written by Disco
Recently, Alastrom has written two articles entitled “Games as Art… or Propaganda?” and “The Political Battlefield of Games” respectively. While they are worth looking at on their own, there is a particular idea that he talks about that is worth analyzing with respect to Overwatch: we care about the messages that are conveyed to us, regardless of medium, because there is power to change mindsets and attitudes, for better or worse, when ideas are spread.
In other words, you are what you listen to.
Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash
Overwatch is an interesting first person shooter title in that, when played as a coordinated team, there is little room for winning games solo through raw mechanical skill; rather, it’s dependent on whether the team can work together to make a plan and execute it well. Mechanical skill does play a part in whether or not a team can win, but equally important is how a player thinks, reacts, and communicates – all of which are connected to the mindset of the player.
And the mindset of a player is a very influential thing. Skills like planning fights, ultimate tracking, and in-game awareness all require the mind to be clear and focused. In a game like Overwatch, there are so many things that can influence a player’s perspective and performance, making games go from amazing to terrible (or frustrating to enjoyable) in record time. In many cases, these influences are not noticeable until they have taken a foothold in a player’s mind.
Gold medals and statistics. Play of the Game. Skill Rating. Verbal toxicity. Frustrated players. Friends that encourage. Teammates that treat you with respect. Trustworthy coaches who provide proper feedback.
Every single person who plays Overwatch as part of a team is going to be surrounded by messages and ideas that will either dissipate on arrival or be magnified in their minds. These ideas tend to spread from that person to everyone around them. The only way to prevent a bad mindset from being developed is to either be unaffected by whatever is providing the message or to remove the source of the idea. Most players tend to think the first option is the one for them; however, the point of this entire article is to say that the first option is not enough.
Photo by Paulo Silva on Unsplash
Overwatch teams tend to be an echo chamber when it comes to mentality – if toxicity is thrown into that chamber, it tends to bounce around and grow stronger and stronger. And the longer that it is left in there, the longer it takes to get removed. Sometimes, it’s impossible to get rid of it all. If teams are not careful about who gets to speak into that echo chamber, there is no guarantee of what will come out.
Stop letting people poison the mindset of your team. Stop throwing poison in there yourself. Be mindful of what affects a team. Words and ideas are powerful, and they will change people wherever they go.
What are you going to listen to? And who will you be as a result?