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Overwatch 2 should bring back scorecards

Blizzard, I miss giving my teammates (and enemies) kudos

A post-game scorecard screen from the original Overwatch, showing performance highlights for Lucio, Mercy, Hanzo, and Junkrat players. Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The evolution of Overwatch to its final, free-to-play form has meant facets of the original game, from maps to modes to loot boxes, are now a thing of the past. Overwatch 2 has made positive changes of its own and welcomed new heroes into the fold, and I’m realistic enough to know that certain decisions — the in-game shop full of pricey skins, for example — will never be reversed.

But Blizzard should really bring back Overwatch’s post-game scorecards for its semi-sequel, a small reward for a game that, so far, has felt less rewarding.

For players new to Overwatch, the original game served up a post-game screen with up to four cards, each highlighting an outstanding player accomplishment. Players were rewarded for in-game feats like lengthy kill streaks, performing an impressive amount of damage or healing, or (most importantly) contributing to the objective. Players could then give kudos to one of the players, which admittedly served little purpose other than saying, “Hey, nice job.” Sometimes, the scorecard offered an opportunity to show admiration for an opposing team member, who impressively and respectfully stomped your ass.

The post-game scorecards were arguably redundant, sandwiched between a Play of the Game highlight clip and the option to “endorse” another player on your team. Both of those features are still in Overwatch 2, though the latter is now simplified greatly. (Blizzard also removed post-game medals, another scoreboard feature that was visible chiefly to an individual player and fed into the scoreboard screen. Removing that was a good choice.)

But post-game scorecards in Overwatch served another purpose: They were a chance to surface team member performances that could go overlooked in the chaotic throes of a game. Frontline tanks guarding their team may not recognize the diligent support hero helping to escort a payload across the entire map. DPS heroes may not always know the name of the teammate who kept their HP topped up all game. While individual players can now better track their own stats in games of Overwatch 2, calling out a teammate’s exemplary healing, damage dealing, or (most importantly) dedication to the map’s objective was a great way to say “thanks” in the original Overwatch.

It was certainly helpful for me, especially when deciding whom to endorse for their performance at the end of a match. And since high endorsement levels now pay out battle pass XP (not loot boxes) in Overwatch 2, they’re a crucial reward. Scorecards offered great insight into who deserved an endorsement.

And while I’m ranting...

A first-person view of the original Overwatch as Symmetra. The player is moving toward the payload on the hybrid map Hollywood, and the player’s character UI indicates they are “on fire.” Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

Overwatch’s “on fire” indicator should also return. Not because I need the game itself to stroke my ego when I’m over-performing, but because it was helpful to gauge how my opponents were doing. Displaying an enemy team member as “on fire” was helpful to me and my team, as it highlighted who we should be most aggressively targeting (or most afraid of) during a given game.

Blizzard has valid reasons for removing these features. Post-game medals and scorecards delay the process of getting back into games, and players comparing their medal haul to their teammates’ was a source of toxicity. An “on fire” indicator is still in the game, in a way; hot kill streaks will still trigger hero voice lines that literally say, “I’m on fire!” But those visual reminders of performance offer useful information, and are rewarding to players who don’t get the positive feedback that comes from big, flashy, team-killing plays.

Back in April, Blizzard said it “plan[s] on revisiting the Fire system in the future, as it can provide excitement and positive feedback around awesome plays made by you or your teammates.” But developers haven’t said much about the feature since.

The removal of scorecards is not Blizzard’s highest priority right now. It still has a game to stabilize, seasonal content to deliver, and a major feature — co-op story and hero missions — left on its plate. But scorecards were helpful for engendering some level of positive rewards in the original Overwatch. And Overwatch 2 players need more positivity.