How to get a little better at Overwatch by changing your attitude

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” — Winston Churchill

I love playing video games, especially player vs player games–I love me some good competition. Anytime I find myself in a competitive atmosphere I get very “passionate” … I either get extremely happy or extremely upset–it’s a roller coaster of emotions. Overwatch is the ultimate player vs player for me, and so as you can imagine, my emotions roller coaster with every win, loss, kill or death.

When I first started playing Overwatch everything was new and exciting. There wasn’t too much sense of competition because I knew that I sucked. However, little by little I found myself getting upset every time I lost a game, or even died, and I wasn’t the only one either. It seemed there was always someone on my team who was being toxic, and not having fun. This made the game less fun for me and my teams. Not only that, but I felt like I was getting worse. I even started to question why I played because I was clearly not having fun.

One day when I was playing with my son Oliver he had to tell me, “Daddy, you’re getting upset … remember, it’s about having fun.” This was an eye-opener for me and I decided to do something about it–I decided to change my attitude.

I did some reflection and came up with these guidelines you can apply to not only have more fun but also get better.

1. You are going to lose, and that’s okay

I don’t know what it is about winning, but it just feels sooo good. The downside is that losing feels sooo bad. You need to get these emotions under control. Level out that roller coaster of emotions. Accept that you are going to lose, and possibly that you may lose every match. Accept it. Right now. Say, “I am probably going to lose and that is okay”. Once I was able to accept that, I was able to focus on more than just winning or losing.

2. Build people up

How many times has someone told you that you suck, or that you are not doing the right thing, or that you are not playing the right hero?

People can be mean, especially when they are not sitting right in front of you. It’s like road rage … the things you would say to the person in your car are not the same as if you were standing behind them in line. It hurts, and it’s not the kind of thing that makes you or other people better.

Since Overwatch is a team based game, it makes sense to focus on other players, not just yourself. So, practice focusing on other people, and bringing them up instead of tearing the down.

“Practice makes better”. I recommend spending a whole 5 games or so finding a specific thing to compliment one of your teammates on. I think it is important to call out something specific you saw a teammate do that was awesome. A simple “good job” is not my idea of something specific. Instead, try something like “Nice rez on the tank there Mercy”. This will make your mercy feel good and she will probably want to resurrect you again next time; which is a win-win for you and your team.

Here are some more examples:

“OMG, that headshot on Pharah was sick Mcree!”
“HAHAHA, did you all see that boop Lucio just did on the Roadhog? So good!”
“Ah, that Reaper got me! Thanks for killing him Soldier.”
“Look at this little death ball we have going on. Sticking together for the win!”

Also, I recommend you enable a couple of settings that will help you notice your teammates doing good things:

1. Enable the Combat Log in your Gameplay settings. This will help you notice what is happening in the game.

2. Enable ally health bars. This will give you the opportunity to compliment a healer when they do work.

3. Ask questions

How many times has someone told you to switch to Soldier, or told you to be a tank, and you feel a little fire start to build inside you?

I don’t like someone who tells me what to do and how to do it; I don’t like being micro-managed. It doesn’t even matter what they are telling me, I might even agree with it, however, I feel the need to rebel in those moments…”no one tells me what to do”. Obviously this is counter-productive, and something that I will let go for the good of the team, however, I have a simple solution that I think is better for everyone.

My mentor always says “a leaders job is to ask really good questions”, and I think this advice applies well to Overwatch. Try and ask really good questions, don’t focus on the players, focus on the problem you are trying to solve. Asking the question is going to allow for your team to come up with a solution together (good communication is key and something I will cover in another post).

For example, instead of telling someone to switch to Soldier to kill Pharah, ask the question “How are we going to take care of this Pharah?”? You might be surprised to find someone on your team switch, and maybe even switch to something like Mcree (someone that they are better with).

Here are some more examples:

The Problem: Our Winston dies quickly at the beginning of every engagement. Telling: “What we need is Symmetra to switch to a healer.” Question: “Symmetra, could you please switch to a healer?”

Good question: “How can we keep our Winston up in this next fight?”

The Problem: Genji keeps flanking and killing our healers. Telling: “Winston, stick with me and kill this Genji.” Question: “Winston could you please kill this Genji?”

Good question: “How are we going to keep this Genji off our healers?”

Again, “Practice make better”, so try asking really good questions and see how your team responds. Spend a few games where you do not give out one command, instead, ask a good question.

4. Don’t blame your team

I know how tempting it can be to blame your loss or death on a team or a teammate, and maybe it really was their fault, but I have found this makes me lose and die more. I know if I blame Mercy for my death, “Ugh, Mercy! You didn’t heal me.”, I will probably not get heals the next time. So instead of blaming players focus on ways that you can improve.

I think this is worth practicing. Take a few games where you don’t blame a single person for anything. Every time you feel the need to blame someone, try to focus on something you could have done better.

Here are some examples:

You just died with your ultimate on the point, and your Mercy didn’t resurrect you.

Instead of: “Ugh, Mercy! I had my ultimate, why didn’t you rez me?!?”

Try: *Stay Quiet* I shouldn’t have been in so deep…Next time I should stay back more.

You can be better

I am not perfect–I still go outside of these guidelines–but I am constantly working on getting better. Not only have I been having more fun, but I have also been moving up the ranks in Competitive (I recently got to masters).

I love Overwatch and self-improvement, so if you ever want to talk or advice or play together or whatever shoot me an email zach@theweekendprogrammer.com