written by Disco
image by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
In a game like Overwatch, there are numerous ways to improve. However, the method of improvement varies dependent on each skill. While some skills are developed through practice in game, other skills won’t be improved until they are looked at from outside a match. Even for some of the skills that are enhanced through practice, being able to review them helps improve the process. For those who have not done any sort of self-review in Overwatch, this is an introduction to that topic.
First, a key thing to note is that self-review cannot effectively occur in the middle of a game. Psychologically speaking, a player’s focus inside of a match is very different from outside of it; without looking at gameplay outside of a match, the focus for improvement is set on the wrong things or altogether removed due to a belief that the issues come from exterior sources. Thus, for effective self-review, a player should be recording their own play. This can be done through numerous different pieces of software OBS, Plays.tv, Streamlabs OBS, and Nvidia Shadowplay are just a few of the tools for recording. While this recording does not have to be crystal clear, it does have to be decent enough to understand what is going on in the game.
There are several things to keep in mind when going back through previous games. Perhaps most importantly is that the review should not be a passive viewing of the game; rather, there should be active questioning of decisions made throughout the game. Everything from hero choice to positioning can be considered. There are things that should not be dwelled upon for too long though – things that are outside the control of the player, like teammates or innate randomness.
The easiest way to start questioning decisions and evaluating their accuracy is to commentate over recorded gameplay. An example of what this can sound like comes from RCI caster RichRad, who often streams his casting while playing the game. Thus, he only has the perspective of his character and what he can see, rather than everything that a normal caster would have access to. However, by paying close attention to what he is saying, you will often hear him state what he is doing while playing the game, which creates a clear picture as to what the decisions made were and their effectiveness. This type of mental dexterity that RichRad demonstrates is not necessary for self-review; instead of commentating during a match, simply commentate at a separate time. By stating out loud the decisions being made by the player, the effectiveness of those decisions are very evident, as most incorrect decisions will sound as such when being spoken out loud.
The main idea behind this method is to talk about what the player is doing and why they are doing it. By answering these two questions, mistakes are uncovered and incorrect decisions are exposed. Every Overwatch match will involve at least one decision and at least one action completed. Thus, the commenting method takes this fact and uses it to go through all of the possible ways that a player may not have played correctly, allowing for recognition of those areas and suggestions for improvement. This method has also been used by Dallas Fuel assistant coach Jayne, who uses this method to teach Winston in the video below.
However, this method does not necessarily work for all players in all situations. When this method fails, players will be unable to determine the correct decisions should be. Coaches exist to help players understand the correct responses and why they are correct. The downside to the method is that players may incorrectly determine what the correct solution is. After reinforcing bad habits into their gameplay, the damage done results in a much worse state than initially held. By utilizing coaches for improvement, players will be able to recognize these areas of improvement much faster. While this role can also be a friend or a teammate who takes a second look at your gameplay, it is important to note the ability of coaches to understand the game through experience and education. When in doubt, going to a coach is often the correct strategy. A sample of what reviewing gameplay with a coach may look like is shown below with Contenders coach ioStux.
Self-review is a fundamental task for improvement in Overwatch. Without self-review, players are unable to recognize failures and solutions. By using the method of commentating one’s gameplay during review, incorrect decisions made during a match are made apparent through explaining actions and decisions in tandem. Coaching is also a valid option for improvement, allowing for a fresh and experienced perspective on the gameplay. These tools are helpful in allowing players to reach their full potential in Overwatch and should not be underestimated to any extent.