Many of us who play video games on a consistent basis have been verbally berated by a twelve-year-old while playing our favorite first person shooter game. This is something that comes with the territory of online gaming and seems even more present when playing on a console. Teams scream racist, bigoted, and offensive phrases at each other, as players race to get the most kills on their team, even when playing an objective-based game mode, like capture the flag. Is this something that comes with the territory of playing on an Xbox or PlayStation? Is there something inherently wrong with us “console peasants”? Blizzard’s Overwatch has the potential to help change that mindset.
I’ve been playing Overwatch since a week from its launch on the PlayStation 4. When I first started the game was fun, but it fell into the trappings of many other online FPS titles. People weren’t working as a team, players were only worried about K/D ratios, and the mic chatter was disgusting.
As time passed, I started to see a change. People were starting to communicate as a team, play their roles on the battlefield, encourage others when they made a great play, and even fill roles when a team is unbalanced. I was completely shocked and a bit confused as why this was happening. Usually the console market doesn’t want games where it’s not a race to the top of the kill scorecard and yet the community for Overwatch was bustling.
Personally, I was ecstatic. As someone who consistently plays the healer role in Overwatch, playing as a team is a must and as time went on and on, the general community seemed to embrace the team aspect and philosophy that Blizzard was preaching with this game.
Now to be fair, yes there are a few bad eggs, but it’s nothing to the level of playing Call of Duty or Battlefield and getting yelled at by a 14-year-old about how I should kill myself. Even in Competitive Mode, in my personal experiences, things do not get as heated as one expected.
So is Overwatch “fixing” us console peasants? I don’t know if fixing is the right word, but I truly believe that it is games like Overwatch that are starting to teach the online console community to work together while playing. Hearing teammates cheer on each other, thank one another for doing their jobs correctly, and taking roles that will not give them the spotlight is something that you just do not see often in the console space. I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but at least from my anecdotal experiences with the game, I believe the toxicity is of the online community is lowering in regards to this game and that is something to applaud the folks at Blizzard for.