Hey, I had some major criticisms of this article I’d like to establish. Want to precept this that I am a transgirl and this is semi-relevant to what I’m gonna say.
The idea that a lot of women play Mercy isn’t an accident. There was concept art of Mercy a big gruff black dude, and some of her as how she is now. The fact they went with the latter is pretty damning given how she operates in the gameplay as a whole, in that she is an extremely easy hero to play for newcomers and people who lack confidence in their ability to play. So you have a cute female character that is a very subservant hero (Great if your BF wants to get you into the game) and doesn’t require much skill at all to be effective at what she does.
I really hate seeing women play mercy in my games whenever I play comp, because it just plays into this stereotype and keeps reinforcing itself. But this article doesn’t seem to really address, at least not explicitly, the core issue of sexism isn’t entirely on the part of people who hate on mercy, it’s on the part of gaming culture as a whole making women less confident in their ability and only allowing them to play incredibly easy and subservant heroes. Whenever I hear a girl play something that *isn’t* Mercy, I seriously breathe a sigh of relief because it goes against the stupid bullshit culture surrounding women in gaming and the hero roles they play.
In my experience, the transwomen I meet and generally see as a whole don’t fall into this trope. The fact they didn’t experience the culture surrounding women in gaming before they transitioned more often than not, so they don’t have this self-misogyny of being forced into a support role or an easy hero that doesn’t require skill. I can understand wanting to play a cute female character, I do that plenty in games like League and Overwatch (Dota 2 doesn’t have many options for that sadly). But there’s plenty of female characters who aren’t mercy. D.va, Zarya, Mei, Pharah, Sombra, Widowmaker, Tracer, Symmetra. But the thing is that these heroes either A. are extremely skill dependent and aren’t great for people who lack confidence, and B. don’t play into the gender role of women to be serving and subordinate. Mercy definitely does, as her entire character is designed around the archtypical “perfect woman” as judged by society, unlike many of the other heroes I listed.
I mostly read the parts of misogyny and I went into more detail on that, but I’d like to establish some of the things I said that are contradicted by your article. Many of the skills you listed are things that are innate to *every* hero in the game, they’re gamesense skills that are required as a whole. Mechanical ability isn’t the only skill that is required, but Mercy requires neither effective mechanical nor metagame play to be played well. The biggest and probably only mechanical skill that applies to her is positioning, and her guardian angel makes that a breeze while also forcing her to rely on her “superiors” to be able to survive. Surviving is still an incredible skill and I’ve been frustrated having to play against mercys that are capable of i, but it’s still not as difficult nor does she have the high skill ceiling of many other heroes. You can only be *so* effective with Mercy, the hero offers no real potential for great play to shine.
The metagame skill that is required by her is crisis prioritization, and that’s pretty much it of skills that don’t also apply to every other hero. This is no accident, since again, Mercy is basically by design in character concept and gameplay concept to attract women to it and give the “gamer guy’s girlfriend” something to play when he introduces her to it. Heroes that are good for new players aren’t bad inherently, but this combined with all of what I just said makes a lot of women into “mercy mains” and pretty much almost entirely mercy mains.
On the “one trick” stuff, I’ll be brief, it’s that mercy mains are hated in high tier games because it’s easy to cheese SR with her. Not because she’s an easy hero to play, playing an easy hero doesn’t make SR gains inherent because you’ll only get so far before you won’t be allowed to cheese things in a better system; But the performance based SR system Blizzard went with allows you to climb with a negative winrate, and the way Mercy Rez is calculated by the SR system to judge performance is broken (as is performance based SR but this just highlights the issue). Winrate is an absolute indicator of skill, as being able to win consistently on a long term basis by making good plays to influence a game has more say in how good you are than just pure statistics. By definition of the performance based system, me baiting a Junkrat tire and sacrificing my D.va mech so that my supports don’t die is seen as a negative thing, even though I had an arguably positive influence on how the game went.