Using Data Analysis to Understand Competitive Overwatch
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March 24, 2017
Overwatch Hero Meta Report: Console (S4 Week 3)
The big patch has hit! Bastion's Ironclad nerf is here, as well as changes to quite a few other heroes! Though Orisa has not unlocked for competitive yet, there are still some significant shakeups this week.
The main trends: Bastion finally is declining in usage, Mercy usage grows while Ana declines, and people appear to be experimenting with heroes. D.Va, Junkrat, and Soldier76 see big bumps in usage at different tiers.
this report is: A report and tier list of Overwatch hero usage and
player trends across competitive ladder tiers (Grandmaster ->
Bronze), covering usage for a single week of S4. We want
to answer the questions "What are people playing at each tier? What are
the big changes from the prior week?".
this report is not: We do not report any data from professional or
above chart breaks down average usage of a hero by tier, grouped into
the same categories (Offense, Defense, Tank, Support) as found in the
game. Generally speaking, higher tiers prefer higher skill cap
characters that can reward them for their play, while lower tiers prefer heroes that are easier to learn and be productive with.
Let's take a deeper look at each hero category:
Offensive heroes seeing play continue to be influenced by dive compositions. Soldier is still the most popular offensive hero, with more Bronze (5%) and Grandmasters (+2%) playing him in the past week. Pharah's popularity continues to be strong despite waning a bit at Grandmaster; However, there is increased competition for the #2 spot from Genji and Tracer at higher tiers. All three of those heroes remain key components to dive compositions, with Pharah also being very strong when paired with Mercy. Sombra and Reaper continue to be niche picks, with Reaper being more popular at lower tiers. So far, it seems as though Sombra's buffs to translocator cooldown and team-visible hacked health packs have not enticed players enough for her to see more play.
Defense heroes continue to be the least popular (and probably most situational) hero category. The big news this week is that the nerf to Bastion's ironclad nerf hit on Tuesday. Despite, only two days of him being out, he has already declined an average of 4% in usage, with Masters and Grandmasters seeing a 6% and 7% decrease in Bastion play. If these trends continue, we may see a huge drop in Bastion play in the next week. Junkrat continues to be the #2 defensive hero at low tiers; this week he surges 7% in usage at Bronze. The patch released Tuesday buffs Junkrat and removes self-damage from explosions, strengthening his close range fighting and ults. It's unclear if the increase of Junkrat is due to these buffs or the reduced interest in Bastion. Hanzo, Mei, and Torb continue to be niche picks, more picked in lower tiers and strong on some modes such as Assault. Widowmaker continues to be one of the least favorite heroes in Overwatch on console.
Tanks continue to dominate as the most popular be a big part of the meta at all tiers of play. Reinhardt remains the most popular tank and one of the most highly played heroes in
Overwatch. Similar trends to past weeks continue, with D.Va continuing to be popular at low tiers, while Zarya and Roadhog remain
very popular at high tiers. Zarya's ult in particular remains
incredibly strong and able to combo with many other heroes in the game.
However, a shake up in tank play is likely in the works. The buffs to Winston's shield (effective) cooldown reduction) has lead to small (1%-2%) increase in Winston play; the largest change in Winston usage we have seen this season. If dive compositions continue to grow in popularity, I would expect Winston to benefit. New main tank hero Orisa is available for competitive next Tuesday, bringing high utility kit with moveable shields. With Orisa, Reinhardt, and Winston all having strong shields, there have been whispers of a "shield meta" team composition. While I think we have reason to be skeptical on the success of such a team composition, we will wait and see what kind of impact Orisa will have on the meta.
Support usage continues to shift. Mercy's
growth is continuing to surge in console, as she remains the #1 support on console and one of the most popular heroes in the entire game of Overwatch. Her buff to her ultimate ability (invulnerability) and the high usuage of Pharah and squishy heroes like Genji are some of the factors with her increasing popularity. Lucio is the clear #2 support, as his aura healing and speed boost remain incredibly strong. With major changes to Lucio on the PTR making him more of an individually-strong hero (perhaps the biggest change is the reduced AOE radius), it will be interesting to see if his popularity changes. Ana continues to decline in popularity, down an average of 2% usage this week across all tiers. The decrease in damage may continue to see her usage decline in the future. Zenyatta remains the same popularity for the most part despite the buff removing spread from his primary and secondary fire. Blizzard seems to be positioning him strongly as the DPS support hero, which may enable him to see more play. Symmetra sees
a bump in low tier play likely due to her ability to deal with low HP
heroes effectively, but remains a niche pick in other tiers.