Are your Overwatch rusty skills? After playing the hero shooter for a few years, my approach to gameplay could use a little boost. I’ve spoken to many esports pros to find out how you can play better, win more often, and have more fun. (Even if you don’t have much history with Overwatch, this list of expert strategies is designed to be accessible to players of varying abilities.)
Communication with your team is crucial
Assistant coach for the Philly fusion, Christopher “ChrisTFer” Graham, sounded slightly horrified when I told him that sometimes I take off my headphones and “vibrate” while playing Overwatch after a long day of work. “It takes a lot more effort. Sometimes it’s not as fun to be the one talking, ”he said.
Actively using your headset can be a frustrating experience at first, especially if your teammates don’t offer a similar level of communication, but ChrisTFer firmly believes that the novice Overwatch gamers perform best when they have their microphones on. “That’s why a lot of people would like to play with friends as much as possible, because then you can guarantee that people are going to at least give you the most basic information.”
Just kidding, keep it to yourself
In February, the morning of my scheduled interview with Jake lyon, coach and player for the Houston OutlawI woke up with no electricity in my Kansas apartment. Unlike Texans who were plunged for days into a deadly blackout, I was lucky enough to regain my power in the early afternoon. Jake took the time to share his expert perspective on Overwatch and providing strategies to novices despite extenuating circumstances.
Regarding communication between players at lower skill levels, Jake gave advice contrary to ChrisTFer’s advice. “Maybe it’s controversial, but I don’t think communication is really that valuable up to a high enough level,” he said. “I actually think you’ll probably have more of an impact just playing your own game.” The many heroes, abilities, and maps can be overwhelming for new players trying to figure out the balance of the game. The addition of voice chat on top of everything that further divides the player’s attention.
Jake said, “A lot of times you can waste more energy and focus on communication, and that will stop you from playing as well. If your teammates don’t have the team spirit, you might be shooting yourself in the foot. My mindset is to make critical calls if you need to call, but for the most part I think it’s best to focus on your own game and try to play as well as you can.
Don’t be toxic
Recently, Lee Eui-seok “intrepid”, who is Korean and plays for the Dallas Fuel, spoke of victim of pervasive anti-Asian racism while living in Texas. Translated to Twitter by Jade Kim, Director of Florida Mayhem, Fearless said, “Being Asian here is terrifying, seriously. People keep trying to fight with us. After targeted incidents where he was coughed, cursed and called Chinese, he mentioned wearing his jersey as a form of protection. “If I have my jersey, I think they realize that we are part of some kind of team, so they don’t bother us that much. But if I wear my everyday clothes, they run towards us, harass us, and then run away.
When contacted for comment, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said, “At Activision Blizzard, we condemn racism in the strongest terms. We stand alongside the Asian community, our employees and our players and work across our organization, including eSports, to do our part to fight hate and ignorance. “