I love Overwatch.
I feel the need to say that before we go any further because what you’re about to read is likely to not paint the game or its community in the most flattering light. It’s still going to end up as my game of the year. I’ve still managed to put over 100 hours into it, despite having to maintain the site and the Youtube channel at the same time. I still think that the randoms I meet up with in Quick Play are, by and large, friendly chill people. It’s the way Competitive Mode in Overwatch works (and the crowd it attracts) that I have such a huge problem with.
Allow me to paint you the picture – a rundown of my placement matches in Season 2 of Overwatch.
Match 1 – We begin our adventure in Lijang Tower. Control Maps in Competitive are particularly grueling because they go to a best of five. Luckily for me, we had a good team that seemed content on helping one another, earning a sturdy 2 point lead. Then… things took a turn. Be it due to overconfidence or a renewed desire for victory from the other team, we proceeded to get stomped, bringing us to a 2-2 tiebreaker game. We lost in roughly 3 minutes due to the fact that several of our teammates remained in the spawn, I assume out of protest. Keep fighting the good fight, guys. 0-1
Match 2 – Dorado. A teammate dropped out and the game counted it as a loss. 0-2
Match 3 – Hamamura. I take a risk and go with Symmetra, who is my best character but very unpopular in the Competitive scene. Oddly, my teammates don’t seem to mind. In fact, no one makes a peep over voice chat, simply holding down the point and making sure to be in the right place. It was a well-played game that gave me hope for my continued adventures in Overwatch. Thumbs up. A++. Would buy from again. 1-2
Match 4 – We draw Eichenwalde. No one on our team has played Eichenwalde before. Thankfully, neither did anyone on the opposing side. There was something about the utter chaos that followed that I found endearing in a way; watching everyone, including myself, fumble around the map as if we were all playing the game for the very first time. It was a terrible performance that no one should be proud of, but we won in the end. I fell off of the map once, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Please don’t say anything. 2-2
Match 5 – Hollywood. A teammate dropped out and the game counted it as a loss. 2-3
Match 6 – Ilios. A teammate dropped out and the game counted it as a loss. Yes, this happened three times. 2-4
Match 7 – Nepal. One of my teammates learned that there’s a hotkey for “wants to attack the objective” and he was very excited about it, so much so that he proceeded to press the button over and over. From the moment that everyone spawned, until our crushing defeat, he pressed that button. Even after muting him, I could still hear his Bastion making the noise from afar. Eventually, everyone on our team was yelling (via text) at him to stop. By the last round, I stopped being upset and was frankly just impressed that everyone was able to control their characters whilst still typing so furiously. Not well enough for us to win, mind you. Legend has it that he’s still pressing the button, even now. 2-5
Match 8 – Volskaya Industries on Attack, which for my money is the hardest position in the game to play from. Everyone picks before me, leaving me to fulfill the role of Offense Hero. I pick Soldier 76 and hope for the best, but my teammates immediately protest, insisting we need a Genji. I politely inform them that I, like 90% of the people playing Overwatch, am terrible at Genji. I’m overruled and thus proceed to do my best. In a Competitive game, using my worst character on my worst map, we, shockingly, lost. I killed maybe four people, and one of them was only because I happened to be breathing in their general direction when someone else shot them. My teammates, clearly running a playbook that leaned heavily on my Genji, then went on to voice their displeasure. One of them claimed to have had intimate contact with my mother. I’m doubtful of the veracity of this statement. 2-6
Match 9 – Dorado again. We, a group of six solo players, were grouped against a pre-made team. We didn’t even hit the first checkpoint. I let my teammates know that it was okay, because we got to ring the bells and they didn’t. Small victories. 2-7
Match 10 – Volskaya Industries on Attack because the world is one giant cosmic joke on me.
“So, do you guys have mics or are you just a bunch of retards?” one of our teammates immediately asked the group. My rank is already screwed, I’m probably never going to play Competitive any more after this, and Captain Insecurity over here has not stopped yapping and insulting everyone from the moment this match started.
You know, I think I’ll go Genji on this one. 2-8
My final rank? Silver, at 1768. I intend on having a few more matches just to see if things improve, but my general consensus is that it’ll be downright impossible for me to make much in the way of progress. In Overwatch Competitive Mode, you can lose placements due to bad players and then get stuck in a tier that you can’t escape because of bad players. This isn’t to say that I’m consistently amazing and should have been in Diamond tier, but there are still glaringly obvious issues with how the mode works, be it the constant drop-outs, the lack of a solo queue, or the general toxicity of the community.
The game is still relatively young and I have hope that Overwatch a year from now will barely resemble its current form, but until we reach that point, I still don’t see the appeal of Competitive Mode at all, really. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, since it segregates a particular variety of unpleasantness away from Quick Play, but in a game that’s in constant need of new content and modes to stay fresh, I do find myself wishing I had more to do, more to unlock, more to shoot for. That’s why, for better or worse, I’ll still likely dip into the occasional Competitive game just to change things up.
I’ve been looking for a chance to brush up on my Genji, anyway.