Overwatch Forcing – When Good Plays are Mistakes

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Hey ioStux here, first I want to give you a reason why I think you should even listen to me. I’m a Grandmaster player (although barely to be fair) and more importantly a private coach, with over 60 coachees including 2 teams. As a coach I have the privileged of seeing a bunch of people from different skill-levels play all sorts of characters. I can watch both low and high level scrims, seeing the intricate differences between the best of the best and the worst of the worst. But why am I telling you all of this this? to brag? Not quite – I want to talk about something that every player makes, the player with 600 SR, or the player with 4.5k SR. Of course there are vast differences – but I’ve started to realize that they have one crucial thing in common. When you are watching yourself play or even if you think about it in-game, you may have trouble determining exactly what went wrong at times. In those situations you may ask a higher ELO friend or even Reddit for help, and you may get a response that is technically correct, but over time those mistakes stack up, and you will get the feeling that you make more new mistakes than you fix. That is because people are being way too specific with their advice. It’s good to have detailed tips but there is one word that can summarize 99% of all mistakes we have done in Overwatch: Forcing.

I want you to have a look at the following clip: this is from a player for one of the teams that I coach – as you can see he plays Genji on Lijiang tower and he starts dashing towards the Widowmaker – now you may think to yourself “oh well hes just not that mechanically skilled, that’s why he died in the end”. So take a look at this example, this is from the same team but this time its another player playing Soldier. As you can see he uses his ultimate and gets Nano boost which was pretty good, 1 player already died and now hes killing Mercy – and all of a sudden he gets Roadhog hooked and dies so thats clearly a mistake right? Or let’s have a look at this play which is from the same Soldier in the same game – if you can see how he goes over the choke and overlooks ahead a little bit, and all of a sudden he gets Roadhog hooked again. Now luckily the Zarya bubble saved him but you may think he overextended.

Alright let’s go for a team orientated play – I want you to look at what Blue team does, so they try to combine the Zarya ultimate with the D.Va ultimate and unlucky – suddenly the enemy Lucio ultimate blocked it, as well as the Reinhardt shield – I mean that has to be the problem right? Did you see the mistake? Ok, so all of these plays were bad for completely different reasons – either because someone over-extended or because someone didn’t destroy the Rein shield before ulting, or someone got outplayed in a 1v1, right? Technically yes – these points are all completely valid, but instead of trying to fix the mistakes 1-by-1 you can go at it more generally – all of those plays were forced. I guess I should start to explain what I mean by that, I want to define Forced as a play no matter how good or bad that didn’t need to happen. If you force someone to do something, then it doesn’t matter if they want to do it or not, they have to do it. It’s similar in Overwatch, all of these plays could be good or bad – imagine the following scenario, you are defending on Numbani and you’re playing Lucio, the enemies are all clumped up on the top right staircase and you see a good opportunity to engage. You use your ultimate and speed boost your team in there, long story short you completely wipe the enemy team. No one on your team died and the enemies got their team wiped – good play right? You used one ultimate to completely annihilate the enemies, but why did you do it? And this is where forcing comes into play. There was no reason for you to do it, the main goal in Overwatch is always the same – take control of an objective.

It doesn’t matter if you want to climb to Silver, make it into the top 500, or win the next big tournament. You may think that all these people need different advice, the silver needs better mechanics, the top 500 needs better decision making, or the pro player needs good team play – but in order to reach their goals they need to play the objective. This is where we get back to the Lucio play, you may have wiped the enemy team which is great, but did it help you with the Objective? The objective of defending a point is pretty straight-forward – keep the enemies from standing on the point alone for too long. Did that Lucio engage help with that? I mean it wasted around 30 seconds from the enemy team sure, but it could have been a lot better. When you watch your own VODs or even a tournament and you see a really good play, ask yourself if they could have done that 5 seconds later. Could that Lucio have ulted 5 seconds later? Of course – the enemies were still in the small room and the enemies weren’t on the point. The play he is making didn’t defend the point, there was no immediate danger, so if he had waited for 5 seconds he could have done the exact same play and gotten much more out of it. How about 10 seconds? 15? Sometimes even a minute – very often people see an opportunity and they take it, but they don’t think about all the other opportunities that may come up. That Lucio could have just waited until the enemies do something, but he forced the play and didn’t react to anything, he wouldn’t have lost the game if he hadn’t used his ultimate.

That’s also the same mistake we saw in the plays earlier – Soldier getting hooked by Roadhog? Forced play. He walked up for no good reason, the payload was in the choke and there was no good reason for him moving past it. The enemies need to push the payload to the checkpoint, and he needs to stop it. Him moving forward and shooting the enemies didn’t help stop that, it was risk mismanagement.

Or the Zarya D.Va combo in the team game, they had control of the point, they could have just waited but the thing is that the attacking team needs to do something. Always think about what would happen if both teams went AFK – would you win or would they win? If you would win then just wait until something happens – try to waste as much of the attacking teams time as possible. Them having the point means they need to do nothing, since the percentage is already going up. But instead they took a risk – they went in and used their Zarya/D.Va ult instead of just waiting. If the play worked then they wouldn’t have gotten anything out of it – know what you’re fighting for, they used those ultimates for nothing. The enemies didn’t attack the point, and they don’t have to attack them either. Instead they took a risk with no rewards if it goes right, with a big loss if something goes wrong. And in that case it goes wrong.

Or look at the Nano boosted Soldier ultimate – he needs to defend the objective, after he killed the Mercy was there any threat of the objective reaching the checkpoint? If he hadn’t walked into the room with Roadhog, would the enemies have finished and won the game? No – Roadhog would have stayed in that room being useless and Soldier wouldn’t have to take the risk of dying. The Roadhog needs to make a play in order to push the objective – not the other way around. The game would have gone the same if you killed the Roadhog or not, but you dying changes the outcome – so just don’t risk it.

Or the Genji fighting the Widowmaker, did he have to dash up to her? What would have happened if he didn’t? He could have just stayed on the point waiting for the enemies to try and take it – Widowmaker couldn’t do anything from her position anyways, she can’t see people on the point so if he would have killed her, you wouldn’t be ahead at all – but if you died, then the enemies have a Genji less to deal with, making a retake so much easier. By not forcing a play yourself – in this case chasing the Widowmaker, you force the enemies to make a play. In this case Widowmaker going to a more vulnerable position in order to get vision and try and be useful.

This is the main problem with Tilting. Titling is playing irrationally, playing without purpose or logic. When you’re tilted you get the feeling that “Okay, I need to do something NOW to win the game” – so you take risk, after risk, after risk. And even though most of those gambles will result in payout – the house always wins. So this is the reason why you lose when you’re tilted – because you make plays that don’t make sense. You can’t win because both outcomes of those plays are losses, especially on defense reactive plays is best. You wan’t to react to what your enemies are doing, don’t use an ability, ultimate, or shots even until you really have to. You may risk something for no reward, and when the enemies see that and actually start to do something you have no way of counteracting that.

An exception to this is when the win condition changes. So for example if you defend a point, the win condition is always to keep the enemies off of the point. Until they take the point, you don’t drop from high-ground, you don’t use your ultimates, you don’t engage – but if the time is running out and you know that the game is won if you win the next teamfight, then you should just take the next big opportunity to secure the win. But the 5 minutes before that, only do things that are necessary. You aren’t supposed to carry every game, you are supposed to do whats necessary. Most of the will to carry is what makes players lose – because they gamble their wins away in hopes of carrying. Second your pride, sometimes just standing around doing nothing but waiting for the enemies to do something is the perfect play – it’s boring, it’s not fleshy, it gives you the feeling that you’re useless that game, but it gives you the win. And the enemies get the feeling that they had no opportunity to do something because you didn’t give them one. If you don’t take any risks, the attackers are forced to make their own plays, and those forced plays are exactly what you can capitalize on. Sometimes doing nothing can give you everything.