Monday, September 11, 2017

I am weak

On Saturday I buckled to tremendous peer pressure and purchased Overwatch.

I have not put time into an online shooter since one of the PC Unreal Tournaments. Which one had vehicles and the assault maps? That one. I was never 'good' but I was not embarrassing and very little, if any, team communication was required. You assaulted a point or you defended a point, all while shooting everyone that was not the same color as you.

(insert joke about 'merica here if you like)

It worked for me because there was limited choice. There were no characters, no special skills. So it is understandable that when I first tried Overwatch last year I picked Soldier and called it a day. Easy character, reasonable DPS, self heal, everything that a fundamentally lazy man who doesn't like to talk to people needs to have a good time.

Once I pick a character in a game it is incredibly difficult to get me to change. I have played Blanka in Street Fighter since SFII and his absence is Street Fighter 5 is the source of most of my disinterest. When I do play I use Necalli, not because I like him, but because I started with him in the beta. This is true for just about every fighting game I touch (Kitana, Green Arrow, Thunder, May and Nina all say hello). Honestly SFIIHDR is the only exception as I have a reasonable Dhalsim and a scrubby Sagat. Playing a different character feels foreign, uncomfortable, and is a great way to raise my gorge at a game and send me off in a different direction.

This does not work for Overwatch because team dynamics are actually important. Since I purchased the game (again, due to relentless and wearying pressure from someone) I have played all but a few games with Soldier. To no one's surprise he is great in the new (to me) deathmatch mode. I was coming in second or third, completely cold and rusty, thanks not to my incredible shooter skills but to the fact that having self heal and reasonable DPS works out great when your entire task is shooting people.

On normal Overwatch maps, where support is important, I cannot bank on the team needing a Soldier. When it works it is joyous. I had one game, I forget which map (because I do not know the names) where I sat on the point, backed up by a Mercy and an Orisa, and racked up a ten kill streak before some dirty Tracer snuck in behind and shot me in the back. The three of us won the match. Later I played a payload match where I was lost the entire time and completely ineffectual because I didn't wait for the team and had no back up. It was not a good time.

I am treating this as an experiment. Can I enjoy a game that forces me to interact with others? As I grow older, and god damn am I getting old, my hermit like ways have been getting worse. Aside from the podcast I talk to very few people outside of my immediate family. I interact with strangers as little as possible and conduct most of my business through very politely worded emails. This is probably not healthy but there is so much momentum behind the behavior that, like playing Blanka, I do not know if it can be changed.

There is some skin in the game now, as I actually own the game and have purchased a cheap ass headset, so the sunk cost fallacy may work in my favor. Then again I just started Victor Vran, a pretty good Diablo-esque experience with a protagonist voiced by Doug Cockle, the same gentleman who brought Geralt of Rivia to life. It's fun that I can have alone, which is much easier.

1 comment:

  1. If boundless enthusiasm for a product is pressure, you have shown heroic restraint in not purchasing a Vita.