When Not To Play Competitive Overwatch

October 25, 2016

A screenshot of Rinehardt from Overwatch.

Ok, so it may have taken a five game losing streak, and almost dropping to bronze rank, but I’ve finally realized that I’ve been playing competitive Overwatch for the wrong reasons. I started the second competitive season with around 1,900 points(still not great), and since then I’ve gradually squandered my rank and have little to show for my time.

A screenshot of Mei from Overwatch.

I entered the competitive mode with the hopes of racking up enough credits to get Mercy’s golden staff skin; a goal that remains almost just as far out of reach as it did when I queued up for my first competitive match. So where did things go wrong, and what did I learn about my own experience that can help me and perhaps others going forward?

My first mistake was prioritizing cosmetics over gameplay. I know I’m a sucker for nice aesthetics, but entering the competitive scene with the sole goal of getting a shiny new weapon skin was a new low for me. I didn’t care about rising through the ranks and honing my skills, instead I was fixated on an in-game reward. Hell, I bet I would have even taken that gold weapon skin over being instantly granted the skills of a top 100 player.

The second component to my less-than-stellar competitive experience was my lack of team communication, because I wasn’t able or willing to mic chat during 90% of my competitive matches. Communication is paramount when playing multiplayer games, especially when you’ve got a team of other people depending on you.

I’d actually recommend not playing if you can’t or won’t voice chat during competitive matches. You’re putting teammates that are calling out enemy positions and giving tips at a huge disadvantage. They’re doing half of the legwork, and even if you’re a stellar player, you’re still not giving your team the best chances of winning if you’re as silent as a field mouse.

A screenshot of a team in Overwatch.

The third and last part of my decision to take a time outĀ from competitive Overwatch is due to the realization of my cognitive dissonance. Despite losing the majority of my competitive matches, I still expected to eventually rise through the ranks. I wasn’t getting any better at Overwatch, or at least at a perceivable level anyways, but I still thought that I would magically accumulate rank points. I needed practice, and the competitive scene is probably the last place to practice.

So, what’s the solution? I think there’s two paths that can be taken if you’re consistently losing in competitive Overwatch. One: Stop playing competitive mode entirely. Two: Take a temporary break and watch some YouTube guides, skilled Twitch players, practice a ton in quick play, and start using your mic to communicate with teammates.

What do you think? Should competitive mode require a mic? Maybe there should be more rewards for quick play? Thanks for reading.

Article By: Dan Mace