Why did Blizzard Choose 6v6 Format For Overwatch?
Unlike most big titles in its competition, Overwatch boasts a 6v6 format. So, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the upcoming competitive mode of the game will also follow the same format. But why did Blizzard shy away from the widely popular 5v5 format and choose a 6v6 format for Overwatch? Let us have a look.
Why is 5v5 so incredibly popular?
Historically as well as statistically, 5v5 is THE most successful format to date when it comes to multiplayer esports. In fact, 6v6 has been used by only a handful of games like Team Fortress 2 and the format wasn’t really popular.
DotA, Counter-Strike and Aeon of Strife were just some of the first 5v5 multiplayer titles to emerge. With time, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DotA 2, and League of Legends played a massive role in popularizing the 5v5 format around the world. At the same time, the 5v5 format has single-handedly revolutionized online multiplayer gaming as we know it.
One of the biggest and obvious downsides of the 6v6 format is the added cost. LAN organizers are forced to provide gamers with more computers along with space for additional players. However, it is true that the pros that LAN organizers eventually enjoy from a flourishing 6v6 gaming session easily outweighs the cons.
You must also factor in the additional information that the server must consolidate for 6v6 format since it has two additional connections compared to the conventional 5v5 format. While you may argue that this is yet another trivial issue, some features that give way to technical issues must, nevertheless, be considered.
Political deadlock is something that you may stumble upon discounting the condition that you are a two-player, four-player, or six-player team. If teammates have the option to divide themselves evenly and fairly, they will certainly have greater confidence at holding their ground.
The 6v6 format also brings with it certain benefits and unique features that players can really get used to in the game. For example, during the roster change screen, teams will be able to merge in a more complex way.
Contrary to what we see in 5v5, six-person teams can be reconstructed with greater ease since you can make up the team with two sets of three players or three sets of two. This way, the star player who wants to switch organizations can be accommodated quite easily.
Lastly, 6v6 format also means that players are going to come in packages. This way, 6v6 format has much greater potential to amplify social aspects of online multiplayer gaming.
Why did Blizzard choose 6v6?
In my honest opinion, the positives of 6v6 format certainly outweigh the negatives. In the arguments that follow, productivity is pitched as the desired feature. In 5v5 format, players gang up against each other and this creates a lot of tension in the atmosphere. In a first-person shooter like Overwatch, encouraging team members to outdo each other could be seen as a positive feature.
However, Blizzard sees things a little differently. In the eyes of the developer, 5v5 may promote unnecessary hostility compared to a 6v6 format which caters to a more casual audience. It actually sounds convincing and may be the reason why Overwatch has become one of the most popular and fastest-selling games in such a short time!