Guide for improvement, by Dzonika
Hello everyone! First, before I start, I want to introduce myself. I am Nikola, male, a 23 years old player from Serbia. Generally, I’m all into gaming. Others that are interesting for me are, traffic engineering, delivery and logistic engineering, physics, math, a bit of coding and of course sports-mainly basketball. On the servers, Play Overwatch and Shimadas you know me as Dzonika, info below.
Second, I want to emphasize that this guide is intended for players of lower ranks, primarily players from bronze to platinum, because I am a “high-platinum – low diamond” player. Of course, there may be some useful informations for higher players as well.
My start with Overwatch
Before I started with Overwatch, I was playing a lot of FPS (First person shooter) games like Counter-Strike, Call of duty and Battlefield franchises and similar, so I had a solid aim and, lets say, good logic and a feeling for such types of games. And that was all and nothing, if I can say that way. I had that good aim which made the difference between me and the other players of my rank, but also brought me other problems and mistakes I made while playing.
When I finished my placement matches, I had 4 wins and 6 losses. I was mostly playing Hanzo, like I said, wasn’t that hard to hit headshots but I was kinda lost in matches. I did not know where to go, what to do, what is my task and goal of the game, I just ran around and shot people, without any idea of what i’m doing actually. I started with competitive as soon as I reached level 25, with no skill and bad attitude.
As I said, after 4 wins and 6 losses, with overall bad gameplay I was placed around 1550 SR, barely silver. I was annoyed with that, it was dishonorable for me to be silver, almost bronze, in this game because I was playing a lot of DOTA2 and I had that “competitive instinct”. I tried a few days to rank up. I was shooting/killing people all the time, but somehow I was losing matches and SR and dropped to bronze. I literally gave up after that, even made a break from Overwatch, more than 2 weeks if I remember well. The word SOMEHOW is highlighted for a reason, the reason (or many of them) that I couldn’t understand at that moment.
From my point of view, Overwatch community, in that period, was a hell. It seemed like all players were toxic. The thing is, they were not, I was. I was toxic, but the main problem was that I didn’t notice that, which is one of the main mistakes I made (I will explain later in more detail). I was thinking “Oh boy, i’m playing with noobs, total idiots..” and similar things, but that wasn’t the issue. I, or better, my ego in that period couldn’t fit into the community. I was like “Im loseing because of others and nothing is wrong with me” that attitude kept me stuck in bronze/silver.
Attitude – Well, as I said earlier, my attitude was bad. I was constantly popping off on the scene. I thought that I was good, that others were bad, I attributed my mistakes to the rest of the team. I consider this the most important and the biggest mistake, so it’s in the first place. Most importantly because I couldn’t notice other mistakes I made, and fix them.
Game sense – Something I did not have at all. I was running on the map doing everything that I can with a specific hero, but also, doing literally nothing useful. For example when we had to push, I was chasing kills. When I had to go back, I was running into the enemy, mostly dying, leaving my team numerically weaker, which was a great advantage for the enemy team. Also, now I see that most players are doing this as well. This was basically losing games for me, and ruining other’s games.
Positioning – Due to bad game sense, my positioning was also bad. You know that greedy moments where you want to take down someone and you are defensive healer, or tank, or when you leave your healer with the enemy Genji, and you are a McCree thats not using his flashbang to protect friendly backline and similar. Mostly, this resulted in personal death, or death of a team member which increases the chances of defeat which implicate a loss of SR.
Communication – Well, my communication was good in a bad way. I talked a lot, I said nothing. Most of the time, I started friendly, chatting with rest of my team on team voice chat. But as game goes on, if we were losing, my good communication turned into toxicity, usually. I could not shut my mouth up. This caused a bad atmosphere among the team.
Couldn’t actually see the mistakes mentioned above – I think I don’t need to explain this more detailed, I think its clear according my to pervious text.
Heroes – I was limited by picks. Was playing DPS heroes, mostly Hanzo and Reaper, barely switching for another roles, even if the team asked me to. I wasn’t flexible at all.
Not much to say about this, usually SOLO, sometimes stay as a team, didn’t really took this as being important.
BattleNet post and Play Overwatch discord server
Reading the official forums, I found a post by NachtWacht. The subject was “friendly community”, which was funny to me, how can an ow community be friendly….but it actually was. I uploaded one video and got quick and useful comments on my plays. That was very helpful, not only by pointing out my mistakes but to allow me to see them myself. On his, and others, suggestion I started to record my plays (got some problems with that due to fps drop but I still did) and analyze them. Only then I realized what my real problem was. It was me, and my bad decisions. That turned things around. Learning from my own mistakes and reducing them is very important to improve.
Not only NachtWacht, others have helped me as well, a lot. Due to universality and generality of this article, I don’t want to mention them, but people from that server will know who I’m talking about. Listening to them and playing with them improved my game sense a lot. Big thanks to them!
Game that changed everything
I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but yes, I actually had that kind of game, luckily. I was playing a regular competitive match, I think it was attacking in route 66, not sure. I was McCree, im sure about that. In my team, there was a smurf. As usually I didn’t give a damn for that, but, It turns out that this has changed my whole experience. That smurf was playing Genji, he was very nice and calm, very friendly to me. We ran into some conversation, kind of deeper that the game actually required. After the game, we queued again, then again. Then he shared his discord name with me. He was a top500 player willing to help others, new players, which I was. He actually started to guide me in custom games, showing me very useful tips I didn’t know before. He was my coach, a mentor in some way. Step by step, I was correcting all the mistakes mentioned above until I actually started to improve myself. After every training session we had, I was solo queuing and mostly wining the matches. Hour by hour, game by game I said goodbye to silver and hello to gold division. At that point, I started with increasing my “hero range”. I was playing all roles, as the team required. For healers, I was playing Lucio, Zen and Ana. For tanking I was playing Zarya and Reinhard most of the time. And again, hour by hour, game by game, I was mostly winning. Platinum rank became closer and closer, and one day, boom, I reached it. I was so proud of myself and so thankful to my friends and my coach.
There was no more space for blaming others, no more flaming, no more non-mature acting. There I could consider myself as a friendly, stable, overall solid player, sometimes leader of the team. I enjoyed it so much. I finished the season in plat. Next was placements, I stayed in plat, and got to diamond in only 2 seasons.
I have a different picture now. A better one. Now I’m playing for fun, not getting “tilted” that much, or not at all. I’m totally friendly with others now, I’m not flaming and not toxic anymore, usually ignoring that kind of players now. Can’t believe that I was like that long ago. The game became more enjoyable. Actually, the game stayed the same, but my attitude got better.
Inspired by a great idea, by NachtWacht, today I’m running a similar server with the same purpose- to help others find good players, to improve and fit better into the community, which is also the purpose of this article you are reading right now.
My honest advices to others who have similar problems as I had
Start with yourself, not with others. Try to figure out what you are doing wrong, first fix that and after that start with improving things that you are already doing good, this will lead you to overall improvement.
Change your attitude, if It’s bad in any way. Not only to improve in Overwatch, or in any other game, but to improve as a person, because remember, you are in direct contact with other people all over the Internet so start acting nicely, friendly, start respecting others just as you would like to be respected.
As for game play, start recording games and analyze them, by yourself (important) and let them analyze by others, more skilled players. This will play a big part in your improvement, believe me.
Let others guide you, or better said, let yourself be guided. From the philosophical and psychological aspect, this is a common human problem. At some point in life, in some situations, we all encounter this problem. Partially cause we don’t trust others, and partially cause our conscience usually let us think that we are better than the person we are listening to. Please, let others help you with the things they know better than you, to share their precious experience with you and knowledge also. This can only be helpful and productive for your improvement.
Learn maps better. Knowing all “good” spots on the map, which can be different for every hero, is a great advantage for you in the game.
Learn all heroes, or at least 1-2 hero from every role. Be flexible, fill the composition for the better impact of your team overall.
“Maining” and “onetricking” a specific hero is usually a bad thing. You will run into “I have nothing to pick” situations when others pick your desired hero. So as I said before, be flexible for picking what the team needs. I suggest maining a role more than a single hero, which is not good too but still better than limiting yourself to 1-2 heroes.
Don’t let others fools you with boosting, it’s not a good thing for improving, it’s the total opposite. There is a big difference between coaching and boosting. After boosting your MMR stays the same, and you will encounter way better players than you are at that moment and you won’t stay long in that SR range, you will most likely drop down to where your actual skill is.
Better find yourself a coach, a mentor that will guide you and help you improve, just like I did. The product of coaching is a higher MMR and a higher SR, not a higher SR that others did for you but your own well earned points.
If you like to play with numbers, write down all SR changes while playing. This will make it easier to track your progress. Also, you could see your averages at specific maps, on specific heroes so you can find some interesting little things to look forward and work on them.
Communicate with the team. Be friendly, nice, calm. Sometimes, It’s okay if you take that leader role in your team and remember it’s only a game. Don’t lose your nerves, neither your honor, humanity and dignity for some on-line game. Always try to provide useful information, for example information of the position of an enemy hero, your ULTIMATE status, combo possibility etc. Don’t spam others with things they, mostly, don’t want to know.
The way I practice
Usually, I love to practice my mechanical skills in the practice range, or even better in a custom game with players of similar rank, or higher rank than my. I’m not going to say that Quick play is bad for practice, but I think that is not that much relevant because you will not always get players with similar skill, maybe with same rank but not the same MMR and competitive can be a bad playground for practice and learning because you are risking your SR, and other’s as well.
My warm-up routine is simple. I usually start with the practice range, as I said, to get into the controls and feeling of the game. Jump and shoot there for a few minutes, then ask if someone want to go some 1v1 or any custom game, if not, sometimes I go into QP, still for warming up only, not to practice there. Then I start with competitive.
I can not tell you how to set up controls, sensitivity, and similar things, it’s something personal. I can only say that is crucial to set everything up the way you feel comfortable with. In my case, for HITSCANS and other DPS heroes, my sensitivity is 3.2*800 (1200 for some heroes), and 4*800(1200) for TANKS and SUPPORTS.
Video settings: Try to make it at least to 60fps. Its okay if you lower some settings to reach 60+fps. In my opinion, it’s important to play on the primary, default resolution, Hz of your monitor, to have some shadows, at least on low (Sometimes you can see shadows and spot some enemy behind/around the walls). For sound settings, make sure you do not turn off footsteps and similar sound effects.
Not much to say here, I was pretty short and direct in my pervious text. Work on yourself, your attitude, always try to, first notice and then correct mistakes, work to improve good things too. Let others guide you. Practice and you will be just where you want to be.
I hope I was useful to all of you.
This guide is from my point of view, from my personal experience.
My progress and improvement won’t be possible without some specific people, people from 2 great communities.
Play Overwatch discord server: https://discord.gg/RtfNegp
Shimadas discord server: https://discord.gg/CEyCKeN
Best regards, Dzonika