Scripted Gaming: Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Y’know, I miss the days when all I had to complain about was the Salt-Powered Robot.

It’s no secret that we love us some Overwatch, around here. In fact… we have a few plans, coming up around it. But that’s a discussion for another time. The game continues to stay fresh, even a year later, with regular updates, seasonal events, new cosmetics, and more. All the while, the game’s making waves in the competitive scene, with Blizzard’s Overwatch League. It’s really quite the fascinating little sub-culture the game has developed for itself in such a short time.

However, the game isn’t without its problems. Setting aside gaping the holes in the lore-

Overwatch
Still waiting on an explanation to this one, Blizzard…

And some balancing issues that are still incredibly puzzling (But seriously. Why in the world can Genji reflect Venom Mine and Blizzard?), Overwatch’s most glaring flaw has almost nothing to do with the actual game. It’s the community. For clarification’s sake, Overwatch has a great community… for the most part. It’s full of people who dedicate tons of time to creating guides for others to learn the game, cracking into all that lore, and just sharing their enthusiasm over what is honestly a great product. But any community has its… outliers. And, unfortunately, those small sects of said communities tend to be quite vocal, and bring things down for everyone.

While there are tons of examples to choose from, the one that always bothered me the most was the “it’s only quick play, bro” mentality. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Blizzard always intended for Overwatch to be something of a competitive experience. I’m pretty sure that much is obvious. But. Comma. It would seem that the introduction of the Competitive mode has had an unexpected effect on Quick Play. Specifically, it’s apparently been reduced to the “Goof off mode.” What do I mean by this? I mean there’s a significant current of people in Quick Play who just go ahead and do whatever they very well please. And it’s getting tiresome.

If I had to count the amount of times I’ve been forced to choose between tank or healer when the other five players of the match only wanted to play DPS, I’d likely wind up tallying over 40% of my hours playing the game. And, uh, spoiler-alert. Being the only non-DPS unit on the team… suuucks. Especially for healers. God forbid anyone actually try to protect them when assassins are inevitably sent on their tails. Oh, you need healing, Genji? Well, it’s a shame I can’t heal you through walls. Oh, we need a healer? Well, I’m the only tank and the only one with a barrier, stalling these guys from getting in here. Pity you didn’t think of that before they took the first objective. And please don’t get me started on that infamous payload glitch.

Overwatch Payload Glitch
When are we getting a patch for this?

Of course, you’d better hope your mic isn’t on when you voice your concerns. Otherwise you’re almost guaranteed to be met with a dismissive “Dude, it’s only Quick Play,” or a more condescending “Why are you complaining in Quick Play?” And, honestly, that’s problematic. A person should not have to play a game mode designed for pros in order to expect the game to be played as it was intended. And it becomes even more irritating when you consider that the Game Browser mode now exists. A mode in which people are free to create entire matches, exclusively for the purpose of goofing off.

I understand that Quick Play is intended to be a bit more chill than Competitive. That much is obvious. But Overwatch is still ultimately a team game. Quick Play is still a part of that setup. So if a person isn’t at least going to make an effort to win by playing somewhat smart, why drag down the experiences of others by playing the Quick Play mode at all? Especially if it’s obvious that the enemy team is actually playing the game the way it was meant to be. If the other team’s clearly also goofing off, then fine. But if their team is actually trying, how is that even any fun? You’re just going to get steamrolled, and effectively waste everyone’s time. You may as well have just been in a Game Browser match where everyone was just sitting around, spamming emotes and voice lines. Is it really fun to charge, headlong, into a situation you know won’t end well for you?

I’ll lay this out as plainly as I can. There’s nothing wrong with losing a match in Quick Play. It’ll happen. Occasionally you’ll run into a team that’s all in the voice channel, openly communicating. Sometimes teams will just be better than yours. Sometimes your own team just won’t click. And it is never a good idea to throw a tantrum over the voice channel. Tilting is bad for both you, and your team. But. Losing over and over again just because teammates actively decide not to adjust to the problems around them gets old. Really old. Especially when you can see all of the problems leading to said loss.

Overwatch Defeat
This Is A Bad Time.

5 out of 6 in the team on DPS, with one healer? Yeah, maybe that’ll work if everyone on your team is an All-Star DPS player. Or if that healer is a Lucio who hasn’t touched the ground since leaving spawn. But unless that’s the case, get a tank or two. Otherwise the healer is going to be giving themselves a heart attack, scrambling to keep the squishies alive because there’s no one else to sponge damage. Does the enemy team have a lot of tanks? Well. Some good Genji’s gonna do. Especially if one of those tanks is named Winston. Maybe a Junkrat or Reaper would be a good idea. Is the enemy team grouped up? Then don’t Leeroy Jenkins it by trickling in like an idiot. Group up. And for the love of all that is holy, STOP IGNORING ENEMY DPS. Play. With. Your. Head.

It isn’t asking a lot to just want to play a good game without the pressure of comp matches. People seem to have this idea that the comp matches are filled with nothing but the most benign players. They all exercise the utmost “Overwatch Etiquette” but, uh… no. That is a vast romanticization of the experience. Comp will tend to have many of the same exact problems, at least on the PS4 version. Whole teams just decide not to use their mics, even when it’s abundantly clear by the enemy team’s coordination that they’re all in their voice channel. People will neglect coordination of their ultimates entirely, using them without warning the rest of the team so combos are thrown out the window. At the lower levels, Comp matches can be almost indistinguishable from Quick Play, with people just doing whatever they very well please. And if you happen to hit an unlucky streak, you can wind up in those lower tiers rather quickly. Climbing back out of that can be tough when saddled with uncooperative teams. Quick Play doesn’t come with that pressure. But now that’s being used as excuse to just… not try?

I’m personally of the mind that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability. I’m not a great player, by any means. I’m marginally above average at best. And I’m far more inclined to think I’m a barely average player who just lucks out at times with game-winning plays. Suffice it to say, I don’t approach the game, or any game, for that matter, competitively. But can we stop pretending like that’s a reason to just not try at all? It ruins the fun for those of us who are actually trying to play the game well, whether we want to be like the pros at it or not.

If you actually try to play the game, and you still lose, I can’t fault you for that. But if you know that what your doing isn’t working, and you keep doing it, that’s on you. The definition of insanity- yadda yadda, you get the idea. Ultimately this all boils down to a simple rule. You don’t have to be a great player, or even a good player. Just be a team player.

With all that said, folks, that’s all for this installment of Scripted Gaming! As always, thanks for reading.

Keep up the awesome, and take care
Chris V.

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