Why Overwatch 2's 5v5 Change is a Bad Idea

Overwatch 2 will move away from the 6v6 gameplay of Overwatch 1 by removing a tank
Overwatch 2 will move away from the 6v6 gameplay of Overwatch 1 by removing a tank / Photo courtesy of Blizzard

Despite not being released yet, Overwatch 2 has already had its fair share of ups and downs. Earlier this year, Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 would be redefining their online PvP by removing one tank and making the game a 5v5 rather than the original 6v6. This decision has been met with mixed reactions.

While Blizzard’s move is definitely innovative and will undoubtedly shake up how Overwatch is played, it takes away from an integral component of the game. Shifting to a 5v5 style will limit strategy while simultaneously putting too much strain on the, now singular, tank. 

Often referred to as the frontline, tanks’ large health pools allow them to absorb damage without falling instantly. This enables them to push forward creating not only space for their team, but the opportunity to engage and get the first pick. By having two tanks, the original Overwatch allows them to play around each other. Whether by pushing together or cycling in and out as necessary, tank duos make it difficult for one singular tank to be focused down and eliminated by their opposition. 

With one tank removed though, this strategy is also gone. Now alone on the frontline, the tank will be under increased strain not having anybody else able to absorb the significant amount of damage directed their way. The low health pools of DPS and Support heroes will inhibit their ability to alleviate the pressure on the tank.

Moreover, the move to 5v5 gameplay will heavily detract from the flexibility of team compositions and strategies. Having two tanks allowed teams to play compositions such as double bubble, dive, and bunker compositions with lots of flexibility. With one tank soon to be out of the loop, the viability of these strategies will quickly fall. 

First off, the double bubble strategy is completely torpedoed as two tanks, Winston and Zarya, are required and now teams can only play one. Meanwhile, the dive strategy can still be used with a tank such as D.Va or Winston, but becomes much harder to execute. With only one tank to initiate the engagement, teams will have to move in extremely quickly as their opponent's attention won’t be split between two tanks starting the fight. Having only one tank means that teams may be able to completely focus and kill the diving tank before the rest of their team can enter the battle. Finally, bunker compositions become much easier to break when teams cannot utilize the “double shield” method as they can only have one tank.

These examples are emblematic of a larger problem that comes with the loss of one tank. The flexibility and variety of compositions teams are able to play under the current two-tank system drastically decreases when there is only one tank on the battlefield. While Blizzard wanted to make games more competitive by removing a tank, they have unintentionally put too much stress on the now solo tank while simultaneously weakening the compositional variety and adaptability Overwatch is known for.