I was reading a recent article from Murphy regarding MMOs needing to be more social, and he gave a few different approaches. This part in particular stuck out to me:

Final Fantasy XIV’s commendations are a great start, but I think those could be turned up to 11. Promote adding strangers to your friends list or repeat grouping with others. Create a more prominent reputation system so players are more aware of how the server views them.

When trying to visualize how MMOs could do the above, my mind wandered to Overwatch’s end-of-game cards. Those cards are not a perfect system by any means, but it is always nice on those rare occasions to be recognized for your contribution.


He really was annoying as hell the whole game.

Of course, that screenshot also demonstrates the other side of being “social.” Read the chat box.

Then it finally struck me why Overwatch makes me so damn salty: this is a group-based game. Of course, right? But think about it. Imagine every failed dungeon run you’ve had, where the Rogue kept drawing aggro trying to Sap, where the Mage refused to Sheep, where the Hunter had on Aspect of the Pack the entire goddamn time, and so on.

That is Overwatch.

Every time you start a map and four people immediately pick DPS classes. Every time you feel obligated to pick a tank/healer character, for the Nth time that night. Every time you take on that literally thankless mantle and those same DPS derp it up the whole match, leaving you to die. When your teammates waste their Ultimate abilities killing one guy they chased into a room a thousand feet away from the payload. When no one is willing to change characters to counter the enemy’s composition, and you can’t because that means there won’t be a tank/healer anymore.

That is Overwatch.

In larger games like Battlefield 4, things sometimes hinge on the outcome of small engagements, but mostly it is an aggregate struggle across a 20 minute fight. Overwatch is much more intimate, like a 6-player dungeon. And whereas I could content myself with a high Support score in BF4 (revives score just as high as kills), Overwatch provides no such relief. The only scoreboard you have access to is your own. If you are lucky, you might get that card at the end of the match, but it’s fairly irrelevant by that time. And moreover, it’s a cold comfort when you lose.

For the record, I do believe a commendation system would be useful in MMOs, Overwatch, and basically any game. On the other hand, just like in real life, reputation is a function of the size of your social circle. If there are a million people cycling through the LFD queue, the 500 or so you’ll encounter is a rounding error. If you want to queue with the good players again, you’re going to have to do more than give them a commendation; you’re going to have to give them a friend request.

Posted on June 8, 2016, in Overwatch and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. The only thing I would add is that, while I agree Overwatch and failed dungeon runs are similar, I still have fun in losing matches in Overwatch. Maybe dungeons need to be less focused on completion?


    • Do you? I generally don’t mind losing in BF4 or even WoW BG matches as long as I have a particularly cool play in there somewhere. “Ha, I kited those 3 DPS classes around the middle of WSG for a solid 2 minutes before they finally killed me. What noobs.” While these cool plays sometimes exist in Overwatch matches… there really isn’t much else there, to me. Getting gold medals for healing or whatever is cool, but there are generally only two healers across both teams, and nobody else can see the medals anyway.

      Maybe it is as simple as removing the scoreboard. Playing as Mercy, I’d like to know whether to boost the Junkrat or Pharah’s damage, depending on which is better. But in the absence of a scoreboard, I just guess. Everything gets so focused on the team’s success – and only the team – that when we lose, my individual accomplishments feel like nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I solo queued in Battlegrounds from their inception to WOTLK when I officially quit. I could care less about winning/losing as long as there was some semblance of competitive play. More and more, dungeons in MMOs are about speeding through as fast as possible for a reward, so anything that stops that (bad play, inefficient play) is enemy number one. Compare that to dungeons in UO/EQ where it was more about camping an area as a group and trying not to fuck up.

        Not necessarily better or worse, but certainly pleasing in its own right.


  2. The problem with MMO dungeons these days is that they are over within 15 minutes. There’s no way to identify a “good” player in these 15 minutes, especially if the run is smooth. The dungeons would have to take hours and if you, after hours of clearing the dungeon, start to struggle, you would know exactly who is worth being added to your friend list and who isn’t.

    You can only spot player whose chemistry matches yours when shit hits the fan. And with 15 minute dungeons they are either quick rushed silent runs or people start to leave because you don’t loose anything if you leave a dungeon after 3 minutes…

    The only people I’ve added to my friend list since WotLK are the 3 player we found to run MoP challenge mode with.


  3. That’s exactly one of the reasons why I don’t enjoy Overwatch as much as something like TF2. The group/team synergy requirement is too strong and dependent on composition and good play from teammates.

    It majes it a nice game to watch professionals and pre-coordinated teams go at it, much less so to do it yourself with pickup groups.

    But I guess enough people are content aggravating themselves with LFG in order to enjoy the periods where the PUG is actually good.


  4. A couple of things.
    Firstly, grouping up with even one other person changes this dynamic significantly.
    As long as you’ve got one support/dps or tank/healer combo, then a couple of clowns who want to play Hanzo is not too big a deal.
    Secondly, I think the current medal system punishes support.
    If you play Mercy, then realistically your best expectation is one gold medal (for healing, duh!). You’re guaranteed not to get eliminations, objective kills or damage.
    Maaaybe you might get objective time, but only if your opponents are bad.
    This directly drives the XP gain you get – so if you want to play Mercy or Silvio, then you’ll get fewer skins, a lower level, and less of the other fun stuff.
    I find that a good healing game get’s you a reward card, and you can reasonably expect to get some commendations, but no-one is going to vote for a healer over an MVP (4 gold medals) – and you’ll never be an MVP as a healer.


    • Actually, Mercy is a quite capable killer if you pick your spots; the gun’s DPS is no joke. I frequently have 5+ elims, and while, yes, it isn’t going to medal you often, it certainly helps. The difference between an average Mercy and a good one is threefold: knowing when to use the rez, using Guardian Angel properly, and when to use the gun.


      • Maybe so.
        I got a kill on a Hanzo last night which was very satisfying.
        But if you’re getting 5+ elims, then you’re not healing – you might as well be on Soldier76, and doing a better job of it.


      • Not true at all. There’s no need to be leaving a healing beam up on a full target, and the 30% increase isn’t as effective as shooting closer targets right in the face. It has its moments (namely bastion defensive stops), but I’ve played nearly 450 games as Mercy, so I’m not just blowing smoke here. You aren’t aiming for targets with full health, here, you’re picking off nearly dead ones and those coming straight for you that think you’re helpless (you’re not).


  5. Easy solution. If you get into a match that you know will be a shitshow (i.e. 4 people immediately picking DPS with no synergies, as you said), don’t feel obliged to sacrifice any of your gameplay and also pick DPS if you want to.

    In both cases you will lose, but in the latter one you’ll have spent 10 minutes enjoying yourself, NOT bogged down by useless team mates and NOT feeling under-appreciated. And the other players will suddenly wish someone had picked support and may slowly lose the selfish habits, or actually learn to help the support classes.

    TLDR: try to stop giving a fuck and also be a selfish bastard.


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