Every week the rules of the 'Weekly Brawl' mode of Overwatch change, and this week the rules are something called Mystery Heroes. Regardless of what character a player picks, they'll be shuffled into a random one at the start, and reshuffled with every death. No manual swapping is allowed, so you have to get what you're given. 

And it's so good. Here's why I think this mode should be a permanent addition to the game.

1) It teaches you how characters work in a multiplayer but pressure-free environment.

In this game mode almost nobody is getting what they want and you'll almost certainly end up with characters you wouldn't usually play or even enjoy but have to make the most of it anyway. You might even find, like I did, that you had a certain knack for some characters you'd never usually touch. 

But even if not, it can only be good for understanding what makes those characters tick, though because the team compositions are so weird, you'll often end up using them in a weird way. Which brings me to...

2) It forces you to get creative because of suboptimal character choices.

I draw Torbjörn on an attack escort team, and assume I'll be finished off quickly. But then I notice a route out of the base that nobody is watching and take a side path all the way around to behind where the enemy are pushing back, and set up my turret there. It's a play I'd never think to make in a regular match on the attack, but my goodness it worked here.

Mystery Heroes makes you think like this a lot. And these sorts of considerations compound when you add in the mess the rest of your team might be in. Which takes us to...

3) It forces you to accept and work with suboptimal teams.

This is related, but in public matches you are always going to get team compositions that seem off, or players not experienced enough to understand when what they are choosing isn't working. That can be frustrating and many players are more than willing to vent this frustration.

But I always find figuring out the best way to support my broken team is better than moaning about it. This mode encouragess, nay, requires the former by taking control out of the players' hands, and makes weird team composition a constantly shifting problem to solve. Are you the third Mercy in your team right now? Make it work. Are you caught without support? Find other ways to survive.

4) It makes ultimates feel like an achievement.

Because ultimates reset when you switch character, the only way to pull off an ultimate in this mode is to survive long enough to build it up in a single life. While far from impossible, and quite easy for some characters, this does make the moment more special when you activate something that genuinely helps the team. 

5) It's just funny!

The whole randomisation of team compositions takes the pressure off of playing. Nobody expects you to play your character perfectly, and everyone knows you're going to have to play against your role sometimes. But when some odd combination works it can produce the most exciting swings in a battle, or victories that can't help but make you laugh, like the offensive escort win we scored with two Torbjörns and Zenyattas. Sure, sometimes you might get a player that rages against the random number generator that keeps giving them players they hate, but generally the whole atmosphere is lifted by the fact that sensible character choices and team composition is taken out of your hands and replaced by this rollercoaster of fun. 

In short, the random character mode isn't going to teach you anything about surgical team composition or playing a particular role perfectly. But it's going to teach you about how to have fun and do well with the game when things are less than optimal, less that perfect. Which, let's face it, is most of the time.

AuthorPeter Silk