What the fuck I love Overwatch now.

So my Discord server has lately crawled out of the grave to celebrate the release of Sigma, the new Tank hero who combines horrifying conceptual sci-fi with slick game and art design. While Ashe may have looked cool but suffered from some uninspired abilities and Baptiste may have had all the character of a glass of lukewarm tap water, Sigma has reinvigorated my love for the Tank role and Overwatch in general, and given that his release has coincided with the release of the controversial role queue feature, I thought I’d come back to you lovely people and give you my unwanted opinions again. Let’s go.

Sigma is a barrier tank, similar to Winston, Reinhardt, and Orisa – He creates space behind his barrier for teammates to fight safely while ensuring that the other team stays in the right place. Killing isn’t his strong suit, but like most heroes he at least has a fair chance in a 1v1.

Sigma’s design towards this goal is fabulous. His barrier works in a way that is reminiscent of Reinhardt and Orisa, while fulfilling a role a similar role to Winston AND being its own unique ability in its own right, all simultaneously. His barrier can be placed wherever he wishes – In the air, on the ground, nearby or far away. It absorbs a relatively small 1500 damage and regenerates fairly slowly, making it too weak to be a main barrier like Orisa or Reinhardt’s barrier. Instead, its strength comes from versatility and manoeuvrability. The experimental barrier can be placed anywhere on the map, from any angle, given that Sigma is positioned correctly, and is consequently ripe for use in some really creative ways. Orisa’s ‘Shot-put’ placement and Reinhardt’s arm cannon simply aren’t as versatile, and Sigma consequently rewards players who can both communicate and think creatively on the fly, rather than simply rewarding good positioning and teamwork.

Sigma’s lesser kit pieces compliment this perfectly. Seemingly a combination of various other heroes’ kits, such as close-range versions of D.Va’s defense matrix and Junkrat’s bombs and his ‘accretion’ ability being drawn straight from the ashes of a cancelled Doomfist ability, Sigma is proof that old ideas can easily be refined into new and interesting playstyles, and acts as a breath of fresh air in the shield tank role, allowing players to experiment with an interesting and varied kit that all complement and aggressive yet intelligent playstyle.

He’s a good character, is what I’m saying. Pair him with a Zarya for something heavy and aggressive, or Orisa or Reinhardt and lock down an objective with ease. He matches well with a variety of damage dealers and supports and overall provides some great character and new challenges to the game. Bravo.

On the other hand, Role Queue. Controversial among my friends, I approach the concept of a limitation on team comps using pre-game hero selection with optimism. After all, all three roles are varied in their own ways and one is able to select as many or as few roles as possible, meaning noone is ever forced to switch into a sub-optimal role and lose the match.

And the result?

Well, for one, toxicity in my matches is way down. Tank players will tank, support players will support, and DPS players will do whatever it is they do. There is one issue that what toxicity exists is now laser-focused, as two healers argue between the two of them while the D.Va and the Wrecking Ball give each other some funny looks…

As for the meta, it’s a strange one. Sigma is very prevalent, but it’s often the other choice of tank that determines the team’s playstyle. Zenyatta and Lucio seem to be fairly weak choices at the gold/plat line and Reaper and Mei get a strangely high amount of attention, but overall the game feels refreshed. Thanks to a total meta shake-up, games feel exciting and – importantly – fun once again, and overall I’m happy to call role queue a success.

The bottom line? Now is the perfect time to get back into ‘Overwatch’.

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