Exploring the World of Overwatch

Being a Blizzard game, there is no shortage of lore in the upcoming first-person shooter Overwatch.  While there are no plans to include a campaign in the game, every character and map is dripping with detail.  The developers have built a vividly realized world for players to stage their battles in, which they plan to explore further with a series of digital comics and animated shorts that will be released for free in the future.  Until then, this guide will take you through everything there is to know about the world of Overwatch and its vibrant inhabitants.


Omnic Crisis

The largest inciting incident in the history of Overwatch was the robot uprising known as the Omnic Crisis.  Highly intelligent machines called omnics rebelled against their creators, resulting in a massive war.  It was a global crisis with every nation having to stand against the robot rebels in their own ways.  Dreadful warmachines like the Siege Automaton E54, or “Bastion” unit (pictured above), wrought destruction across the world.  Fortunately, the crisis is already long over by the time Overwatch takes place and humanity has already won the war against the machines thanks in large part to the efforts of one team…



The next thing you need to know about Overwatch is, well, Overwatch.  The organization that the game is named after was formed in response to the Omnic Crisis and involved talented soldiers from around the world.  Not every country participated in the Overwatch program, such as Russia deciding to focus on defending its own, but several nations from around the world contributed to the organization.  Among Overwatch’s founding members were Gabriel Reyes, Jack Morrison, Reinhardt Wilhelm, Torbjörn Lindholm, and Ana Amari, with Lena ‘Tracer’ Oxton, Winston, Angela ‘Mercy’ Ziegler, Mei-Ling Zhou, Genji Shimada, and Jesse McCree joining over the years. Ana’s daughter, Fareeha ‘Pharah’ Amari, was well on her way to following in her mother’s footsteps, but before she could officially join came the point where things fell apart.

For as optimistic as many of its agents were, Overwatch was far from ideal and there were plenty of shadows looming over the organization’s history.  McCree, for example, was originally a member of the Deadlock Gang and only joined Overwatch after he was arrested and offered a deal if he worked for their covert division, Blackwatch.  Worse yet, Reyes and Morrison were subjected to super-soldier experiments that left their minds warped.  As a result, Reyes became the ruthless mercenary Reaper and Morrison became the vigilante Agent 76.

After 20 years of service, Overwatch was disbanded by higher command.  The closure was abrupt and many mysteries still surround what events took place behind the scenes.  Overwatch’s members all went their seperate ways after its disbanding, but several of the organization’s frontline agents still want answers on why Overwatch was shut down.

It should be noted that, while the characters Zenyatta, Lùcio, and Bastion are featured in the above group shot, none of them were ever officially affiliated with Overwatch.



Each nation had its own way of responding to the Omnic Crisis.  Both South Korea and Russia decided to fight metal with metal, each developing their own lines of piloted mech suits independently from the Overwatch program.  Initially, South Korea’s MEKA program, short for Mobile Exo-force of the Korean Army, used remote-controlled drones to battle the rebel omnics, but this proved inefficient when one particularly powerful omnic appeared.

A giant omnic capable of adapting itself after every battle emerged from the sea and posed a constant threat to to the Korean coastline.  MEKA would beat back the monstrous machine, but never manage to finish it off.  Eventually, the omnic found a way to disrupt the long-range controls of the drones and a more direct approach was required.  It was at this point that the drones were converted into piloted mech suits, but finding suitable pilots to handle the complex controls and keep up with the omnic’s adaptive intellect was difficult.

In a bizarre twist, the South Korean government turned to their professional gamers to command these mechs.  Their ability to quickly strategize made them the perfect pilots to combat the towering omnic.  Their most famous agent is Hana “D.Va” Song, who had earned recognition early on as the youngest Starcraft XI world champion (yes, that is actually canon).  Her work with MEKA has garnered a special amount of notoriety as she actually streams her battles online for her adoring fans to watch.


Australian Liberation Front

One of the most devastating effects of the Omnic Crisis was the destruction that occurred in Australia.  After the war, the world governments offered control of the continent of Australia to the surviving omnics in the hopes of establishing peace.  Obviously, the Australian citizens weren’t happy with the deal as many were displaced by the influence of omnics.  One of those displaced citizens was Mako “Roadhog” Rutledge and he and many others were not going to take it lightly.  The Australian Liberation Front was formed in response in the hopes of taking back their land by any means necessary, ultimately leading to an attack on an omnic manufaction site called an omnium.  The conflict caused a massive explosion that turned Australia into a twisted, irradiated wasteland.  Those who had the misfortune of being raised in this twisted landscape, such as Jamison “Junkrat” Fawkes, had their minds and bodies warped by their unforgiving environment and were forged into some of the fiercest scavengers and mercenaries in the world.


The Shambali

The Omnics weren’t completely wiped out by the end of the Omnic Crisis.  Many survived and some even sought new meanings in their lives.  The most important Omnic figure post-crisis is Monyatta, the founder of a religious movement called the Shambali.  Inspired by Buddhism, the Shambali formed their own monastery in the Himalayas to meditate on the meaning of artificial life.  They were mostly isolated from the rest of the world, only communicating on occasion to deliver speeches of peace, but one of their members, Zenyatta, felt that the only way to heal the wounds left by the war was to travel out into the world and interact directly.  Zenyatta now wanders the land alone and offers aid to any he feels needs it.



With the Omnic Crisis over, man and machine have taken steps towards peaceful coexistence.  The greatest beacon of this is Numbani, a city built in the Nigerian savanna where humans and omnics live together as equals.  While Numbani has prospered, it remains the only city of its kind at the time.  The war may be over, but there is still a lingering atmosphere of resentment against omnics for the destruction they once caused.  As a result, Numbani is often the target of anti-omnic terrorist attacks.  One infamous figure in particular has a complex history with the city…



Discussing Doomfist is a little complicated as he is actually a legacy hero.  Much like how Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne are all Batman’s trusty sidekick named Robin in their own right, Doomfist is a name passed down across three different people.  They’re tied together by their use of a powerful gauntlet that was used as the focus in the debut trailer.  Numbani has an exhibit dedicated to Doomfist’s legacy, labeling the three of them as “savior”, “scourge”, and “successor” in order.

Little is known about the first Doomfist, but the reverence that Numbani shows for him suggests that he was a champion for omnic rights.  The second Doomfist is a known criminal who regularly threatens Numbani.  He was defeated in a battle with Winston, but there’s always a chance that he’ll be back.  With the third, we know absolutely nothing and the position may not have even been filled yet.  With the alternate costumes in the game, it’s possible we’ll see all three appear as playable variants of the same character in the future.


Horizon Lunar Colony

Robots aren’t the only things that decided to rise against humanity.  A research station know as the Horizon Lunar Colony was established on the moon and used gorillas as test subjects.  The experiments rapidly mutated the gorillas to the point that they achieved a level of intelligence to match humans.  One young gorilla took a particular interest in human science.  He was raised by a scientist named Dr. Harold Winston and his eyes shined with the potential that knowledge and research offered.  However, the rest of the gorillas weren’t exactly fond of having their genes tampered with and revolted.  The gorillas successfully took control of the entire colony and forced humanity to abandon its lunar research.  The one young gorilla was able to construct his own rocket and make his way to Earth.  He gave himself the name Winston in honor of his mentor and became one of the top scientific minds within Overwatch.


Shimada Clan

Organized crime is no less an issue in the era of Overwatch as it is today, and the Shimada Clan is a prime example.  Originally formed in the feudal age as an organization of ninjas, the Shimada Clan is now a powerful yakuza gang.  The leader’s two sons, Hanzo and Genji, had great expectations placed on them to carry the clan’s future.  The elder Hanzo sought to prove himself an ideal heir with his diligent approach and cold demeanor, but Genji lavished himself with his family’s wealth and influence.  His flamboyant attitude was deemed unacceptable and Hanzo was order to bring his brother inline.  Eventually, their arguments led them into a heated duel of blades.  Hanzo had won, but he had left his brother near death with serious wounds, even thinking he had killed him on the spot.  Wracked with guilt, Hanzo swore off the sword and stepped away from the Shimada Clan in order to rethink his life.

Little did Hanzo know at the time that Genji was still alive and it was thanks to Overwatch agents that had been tracing their actions.  They found him clutching to life and Mercy was able to bring him back from the brink by using cybernetic prosthetics.  Genji was reborn as a cyborg and was offered a chance to join Overwatch and help bring his clan to justice.  Vindictive, Genji agreed and even personally led the raid that left the Shimada in shambles while Hanzo was away.  Now it remains to be seen whether the two brothers will be able to come to terms or if their battle to the death shall start anew.



The Shimada Clan may have been disbanded, but the terrorist organization Talon still poses a major threat.  Talon is the definition of ruthless and nothing serves as a greater example of their cruelty then the origins of their top assassin, Widowmaker.  Once, she was Amélie Lacroix, wife to Overwatch agent Gérard Lacroix. Gérard had been a thorn in Talon’s side for years and decided to hit him where it hurt most.  Amélie was abducted by Talon, but Overwatch was able to rescue her.

Unfortunately, they did not suspect what Talon had done to her in the time she was held hostage.  Talon had subjected her to neural torture in order to break her will and transform her into a sleeper agent.  Two weeks after being brought home, she assassinated her own husband and returned to Talon.  They only experimented on her further, slowing her heart rate to rob her of any remaining humanity.  Her blue skin tone is a direct result of the extreme measures Talon took to warp her into their ideal killer.  Amélie Lacroix is long dead and a soulless monster is all that remains in her place.


Vishkar Corporation

The Vishkar Corporation is the most polarizing organization in the world of Overwatch.  Following the Omnic Crisis, Vishkar rose as a herald of reconstruction.  The company specializes in hard-light technology to swiftly rebuild cities.  Their home country of India was made especially prosperous through their efforts, with the new city of Utopaea being founded entirely by Vishkar.  They are also responsible for the rags-to-riches story of Satya “Symmetra” Vaswani in particular.  Once it was discovered that she was a prodigy with Vishkar’s hard-light architecture, she was plucked from a life of poverty and molded into one of the company’s top representatives.

However, while Symmetra was enjoying Vishkar at its most ambivalent, Lúcio Correia dos Santos saw them at their most totalitarian in Brazil.  Rio de Janeiro had suffered serious damage from the Omnic Crisis as well, and Vishkar promised to change the city for the better.  While buildings were repaired, Vishkar had installed itself as an unofficial government and enacted strict policies over the citizens.  Lúcio, a local DJ raised in the favelas, sparked an uprising against Vishkar and stole their sonic technology to be reworked into a tool of resistance.  His music speaking out against the injustices of Vishkar has made him a worldwide celebrity, including a great deal of popularity in Numbani.

With that, it’s time to wrap up this excursion into the world of Overwatch.  We could delve into the origins of Tracer, Zarya, or a few other characters we didn’t get a chance to bring up, but this should be enough to give you a wide picture of the world that this excited title is set in.  If you have anything that you feel was left out, please be sure to let us know in the comments below.

The Six Biggest Missed Opportunities In Destiny


Destiny is a unique and innovative mammoth of a game, but it has unfortunately released with too many questionable design choices. The game has been severely held back from its full potential by Bungie. While not not surprising, I can’t help but feel a lot of disappointment. The game tends to shine in several areas, but all aspects of the game are marred by bad design and a lack of inspiration or thought.

Everyone is aware of the abysmal loot system in place, and everyone is aware that Peter Dinklage’s voice performance was sub-par. I’m here to bring you the six biggest missed opportunities in Destiny aside from the obvious, and how they could’ve made the game so much more than it is.


The Lore 

When I heard that Dark Souls was the inspiration for how Bungie would tell Destiny‘s story, I was thrilled. I am too big a fan of the Souls series, and it had me even more excited for Destiny. One of my favourite parts of Dark Souls is how you have to dig to find the story. If you want to know who Gwyn is, why Quelaag resides where she does, and so on, you must dig through item descriptions and listen to dialogue to uncover details. If you were to map out a tree of lore for Dark Souls, it’d be massive and intertwined; the same cannot be said with Destiny.

Destiny tries to do the exact same thing, except that you aren’t finding items and reading them for your plot, you’re not speaking to NPCs and hearing their story, and you’re not walking through the ruins of an ancient city, scouring it for clues. In Destiny, you shoot things in the head, boot up the mobile app on your phone or PC, and read page after page of bland details. There’s no life to the world, as it’s been sucked out and placed on a tablet for your ‘viewing pleasure.’

Instead of Guns having jokes in their text, they should have history. Instead of loot chests containing grind-heavy spinmetal, they should have items that give you plot points. Instead of consumables simply explaining their purpose, they should offer insight into some of the smaller details of your character and how it functions. Instead of having about four cutscenes that slap exposition at you, there should be insightful dialogue with every NPC that you speak to – and more of them.

If you want to be Dark Souls, you have to try a lot harder than this Bungie.


NPC Interaction

As previously mentioned, NPCs are scarce in Destiny. The worlds you explore are barren wastelands and dilapidated buildings, and the only life they offer are the enemies you slaughter. I don’t know why Bungie thought the only NPCs that the game has should be in The Tower, but that was already a mistake. NPCs that do reside in The Tower have absolutely no life to them. They have no personality, no character, and no lore. Bungie couldn’t even bother to give them actual names in some cases, as the robotic servants and other such characters are the most basic unmemorable names possible.

Why is it that NPCs do not talk to you? Why is it that they have nothing insightful to say about the items you bring them? Why did Bungie get celebrity voice cast and not utilize it to the full extent of their ability?  None of it makes sense to me, and it seems that if they wanted to make a living world, they should probably have life in it.

A huge problem that MMORPGs face is that they have dull NPCs. They generally have huge pages of dialogue to summarize the side-quest you’re about to do and why it matters. It’s unfortunate that Destiny couldn’t even contain dull dialogue, as they’d rather have approximately four speaking characters in the entirety of this ‘open world’.



This might seem like a nitpick compared to some of the large problems in Destiny, but I would argue that even the smallest of details matter in the long run. Gestures are a prime example of a huge misstep in basic gameplay.

Another obvious cue from Dark Souls is Destiny‘s gesture system. If you hit one of the four directional buttons on the D-Pad, your character will do an action such as sitting, dancing, or waving. This is a cute idea with comical implementation, and it even  benefits the game as you can essentially use basic communication in a game with no voice chat (why?!).

the frustrating misstep comes in with the customization of the gestures, or lack thereof. You get a total of four that are not interchangeable or customizable. Your dance changes depending on your race, but that is the extend of the creativity Bungie put in with gestures.

Why can you not learn taunts or friendly bows? Why can you not customize where your character points or the type of wave he has? Dark Souls allowed the player to do a number of actions to earn a multitude of gestures, all interchangeable at your leisure. This system helped communicate in a world of no communication,and it added flavour to the multiplayer components.

As with everything else in Destiny, they dropped the ball.


Open World of Emptiness

It will forever baffle me that Destiny, clearly inspired by Borderlands, wanted to do away with any sort of actual collectibles and loot. Why is it that we’re given 4 sprawling planets to explore, when nothing in the world is actually worth exploring?

I had an experience with a friend when the game launched. We were casually marching to our first mission on Earth, when we noticed a cave. I immediately shouted that we should inspect the cave, for surely, there’d be some sort of reward for my keen eye and our persistence? To my dismay, all that resided within the cave was an ugly texture that somewhat resembled what a cave would look like … how exciting!

These planets are huge, and there are tons of hidden nooks and crannies for potential chests, containing randomly generated gear and items. This would actually tie in with the lore, in that you could spend time hunting out different gear and items. All of the items you’d hunt could give you benefits and insight into the lore and history of the area you’re exploring.

Instead of this, we get a total of five (wow!) golden chests to collect, half of which are hidden in missions, and a few randomly generated silver chests. This wouldn’t be so bad if the contents were more interesting, or if we had NPCs hiding in caves and other hidden areas that offered some sort of dialogue or side quest. It’s clear that Bungie would rather we go interact with a green flashy thing and get an arbitrary mission of little purpose.



When Destiny was being teased, there were several images of the types of vehicles the game would offer. I don’t think I was alone when I pictured a game that would allow us to actually pilot them. Little did I know however, is that we’d only be able to actually fly or pilot two types, and they’d both be mission-specific and severely underutilized. Beyond the two attack vehicles, you are given a Sparrow, a type of transport land-speeder that allows the player to traverse the world much faster than traditional running. The Sparrow is an excellently designed vehicle, except that it lacks any actual customization beyond colour swaps.

This is not the focus of my point, however, as the main problem I see is the jump ships. We’re given several choices with the jump ship we use to travel between planets, except that you only ever see it on loading screens. There is zero purpose to the ships beyond aesthetic value, and the cost of glimmer to buy a different skin is laughable.

Why could we not have space-centric PVP where you customize and pilot a ship? Why could the Sparrow not be customized and outfitted with boosters or decals or weaponry? Why can we not fly from planet to planet? the questions go on and on, and there are no satisfactory answers to be heard.

I was so saddened to see how little purpose vehicles serve in Destiny, and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t have actual space flight or at least bare-bones customization.



When you reach the end-game in Destiny, you’re given an option to choose a faction to fight for in the Crucible. Doing so nets you specific legendary and exotic gear, though you must rank up the faction before being able to buy anything. This sounds fine, except that it’s yet another prime example of a missed opportunity and only the most basic understanding in how a feature should be implemented.

It seems that Dark Souls is not going to stop being referenced as an inspiration for Destiny, so we’ll do with another comparison. In Dark Souls, covenants (factions) allow the player to align themselves with a specific covenant that will allow you to take part in interesting new gameplay mechanics or expand upon your experience. The Brotherhood of Blood allows you to go fight in PVP arenas where the fight is fair, The Heirs Of The Sun allow you to have a glowing orange figure as you net rewards for helping your fellow man defeat tough areas, the Bellkeepers allow you to defend the bell from intruders by being a sort of guardian. The list goes on and on for each of the Souls games, and there are a large amount of covenants to try out – all with their own specific rewards for your dedication.

In Destiny, you have three factions, none of which have any actual purpose beyond earning their gear, and even that is just as arbitrary as everything else in the game. You buy your class armour to swear yourself to the faction, and fight like normal in the PVP to rank up. There is no new mechanics added, no faction-restricted game modes, or anything to offer the player to entice them to try out a faction. It is just a title and the title is as grindy as everything else. They couldn’t even bother to make your choice a meaningful one, as you can just buy each faction’s item and rank them all up.