When the Overwatch summer games rolled around again this year, many players were excited to be able to play Lucioball once again. The special game mode, which sees two teams of Lucios booping a ball into their opponent’s goal in a Rocket League-esque fashion, has returned for its second season, this time introducing a new Competitive playlist for those who want to take it seriously. The problem is, Lucioball still sucks.
I understand that there are people who enjoy Lucioball. That’s fine. I get how those who play a lot of Overwatch would appreciate the introduction of a mode unlike anything else offered in the game, which provides them with a break from capturing control points, moving payloads and screaming at Mei as she encases them in a block of ice. But it’s just a shame that this particular unique game mode is no fun to play. Here’s why I have such a problem with the special summer event:
It’s painfully slow
The main pull of Lucio as a hero is that he’s super fast, with him able to wall-run and leap between buildings in order to increase his momentum. The problem with Lucioball is that it takes place in a large, empty, open arena, meaning that the majority of the time is spent slowly ambling towards the ball and waiting for Amp It Up’s cooldown timer to disappear.
Lucioball effectively forces Lucio into a mode that is the antithesis of what makes Lucio fun. While you can run along the walls of the arena, most of the time you’ll be crawling towards the ball on the ground, with the size of the arenas making Lucio feel much slower than he actually is. If Blizzard reduced the cooldown on Amp It Up, or raised Lucio’s movement speed a tad, Lucioball could be fun, but as it stands it feels like playing a game of Rocket League but with the cars replaced by snails on roller skates.
It lasts FOREVER
Lucioball should be fast, frenetic fun. Instead, the arena size makes Lucio feel sluggish to control, while a 6-minute match feels like it drags on forever when taking the replays into account. I’d wager that the vast majority of its players haven’t bothered to make their way through its 10 placement matches, as those 60+ minutes could be better spent in its infinitely superior core modes. While 6 minutes wouldn’t be that long for any other game mode, its matches are typically so uneventful that by the time you’ve passed the halfway point, it’s already started to feel like a slog to the finish.
Lucioball was never going to work. The wide and open arena doesn’t suit Lucio’s style of play, and it’s too derivative of the more fast-paced and exciting Rocket League. However, the concept of holding unique summer games with Overwatch‘s colorful cast of characters is a great one, and it’s disappointing that Blizzard hasn’t thought up something a little more exciting.
Even when keeping Lucio as the main hero, there are other options that sound infinitely more interesting than Rocket League 0.5. Players have suggested replacing soccer for volleyball, which would include a smaller arena that would make better use of Lucio’s swift reactions and would also be more in-keeping with the event’s beach theme. Or what about a wrestling mini-game, where the objective is to push each rival Lucio out of designated area? The most fun aspect of playing Lucio is being able to boop opponents out of this arena, so making a whole game out of this could be fun. Instead, we have Lucio slowly stumbling around while I hammer ‘E’ to try to make him go faster.
The hit registration for Lucioball was poor in its first season, and is equally poor in its second. Sometimes the ball doesn’t shoot in the direction you want it to, while other times it doesn’t move at all; I’ve had instances where I’ve hit the ball while it’s bouncing, and it has somehow propelled itself behind me. You’ll score goals that make no sense, and you’ll concede goals that make no sense, too.
Just kill it already
Blizzard including a completely new game mode for the low price of absolutely nothing is cool. Considering how much money everyone is plugging into loot boxes, though, it’d be a lot cooler if it was something better than Lucioball. When the summer games rolls around, players should be more excited to play this mode than they are to obtain new skins, but with Lucioball being so poor it’s no surprise that the majority were more tantalized by the prospect of dressing up Soldier 76 like a dad at a BBQ. At the risk of sounding entitled, I don’t want to see Lucioball make its way into Overwatch again. I want a new, better summer games mode, and I want better Lucio skins too, dammit!