Getting Over Watch

Lately Jess and I have been playing less and less Overwatch, down from 15-20 hours a week (if not more) to two, three or even zero hours. Without meaning to, we kind of drifted away from a game where each of us have sunk a nearly four-digit number of hours, which is easily a record for the both of us. It’s on my mind a lot lately and I really just want to get some thoughts down on paper about why that is.

A lot of it comes back to the new Role Queue system. Blizzard introduced Role Queue in July last year, strictly limiting the 6-person team to two DPS, two tanks, and two supports. If you ask Blizzard why they did this, they’ll say it was to make sure games remain “fair and fun”. If you ask literally any member of the community they will tell you in no uncertain terms it was because the GOATS composition was an unstoppable strategy which was dominating all levels of play and making things boring at best and stupid at worst.

Named after the team who invented it and used it to steamroll everyone, the GOATS composition is as simple as it is effective. Ignoring DPS entirely and only having three tanks and three healers creates an unstoppable rolling murderball of endless barriers and hitpoints with a surprising amount of damage output (mostly because some of Blizzard’s “tank” characters are just DPS characters who switched their name-tags when Jeff Kaplan’s back was turned).

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Common People

This post comes about as a result of watching three people who I sincerely love and respect – Patrick Stafford, Lance McDonald, and James Pinnell — discussing stuff on Twitter, so I want to be clear that this is not aimed at any of you three specifically but rather something that has been sticking in the ol’ craw for ages and needs to be put down in words.

I absolutely hate the idea that one internet community is objectively better than another.

(Or to put it another way, I hate the subtext here: the idea that one place where Humans Exchange Opinions somehow either creates, or is automatically populated, by Better Humans.)

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Maybe You’re An Arsehole

As I go through the old comics I have drawn over the years, sorting them, cleaning them up, getting them ready for public presentation, one thing becomes clear: I have, in the past, been an arsehole.

There’s no shying away from it, and I don’t have any excuses for it. It’s the ugly truth. I have been an arsehole.  I look back through my comics and I see that I have made jokes about self-harm. I have made jokes where “being gay” is the punchline. I have made jokes about “fake geek girls” — not ironically, but genuine gatekeeping bullshit.

(I have never made a rape joke. I am proud of that, I guess.)

These comics will not be seeing the light of day. I do not shy away from them and I do not disavow them. I am their author and I am responsible for them. But I am choosing voluntarily to censor myself and to not display them to the world.

Why do I do this?

I do this because I believe in improving myself. I believe in changing my behaviour as I learn new things. I believe in making others feel comfortable and welcome around me.

Here’s another thing I believe.

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An impassioned answer to the question that nobody was asking

Last week, Christina Sommers released a video as part of her series The Factual Feminist asking the question “Are video games sexist?” (A bizarre and inflammatory headline and not a question anybody has ever asked, but nevertheless). You can watch this video below.

Sommers’ video has seen overwhelming support from people who feel “social justice warriors” are taking over gaming, but she has also been labelled as a conservative and neocon by her critics. However, Sommers political leanings — and she’s a registered Democrat voter, for what it’s worth — are wholly irrelevant.

What is relevant is that the arguments she makes in her video are, despite the research cited, wide of the mark, ignorant, and largely irrelevant to current calls for better representation in gaming.

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