Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.
I know it’s difficult to believe, but I’ve noticed some Overwatch players getting frustrated with one another. The main point of contention is — well, usually it’s “git gud.” But when it’s not that, you’ll find a player angry that someone on their team isn’t playing the objective or that their squad composition doesn’t make a lot of sense for the match’s goal.
Here’s the thing: Sometimes that heated player is me, GamesBeat reporter Jeffrey Grubb — and I’m uncomfortable that I feel this way. Overwatch is new, and it has 21 characters and four roles to learn. It also doesn’t have the deep tutorials rookies need to understand the situational skills of each hero and why you may want to switch mid-game — although we love it despite that.
What I want to know is whether or not it’s OK for me to let those people know that we’re going to lose because of them? I don’t want to tell people how to play — especially if they just want to have a casual time with the shooter. They paid, and they should get to play however they want. It just stinks that the way they want to play occasionally ruins the way I want to play.
Only I think we can find a compromise.
GamesBeat Summit 2023
Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.
My bet here is that most other people want to contribute to a fun team game. The person who is frustrating me probably isn’t doing so deliberately, and they might make some changes if they understand my point of view.
Of course, this is the problem. It doesn’t seem possible to share your point of view without coming across as a bastard. So I’m lost. I don’t know if I can say anything, and if I can, how should I do it. To help me figure this out, I’ve brought in GamesBeat writer and community manager Mike Minotti, who is an expert human being.
Jeff Grubb, GamesBeat reporter: Mike, help me. I want to yell at people in Overwatch. I think this makes me totally lame, and I should just get over it, but I also think that maybe I could help those players by saying something. Maybe they are frustrated with their play as well or have no idea that they’re making an easily correctable mistake. Can I let them know that they’re the reason we’re losing the game in an effort to help them?
Mike Minott, GamesBeat community manager and writer: Well, Jeff, you are a bad person who I hate. I’m not too surprised that you want to yell at your poor teammates.
Before sending your fellow Overwatchers passive-aggressive messages, why don’t we first make sure your anger is justified. What kinds of scenarios are bugging you?
Jeff: One of the main things that is getting on my nerves is that I think a lot of people are choosing one character and then they never change no matter the situation. I get that some people always want to snipe, and Widowmaker has some really great offensive capabilities, but there are occasional situations where her range isn’t helpful. But I also think some people aren’t changing their class because they always play a sniper role in something like Battlefield, so they’re doing that here as well.
Another thing is when my team is on the offensive, but I have four teammates playing as defensive heroes. That’s happened to me twice now. We lost the first one, and we only barely won the second after I sent a chat message along the lines of “I don’t know if we need two snipers.” That convinced some people to change.
You’re right, though: I want to make sure that I’m justified. I’m not gonna shout at someone for picking a certain character because there’s always the chance that other player knows exactly what they’re doing. But what if it is obvious they don’t know what they’re doing? Does that justify me saying something, and how do I say it in a way that people know that I just want to help.
Mike: It can certainly be a problem, and it can be frustrating. But let’s not forget that a lot of people are still learning how to play. They may not understand why certain characters are bad for specific situations.
I actually remember one of the first times we played together. You picked Symmetra, a character most useful for her teleporter and defensive turrets, when we were playing on offense. Now, I knew that this was an awful choice. You were new to Overwatch and probably more interested in playing a specific character than making a balanced team. Or you’re a dummy. Probably that.
But, in that situation and others, I find that voice chat actually helps a lot. When you write a message, it can come across as aggressive. People will feel attacked. They’ll insert those negative emotions into whatever you say, no matter how well-meaning your intentions are.
When you use voice, you can deflate the situation by being friendly. “Hey, buddy, that character may not be best for this situation. Maybe you’re really good with them, whatever. Just a heads up.”
Jeff: I remember thinking you were an asshole for scolding me about Symmetra. OK, not really. That was actually super-helpful and exactly what I’m talking about. I’m betting a lot of the stuff that’s bothering me is just people who are still learning. Maybe I can accelerate their education while simultaneously avoiding an annoying situation for myself?
I think some folks have this perception that you’re taking things too seriously if you point out that Symmetra doesn’t make a lot of sense for a certain level. But it’s OK to want to win and to have a competent team around you. These matches take about 15 minutes, and that’s a significant chunk of time.
Now, I’m not saying that people can’t play how they want, but I’m just imagining that a ton of people are coming into a class-based shooter for the first time and are feeling a little lost. Like you point out, I was. I still am a lot of the time. When I try a character I’m not familiar with and use them in a non-optimal way, I’m sure it would embarrass me a little bit to have someone call me. But I’d also learn from it and appreciate it by the end of the match.
Mike: It’s one of the reasons why I like to use voice and use it early. I think you can help set the mood. If the first thing a person says is something like “Hey everyone, let’s do good and win and be friends,” it lightens things up. You can remind everyone that it’s just a game not to be taken too seriously. You’re less likely to have that weirdo screaming about someone switching to Winston when you’re 10 seconds away from losing.
Still, you’re going to run into situations where people are just doing things that don’t make sense, like teams with two snipers or someone trying to play an offensive Bastion. Now, sometimes that actually works! People can just be surprisingly good at these strange setups. Still, a lot of the time it’s just people not really sure what they’re doing. You can either give them a heads up, or just let it go, Disney-style.
Don’t forget, Blizzard will eventually release a Competitive Mode. It’ll have a level cap and force stricter punishments on people who leave. Once we get there, these bad team composition problems shouldn’t be as big a deal.
Jeff: I’m wondering what ranked play in this game is going to look like. But until then, I think I’m going to take your advice and use my microphone if I want to make a suggestion to someone — although I’ll probably let most things slide.
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.