have a game-changing impact. Compare that to a Medic Ubercharging 1 of 9 classes – at least 3 of which can be ruled out as nearly absolutely useless – and you can begin to see how Overwatch is much more of a teamwork reliant game than TF2.
Though I have to admit, two ubered Medics running around a map in TF2 is a hell of a treat to see. And I’ve only caught the elusive Ubered Spy a single time in my 500+ hours of playing TF2 – so those are always a treat to see as well. So maybe those classes aren’t such a waste of an uber after all, if not just for the novelty yknow?
But not for nothing, Overwatch players have to pay attention to what is called Game Sense. Basically what this means is your heightened awareness about what’s going on around you, how the game is going, and how to properly push an objective for an effective play. In TF2, you really don’t have to worry so much about game sense, but rather what you can do as an individual to benefit your team.
Playing Scout? Provide a distraction to the enemy’s backline or go in and attempt to capture the point since your capture rate is double the speed. That’s your job. Playing Pyro? Spy check, spy check, spy check. Playing Engie? Protect your sentries, dispenser, and teleporters at all costs. In Overwatch and playing Tracer? You can’t really do any of what Scout does himself without getting caught or killed.
This is because you’re alone going against specific other heroes that have a varied kit set that can protect these objectives better than if their kit were more broad.
Instead, your job as Tracer could be one of a million things depending upon the situation and how the game is going.
Sure you can be a distraction for a backline, but you can also team up with a friendly Zarya to time your Grav and Pulse Bombs together for a potential multi-kill or even team wipe. Or you could protect the objective by picking out stragglers and punishing them for being out of position. Or you could even provide a distraction for the enemy FRONT line while a Sombra, Torb, Sym or even Rein sneaks behind the flank and punishes the enemy for not paying attention.
You can literally do a million things with each hero in Overwatch, and in TF2 you have a set role that you can be doing for your team at all times – so two very unique play styles here for sure.
Community & Development Team
While the two games share stark differences in the way their games are played and the flow of which the games follow, and while the two games share many similarities in their organization and premise – these points don’t simply apply to just the game itself. The communities of both games transcend their mediums and have created a heartfelt and dedicated following for both.
Both games have communities behind them that love the game with a passion – and both communities showcase the very best and – in some cases – the very worst of their communities. In either case, both communities share a vocal love/hate relationship with their games mainly out of frustration with the development teams behind them.
Both Valve and Activision/Blizzard have made questionable decisions behind their games – whether it be Valve’s inability to communicate and tendency to ghost updates, or Activision/Blizzard’s inability to listen to 99% of its fanbase, opting to listen to the top-tier professional players instead concerning the state of the game and how to improve it.
In this respect, it’s eerily similar how either community must feel toward its own development team – and I think that’s one of the most interesting things about this whole comparison. Because as similar as these games are, and for all their differences, one of the key issues the fans have with both games is with the developer, not the game itself.
This might be a stretch to say, but that may be a contributing factor as to why both games have an incredibly adamant and resilient fanbase – they’ve fought so hard together as a community against the very developers of the game for so long that they don’t want the effort they’ve expended during this endeavor to be wasted. They want to support the game they’ve put so much passion behind themselves, arguably even more passion than the very people who made the game in the first place.
The constant infighting between the community and the developers, and sometimes even within the community itself, can be a tiring and exhausting battle. It can even be incredibly toxic at times. To fight these battles over and over again out of passion for the game you hold so dear is an incredible testament to the members of these communities and their willingness to not just sit idly by while developers make decisions they don’t agree with. If there’s one thing you can say about either one of these communities: it’s passion, and that’s a damn good thing to be able to say.
Did Overwatch Copy TF2? Did it Kill TF2?
The short answer to both of these questions are no and this section is the bit explaining why. When Overwatch first launched there was a direct concern that it was copying, and even going to kill TF2 – I’m sure you remember you were probably there if you’re reading this article. These claims were being circulated due to the fact that in its earliest stages, Overwatch resembled TF2 quite a bit.
To put things into perspective, at launch Overwatch featured 21 heroes – many of which have been changed over the years to better fit what Overwatch has become. For instance, since release Torbjorn, Symmetra, and Mercy (all 3 heroes of which have been around since the game’s launch) have been heavily reworked over the years from what their forms originally were. Torb used to have upgradable sentries to inflict more damage – mirroring the Engineer in TF2. It was comparisons like these that were commonplace in the early days of Overwatch and are what forecasted doomsday for TF2 – as it looked like Overwatch was just TF2 but better.
But down the line though, as Overwatch began to implement its own identity and stray further from what TF2 was, this argument held less and less weight. If anything, the development of Overwatch was directly inspired by TF2 – and that should be taken as a damn good compliment. I mean if your game has such a good premise, is so fun to play, and is that good that Activision/Blizzard wants to take a shot at that same genre a DECADE after release, you’re doing something right.
So Activision/Blizzard took their shot, and as the years progressed it’s obvious that they never intended to make a copy of TF2. The state of the game at the moment is evidence enough of that. But if they really wanted to copy TF2, where’s the Pyro clone? Where was the Spy clone at launch? I mean I know you can make the argument that Sombra is a Spy clone, but Sombra can’t disguise herself as other players, nor can she oneshot an enemy with a backstab. But where’s the Heavy Clone? Reinhardt? Pfft…
The fact of the matter is that Tracer, Torbjorn, Widowmaker, Junkrat and Pharah are the closest things resembling a potential copying of TF2, and even the cases aside from Torbjorn aren’t that strong. Tracer doesn’t have a double capture rate, Junkrat doesn’t have sticky bombs like the Demoman, and Pharah can actively rocket jump without taking damage and can sustain her flight. And I think it goes without saying that Widow doesn’t carry around a jar of piss for the lolz.
If anything – Overwatch is a more fleshed out realization of TF2. One that goes into specific abilities and distinct situations rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
And I think it goes without saying that Overwatch definitely didn’t kill TF2. I mean I wouldn’t call an average of 60,000+ players on a daily basis a “dead game” and you shouldn’t either. Because the game is still incredibly fun to play.
Sure it’s not nearly as in-depth as Overwatch, but why does that matter? That just means you don’t have to think as much and you can continue playing the video game to escape from reality and not continuing to do the thing you wanted to escape from today – which is think! At least…that’s the way I view it.
But in order for Overwatch to kill TF2, Overwatch would have to have been a better TF2 than TF2 – and that’s just not the case. TF2 is the best version of TF2 and Overwatch is the best version of Overwatch at the moment because they have become so different. In my view, the closest the two games ever were was upon Overwatch’s release.
Every new update, every new hero, every new map, every new patch has all strayed Overwatch away from the realm of TF2 – and that’s a great thing. You get the same kind of game but with two very distinct flavors – like Ice Cream! I mean I love Rocky Road Ice cream, but sometimes I want the good ol’ Cookies and Cream yknow what I mean?
So what did we learn today? Well for starters, we learned that giving something a chance in spite of your initial feelings or presumptions about that particular thing can change your mind in an instant and exclude you from further missing out on the magical moments, thrilling experiences, and other positive feelings from said medium. We also learned that initial perceptions and assumptions can mislead you, giving you a false image of what a medium really is.
And finally, we learned to just listen to what makes us happy. I had the desire to learn more about Overwatch and experience it for myself after years of lamenting it’s release, comparing it too much to TF2 – which was wrong. After giving it a chance, it quickly became one of my favorite games to date and one that I frequently go back to for enjoyment. TF2 and Overwatch are both incredible games, neither standing in the way of the other’s existence and both being phenomenal installments for gamers to sink their time into.
Oh yeah, and the one final thing we learned. Do your research before making content ;).