written by CsPPP
Have you ever had a nagging idea that you knew was completely crazy and yet, you still wanted to explore it, entertain it, twist it every which way to try and make it work? Well, that’s the entire point of this! Join me and together we’ll explore a myriad of weird and wacky premises, mostly revolving around Overwatch, that just might be crazy enough to work!
“I bet you’ve never thought of this!”
I’m willing to wager that most who might find themselves reading this have kept up with the latest Overwatch developer updates and posts, at least enough to know that the big push lately has been for the objective of giving the players more control over their gameplay experience. This got me thinking about more ways they might go about achieving this goal, mostly as it relates to Competitive, which – let’s face it – is the main facet of the game they’re referring to when they say, “improving the gameplay experience,” and this sparked an idea in my mind. What if a player could have control over their SR gains and losses per match to a certain extent; what if they could stake however much they chose to lay on the line! At first it might sound silly – even I thought so when it first came to me – but I couldn’t help myself and I just had to explore it further to see if there was any way it could be viable. There would most definitely have to be rules, limits, regulations etc. and there could be some major drawbacks to such a system, but the merits are there as well! Allow me to dive in and explain the way I see such a venture working out, while simultaneously trying not to sound like I need gambling addiction therapy.
Getting straight into the nitty-gritty details, the system might not be as complicated as one might suppose. The way I foresee the process going is simple. At the beginning of a match, once a player has locked in their pick, they would then be prompted with an option, somewhat similar to the format of endorsements at the end of a match, but instead beings asked to endorse someone they’d be asked to wager a given amount of their SR on the game. This would be the amount gained or lost if the player won or lost the match respectively, and players would have up until the time the round started to decide: with some sort of standard amount being input if none was chosen directly beforehand. From here the match would just go on as normal, however, competitive functioning the way it does, Blizzard could easily add the option for players to bet even more SR during the first break in which teams switch sides if they so chose. This might be interesting if a player is feeling particularly confident, perhaps based on how the previous round went, and wants to get a little more out of the match. It should be noted though that this extra betting round ought to only be allowed once – if at all – as well as also only allowing the player to raise at a fraction of what they started with in order to make everything more balanced overall. Otherwise players would simply always start out low and continuously raise to extreme amounts once they perceived they had a good chance of winning. Of course, this brings us to the fact that there would have to be a set minimum and maximum amount of SR that could be risked per match, with my thoughts being at least 15 points on the low end and 40 points at an absolute maximum, no matter how many betting rounds there may be.
Now, I believe the merits of such an approach would be a great addition to the game! I think the folks at Blizzard are onto something when they continue to give the players more control over their experience. It really has been shown to alleviate some of the situations players have found themselves in, from time to time, when certain things were taken care of on the back end at seemingly random: just take the recent LFG feature with grouping and role select as a great example. In much the same fashion as LFG, with some help from endorsements, this system could also help to possibly reduce toxicity even more by allowing players to wager less SR on a match they perceive they might lose, thus lowering the pressure felt during a tough match if it so happens to be one. Who knows, some players might even play better knowing they have less to worry about, but perhaps that is wishful thinking. Most importantly though, I think the idea has the potential to simply be really fun! Just think about how often you or people around you enjoy putting stakes on something, even the smallest things. How it makes whatever situation the bet is relating to more interesting and engaging! It could be as simple as wagering with someone that something might taste good and if it doesn’t you’ll personally get them something else, or it could be as big as hundreds of thousands of dollars on a poker game! The ability to go big or go home and reach a certain goal only adds to the excitement in my mind, especially if I get to choose when and where I place my bets!
On the flip side of all of that, there are always negatives to go along with the positives, and as with every idea, it is always good to look at both sides as objectively as possible. To somewhat counteract what I said previously, the way everything would be structured also has the potential to somewhat add to the toxicity levels. The particular situation that comes to mind is when a player has perhaps wagered a good amount of SR on a given match and their team begins to lose, causing them to start looking for something or someone to blame and take responsibility – maybe even more than usual. Yet another drawback may also be the fact that smurfs and trolls could have an even greater opportunity to abuse the Competitive ladder in much the same way they do now, with smurfs being able to put low amounts of SR on the line every time to stay around the same rating for a longer period of time and trolls adding more pressure to players who have bet a good amount of SR on a game in the hopes of securing decent winnings. To be fair however, smurfs and trolls do exist even in today’s Competitive environment and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Even more wishful thinking might say that letting smurfs stay lower for longer might cause them to throw less games than they do currently in order to stay down around their desired ranking, but I digress.
“Going all in on a crazy idea!”
Overall, this is just an unfortunately crazy idea that popped into my head one random day. It definitely has its advantages – possibly lowering pressure for some players during a match, giving players more control over their experience, and just being plain fun. It also has its drawbacks – possibly allowing for more toxicity and abuse of the system – but in the end I think it would be a great feature for the game! Who knows though, maybe I’m a little too bias, maybe I’m completely overthinking things and a simple standardization of the amounts gained and lost per match would be a much easier way of doing things, maybe I do have a gambling addiction, but, personally, this idea is a bet I’d be willing to take!