This article is part of our Changes to the Meta series.
After our own Noah Waltzer and Richard “Ricky” Porter dug deep into the previous and current state of Lucio in the world of Overwatch, it was time to dig deep into the meta itself. We’ve got the current state of the meta as a whole, where supports currently fit, and some ideas on what the next hero’s kit could look like.
What would you change, if you could, about the Skill Rating system, particularly as it pertains to support mains?
The common argument I’ve been hearing is that performance-based SR in this most recent season [goes] both ways. I’ve gotten 10 points a win and 25 a loss, and that's frustrating. I don’t think it has a place in this game. It punishes people who flex (common argument), and, for supports specifically, I think it’s gotten somewhat better but [win/loss based SR gains] should be removed. At least I hope so. I see some supports get high on the ladder, and they’re really good, but there are few examples [of this]. I’d like to do away with performance-based SR all together.
Let’s look at the game in general right now. How are you enjoying the current meta?
No. Hard no. (laughs) I don’t even know what the meta is, since comp has reached a state where no one is picking anything conducive to a team environment. In the past week, I get one main tank player per day on my team. I want to say there is no meta. Even as a Lucio player, the Junkrat buffs were rough for an aggro Lucio since you always get two-shot. I do think getting away from dive comp was healthy, but competitive integrity is low. People who are coming in should pick main tank, as it's the most needed role right now. It used to be Lucio back in S2/S3, where people first realized you needed him in higher levels of the ladder, but now that’s happening with Rein/other main tanks. If you want to climb, learn to main tank.
While we’re talking about tanks, what do you think about Orisa?
She feels alright. I know there’s the cheese Orisa+Torbjorn, in which she does well. I think she’s well tuned as a character, but she doesn’t have a role outside of that. We were playing against a 4600 SR, 86% WR Orisa the other day, [and] he was good but we just walked around him and killed his whole team. Just walk around her and she can’t do much.
In the current meta, it’s hard to discuss the support role without mentioning the moth in the room. What do you think about the Mercy rework? Did it create more problems than it solved?
As a Lucio player? Yes. I get flamed if I can’t pick her. Recently I read an article on Reddit where one of the APAC tournaments saw Lucio with a lower pickrate than McCree, and was only played on Control maps (King of the Hill). Maybe that’s what Blizzard’s going for? It doesn’t seem right, though. If you can’t pick Lucio on Control, there’s a problem. Lucio should be Control viable at the very least. The problem of it is that the Ressurect mechanic. I think it’s a good mechanic to have in the game, I think the community will get used to it. I’ve heard that in higher level play, it’s more dealt with and that teams are learning how to play around the res and not insta-res’ing the first death, but she’s picked 95% of the time and that’s a problem. If Blizzard released another support with some of these mechanics, it would be fine. With only five supports, though, there aren’t a lot of options. Overall, I think it’s unfortunate for Lucio players, I read an interview that said it’s important to be flexible. It sucks that I’ve played one character for 6 seasons and now he’s trash, but it’s healthy. If they add another support and encouraged flexibility between the role that would be good, but there’s almost no flexibility in the role right now.
If you could buff one character in the game to bring balance to the meta, who would it be and why?
Junkrat and zoning compositions are really strong, McCree too. So, maybe giving Pharah a tiny buff vs hitscan would be interesting to see; it would help with the Junkrat problem. D.Va is also pretty good, but I think people don't recognize the potential, so maybe once people get to know the new D.Va better? Mei would be interesting, but I’ll say Pharah.
There seems to be a revolving wheel of support viability, what are your thoughts on the cycle of meta supports?
I know a lot of Zenyatta mains who never got to play him, same with Mercy. If you happen to main the support character that Blizzard has recently buffed, you’re sitting pretty. Truly good players will adapt over time, though. I do think if someone puts in hours and work, you will be rewarded as the players that accomplish mastering multiple characters at a very high level get rewarded.
In high-level competitive play, what are some things that supports do that lower-tiered player might not be aware of?
Really deciding on a playstyle you want to improve on could be beneficial. Realizing there are other playstyles is a part of that. Like I’ve said, I prefer to play aggressively, but there are multiple ways to play the game as long as you bring value to the team. Another big part that is as long as you can watch your VODS and measure yourself with a goal. EX: “I want to make sure your DPS doesn’t die” and then watch back to see if you meet that goal. It’s also applicable to all aspects of life.
If you could design the next support hero, what kind of abilities would he/she/it have?
I’d really like to see another movement speed modifier. Another crowd control (hard or soft), speed boost one character would be interesting or play a melee support. Now, after Lucio got nerfed, no supports can really get in people’s faces. As a DPS-focused support, I’d like a pure hitscan support. Maybe a root mechanic?
Talk to me about crowd control in Overwatch. Only two “healer” supports have crowd control in their kits, do you think adding more CC to supports in the future would benefit or hurt the role?
I imagine a world in which you play Ana and another character with a hard-CC and the CC-chain becomes overwhelming. It could be interesting, but would it be the direction that OW needs to go? Maybe. There might be healthier mechanics that could be introduced for players to carry themselves, though, so I’ll say no.