The Overwatch Salt

A very vocal portion of the Overwatch fan base is all upset how the only people Blizzard let in is a few Twitch streamers and YouTubers, and left everyone else out. They are salty about it. But when one takes a moment to really think it through, there is no reason for all the salt. The salt drives more crazy than the lack of access.

This happens with every Blizzard beta

In a few months when it is no longer super high on Twitch’s rankings, people will start crying how the sky is falling on the Overwatch hype train, and amazingly enough nobody they know is in… I’ve covered before how this happened with The Sky is Falling on the Heroes of the Storm Hype Train, and I can already tell that in a few months we’ll be in the same spot with Overwatch. It had the same hype, and the same salt and accusations that were unfairly leveled at Blizzard that we see happening all over again.

The content creator’s are the only ones in fallacy

This is the most often cited problem. The one that causes the most salt.

Yes. Blizzard did flag some Streamers and YouTubers. Perhaps or even likely a few hundred. That doesn’t mean they are the only ones let in. I’d wager that the number of content creators let in is probably a 10% of the total people let in. Even if it’s as much as 20%, it’s a small percentage overall. There is no NDA, so yes, they are going to push for Streamers and the like first to help get free advertising for the game. The content creators are in and the rest of the waves will be people from the opt-in.

I understand the arguments that many of those streamers won’t keep playing and won’t provide feedback, but it is advertising the game for those who will. There are undoubtedly plenty of people who would be interested but haven’t heard of the game. We may be hyped, but there are lots of people who’ve never heard about it who are now hyped for it too thanks to this. We want more people hyped about the game. It may seem impossible to somebody who’s hyped about the game that there are people who don’t know about it, but there are tons of people who don’t follow gaming news as much as the hyped fans do. I’d wager that the number of beta sign ups since the start of Beta itself has gone up greatly (and I’m speaking real legit new sign ups, not people making new fake accounts on the idea it will improve their chances… each account still has the same chance though so the increase isn’t as great as they may think).

The number of streamers and the like invited in by hand is very small to the number of invites coming from random pulls. Every major publisher does this with a non-NDA beta now. It’s marketing. It’s good for them and good for us players in the end as it makes new people aware of the game.

Yes, some Friends and Family also got in, but some friends and family have said they aren’t in yet. It’s harder to say how much of the first day’s waves was F&F compared to the “Randoms”.

EDIT: A Blue post on the Overwatch sub-reddit says that the people directly invited (aka content creators) is less than 1% of the total in now.

[bluepost name=”Zoevia” url=”https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/3qqs44/official_find_friends_by_posting_your_battletag/cwi138w” ]Hey!

We wanted to recognize the level of support from this community in particular, so just to confirm: we have indeed grabbed a handful of Battletags from different /r/Overwatch[1] threads. Whether we do a pull again in the future is uncertain, but the only place you should be sharing your Battletag is in the stickied thread here.

The number of people we’ve directly invited to the beta only makes up about 1% of the entire beta population, though, so please be sure to also opt-in if you haven’t already: http://blizz.ly/JoinOverwatch[2]

All in all, we are very humbled if not overwhelmed that everyone is so eager to get in to the Overwatch beta. We really want to do right by the community, and we apologize if it hasn’t felt like that since this process started. We are diligently reading your concerns and continuing to evaluate our strategies based on your feedback. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to not only improve our game, but also improve the way we communicate and interact with all of you.[/bluepost]

Onto the numbers

NOTE: 4 November 2015 8 PM EST… My probability calculations forgot to move the decimal, so the probability has been fixed… aslo changed from using the term odds to probability… if somebody wants to comment with the odds feel free.

I seem to recall when Heroes of the Storm was having it’s waves, that there was a blue post or tweet that they activate about 5,000 per week (spread among the waves that week). Let’s assume that average still holds true, that they flagged 5,000 names the first week. Now, let’s assume that there are only 1 million (1,000,000) people signed up, a very small estimate. With 5k accounts activated out of 1 million, that leaves the probability of getting in at 0.5% at best. If the total signed up is more like 10 million, a far more realistic number, the probability drop to 0.05% with 5k accounts activated at a time (assuming 5,000 account activations).

The odds are not in our favor. Most of us will not be in for a very very long time.

(I’ve reached out to Blizzard to see if my numbers are close enough to the general approximate range, LOL. They can’t provide any numbers beyond what was already noted above.)

EDIT: According to the Activision/Blizzard press release regarding Activision/Blizzard acquisition of King Games there were 7 million people signed up for the beta. So still assuming 5,000 a week after it hits its stride, that puts probability of getting in at 0.07%.

(See here I get confused, probability should be 5000/7000000=0.00071428571 or 0.07%, odds should be 5000 / (7000000-5000)=0.00071479628 which still comes to 1:0.07 nearly the same unless we really move further down the line and say 0.071428571% and 1:0.0714796268, so very slight different, I’d guess the odds are due to how little the numbers changed? Comments people, I need help with the math. I’d have to think there is a way of making the number on the right not so small… but none of the odd calculators I’ve looked at can handle numbers as big as I’m using here. Or I’m going backwards and it should be (7000000-5000)/5000=1399 which is 1:1399 but that doesn’t sound right, as that nearly makes it too likely…)

Look, I get it, I’m hyped too

I’m not in either. I’ve covered Overwatch here three times, In Defense of the Overwatch Security Guard, Overwatch Update 18 October 2015, and Blizzard Reveals Their New Franchise — A New Game I Want In ASAP. (I even recently added a short fan fic, The Museum Director’s Day – An Overwatch Fan Fiction) Like many I signed up day one. I signed up as soon as it was announced and before they had the name up officially on the beta sign up page. I even did a mockup of a tool that Blizzard could give to select streamers/websites to allow them to giveaway account activations to their viewers/readers (something that got the official Overwatch Twitter account to say “Hey Brian, thanks for sharing this! We’re not sure we want to giveaway access to beta at any point but mockup looks stellar!”) for later in the beta’s life. It is perhaps the game I’m most excited for. I get the hype. I get wanting to play. Were I a bigger content maker, and Blizzard noticed me, I’d be super excited to be invited in early on… and there’s part of the rub, almost all the salty people would gladly have taken access themselves were they content creators and it was offered. Very few, if any, would have said no.

It is a beta

Yes the game looks polished and the balance seems decent. No, there doesn’t seem to be any big bugs. They are not just testing that though. They are testing hardware and they have to watch how it performs. They also have to monitor the data matrix on the back-end to see how people are playing, to know what to prepare for as they bring in more and more people. What sort of paths are they taking in maps, which informs them on map design. Which heroes do they favor and avoid, which helps with new heroes and balance on existing ones. The front end is polished, but with a game like this there is much more to test than just the client. Sure there is a bit of marketing since the NDA is down and they invited a small number of content creators in, but for the most part this is a test of their systems and back-end mechanics/software etc.

On the subject of weighted ques

That all said, I wouldn’t oppose a way to reward those who signed up early or are Blizzard faithful (those who own several titles and/or spent lots of money on free to play titles) is via weighted ques. By this I mean one pulls a certain percentage of the que (the que being those who signed up for beta access) from earlier in the que and a reserve amount for the Blizzard faithful. First you give 10 to 20% of the que to those who signed up the first week (perhaps an additional 10% for those who signed up the first day to 3 days until those 3 days are cleared. Once the first week of sign ups is cleared is gone, it starts pulling from the first month, perhaps dropping the pull to 10%. Again as each week or month is finished, it moves to the next week/month in the que. The reserve for Blizzard faithful perhaps another 10% and is pulled either after the others, as there’s a good chance they already got pulled from the date method. After all this is pulled, then the regular RNG goes to work by whatever means Blizzard usually uses.

In closing

As of the writing of this I’m not in. I’m a bit sad, but not salty about it. I understand that a 0.005% chance at best means it is very unlikely that I’ll get in anytime soon. I don’t care that a few hundred content creators got in, I’d be surprised if they didn’t. I just don’t see the salt as being justified.

That said, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I simply disagree that Blizzard acted inappropriately. I don’t personally think there is any reason for any salt…. one can take this whole thing, dare I say, with a grain of salt. <okay that was bad>

EDIT: It should also be noted that not everyone making content with the game got in because they do content. Many got in by luck. Some may not have done anything before. One can’t look at the full list of people playing and thin they all were invited in. Only the first couple or few rows are probably direct invites, with a few others here and there. If I got in, I’m sure I’d be doing content too, and certainly not big enough to draw their attention. So don’t judge by the number of people producing content, correlation doesn’t equal causation, or in this case a high number of people streaming it doesn’t mean that most or even many were invited because they do content creation, even if this isn’t their first time.