When Overwatch 2 launched in October of last year, it was only natural that players stumbled into its new Push mode like ignorant babies in the dark. But y’all, we’ve had five months of pushing barricades across Toronto and Rome, and I need the rest of the Overwatch community to get off the goddamn robot when we’re winning and in overtime.
For the uninitiated or those who need a reminder of how the Push mode works in Overwatch 2, this is the Treadweather TS-1 Large Utility Robot [pic below], but his friends call him TS-1. Or, if you’re playing as a character less friendly to the series’ Omnic race, they probably just call him “the robot.” This fine gentleman is the centerpiece of the Push mode, as two competing teams escort him across a map as he pushes one of two barricades across it.
TS-1 moves in accordance with the players who are in his proximity, and if competing players are close to him and fighting, he’ll remain stationary and ask that players “resolve [their] issues” before he proceeds. The first to get their team’s barricade from the center of the map to the other end in front of the enemy team’s spawn wins. If time runs out, the team whose barricade is further into enemy territory is deemed the victor.
Like most Overwatch modes, it sounds pretty simple on paper. The nuance of the game is in the heroes players choose and how they interact with their teammates and counter their enemies. But Push isn’t quite like other modes, where you need to move the payload or control an objective point. Where TS-1 is on the map at any given moment can factor into your team’s strategy if you’re coordinated. For example, say your team is in the lead. TS-1 has pushed your barricade well into enemy territory, but your opponents gained the upper hand and won a team fight. They’ve got TS-1 closer to your spawn than their own, and if you win the next fight and regain control of the bot, you have a strategic advantage. The enemy team will have to get back to TS-1 to reengage and try to gain the lead.
So while it might seem the reasonable thing to do to guide TS-1 back to the other side of the map to start pushing your barricade again, if you’re already ahead and there’s not a ton of time left in the match, it can sometimes be better to hold your position and let the opposing team come to you.
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Of course, this comes with risks. If you lose that battle, TS-1 is much closer to the enemy’s barricade. That’s why it’s important to coordinate with your team, have a unified plan, and make the judgment call depending on factors like ultimate charge, how many people in your team are alive versus in spawn, and whether or not you think the team is sitting on a few ultimates of their own. While pushing a payload is pretty straightforward, the decision between pushing and holding your position in Push is a situational game sense that you learn the more you play the mode. However, there is a universal instance where you need to leave TS-1 alone and let him stand in place: when you’re winning and the game goes into overtime.
Just like any Overwatch 2 mode, a Push game doesn’t just end when the clock runs out, it ends when no one is contesting the objective. This means that as long as a member of both teams is next to TS-1, the match will continue into overtime. This underlying design is one of Overwatch’s greatest strengths because it means that a match is truly never over until it’s over, and there’s no reason to give up if there’s any chance you can contest an objective to the very last second. With an Escort or Control point map, this means it’s paramount to stay on an objective until the announcer declares a victor, or at least make sure your opponent can’t get near it. With Push, putting some distance between yourself and TS-1 has a strategic advantage in Overtime.
The trouble is, most randos I play with don’t get this and will escort the big robot right into enemy hands. In fairness to everyone involved, this is learned behavior from every other Overwatch mode. To win an Escort match, you have to be on the payload, and despite the setup having some notable differences, escorting a payload and escorting TS-1 are identical in terms of how you interact with them. But after five months of walking the robot into enemy lines when you would have won the match otherwise, when will we all learn to get off the bot?
If I’m playing with strangers I will spam the “Fall Back” voice command to no avail as my teammates guide TS-1 on a blissful stroll right into our opponent’s filthy clutches. Kotaku Senior Editor Alyssa Mercante described it as similar to “ yelling at your dog when they pick up something bad,” and I know you, like the dog, want to hold onto things that aren’t good for you and hide them under the couch. But I’m telling you to leave it, Overwatch community. Yes, we made jokes about staying on the payload for years, and now I’m asking you to get off the robot so this match can end and I can play any other mode.