‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Overwatch Contenders happened the last two weekends for NA and EU. During the tournament they made more use of the free cam in observing. Sideshow also made a good video about the topic.
Here are some points to add to the free cam issue. The maps in Overwatch are inherently designed for the casual playing experience rather than the pro playing experience. What I mean by that is the stages are beautiful, aesthetically pleasing and filled with neat little knick knacks — all things you love to see if you were playing this game for fun.
For a pro, they’d prefer it all to be plain angular boxes with no fluff because that lessens the amount of information they must absorb and disseminate.
You can strike a balance between the two as is done in CS:GO (though I think they cater more to the casual than the pro). It’s fine from an observer perspective. The problem with Overwatch is that the Z-axis is much more important in that game so there are way more vertical lines and with the aesthetic in place, it makes it much more difficult for observers to find a place that can see all of the action.
Second, I think the first person point of view is better for seeing skill and, more importantly, I don’t think the casual watcher cares so much about the macro game as much as he does about watching things explode.
In that case, the answer is to do what the NFL does and run replays in the post game to show what happened.
The essential problem with that is the inherent differences between football and Overwatch, namely downtime between plays. Football is set up in such a way that it is very easy and natural to run a replay between downs. There are some breaks between one Overwatch fight and the next, but not enough time to run a replay to analyze/examine how the last fight played out.
So the question I pose to OW fans and experts is this: Do you want OW to have as much uptime (i.e. fight time) as it does now? In other esports games (Sc2, Dota2, LoL, CS:GO), there is some amount of downtime between the plays and increasing the downtime between battles could alleviate the observing problem somewhat as you can do the first person POV and then use the free cam to analyze the entire battle as a whole in the replay.
I’m currently undecided as I haven’t watched enough OW to decide.