If you weren’t able to log in and play Blizzard’s highly anticipated hero shooter sorta-sequel, Overwatch 2, you weren’t the only one. After months of developer updates the free-to-play game’s launch day was met with not just one, but two DDoS attacks, forcing players to suffer through ungodly-long queues only to be met with the high probability of subsequent login errors redirecting their asses to the back of the line. Truly, the real Overwatch 2 was the queues we waited in along the way.
I was prepared to write up my own impressions of Overwatch 2, but last night, I too suffered from the log-in errors and was only able to squeeze in five matches before getting kicked back into the queue. In an attempt to make mountains into Mountain Dew, I’ve chronicled my experience playing and (mostly) not playing Overwatch 2. Prepare yourself for these tales from the Overwatch 2 queue.
Queue status: 40,000 players ahead of me
Emotional vibe check: Perturbed
The irony was not lost on me that, despite the Overwatch team professing that OW2 isn’t just a glorified update to OW1, I was literally sitting at my Xbox watching the loading screen of OW1 receive an update called “Overwatch 2.” As annoying as all that was, I also couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about my bizarro journey with this game. It felt like it was only six years ago (because it was) when I first awaited Overwatch’s Xbox launch while seated in my freshman-year college dorm. I’d played the beta, hyped it up to friends, and was all but ready to place it alongside The Witcher 3 and Rocket League, the games that would sustain me between journo classes.
So it felt more than ironic that six years later, I would be sitting in the living room of my second apartment awaiting Overwatch 2’s launch so that I could cover it for work. I’m still coming to terms with going to school for journalism while playing Overwatch in my downtime to becoming a games journo with a whole-ass bachelor’s degree who’s covering Overwatch’s sorta sequel. Shit’s weird.
Suffice it to say that last night Overwatch 2 quickly became a meme as I and countless others waited to finally be let in to play the game. In reality, this wouldn’t come to pass for some time, thanks to the variously 20,000 to 40,000 players ahead of me and OW2’s servers being under attack.
Queue status: 20,000 players ahead of me
Emotional vibe check: Hungry
It would be dishonest of me not to admit that, by this juncture of my OW2 purgatory, I gave into temptation. I lost focus and bought my second—yes, you heard me, second—McDonald’s adult happy meal toy. Now hear me out, I still stand by those plastic toys who’re destined to occupy U.S. landfills for being ugly as sin, but I can’t deny my desire to possess my own biblically accurate Grimace and proceed to note his presence to any future house guests. At least that’s how the scenario has been playing out in my head. So far, I’ve only got the Hamburglar and Cactus Plant Flea Market’s Cactus Buddy (boo!) so I can only hope that a theoretical third trip to the well will grant me the purple bastard. As you may have guessed, there is no OW2 update for this hour because I was too busy maxing chicken nuggies.
Queue status: 40,000 players ahead of me (again)
Emotional vibe check: Bored
By this point, I’d given up all hope of ever playing OW2 and resigned to booting up my Steam Deck to do anything but play a video game. I was technically off the clock anyway so why not? Why shouldn’t I live deliciously and use my glorified portable PC to catch up on my stories? I got caught up on episodes of What We Do in the Shadows and even started watching the latest episode of the medieval white people drama that is HBO’s House of the Dragon. Them Targaryens are messy. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who took this purgatory as an opportunity to metaphorically touch grass either. Another would-be OW2 player hit the town and ended up winning a fourth place at his local pub’s trivia night. Cheers.
Queue status: 20 people ahead of me
Emotional vibe check: WE MOVE
The promised time was finally upon me. Much like the Creation of Adam, Junkrat’s grubby fingers touched my own through the Xbox controller and I was greeted with a gratuitous slow-motion shot of Genji’s new epic skin, attempting to entice me into giving this game more money than I already had by buying loot boxes in Summer Games past. But my willpower held strong because all I was concerned about was how my sweet babies, D.VA, Mercy, and Moira, were looking in OW2. Lo and behold, all my skins and emotes were still there, albeit updated with OW2’s new character models. It literally pays to be grandfathered into OW2. The only thing yet to see was if I could still hang in-game.
As you can see, this old boy still has the moves. And by moves, I mean maining healer and tanks because OW1’s queue times were abysmal if you were trying to play a damage character. Of the five games I played last night, including OW2’s new push map, I only lost one. As far I’ve played so far OW2 basically plays the same as OW1 just with the added bonus of character models looking more detailed and its maps being at different times of day.
The major gripe I have with OW2 so far is that firefights no longer feel like wars of attrition in which applying team-based strategies in narrow chokepoints feels rewarded. Instead, OW2’s larger maps and 5v5 gameplay feel more akin to team deathmatches in Call of Duty in which individual pop-off plays are the focus.
One upside to OW2, in comparison to its closed beta, is that the outcome for matches no longer feel like foregone conclusions if you or the enemy team have an early advantage. This is due to OW2’s new passive healing and damage attributes where, if you are working your ass off, your health and movement speed gradually increase. I found this update to the game to be a welcome change in making characters across the board feel more durable in lieu of reintegrating OW1’s dreaded barrier meta. No one liked every character and their mother having a barrier you needed to whittle down, or getting stunned left and right by annoying heroes. (Looking at you, Brigitte.)
However, my hubris over actually getting into the game would very soon catch up, leading me to ruin. Sharing my PotG clip to the interwebs to let the people know I’m “that guy” came to bite me in the ass because by the time I returned to the game OW2’s servers had decided to log me off and banish me back to the login queue shadow realm with the rest of you plebs. Sad.
Queue status: 400 people ahead of me
Emotional vibe check: Sleepy
Ultimately, just like with its predecessor, what saved my jimmies from being rustled by Overwatch’s many shortcomings—long droughts of content, perpetual log-in errors, or the promise of a canonical story that constantly received retcons—were the memes that poured in from the community. Y’all were in full force last night and made me remember why I love playing this cursed game in the first place.
Playing Overwatch meant being able to hang out with my friends across the country during late-night sessions. It didn’t matter whether we got aggressively rolled during multiple games or pulled off a monumental game-winning strategy; At the end of the day, OW served as ambiance akin to keeping my favorite film playing on mute while I caught up with house guests. Weekly challenges were less for the procurement of skins and emotes, and more to have an excuse to call up a friend and schedule a playdate—something that I hope to continue with OW2’s weekly challenges, because I ain’t gonna be paying for no Watchpoint pass. That’d just ruin the fun of getting items by playing with my friends.
The best part of waiting to play OW2 wasn’t finally getting in, it was seeing the memes everyone made while we waited. It was heartwarming to see our Overwatch community was still alive and kicking in the only way we could be, by sharing memes from our folders for when Overwatch 2 is good and for when it inevitably fails. Hopefully, by the time I feel the urge to get back into the fight and maybe play some of those new characters, Blizzard will have sorted its servers.