Sunday, January 7, 2018

Game Diary - Well This Can't Last

In times of happiness, it's important not to become accustomed to it, I've found.  Appreciating the good times is, in me at least, a result of being mindful of the inevitability of the alternative.  That being said...

My placement matches are going so good you guys! I'm like squeeee!


When competitive mode was introduced to the game, I was still very much a Mercy main - a low-barrier-to-entry character who could contribute and help her team without requiring serious mechanical skill.  I'd instalock Mercy every game, unless she was already taken, and if she's wasn't, I'd flex to a tank or - in the rarest of situations - a DPS that I thought might counter whatever was carrying the enemy team, or making it impossible for my team to break through.

In later seasons, I flexed exclusively during placement.  I'd let anyone else pick who they were confident with, and I'd pick the hero I thought filled in the gaps in our team the best.  Sym, tanks, supports - whatever you need, I can do it.  I'm not very good on any tank or support who's not named Mercy, but I'll do my best and try my hardest. 

And I'm not down on my competitive rank at all.  Gold or platinum is very much where I belong, and I'm frankly a little proud to be able to compete with anyone in the middle of the Overwatch pack.  I remember, over a year ago, being conscious of the fact that I tended to win more when I was playin' Mercy - I'm a pretty solid Mercy! - and wasn't prepared to "throw" games by insisting on my shitty Tracer play. 

Whenever I played comp games post-placement (see: never in 2018), it was the same - just flexing, doing my best to do whatever I can to balance my team's composition, and maybe... maybe taking some pressure off me.  I'm not the reason the enemy team isn't dying, after all - I'm just your Rein or Zen!

But my Tracer play's gotten a little better.


At this point, if I've played 100 hours of Mercy, I've played 150 of Tracer - and way, way more Tracer in the last year than Mercy, I'd say.  I've grown more confident in my Tracer than my Mercy.  I've gotten to the point that I've noticed... I'll win more often on Tracer than I do on Mercy.  Tracer has, somehow, become the most meaningful way to help my team.  And she's considered a pretty hard character to get value out of. 

I'm sure this doesn't need to be said, but I love Tracer.  She's ridiculously fun.  Soaring out over main street on Dorado, dropping down behind a Reinhardt and scratching him up before slapping him with the Pulse Bomb, blinking away and not looking back as he and Moira go boom - feels incredible - and being able to have that much fun while also winning games is... luxurious. 

But again, I don't want to force my shitty Tracer on teams!  I don't want to soft throw by not letting our carry DPS instalock their DPS mains and get to work!

But, then again... I win more games when I play Tracer.  Maybe... maybe the best way to help my teams is to just play Tracer.  Not Mercy.

And y'know what?  What if my Tracer sucks?  So what?  What if I just play Tracer in comp and it puts me in fucking Bronze or Silver (never been that low!) - so what?  So then I play against other shitty players who are as shitty as I am and, hopefully, I'd end up having more fun 'cause I wouldn't be getting my ass beat by Diamond McCrees. 

This is one of my fall-time favorite Tracer fan arts. 

And I wanna' know, I guess.  I wanna' know how good or bad my Tracer actually is.  I know that wherever I get placed this season is largely dependent on how I ended or how I played (my ten placements and nothing more) last season. 

And when push comes to shove, if you want me to help you win this game to the absolute best of my ability... I'm gonna' need to be on Tracer.  So last night my brother and I are warming up in Quick Play, finally ready to begin our placements for Season 8. 

"Oh by the way," I tell him, "I'm only going to play Tracer in placements.  If she's taken I'll flex, but I'm instalocking Tracer every game I can."

"Good," he says. 

I didn't need to flex.  I was the arrogant DPS main who instalocked their shitty DPS every game and I have never had better comp games in my life. 


We didn't get all our placements done last night - only seven of the required ten.  Chris is a proponent of team chat - and I'll usually mute my mic and join when I'm soloing quickplay - but it got a little weird, a couple times.  One goober was riding me all match after, during setup, he noted that I had the Graffiti skin and the gold guns and all he emotes and was like "you're a pro Tracer," and I'm trying to keep it light and joke around and I go "yeah yeah I got a League contract and everything," and then he just keeps riding me on that the whole game, like he's trying to tilt me. 

That'll learn me to engage with people.  We won, but he was very happy when I didn't get an elims or medals card at the victory screen.  My fault.  Never should've joked around with... anyone.  Ever. 

Our only loss was a game with three twelve-year-old-soundin' kids who were screaming at each other all game.  They were in a three-stack and were clearly real-life friends, but they were just screetching and swearing at the top of their lungs, it threw me off hard, and the Genji was just complaining about the enemy Hanzo and Doomfist all match.  I did my best to counter the Doom, at least, but I advised my brother I would not be joining team chat any more, and he agreed. 

All I've got is the artist's name is 'Wye.'

I ended up with something pretty close to a personal record on Hanamura - 47 elims!  It was incredible!  We never took point B on attack, but the reds never took point A.  I just thought I had a decent match until a PSN message popped up from someone on the enemy team.  And I quote,
And yes, that is actually the username.  This made me feel bad.

I didn't respond, reported it and SIE moderation deleted the message within an hour, but I also went back into the footage to see if I remembered this guy in particular, because I didn't specifically remember building a relationship of any sort with any of the reds that game. 

I opened up my capture of the match.  Ah - he was Hanzo at the beginning of our attack round - I don't remember killing him at all.  I went on the PSN forums to vent about it - I have no idea why this guy got so bent out of shape!  But later, after we'd finished playing, I went through the footage again.  He played Bastion when we took point B.  I stuck him with the Pulse Bomb like three times. I mean, I can see you being displeased about that, but you know you're target #1 for Pulse Bombs, man. 

Then I saw that he went Soldier on attack and it was like ohhhh. 

I never waved to anyone, this match.  Never used a voice line, never emoted - I was pefectly professional - but I also kicked this Soldier's ass up and down the street with relative indifference.  Every time he got on or near the point - blink - I'm right there, emptying a clip into his face while he stands passively on top of his healing station. 

And yeah, really, 47 elims is a lot (for me, at least). 

The other thing Chris said when I told him I was only playing Tracer, was to inform me he was only going to play D.Va (he played 1 on Torb and 1 on Soldier when D.Va was taken).  My response was the same as his - "Good."

I certainly didn't carry every game, but somewhere around a third of the time, that's exactly what I was doing - and the rest, I pulled my weight.  Our final match of the night was an achingly long six-round affair on Volskaya that we finally won mostly by having more time in our bank than the enemy's. 

When all was said and done last night, my Tracer was sitting at an 85.71% win rate.  If we count games were I just refused to go into team chat, we're at 100%.  I never imagined my selfish little experiment would be this successful. 

Either way - this can't last.  I am kickin' ass and takin' names and getting PotGs and enjoying Overwatch more than I have in months.  Maybe it's all the Tracer time I was able to put in over Christmas - maybe it's just the tweaks I made to my aim sensitivities - but I'm havin' a ball

How will it end? 

Tune in in a week.


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