Category Archives: Games

Be More Aware in Overwatch

Hello again! Yesterday I posted about some really annoying things you should avoid doing in the team game Overwatch. Today I have tips for things that you should do, and gameplay options you should use in order to be more aware of what’s going on. Awareness of your surroundings is important! Not just your own situation and where your enemies are, but also what’s going on with the rest of your team.

Use the Scoreboard

Blizzard never actually tells you this in the tutorial – why would they want to teach you anything aside from basic moving and shooting controls?! – but you can bring up the Scoreboard in game by pressing the Tab key (unless you’ve unbound it).

The Scoreboard isn’t just about your ego and seeing how many gold medals you have, it also tells you a lot about what’s going on in the game.

  • You can see who is dead, on your own team and the enemy team (they have an X through their portrait)
  • You can see if people on your team have their ult ready (see the blue checkmark under Pharah)
  • You can see who, on either team, is on fire (another thing Blizz never explains to new players)
  • You can quickly see team comps and be aware of when someone has switched heroes (or tell when the only support on your team has switched to Hanzo)

The Scoreboard is transparent, so you can still see what’s going on. I find myself pressing Tab a lot during games.

Kill Feed Display

The Kill Feed Display is in the top right of your screen. If it’s not go into Options > Gameplay and turn it on. I find a lot of people either don’t have this on, or just don’t pay attention to it. Like the people who yell “Where are my heals?!” when the healer has just died. Or the people who yell “Tracer’s low!” and go off to chase her when someone else has already finished her off in a hallway somewhere. Knowing who has just been killed is important for deciding how aggressive or defensive to be.

Allied Health Bars

Healers and a couple other characters (I think) can always see the health bars of their allies, but this is a good thing for anyone to see. Go to Options > Controls and turn on Allied Health Bars. Knowing more about the status of everyone on your team can only help. You can help someone getting low with an enemy is harassing them, tanks can put some form of shield on/in front of them, Solider can put down a heal, Roadhog can take care of his own health when others are low and need the heals. Health bars  – they’re not just for healers!

Keep an Eye on the Clock

Overwatch is a lot like football – clock management can win you games. Different kinds of play are better at the (possible) end of a match than at the beginning. In a point capture match, as the clock is running down the most important thing is to either keep the point in your possession by keeping the other team off it, or get your butt on the other team’s point to prevent the match from ending. You know someone has no awareness of the clock when they yell at Mei for walling a lone hero approaching your point when there’s only a couple seconds left. Yeah, they may have cost you an elim, but that wall let the clock run out.

It’s also very important to watch that Overtime countdown. The point/payload is always the most important thing, but being on it in Overtime is especially necessary.

Be on Voice Chat

I know not everyone will like this one but, at least in Comp, you should always be in voice chat. Even if you’re not going to talk, listening is important. Generally the more constructive communication and sharing of information there is in a game, the better the chances of winning.

Don’t be ‘That Guy’ in Overwatch

Overwatch, besides being the home of super cute characters and half the shipping on the Internet, is also a team game. But not everyone seems to understand that. Here are some things to avoid doing if you want to win and don’t want your team to hate you.

Charge/leap into the middle of the entire enemy team. This is a thing that Reinhardt and Winston are most guilty of. Charge is a great thing, but not when the end result is you surrounded by 6 enemy heroes who want to kill you and out of range of the rest of your team. You won’t get healed and you’ll die fast. And don’t yell at the healers for not healing you – Neither Lucio or Mercy’s heals will reach you (and don’t be mad Mercy didn’t fly in after you because she’d just die immediately as well), Ana probably won’t have line of sight to you, and Zen’s orb won’t keep you up through 6 people shooting you in the back. Charge more strategically.

Immediately complain when someone picks a character you don’t think will work. Now there are some comps that are probably bad ideas (a lack of tanks and support is an obvious one, 3 snipers, attack Torbjorn does seem rather trolly), but give people a shot. Don’t immediately complain that you don’t want even one sniper, or that Mei’s damage is too low, or that you want a Lucio over a Mercy.

Stubbornly stick to your original hero pick no matter how badly it’s going. Comp is important. If your team’s comp isn’t working, try something new.

Yell at your healers for not healing you, while otherwise ignoring them. This one’s pretty simple. If you ignore the D.Va or Tracer constantly harassing your healers don’t expect amazing healing.

Ignore the payload. In payload maps, the payload is the most important thing. Pushing the payload to the end (or stopping the other team from doing it) is what wins the match. Your 52 eliminations don’t matter if you can’t complete the objective. Also, if you’re on offence the payload heals you!

Yell at Mei for defending a point by putting up a wall to block enemy heroes. Mei is a defense character. She excels at defending a point. Keeping the enemy off it is just as important as killing, especially as the matching is coming to an end.

Be the Mei who uses walls to troll her own team. Seriously, you’re why people hate us.

Be the sniper who is so unaware of the status of the point that they won’t put a toe on it to save it from being captured even though they’re the only one alive. Oh yes, this happens. Even in competitive.

Be the player who runs right up outside the enemy team’s spawn at the beginning of a match, only to die immediately and leave your team to defend 5 on 6. Maps have choke points for a reason.

Be the person who’s constantly emoting or asking for heals in voice chat. Healers can see your health bar. Unless you’re nowhere near them, in which case, get near them for heals.

Be the player who’s only comfortable playing one character, or only Offence/Defense Characters. You don’t have to be able to play everything, but should be able to do one of Tank or Support.

Be one of those people who says “we don’t need 3 supports” when one of them is Symmetra. Symmetra can take down most tanks 1 v 1 right now so don’t you worry about lack of damage.

Be the developer that puts Symmetra into the Support category instead of the Defense category, breaking people’s brains, and causing fights.

Later this week I’m going to be writing about improving your awareness in Overwatch. Much of it will be snark, but there also might be some things to learn as Blizzard does not do a good job of telling people the fine details of playing the game.

What are the things people do in Overwatch that annoy you most?

Introducing… the Media Mavens podcast

It finally happened! After mulling it over and considering it for months, I’ve started a podcast with my good friend Riley!

Media Mavens logo

It’s a biweekly podcast about pop culture – video games, tv, movies, books. The plan is to have the first half of the podcast be a discussion of all the media we’ve been consuming recently, and then have the second half be a more in-depth discussion and analysis of a particular piece of media or media topic.

The first episode is just Riley and I, and it’s more about introductions than analysis, but in the future we plan to have guests on to talk with us.

You can find the podcast at https://mediamavens.simplecast.fm/ or on iTunes or Stitcher.

I hope you give it a listen!

XCOM2 Tips and a Strategy Game Question

XCOM2 is out! I basically play this 12 hours a day now, I’m having so much fun with it. I thought I’d parlay all that time played into a video with 10 tips to get you started with the game. Here it is:

I got a comment on the video, which I haven’t responded to yet, that asks what it is about XCOM that appeals to me. They go on to say that in their experience women aren’t very in to the strategy genre but have a seen a ton playing and talking about XCOM2 and they wonder what about it appeals to women moreso than other strategy games.

First, I obviously am not a fan of sweeping generalizations about what genres appeal to each genre. Second, women are not a monolith so aside from the fact that XCOM features just as many women as men, which I think is a draw, I can’t really say why anyone else is attracted to the game. Third, my experience is contrary to the commenters. I know lot of women who play and talk about strategy games like Civ, Crusader Kings, Banished, Cities: Skylines, Warcraft, Starcraft, but when I fangirl out about XCOM it’s mostly men who respond in kind.

Lastly, I tried to think of some common denominator shared between the strategy games I love. I like the alien and sci-fi aspect of XCOM – but also like high fantasy strategy games and the semi-realistic nature of Civilization. I love that I can micromanage the tactical combat in XCOM, as opposed to just building and placing units and letting them do their thing – but not being able to do that doesn’t turn me off the others. I like that in Civ I can get cultural and technological victories rather than fight – but I’m also good with the all military, all the time nature of XCOM.

Which brings me to my questions for you. Do you like strategy games? What draws you to the ones you like? Alternatively, if you don’t like Strategy games, why not?

The X-Files Game

The X-Files is coming back to television in less than a week! That means it’s time to review The X-Files Game on PlayStation 1. Check out the video if you want my thoughts on the game or want to learn some embarrassing stories about me from when I first started watching the show.

 

Best Games of 2015

Somehow I managed to play 30 games that were released in 2015. That made coming up with a top 5 list a bit difficult. But, I managed to to do it. Here’s my video about the best games of the year.

If you’re not one for videos, here’s the list.

  1. Pillars of Eternity
  2. Ori and the Blind Forest
  3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  4. Until Dawn
  5. Tales from the Borderlands

And since 5 is so few, there are a couple honorable mentions

  1. Stasis
  2. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  3. Witcher 3

What were your favourite games of the year?

My 2015 in Blogging

It’s the end of the year! I hope everyone’s having a good holiday. Mine has been busier than I’d like, but I’m getting through. Also, I got some awesome Christmas gifts! It seems like a good time for a bit of a wrap up of my writing this year. The year has had its ups and downs as far as writing goes. Some months I published very little, but I also posted 31 times for Blaugust (though, none of those posts are ones I consider my best). Getting into videos has sort of disrupted my writing. But, here are the things I’m most proud of.

This first one is the post that nudged me into video creation. I started writing it long before I published it and thought it would make a cool video. So eventually, after much writing and many, many hours of editing, it turned into one of my first YouTube videos, but I also posted the transcript here for those who’d rather read than watch. It looks at the trope of the insufferable genius, which is one usually seen in male characters, but is also seen in Kinzie Kensington from Saints Row.

Kinzie Kensington and the Insufferable Genius

The next article was also inspired by Saints Row. This one is about how game marketing materials and box art are often very out of touch with the players experience of the game as far as their created character is concerned. I love that I can create my own woman protagonist in games like Saints Row, Mass Effect, or Sunset Overdrive, but why do I always see the same grizzled white dude on the game box and on loading screens?

Under the Covers

Next up deals with a problem I have with RPGs. How much lore is too much lore? How can games better present walls of text that give the player background information about the game world?

Lore and the Codex – How to do it Better

This next one’s really just a plea to people to pay writers and value their own work. While for myself writing and making videos about games is a hobby, it’s also a lot of work. I had to work out for myself to what extent I’m willing to to these things for other people and sites.

Saying No and Not Working for Free

I admit, this one is also a little preachy. I’ve been making an effort to only spend considerable amounts of time on games that I really enjoy. I don’t want to do boring grinding, I don’t want to play games that make me frustrated more than happy. This post asks some questions about how we spend our time in games, and whether we’re actually enjoying ourselves.

Things I Don’t Get About Gaming: Respect for One’s Time

This month I wrote a couple posts I really liked (they’re actually my last 2 posts). The first is a bit of history about “censorship” in video games. This is the post that got the most attention this year.

Censorship in Video Games

And lastly, my latest post, inspired by a kind of comment a get fairly frequently on my videos.

One Girl Gamer to Rule Them All

Also, not writing related, but I got to be on Justice Points again this year on one of their last episodes, along with my good friend Kal and we got to chat about Bioware for a bit.

Episode #119 – “I’ll Wait For You, Kaidan”

Well, that’s my year in game blogging! I’ve got a best games of 2015 video coming up soon, and I’ll make a blog post for that as well. I just need to find some time to record it.