Creativity is the essence of discovery: Overwatch 2 Beta Statistical Analysis
August 4, 2022
Heroes of Overwatch, welcome back!
The second Overwatch 2 beta has ended, and that means it’s time to talk data–again! In our previous beta statistics blog, we took you behind the scenes to learn more about Overwatch data and statistics like weighted usage rate, unmirrored win rate, and more. This data, along with healthy amounts of player feedback, user research, internal discussion, and lots and lots of gameplay are the cornerstones of the hero balance process. In this blog, we’ll be walking back down that same road to show how we used these metrics to inform decisions that were made during the second beta.
The highlight of the second beta was, of course, Junker Queen. The design team wanted to ensure that she was just as powerful as the Queen we saw in her cinematic, but not so powerful that she dominated the entire beta. However, Queen wasn’t our only focus; this beta began with a smorgasbord of hero changes, including a full reimagining of the damage role passive. Finally, this beta was opened to console players, which meant ensuring that no hero was over or under tuned on all platforms was a chief concern.
Before we get too deep into the analysis, let’s talk about the PC versus Console balance split. Overwatch finds itself in a similar situation to other cross-platform titles, where we have a playerbase that enjoys our game on many platforms and with many different input control schemes. This can–and does–create different strategies that work better with either a controller or a mouse and keyboard. While there were differences in win rates for particular heroes on console versus PC, we were quite happy with the overall balance of heroes throughout the beta on both platforms. If anything, the win rates of heroes on console platforms were closer together than on PC! With this in mind, for the rest of this blog the metrics displayed will be a combination of PC and console data, but for all those data enthusiasts out there, here is a table of unmirrored win rate differences throughout the entire beta, split by PC versus console:
Unmirrored win rate on PC and console– First week of Overwatch 2 beta
Gauging popularity and power
Now, we turn our attention to the blue-mohawked elephant in the room: Junker Queen. We love the Queen. Outside of maybe Junkrat, we might be Junker Queen’s biggest fans. When the beta launched, we were as excited to play Junker Queen as the community. Queen’s performance both in usage rate and win rate was fantastic–but she was definitely the all-star of the beta.
Weighted hero usage rates– First week of Overwatch 2 beta
This chart illustrates the relative usage rate of heroes compared to the equilibrium usage rate for their role. You can learn more about weighted usage rate in the prior stats blog, but you can think of it as how often a hero is played, relative to the number of heroes in its role. Junker Queen blasted into the Overwatch roster with a whopping 7.5 weighted usage rate, meaning that she was played more than seven times as often as the average for the tank role.
This metric is an excellent barometer for hero popularity, but this alone isn’t enough to indicate that a hero is too powerful. Sojourn, for example, was nearly as popular as Queen in this regard, at more than five weighted usage rate for most of the beta. We expected this kind of interest in Overwatch’s newest heroes, especially with a group of beta participants in console players who hadn’t had the chance to try them out yet. If we wanted to consider balance adjustments for either hero, we had to look at more than just their relative popularity. For that task, we examined their unmirrored win rates to get a better picture of their power level: