For as much flak as Battlefield 2042 last year for launch without a traditional scoreboard, which has been the norm for the last six years of Overwatch. On the Overwatch Scores screen, you can see your own performance stats such as: B. the number of your kills and deaths, but obscures the statistics of your teammates and enemies. Well, no more obfuscation: the new Overwatch 2 PvP beta has a real, honest scoreboard, and it’s making me nervous.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently scary about a colorful spreadsheet, but I’m skeptical that Overwatch 2 will be more fun with it. At worst, the new scoreboard could make Overwatch 2 less fun, especially for solo players.
Tensions run high in competitive shooters, especially in games like Overwatch, where a single underperforming teammate can mean the difference between a team’s victory or defeat. The pressure to perform is great – if not to win the match, then at least to avoid being harassed by other players in text or voice chat.
Once you’ve revealed all of your stats, as they are in CS:GO, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege, give both teammates and enemies ammunition to “back up” offensive comments or other generally crappy behavior. Overwatch 2’s scoreboard isn’t unusual, but part of Overwatch’s appeal was that it doesn’t try to be like other team shooters, so I’m not sure why it is now.
Regular Overwatch foregoes a regular scoreboard for a medal system designed to curb the toxicity of stat-obsessed teammates. Your individual stats can include gold, silver, or bronze medals that tell you how you’re doing against your team. For example, if you have a gold medal for damage, you have dealt the most damage to your team. Silver is second, bronze third. Medals are an effective way to see how you’re doing at a glance without taking a definitive look at your teammates’ stats, but that hasn’t stopped players from arming them against each other. It’s common for players to use their medals as evidence that the rest of the team is doing poorly. In this way, obfuscation can sometimes lead to misplaced accusations or act as a cover for judgmental teammates. Of course, that cocky Genji bragging about his gold medals will skip the part where he died eight times and soaked up all of Mercy’s revives.
If medals aren’t enough, curious players can take a look at their teammates’ career profile pages to see their ranks from the previous season or how many hours they’ve played their current hero. “Lmao on that crappy 12-hour grace,” a teammate of mine once remarked. Profile poking has become so intrusive and abusive that most competitive players these days have set their profiles to private.
So, no, Overwatch’s current systems aren’t a magic bullet for toxicity, but a fully transparent scoreboard doesn’t solve the problem either. At best, it helps to have a larger context for a game to explain what went right and what went wrong. In a friendly environment, this can be constructive. But if useful stats are the goal, then Overwatch 2’s scoreboard is already lacking.
It is noticeable that in Overwatch 2, which is an objective-based game, none of the stats on the scoreboard are related to the objective. K/D ratios and healing values aren’t everything. A head-smashing solider can hurt the team by not protecting its supports. A Mercy complaining about losing after healing 10,000 damage may not have maxed out her damage boost. Meanwhile, the medalless Ana, who pushed the payload while everyone ran ahead, gets zero props on the scoreboard. At worst, Overwatch 2’s scoreboard means jerks now have more tools to be jerks. Unfortunately, these games attract a lot of idiots, so the cons outweigh the pros in my opinion.
Having spent years in Rainbow Six Siege lobbies, I would willingly give up detailed stats if it would make players relax. I really don’t need a casual Overwatch match for my K/D ratio to be mocked by the opposing team’s Cassidy. However, it can be fun to compare stats with my friends, so maybe it would be a nice compromise to only show my stats to my party.
Blizzard has clarified that nothing in the Overwatch 2 beta should be considered final, so it’s possible the scoreboard will look different at the time of release.