Medium: The Overwatch Player Types That Vex Me by Caryn “Hellchick” Vainio
I love Overwatch. I mean, I really love Overwatch. I’ve been a gamer for nearly thirty years now and a shooter player since the Quake days, and while I’ve played and enjoyed all kinds of shooters and FPS games in the last couple of decades, nothing had reached Quake-level interest until Overwatch.
But there are some player types out there that can turn my fun, kids-are-finally-in-bed limited play time into pure frustration. And I want to tell you about them, and how not to be them.
Full disclosure, though: I’m incredibly competitive, but I’m not very good. I have the unfortunate problem of a competitive drive that isn’t matched by my skills. My skill rating hovers around 1500, so I’m certainly not one to be dispensing pro-level advice. Still, I think I’ve seen some patterns to player behavior that can really tank a competitive match, and they really bug me.
And I’ll be honest with you: I was once one or two of these player types. I tended to bird-dog lone enemies, and I’ve rushed the point solo more than once. Okay, more than a few times. It took some vocal team mates to say obvious things into the mic — stay by the point! Wait for the team! Don’t fight past this choke point! — to get me to bring my twitch-deathmatch stylings into line with Overwatch’s play style.
So with that said, here are the types I commonly see.
You’ve chosen a good class to complement your team composition. You guys have a good mix, maybe that perfect 2–2–2 of Healer-Tank-DPS. You all move out of the spawn together and you’re going to the point. And then you see them: they’re way off in the weeds fighting one-on-one while you’re trying to take the point as the more coordinated team does what you’re supposed to do: get to the point together. And then you go down as four of five members of the opposing team beat you into the ground.
How not to be this player: Treating Overwatch as a deathmatch game — especially in competitive mode — is a sure way to tank you and your team’s success. Your kill score is meaningless if your skill rating is tanking and people hate playing with you. Stay with your team and, as tempting as those stray enemies are way over there, resist the urge to break away from the pack and fight them, weakening your team at the point.
The Lone Wolf Point Rusher
The Lone Wolf Point Rusher is closely related to the Deathmatcher: they shoot off on their own, ignoring the team behind them, and rush the point. They subsequently die when they run into the more coordinated opposing team members, and thus when you finally get to the point, The Lone Wolf is catching up from the spawn room, making it harder for your team to capture and hold. And so when you all die, the Lone Wolf shows up solo, and — as Zenyatta is fond of saying — the cycle begins anew.
At the end of the round, it’s the Lone Wolf who’s yelling in chat, “where were you guys? I was the only one on the point!” Seemingly oblivious to the fact that this was due to their misunderstanding of how team games work and not their teammates’ lack of skill, they’ll forge ahead to a new server thinking that they simply had a crappy team behind their stunning, skillful play.
This player is twice as annoying when they chose Lucio as their class, speeding ahead and leaving their team in the dust, and forgetting that they are the AoE healer for the team, HELLO.
This player also has a tendency to become The Rockstar Among Newbs and talk loudly in chat and the end of the match about how they did all the work and their team did nothing, blissfully unaware as to why they seemed to be alone all the time.
How not to be this player: like The Deathmatcher, remember that this is a team game, not a deathmatch game. Don’t charge the point solo no matter how good a player you think you are. If you’re alone, wait for your team to catch up — especially if you’re Lucio, I mean really, this should be obvious! — and go in together. A coordinated team captures points, holds them, wins games, and gets a skill rating increase.
The Bird Dog
You guys coordinated your strategy in and took down almost the entire enemy team at the point, capturing it nicely. That counter is ticking up, or your payload is moving, and it’s eerily quiet. So, like a dog off-leash that sees something way off in the distance, The Bird Dog decides it’s not exciting enough for them at the point or the payload and they shoot off looking for a fight. Then another one does, and another, leaving you manning your post alone. And because they’ve shot off in multiple directions, they’re vulnerable and now you’re vulnerable, too. And before you know it, a coordinated wall of enemies has mowed their solo butts down and is heading for you next. Great…there goes your hold.
How not to be this player: I feel you, Bird Dog, I really do. Coming from the twitch-FPS-deathmatch scene, I know how hard it is to just sit there and do nothing at the point or the payload. But you need to stay by it to protect and hold it. And by “stay by it” I don’t mean “shoot far ahead and become a spawn fighter” — I mean stay by the point. Unless you hear Pharah’s ultimate — then run like hell.
The Selfish Ulter
That sweet armor buff that Lucio’s ultimate gives? Zenyatta’s area-of-effect heal plus invulnerability for him? Those are meant for the team, Selfish Ulter. Few things are worse than thinking your team is primed and ready to rush the point and you know your healer’s ultimate is ready…and then seeing them far off in the weeds using the buff to simply save their own skin in a one-on-one fight.
How not to be this player: swallow your pride and try not to twitch-hit that ultimate key, and just accept your death and get back to your team quickly, telling them that your ultimate is ready. A key strategy to winning matches consistently is having multiple players on the team time their ultimates and use them together. I once got caught in Zarya’s Graviton and then helplessly watched that team’s D.Va zoom right up to us with her Self-Destruct. They took out the entire team and moved the payload to the checkpoint.
The Rockstar Among Newbs
Oh, you know this one already. The Rockstar mouths off at the end of every round:
Fucking team what were u doin
my whole team was SHIT
Oh, really? Wow, it’s interesting, then, that you’re the only masterful, skillful player in this bottom-feeding tier and against astronomical odds you keep getting matched with five people every time who don’t know what they’re doing. I wonder what the problem could possibly be.
How not to be this player: shut up. Just…shut up. Stop talking. Everyone hates you and your need to crap on your team when you’re probably one of the player types listed above.
Remember, Overwatch is a team game. If your skill rating is low, think about whether you’re doing any of these things. I was once. And the less I do them the more I see my skill rating rise more often than it goes down.
Except when I’m on a crappy team. I did all the work, where were u guys???!??