Tag Archives: Overwatch

Can Overwatch one-trick drama be a good simulation of microaggressions for privileged people?

Yet another Overwatch flamewar is ongoing about the classic question of whether someone “one tricking” a hero1 in competitive should be a bannable offense or not. As always the “ban them” camp has the loudest or more numerous voices, even though the Overwatch design team has publicly stated that they disagree with this approach. This latest drama round was only started because an ex-Blizzard/Overwatch employee has publicly stated the opposite. Check the thread sorted by “controversial comments” to witness some nerdrage if that’s your thing today.

However as someone who habitually plays primarily “off-meta” characters2 who’s spent significant time improving my skills with them, I’ve been often lumped into the “one-trick” corner by raging team-mates. In fact, playing off-meta characters is a more likely indicator that your team-mates will turn against you, rather than one-tricking as a practice, since if you’re tricking an in-meta characters, nobody bats an eyelid; but I digress.

What I want to suggest is that the experience of someone who plays off-meta/one-tricks in OW is going to be like a very very mild experience of microaggressions that marginalized people experience regularly. What tends to happen to people who make such choices in competitive play, is that there is a constant level of hostility and bothering that other players just don’t experience. From the mild, such as someone asking you very politely to switch your choice at the start of the game, to the overly hostile, such as someone flaming at you, or deliberately throwing the game to spite you.

On their own, each of these might not be an issue at all, or just a hilarious occurrence, respectively. Howevever where these situations start to approach the microaggression territory is when one experiences some form of them in almost every game they try to play. If in almost every game you play someone politely or aggressively tries to make you switch characters at some point in the match, then at some point even the most polite phrasing is not going to help the effect they have on your psychology.

While there are other games with hero choices, Overwatch is uniquely positioned to act as a “microaggression simulator” due to its mechanics which support a constant change of each team’s roster. Other games might have “off-meta” characters, but often due to the locked-in nature of each once the game starts, people tend to not rage on this issue that much. However in OW, people will keep annoying the off-meta choices for this exact purpose, with the comments often escalating in vitriol when the game is going bad and the off-meta player refuses to switch.

Now, reminder that I don’t think they are anywhere on the level of microaggressions a marginalized person receives, but they are a really good way for someone who otherwise would have too much privilege to even understand what a microaggression even is, to get a mild sampling themselves. Perhaps is might be something on which an understanding and respect for actual microaggressions might be built?

  1. This is the practice of only choosing that hero, regardless of map or opposing heroes []
  2. This means characters which the “competitive scene” is not using, and as a result the  majority of OW players take to mean they are weak choices []

You might be a Torbjörn main if…

Inspired by this reddit post, I decided to compile my own list 🙂

  • You know that in a pinch, an ult without a turret can help you level it out faster.
  • You know that when doing the above, you stand in front of the turret.
  • You know that the turret needs to be as far away from combat as possible. It has long range and never misses.
  • You know all the good spots on maps for a turret to shoot far without allowing enemy snipers to hit it.
  • You always save 50 scrap for yourself, to help for a getaway from a flanker.
  • You know that against pharahs, using the shotgun at long range is more useful when you have the turret helping.
  • You find it cute when D.Vas or Winstons think they can just jump in and destroy your turret just like that.
  • You know to pull our yer hammer when an enemy Reinhart hides behind his shield during an ult.
  • You know that actually attack on payload maps is really good for Torbjorn. Especially if you’re facing a defensive Lucio.
  • You hate attacking on 2 CP or hybrid maps.
  • You’re ALWAYS the scapegoat.
  • You always get a card. You never get a vote.
  • Gold in Hero Damage. Gold in Objective Kills. Gold in Eliminations. Asked to switch first.
  • You’ve had people apologise to you multiple times.
  • You love pairing with Symmetra on CP defence.
  • You know that heroes with shield get the armor pack first.
  • You cry a little inside when your tanks pick up the armor before your supports.
  • You’ve found yourself shouting at the mic “Pick up the damn armour!”
  • You hate attacking bastions on payload maps.
  • You use baby turrets as extra 150 HP per 6 seconds when necessary.
  • You regularly ask people not to babysit your turret.
  • You know you’re doing a good job when the enemy team switches to full anti-torb heroes.
  • You know that turret placement when you have ult and when you don’t have ult, is different.
  • You always keep riveting a corner a DPS or support fled into, for about 3 seconds.
  • You know you need to reposition your turret after every 2nd push. Even if it wasn’t destroyed. Especially when facing D.Va.
  • You never try to level up a turret during a team fight.
  • You got a golden weapon and you know which is the the only victory pose which displays it.

And here’s some that I liked but didn’t write since they were already posted in the above thread 🙂

  • You know the exact number of swings it takes to setup a level 2 turret.
  • You wonder why you aren’t classified as a sniper.
  • You wonder why you aren’t classified as a healer.
  • You know that “Defense Character” is more of guideline than a rule.
  • You can hit a friendly Genji with an armor pack from 40 meters off.
  • Leveling off your sights means a 45 degree angle, not because your shots fall, but because that’s where the heads are.
  • The enemy team is reduced to ulting your turret because they cant get in otherwise.
  • You get accused of being AFK after out-sniping the enemy widow 3 times.
  • You can make a chicken out of a feather.
  • You have to leave voice chat in competitive because your team mates are screaming at you.
  • Your ping is over 300ms (And you still team kill)1
  1. Speaking from recent experience. This is too true []