I’d thought I’d give you guys a small update on my Overwatch status.
For the latest season of Overwatch I have begun to flex out to different heroes. No it’s not me showing my muscles (biceps are in progress) to the team via video. It’s where instead of insta-locking the hero I want (i.e. Lucio or Zenyetta) I let the team now I will help fill the gaps. Usually in the solo queue I’m usually healer or tank.
So why the change?
Like many of the one tricks and other Overwatch players, I was beginning to feel the exhaustion of playing the same character over and over. DSPStanky stopped playing Overwatch for that reason. He felt his time in that world was over. He continues to stream games he wants and is happier now. I took a week of break after Season 5 and did some arcade and quick play. Not playing seriously and having fun really opened my eyes.
I started playing around with DPS characters and having more fun. I decided after that week I was going to start playing as a flex player on Overwatch. Within that week I learnt how to play each tank. I had a decent grasp on the supports so that was fine. Even when Season 6 started, I would go into quick play and warm up using DPS or Tank. This helped me refine my skills with Reinhard, Zarya, Roadhog, Doomfist, Pharah, Mei and Junkrat.
The Junkrat buffs sold me as I was also a player that relied on prediction and not just aim. With Junkrat I could easily control the point when I was outnumbered. Remember Pharah being a pesky counter to Junkrat? Not anymore with the 2 bomb system. Simply use one to boost in the air and another to bomb to smack her right in the face.
So from now on I’m try learn the basics of each character. I’ll do this slowly and not instantly. Especially with new characters. To keep the game fresh and challenging I’ll switch to what I feel like, but of course I’ll keep that in mind for team composition because I want to win.
Let’s talk about one of my current passions – gaming and the world of e-Sports. Let’s see if I can explain the world of e-Sports to outsiders.
Professional gaming is a thing?
Oh yes it is and it’s a very lucrative business. But of course, to make money, you have to be really good at it to get anywhere. We’re finally in 2017 and eSports is huge. ESPN streams tournaments, prize pools go into the millions and that’s just for one event. Not only are the prize pools generating money but there’s branding, sponsorship, and publicity. Alongside this we have streamers from YouTube and Twitch popularising the glam of being a professional gamer. These streams are watched by millions around the world everyday. With the wide variety of games and streamers, viewers can hardly be disappointed in terms of content.
(I wish this was my setup. Mines way more ghetto)
What it takes to be a streamer/professional gamer
Anyone can be a gamer. Gaming isn’t reserved just for the nerd and geeks. Just like the world of sport, gaming relies on having a certain skill set to be able to play on a whole another level. Basic things from reaction time, strategy and hand eye coordination are just the start. Take Overwatch for example. To be highly successful, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Professional Overwatch players will keep track of enemy team ults, where each player is positioned and how many hits you can take, to name a few. There’s a huge multitude of factors that all come into play and players have to keep track of as much of that information as they can. Of course every game is different with different genres, play styles and strategies. What could happen is endless.
As with any skill set, to get better at it- practice makes perfect. Or closer to perfect. With the rise in streaming, gamers can now make a profession in streaming when tournaments aren’t on. Most tournaments take place once a year but that might be for a single tournament. There will be multiple tournaments during the year and there may be other events which the streamer can join. But during the off time what should they do? Train of course. So why not kill two birds with one stone. They can play their game of choice, stream it as entertainment for their viewers and make some more money out of it.
I want to be a pro but don’t I need the gear?
Yes and no. Everyone starts from somewhere. Start from the basics. Learn your game sense and practice your skills. Work your way up. As you grow as a streamer you’ll figure out a way to make it. Once you figure out a streaming timetable and a financial situation, you can start expanding on gear. To make the right choice in gaming gear isn’t that hard either. Start researching the gear you want. You could be like me and get an average mouse and keyboard but mine has awesome RGB effect which I love (TASTE THE RAINBOW). Or focus on products with proper mouse sensitivity. The right feeling keyboard, the decent graphics card, the list goes on.
Where do I start?
Got a game you love? Start by finding streams of that game. See what the scene is for that game. See a gap? Take it. Start streaming in your spare time. If that works out, let’s see if we can increase stream times and viewers. Now the hard part – train your skills.
As you can see the world of e-Sports is massive already and there is a lot of room for it to expand and grow. It’s a lucrative business and it’s loved by millions. It doesn’t matter where you start but it’s a sport that anyone can join. You don’t have to be a highly skilled player to join casually. Even disabilities won’t stop a person because there is always a way. One of the top 500 players in Overwatch is colourblind but Overwatch has accessibility options for the colourblind. I’ve even seen a one handed gamer use his shoulder to prop up a controller and play with one hand.
The world of e-Sports is massive. There are a multitude of areas to go into and it’s freely available to anyone. The world of e-Sports is filled with many different people and there is a niche which everyone can fit into. Gaming has become so popular that it’s not just reserved for the nerds and kids. The market has grown and expanded to many platforms and styles. So if a profession in gaming has piqued your interest, start learning what the pro scene is like and start training the skills that you need. Also do some research on the smaller skills like hand position, mouse sensitivity, basic game sense like having shadows turned on, using a headset to hear enemy movements and what direction they’re coming from. To finish off let’s quote my favourite game at the moment – “The world could always use more heroes” (It ain’t easy being cheesy).
The magical combo that wins most games. The definition combo for a better win. The play the pros use.
So what is it?
2/2/2 is short for 2 tanks, 2 heals, and 2 DPS. Simple formula right? It can get more complex with combos and mains but we’ll talk about that later. If we go further into the 2/2/2 meta comp it would be something this: Reinhart as main team shield, Dva/Winston as dive and quick tanks, Soldier 76 as main DPS, Pharah as ranged attacks, Lucio as close range healer and speed boost for getting in/out fights quickly and finally Ana for range attacks and Nano boost to sway a fight.
The comp will always vary based on maps, players and most importantly the other teams comp. The most perfect comp would be one that could easily counter the opposing teams comp. But of course remembering that other team also has a chance to switch it up. So the more intense games will usually have multiple characters swapping around to help counter or to adapt to the situation. The worst situation is having a team where they aren’t willing to swap up and just stick to a single character even though your team is losing.
Oh yes, my favourite comp. It works wonders in the lower ranks. A dive comp is a variable comp which relies on playing aggressively and fast. One example of a dive comp is like the featured picture I have on top. Winston, Zarya, Genji, Tracer, Lucio and Ana. Generally with this comp Zarya will bubble Winston and then Winston dives the back lines focusing on the healers of the opposing team. The rest of the team, using Lucio’s speed boost, will rush in to either go straight for the point or mop up what’s left.
The counter for a dive comp is tricky. You need a tank buster like Reaper. Make sure your healers are protected and have good positioning. One counter could be the cheese combo. This where you unleash the turrets. So you have a Symetera, Torbjorn, Bastion, Mei, Mercy and last position depends on the player. An ideal person would be either Widow or Hanzo so they can pick off the people that survive the turrets. Or a Junkrat to spam the point or chokes.
With the dive comps I prefer to go on the attack first. This way the opposing team won’t have enough time to prepare for the attack. Once the team has re-spawned, the first point will be lost. At this stage, I would prepare as Lucio to speed straight onto the next point. This way the enemy team will have very little time to prepare for what hits next. As for defending, this will depend on what the current members of the team are more comfortable with.
I’ve had this comp work well for me. I usually take charge and most of my team works with it. My belief is that in the lower ranks, it works better because the opposing team will be a group of randoms. Not a 3+ stack and needs the team co-ordination to push back. With the dive comp we can force them into staggering the point which works well in our favour and they have no time to regroup or strategize.
Oh the mighty negative area of Overwatch and many other competitive games.
So what is it?
Ultimately it’s the area of a ranking system where the other members of your team aren’t good enough to help win the battle. Most commonly, at this rank there are other players who also want to rank up and escape but it takes one imbalance in the team to upset that. From my experience, I’ve found lots of trolls and smurfs (deranked because they achieved all they could and want to feel like a pro and pick on the low ranks) live down there.
Here’s an example. In season 4 of Overwatch competitive, I finally managed to get into gold. But then came the smurf players who threw games and just didn’t do anything to try and win. I went from 2100 SR all the way down to 1000SR (±20-30 increase for game win and ±20 decrease for a lost game). There are also win and lose streaks which boost the values. Down at that rank, I met many players who left me wondering how people like this got on the game. The most outstanding of the trolls was a five year old who attempted to roleplay their character, Genji. This child got their thrills by playing Genji. Their BNET ID was also ‘Genji’, using the meme of spamming “I need healing” and just playing incredibly badly and pretty much feeding the enemy teams (letting the enemy land blows/kill the target to boost their ultimate charge). Another memorable player was the try-hard memer name ‘OnlyHanzo’. Can you guess what they did? Of course play ‘Only Hanzo’. They weren’t any good at it either.
The ‘meta’ or common team structure is usually 2/2/2. So that 2 tanks, 2 heals and 2 DPS. In bronze it doesn’t matter. It’s the ideal format to play but it doesn’t work all the time. The top two reasons I believe it doesn’t work are the team mates you have and the team you face.
Simple right? No.
At bronze many of the players are here because this is their skill ranking. There will be other good players out there but it’s a matter of finding them which depends on the match making system. One key reason players can be stuck at a level is because of the fact that they are a one trick pony.
One trick pony?
This magical pony is usually a player who has only one main (the only character they can play). They may have a little experience with other characters but their main is the one they will insta-lock (automatically lock in as game starts). If they don’t get that character, they have different choices to make. The most common is asking the other player if they can have that hero, they negative ones are shouting at team to make the person change, or even worse they will throw the game. Now, at this point any rational person would just pick another character or ask politely if the other person can change. But then this falls back to the one trick one play. If that person one tricks an odd character like Torbjörn (a common defensive character) then things get weird. I have seen attacks work with this. Where the Torbjörn can set a turret in a place where it alone can hold back an enemy team while your allies push towards the objective. That then comes back the team trusting in one another and playing around this choice.
In the bronze ranks I had a team which had attack Symetera and Torbjörn. This was an odd strategy and I questioned the player’s skills with it. They said this will work and I switched off Lucio and solo healed as Mercy. I got the rest of the team to go tanks and a Tracer. I told them to rush to the right of the choke and set up. Symetera got her teleporter up and Torbjörn held point with his trusty turret. The rest of us captured point and we rushed second point to victory.
I finally managed to get out of the bronze hellzone by teaming up with a few people I met. They all used mics, always willing to change up and had the skills to back it up.
Ah the rank I’ve spent most of my Overwatch time in.
This is a nice rank where most of the players are very similar. In my experience it’s very rare to get trolls and throwers in a game. I’ve also had some of the most fun and intense matches around Silver/Gold. At this rank the concept of Mains is still in play but most players are willing to switch. For example, I’ve seen a few people who will pick Widow. As soon as they do they let the team know they will swap after a few picks. If they’re owning it as Widow, the team usually agrees to stay. For the majority of the match the team meta is 2/2/2. It’s also getting more and more common where I have to play as Winston or another tank because there are more than 3 support mains in the team. There’s also a larger portion of people on mic as well. This changes the atmosphere of the game vastly. There’s even people playing instruments and making good banter with the team. With that sort of environment, the game feels good even if you lose because you had a good and fun time with people.
Gold and Beyond
Ah the rank I want to be in. I manged to hit gold once per Season 4 but that just triggered a descent into Bronze. At Gold and Platinum the plays here are super intense. The games will strongly follow the meta of 2/2/2 and there are always people switching characters to try and one up the other team. Just from watching streamers and YouTube videos the games seems intense and more fun. You’ll see some ridiculous combos and plays happening. Take DSPStankys very infamous ‘BOOP’ video. It’s my personal favourite and the clip I show to anyone new to Overwatch.
The small things like his positioning and the team coordination of the ultimates and timing of the BOOP,make this fun and exciting to watch. It also shows how players can easily be placed into a higher level. Simple things like learning your maps and recognising your team portioning. Or if you want, watch some DSPStanky streams for amazing plays. It’s so much fun as he engages his audience. It’s just basically memes and his normal happy plays.
One of the great memes generated by the internet. Boostio (Ana’s nano boosted accidental hit on Lucio), has become a great meme to express the fun and and random enjoyment of the game. One of my favourite uses of this memes is the almighty godlike player named DSPStanky.
This man revived and renewed my playstyle of Lucio.
As seen in his most famous video he took the internet challenge and moved from console play to PC where the competitive game is more intense. He took his unorthodox play-style of aggressive healer
In most games the healer is usually quite passive, sits in the back lines and hiding behind the tanks of the team. The way DSPStanky showed a more aggressive and smarter way to play Lucio by using the surrounding area to attack/escape team fights is amazing.
Next is the infamous BOOP of Overwatch. It started from the animated Sombra video introduction but then coined as a term for pushing your opponent away from you. The most infamous characters of this are Lucio and Pharah. With DSPStanky’s useful plays and aggressive style this was perfect for me. Most commonly, the opposing team will be concentrated on taking out my team. Meanwhile Lucio can race in behind them and ‘BOOP’ them into a nearby pit or cliff. With this insta-kill method, your team can easily take control and take the objective. With the edge/pit kills that players cant be rezed (resurrected) and very few other characters have abilities to jump back. With those characters, you can harass them back into the pit or time it well enough to BOOP after their ability is on cooldown.
Lucio. Hes currently my main just for the sheer fun of messing with people and creating complicated situations for them.
I am on fire… but an extinguisher is not required
Next up is Zenyatta. Ahhh the almighty pacifist who throw his orbs of healing or destruction. His abilities: Discord – increase damage inflicted. Heal – heal teamates and his ultimate is a AOE of healing for set duration. This will out-heal most other of the enemy teams ultimates. Zenyatta’s Discord is powerful. It can help your team easily deal with that pesky flanker or drain a tank down to nothing. His heal orb is just the opposite and heals your teammate with increased speed. Zenyatta is almost the opposite of Lucio. He’s the least mobile hero in the game but he can inflict some serious damage. His Discord combined with other team members’ attacks can destroy an opposing enemy in seconds. Even tanks can be shredded in seconds without giving them time to heal or run. But with the decreased mobility, if he’s left alone or out in the open he is very vulnerable.
Those are just 2 of my mains at this time. But as you can see so far the choice usually depends on my teams composition or what I feel like (or if my ping is bouncing like crazy). There’s also the choice of map. If it’s control map then Lucio is king. Otherwise when playing with defensive and tanky teams, I’ll use Zenyatta to cover heals and dish out the DPS. Now if only I could play both at once. I’ll be unstoppable.
From the great minds at Blizzard comes Overwatch. An action packed team-based FPS where it’s all about the ‘Team Composition’ (or Team Comp) and making sure you either outplay or counter the enemy team comp and accomplish the objective. Objectives differ between maps, from pushing the payload to contesting a set area of the map. Both teams get a chance to defend and attack.
I basically play this game almost every day. After work and gym, I have dinner and then sit down to either yell at my team to kill the bloody Pharah or yell how good they are. The game is not just another FPS with a single character with different weapons and you try to outplay the others. It’s team based. Either you team up with some friends or you go into the solo queue to hell.
Ello Queue? (Solo hell)
Basically when you don’t team up, you have to rely on five random strangers to help the team win. Either you get a team that’s all good and ready to change, be on comms, and not be salty. OR you get the ten year old who believes Hanzo is the greatest character alive, misses every shot, doesn’t listen or not in team chat, and doesn’t change when needed. Lucky Blizzard are smart. If you ever find a team that’s good and willing, hit the button to team up and they can join your group for all the Overwatch glory of fun and memes.
I started off a little late into the launch of the game (near the end of season one). During season, two I got placed in high silver and slowly fell down through the ranks. For season three, I got placed in high silver again but slowly sank to the depths of bronze. Since the next season places you in a rough ±100 of last season, I got stuck in bronze during season four. From there I managed to claw and climb up my way to silver where I met some amazing teammates (Rein and Zarya – you know who you are). We grouped up, smashed our game and got to the glory of gold rank. I was happy with that achievement and ended up on a losing streak back into Bronze. At that point Blizzard nerfed win streaks and I clawed for most of the season to climb out of bronze back into gold.
The issues with Bronze
There are some good people down there but the key to the game is working as a team. At Bronze, there is barely anyone willing to talk or communicate. It’s almost a free for all. There are also lots of trolls and smurfs. They constantly ruin the fun of the game and throw (lose on purpose). It took a long time but I managed to find a few people to group up with and we crawled our way into silver. From that point it came down to a mix of players with talents who didn’t listen or some of the most intense games of my life.
So those are my experiences with rankings. Next up would be closer look at my choice of characters and styles of play.