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.
Or if you want the ultimate Meme experience…