Overwatch's Play of the Game (PotG) is a mechanic shrouded in mystery. Everybody's had a moment where they figured their quadruple kill with a perfectly timed emote would nab it, only to be ousted by a couple of boring turret bursts. In a recent forum post, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan provided stats to help dispel some of the questions surrounding PotG. Here are the characters who earn it the most as of the latest big patch (1.3):
According to Kaplan, Mercy is the only abnormality. "We'll look into her," he said, which makes me sad, because good Mercys deserve all the love in the world — even if their replays aren't always bullet-riddled thrill rides.
The lowest number of PotGs, meanwhile, go to Ana and Lucio. That's not particularly surprising, given that neither character possesses a big burst or AoE attack, or even a team-wide mega-revive, a la Mercy. That said, Lucio can gently shove entire teams off ledges, which is hilarious every single time.
Everything else here is about what you'd expect. Genji and The Turret Boys clean up in quick play (there are two types of quick play teams: Ones that are totally lost against turrets and ones that steamroll them with surgical precision; there's zero in-between). Meanwhile, Reaper and McCree, with nightmare ults and high close-range damage to follow up, dominate competitive.
At first glance, stats like these seem to reinforce the notion that the PotG system is unfairly weighted in favour of characters capable of generating absurd offence in short bursts. Supports and defensively oriented characters, meanwhile, can only clap (to mask their jealousy) from the sidelines.
That's not exactly untrue. But it's clearly a system that Blizzard is constantly tweaking and adding new variables to, as they have said in the past. Can the system — which some players believe is dictated heavily by Overwatch's oft-ignored "on fire" mechanic — be shifted to prioritise characters who aren't damage-dealing death robots? Will it one day keep track of teamwork or moments that are pivotal, making them, you know, actual Plays of the Game? Or is the system busted on a fundamental level, at odds with Overwatch's goals as a game about teams working as well-oiled machines?
At this point, it's impossible to say. I have noticed, though, that in-the-know Overwatch players simply don't give a shit any more. Some will still get hella salty, but many just say, "Eh, PotG doesn't really mean anything." Does that mean the system's failed, or has it stealthily taught players the most important lesson of all: Acceptance?