It’s difficult to write about Overwatch nowadays due to feeling that the game‘s development can be slow. While I don’t wish to cast blame on Blizzard directly for this, you could say it is because of this slow development time we’ve seen the overwhelming might of the GOATs comp sweep the game. For a game that’s supposed to promote “playing as any hero you want at anytime,” high level play has devolved to a point where it only comprises of six or seven characters. The name of the game now isn’t really to “defeat the opposing team” as much as it is more about “outlast the opposing team” by running a Triple Tank/Triple Support to keep your team alive long enough to murder them with your ultimates.
At the moment, there is no counter to GOATs, other than for your team to run GOATs too and it has pissed off everyone. Even in the Overwatch League, many fans are upset because many of their favorite DPS heroes play as less exciting heroes and the overall experience is as fun as watching 12 people slap each other until one group falls over. If you want to win, GOATs is where it’s at, but it sucks away the fun and leaves everyone gives everyone an underwhelming feeling at the end of each fight. What’s worse though is, considering the slow pace of new heroes thrown into the game, one could say if the next hero doesn’t do something against the GOATs comp, this year‘s “Competitive Scene” will be even more painful to watch.
One does not simply “patch GOATs” apparently…
So you might say to yourself, “If GOATs are such a problem, shouldn’t Blizzard update the game to balance the heroes and make it less powerful?” You would think it would be simple to fix a meta that has dominated the game for several months, but Blizzard has not really made a push to do that until fairly recently. True, Brigitte was nerfed into the ground, but it isn’t like GOATs revolve around her specifically.
The GOATs Meta comprises of six or seven characters. The three tank heroes are D. Va, Reinhardt and Zarya, while the three support heroes are Zenyatta, Lucio and Moira/Brigitte (sharing the sixth slot depending on the map). With this latest patch, we saw a few changes made to some of these heroes: Zarya takes longer to charge her beam, Lucio’s speed boost has been decreased, and more. These changes thrown into the PTR could help to combat its effectiveness, but many would say Blizzard didn’t address the main problem with GOATs.
Heroes like Lucio, Brigitte and Moira have rather strong group healing. When you have the three on healing duties, you suddenly can make it where the healing output can outpace the damage output. Even Zenyatta can be a nightmare to deal with since Transcendence is a insta-heal to everyone and there’s no means to stop it. The problem though is that should the group healing abilities take a hit, you might stop GOATs, but you might make the heroes themselves useless. Even Jeff has spoken out of how Brigitte is strong with GOATs, but can be useless otherwise. It is a delicate balancing act that these latest balances might fix, but who knows if this will be enough.
The Combat Medic: Baptiste
So with all that buildup and pressure placed on the next hero, let’s talk about The Combat Medic: Baptiste. While he has an interesting backstory of being a former Talon Medic turned good, we’re here to talk about his kit and what he can do with it. Blizzard classifies him as a Three-Star Support Hero, although his primary weapon would make him a perfect Off-DPS. With Three-Burst shots and a secondary which fires explosive healing for his teammates, he can be just as good as attacking as he can support.
One ability he has can let him add healing over time to himself and nearby allies, and a passive that lets him jump higher than the average hero. The biggest draw to his kit though is his “Immortality Field” which keeps players from getting eliminated while they are they are inside. When used, he deploys with a drone which emits a field that can keep players’ HP to around 20% of their max health should they drop low and can even withstand powerful ultimate like a D. Va Bomb. It can stick around for 8 seconds with a 20-second cooldown, but the opposition can shoot it down or Sombra can hack it.
Finally, we have his ultimate: The Amplification Matrix. When Baptiste sets up the Matrix, any projectile thrown through it get double damage. So if an attack flies through it does 20 damage, it will then become 40. This also double the amount of healing projectiles can do too, so this can be a powerful tool if players set it up in a proper location. Overall, he has a very interesting set of abilities to his name but one question remains: what impact will he have on the game’s current meta?
You were supposed to destroy the GOATs! Not join them!
So with Baptiste coming into play, would he be a character who would help bring an end to GOATs? Or somehow make it even worse? The answer is… who knows. Depending on who you ask, Baptise has gone from one end of the spectrum to the other because we really do not know if GOATs could easily counter his kit, or if it will GOATS can become stronger or weaker with him in the mix. The immortality field can keep his teammates alive for longer, but it isn’t an ultimate; players can still counter the ability.
In the same train of thought, the Amplication Matrix could also go both ways. On the healing front, this could make Baptiste a valuable member in sustaining a team if, through the Matrix, healing gets doubled. The problem though is that all the GOATs supports wouldn’t be able to do that double healing like him. It’s also difficult to say if Baptiste’s healing output could be a justification for taking out one of your other healers either. It would be a risk and it isn’t like his kit would lend itself any better for prolonging a fight more than the other supports.
Bringing balance to the Meta?
So if Baptiste could be good in GOATs, could he be useful against GOATs? Again, that’s difficult to say. I would argue though that if we look at what he can do when paired with certain characters, he could definitely be more useful against GOATs than for GOATs. Consider characters that could do massive amounts of damage like McCree with Deadeye, Bastion’s turret mode, or maybe even Pharah‘s Rocket Barrage. These abilities might not be good if a character is out in the open and getting killed, right?
But then what happens if Baptiste throws out the immortality field? Suddenly you could say it doesn’t matter if they are in the open if they can’t get eliminated for a couple of seconds. That and when you consider the Amplification Matrix, you can double the damage output of those characters where their defenses can melt like butter. We could see plays where amping up Bastion while it is dumping bullets into the enemies could be the scariest thing to combat and can be one of the best tank busters in the game thanks to Baptiste.
If we consider what he can do, it seems like his play style promotes a strategy of not being so close to the opposition. If you are close to the opponent when you use the immortality field, the enemy can just target the drone and then get back to murdering your team. Whereas a better idea would be to have him and a few tanks busters off in the distance hidden behind a barrier and then to use the field to prolong their survivability. Again, who knows if this will be how it plays out, but I like to think Baptiste can be a key component to slowing down GOATs.
Will Baptiste be the answer to GOATs? That’s probably too early to say. The hero isn’t even a week old yet, and Blizzard can still make more changes in the PTR before he and the changes go to the live server.
The question now becomes this: if Baptiste doesn’t make the impact we are hoping for and GOATs becomes more dominant than ever, where do we go from there? Two things come to mind, but sadly, either choice will likely piss someone off. The first could be to “enforce” a 2-2-2 meta (Two DPS, Two Tank, Two Support). That would get rid of GOATs, but then you would take away that idea of choice that Blizzard was so proud of. The other would be to finally establish a “Ban Feature” where each team bans one hero. Would that be too soon for having 30 heroes in the game? Sure, but when six or seven heroes see more playtime compared to the rest, this would be one way to put in variety in matches.
If we consider the release schedule for new heroes and how the League will likely end before we see Hero 31, Baptiste could very be the last hope of change to the game (since I doubt we’ll see any more reworks for now). If he doesn’t have an impact and if GOATs continues to dominate most matches, fans will lose interest and Overwatch can see a drop in their audience come the later stages. Let’s hope that after March is over and the second stage starts, we see the return of what made Overwatch special.
What do you think?
Is Baptiste going to help stop GOATs? Or join it? Will these changes by Blizzard finally help to shift the meta towards something enjoyable? And do you think GOATs is hurting the game? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles on Overwatch and other things gaming.
Also on a quick sidenote: Stop harassing Matilda Smedius (Brigitte’s voice actress). If you have a problem with the character, take it up with Blizzard and stop making Overwatch a bad game. Personally, I enjoy playing as Brigitte and it was great to finally have another melee character after so long (as well as have a shift away from the Dive meta).