The new spectating experience for Overwatch has definitely got everyone hyped for the future of the game as an esport, but it still is not perfect and the UI could use some tweaks. Here are some of them.
The first one has to do with the killfeed and especially the coloring of kills. In the previous version of it, every headshot was marked as red, normal kills (either with weapons or melee) was white while ability kills had their own icons. In the new version, Blizzard decided to change the red coloring of headshot kills to match with the teams’ colors. I disagree with this choice, because headshots should have one color and must be easily recognizable that this is the case.
At the same time, I would like for Blizzard to differentiate between melee kills and weapon kills. The reason is not just to have another column of stats on Winston’s Lab, but because it helps analyzing things better and understanding the styles of players. Especially for heroes who work better in melee range, it could indicate a player’s prowess and we are losing this information now due to it not being shown. It’s a very simple tweak to implement.
Moving on to the hero icons and their arrangement, the hero icons losing brightness when their Ultimate is activated, I am not sure if it is 100% the way to go. I understand that they want to emphasize the ultimate icon, but it’s equally important to be able to see the hero icon with relative ease so as to know which heroes have ultimate up. Sometimes, while watching the Overwatch World Cup broadcast I struggled with that. Although this could be due to watching the game in a lower resolution. Twitch gave us only the 720p option.
As far as the arrangement of the players is concerned, for the Overwatch League, Blizzard should try to arrange players based on role and the heroes they are most likely to play, like other tournament organizers have done in the past, so as someone can easily make comparisons and knows exactly in which part of the screen he should look at when trying to see if Support or Tank ultimates are up. This is obviously a lobby issue, but maybe Blizzard could have an algorithm that sorts and re-arranges players on the spectating screen without taking into account the order they are in the lobby.
One more thing concerning the hero icons would be to somehow highlight hero swaps. Some proposed to have a different feed, like the killfeed, on the opposite side with all hero swaps for players. This demand stems from the fact that sometimes hero swaps are lost within the chaotic action and it takes some time for the viewer to understand that a player has changed heroes and therefore there are new elements in play.
The final part is about the info graphics in the middle of the screen, between the two roster lineups. There is still the issue of not being able to read clearly the numbers in the time boxes or the percentage for Control maps. Despite the changes to the background colors, the numbers are still unreadable at times. Could be another case of the lower resolution that we see the games on the broadcasting platforms, but either way it’s an issue that should be fixed. It is very crucial that this information can be easily read.
Some others, like Seamoose, proposed even a different arrangement of the player icons, that will help even more with comparisons, checking hero swaps and identifying the compositions but I am not sure to what extent Blizzard intends to change the aesthetics of their spectator client. I am looking forward to see if Blizzard will address some of these issues for the pre-season matches or when the league starts.