I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I listened to a few minutes here and there. I heard a lot of complaining about hard counters. This is a problem I see not just in Overwatch, but in almost all the popular asymmetrical competitive games regardless of genre.
I addressed this a little bit in the game balance panel. When does the fighting game start? Does it start before or after the character select screen?
There seems to be this belief, reinforced by the community, that there is a meta, and there should be a meta. That in an asymmetrical game where you select characters, build decks, create armies, etc. that those decisions you make before the game should matter. Some portion of the game should be decided before the game even starts.
Obviously nobody seems to advocate that the decisions you make before the game should be the most important, just that they should matter to some extent. Then the actual decisions you make during the game should take care of the rest. People don’t want to play rock/paper/scissors. They want Terrans vs. Zerg with both having a chance to win.
Sadly, what I am seeing from game designers is that they can’t figure out how to bring about this reality, even though they want to. They want to give players lots of fun and powerful abilities. To prevent them from being OP, they have no ideas other than just giving hard counters to the opponent. Tired of getting fireballed? Play Circle of Protection: Red. That’s the extent of the creativity of a lot of game designers these days.
Personally, I challenge the fundamental notion that the decisions you make before the game should matter. There should be no meta. Even if a game is asymmetrical, the decisions you make before the game starts should matter as little as possible. How cool would it be to have a CCG where you can just take any random legal deck, and have it be relatively equally powerful to any other. Now deck building is not an exercise of strategy or metagaming, but a matter of self expression. You choose your class because you like its style and identify with it. Winning and losing is determined solely by your skill and play during the actual game.
Is that hard to pull off? Very much so, especially if the game is very asymmetric. Still, it seems that just about everyone working on asymmetric games has decided it’s too difficult to even attempt solving it. Instead they circumvent the issue with other hacks like picks and bans, sealed drafts, or even Keyforge’s procedural generated decks. As hard as it is, I think it’s worth making the attempt, and I have some ideas I’m working on.