written by SleepyBeyond
Overwatch is the first game I have ever played for more than a year. When I first began playing I loved the competition, the ability to group up with my friends, and the ability to see a consistent growth in my own ability. However, things have changed. Overwatch has become a chore for me and many other people. In fact, nearly everyone I meet these days is so focused on grinding competitive to get to the next level because they’re “better than their rank”, myself included. Half the time it feels like something I have to do, instead of something I want to do. I’m tired, and frustrated, and overall burned out.
image sourced from Morronsoup
So how do I fix this? Can it be fixed? First, let’s define what burnout is. Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to; physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. This stress in gaming can come from losses and upward as well as downward comparison. Upward comparison is comparing yourself to someone who you perceive better than yourself while downward comparison is comparing yourself to someone who you perceive to be worse than you. Both of these are bad for burnout and bad for your mental health. Both threaten your self-esteem and therefore your self-worth. By upward comparison, one is convinced they aren’t good enough. Though downward comparison may appear to help inflate your ego, it will probably end up doing damage when you experience a loss against someone you perceive yourself to be better than.
The easiest solution to this problem is: stop playing. Take a break. Play another game. But what if I don’t want to? I still enjoy Overwatch and I want to go back to the early days where nearly every match was somewhat enjoyable. So, are there other solutions? Yes. Take a break from competitive and focus on playing arcade games, community PUGs, or even quickplay. It’s easy to think that maybe this will still lead to burnout, but it won’t as long as you avoid your main pool of heroes. Play other characters, just have fun, learn something new and create a new experience for yourself so you aren’t just playing the same game over and over again.
As a main tank player, in nearly every situation I am expected to play main tank. When I’m burned out, that is the last thing I want to do. As such, I declare to everyone I’m playing with that I will not be playing that role. Many people accept this, and we play for fun. There are no expectations of me, because I’m not playing what I’m good at. I’m able to freely try other heroes and play what I normally don’t get to. These new perspectives offer a fresh type of gameplay to me and allow me to enjoy heroes I normally wouldn’t get a chance to. The most refreshing part is that the people around don’t have expectations about my play style allowing me to relax more and simply enjoy playing the game.
However, it’s not always easy to do that in a community where you’ve built a name for yourself as being a certain type of player. In situations where you are needed to play your main role remember to remain positive. It’s important to recognize where you stand not in your perceived reality, but in actual reality and accept it. Maybe you’re not improving as fast as your friends because you don’t play often like me. That’s a learning gap I have to accept and if I want to actually improve, then I have to work through it. There’s no quick way to get better. My final advice to anyone experiencing Overwatch burnout is take a break, figure out why you’re burned out and then do your best to find a solution. Unfortunately, there is no one quick fix. It takes maturity and self-reflecting to understand why you’re burned out.