Overwatch Endorsement System: Is Fake Kindness A Bad Thing?

Overwatch is a game that I play a lot, generally at least an hour every other day. I’m a console pleb with a mediocre laptop so I can’t speak for the PC Overwatch community. This view is merely from a PS4 position so take that with a grain of ‘this guy doesn’t know it all’.  Overwatch, for those that don’t know, has a basic communication wheel in game. You press some buttons and your character and a little text prompt, for your team to see, will pop up and say ‘Thanks’, ‘Hello’, ‘Understood’, ‘Group up’, ‘My ultimate is (number)% ready’ and the infamous ‘I need healing’. Basic but it can get the job done. Of course you can use mic’s but if you’re like me, a bit shy and you can’t be bothered to listen to background trashy music or mic technical issues then this communication wheel is all you need.

When put to good use, a team of strangers can co-ordinate a winning move! Or in the hands of a sore loser, can be a minor annoyance. Similar to Rocket Leagues spamming of ‘What a save!’ ‘What a save!’ ‘What a save!’, when a bad player blames others for his death, a torrent of ‘Thanks’ starts appearing on screen. Like a persistent moth batting against a light bulb. It’s not a big deal but it’s damn distracting. Constant inputs incur a couple of seconds ban which helps the droning of suicidal Genji’s but the next death usually brings on another tirade of blame. It is an issue that since launch I’ve got use to but never over. Like a mild rash, without the satisfying itch. Then arrives the endorsement system.

Endorsement

The endorsement system is a simple feature that was added to Overwatch. At the end of a quick play or competitive match you are given the chance to praise your teammates or  a respected enemy. These praises are ‘Shot Caller’, ‘Good Teammate’ and ‘Sportsmanship’. You can only give out 3 endorsements per game. As, you receive endorsements you receive rewards. Or that is my understanding anyway. The system has only been out for a short time and I’m only at a level 2 endorsement level. So far though, I haven’t been showered with gifts or whatever the reward scheme is. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed a sharp decrease in message spamming. I still see ‘I need healing’ and ‘Thanks’ pop up a lot but not as much as I did before the new system.  A lot more ‘Understood’ and ‘Group up’s have been rearing their pretty heads. Much to my joy. A team that communicates in a team based game? Hold on, we may be onto victory here. It’s a nice surprise and I’m sure Blizzard was hoping that this new system they’ve introduced to their game would quell a vocal minority. You can’t shut up everyone that’s unpleasant but a start is always welcome.

This new niceness has raised the question though: is it all fake? To be honest, yes some of it is. But why care? Negativity in a team game can quickly spread. One person spams ‘Thanks’ on death and then after the 3rd time this repeats, someone spams ‘Group up’ back at them. Then a 3rd player may join in on that and then suddenly half the team is bitter and eagerly awaiting the match to end so they can find a new team. It creates a bad aura that brings the energy plummeting in matches. I know because I’ve spammed ‘Group up’ before. I shouldn’t have as that makes me no better, I’m still causing distractions and providing no useful or tactical information. And so, if Player A is seething with rage in a match of Overwatch, yet he chooses to say ‘Thanks’ when healed and ‘Group up’ and actually does it, is that a bad thing? Would you rather he is honest and let his emotions unleash on ‘Thanks’, or would you prefer he plays nice for brownie points? I would rather choose a positive atmosphere to my matches than an honest moan session. I’m British, I love a good moan but not in a team game. Fake kindness wins over unpleasantness any time for me. Not only that but positive reinforcement is always better than negative reinforcement. If the nasty player sees that their pleasant disposition leads to more victories, they are more likely to continue that act.  Combine that with the fact that habits grow the more they are repeated, which means that subconsciously this nice behaviour could stick to the individual, naturally.

It’s almost like a paradox. Is a player a good teammate, if they are secretly a bitter Overwatch player that keeps their whining to their self and is courteous in game for fake badges? I think if it leads to a better gaming experience for everyone in game then cheap tricks are fine by me.

Tips Or Trivia- Bioshock Lighthouse Location

Trivia

In Bioshock, the game starts with the player aboard a plane over the Atlantic ocean, in 1960. The title card pops up and the very next scene is our hero drowning underwater. Due to the debris sinking around him we can gather that something has gone wrong and the plane crashed. Our hero, Jack then quickly swims to the surface and thankfully doesn’t drown. Amidst the fire and wreckage, Jack sees a lighthouse. A lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. There are no other islands nearby or anything and so what purpose does a lighthouse have in the middle of the ocean? But Jack isn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth and so proceeds to the lighthouse for safety. Within the confines of the lighthouse, Jack finds a bathysphere which takes him on his adventure through Rapture. I’m going to skip Rapture for today, even though it is a fantastic setting and has lots of lore surrounding it.

Today, I want to focus on the lighthouse. An odd thing to have in the middle of the ocean. So, I wanted to see how far away from land this lighthouse was. I was going to try and pinpoint the location using speculation and the process of elimination. But that’s not going to be needed. “When Mum and Dad put me on that plane to visit my cousins in England, they told me, ‘Son, you’re special, you were born to do great things.’ You know what? They were right.”. That is a quote on the Bioshock Wiki said by Jack. I personally don’t recall the visiting cousins part in England but I trust the Wiki. So, I was going to work backwards from that to see where he was coming from and where about he crashed. But………..the actual coordinates for the lighthouse have been published by the Bioshock team. There is no lighthouse there sadly.  The coordinates are 63° 2′ N, 29° 55′ W, which brings us to here:

Bioshock lighthouse

As you can see, it all adds up geographically. Jack was coming over from somewhere in America to visit his family in England. Along the way something went wrong and the plane careened off course and into the ocean below. The location of the lighthouse is between Greenland and Iceland. It’s still not close enough to land to serve a purpose to the residents of the islands. But, to get into it’s purpose is another topic all together and one that involves spoilers for the game. That’s why I’ll just leave the alone for now.

Overwatch is in Need of Support

A support hero specifically. I bought Overwatch on release day and since then I have usually played it every day for at least an hour. It’s a great game and rekindled my love of online FPS’s which I was quickly losing interest in. The lore surrounding the game, it’s world, the unique characters, all of this set Overwatch apart for me. It’s creator, Blizzard have done a great job, in my view, of listening to fan input and complaints. Sure, they’ve changed a few things characters recently that a large portion of the player base wasn’t too happy about, but these changed haven’t ruined the characters, they just made them different.

One thing that a big chunk of the player base wants is a new support character. For those that don’t know, Overwatch’s heroes are divided into four classes. Offence, defence, tank and support. The amount of heroes in each class is as follows respectively: 8, 6, 6, 5. As you can see Offence has the most heroes and while that’s all well and good a new support would go a long way to adding variety. Since launch on May 24th 2016, the game has welcomed Ana to the support class. She is a great addition but the class sorely needs some new freshness installed. All the support heroes in my view are fun to play as but after playing them for so long it’s losing its charm. I like to play as an all rounder and do play the classes that need playing. That tends to be support as most people lock straight in as offence or tank. And, I can hardly blame them. Offence has so many options to choose from and both it and tanks are up in the front lines, right into the fray. Supports tend to stay back and cover the teams rear while providing healing. While that’s fun and a vital part of your team, it can get stale when you’ve played that character a lot. I tend to play Mystery Heroes now as the random nature of it and the lack of needing to fill a class slot for your team, means I don’t feel obliged to play support. But, for those that play competitive or support is what they’re best at, a new hero to play as would be amazing.

Supports for me offer the most interesting opportunity. Four of those supports have healing functions. Symmetra differs, as she can set up portable turrets to assist her team, but her biggest support contribution is in her ultimate’s. A shield generator or a teleporter. I like this idea of a support that does something different to healing. The teleporter is a great tool as it lets your team back into the fight quicker and with full health. Another hero with something similar but a bit more offensive would be a good move as Symmetra doesn’t get picked as much when attacking. Quick idea off the top of my head but a character similar to Symmetra but also Torbjorn. Say you have a wall that is connected to a room on the other side. Imagine having a character who could essentially Put a door through that wall.  Like Symmetra’s teleporter. Perhaps from the same business of even a rival company. This would help flesh out the lore of the world and Symmetra’s background.  The door would allow your team mates to pass through and get behind the unsuspecting team. Offence classes are usually the flankers but with this and coordination, your entire team can be flankers. This isn’t a fully fledged hero proposal. I can see flaws with the idea already and am unsure about the other abilities this new hero would have. The point I’m striving to make is that a new support doesn’t need to be a healer. It could be something more Symmetra based or a hybrid of the two. You could walk through the door and it heals you too or something else entirely. Support means that that character helps your team. It’s a great class to get creative and weird with. Blizzard is good at being creative and I’m sure they can do infinitely better than my idea.

One other trait that would make a new support class ten times better. Make them a Talon agent or a bad guy of some kind. All the supports are nice people. Symmetra, not so much. She’s not cartoon villain evil like Reaper, which is what I want or similar. My magic door man could even be a burglar or spy or something. Overwatch is a world full of character. Right now though the good heroes outweigh the bad or selfish heroes. I want to see more clashes of ideals, and conflicts.  Roadhog and Junkrat are fantastic characters. They’re selfish but they’re not evil. They’re fun to learn more about and to imagine their devilish escapades. Goody two shoes are fine but I always prefer to watch a flamboyant villain. It’s what makes the best villains in films. A dose injected into this game would be a treat. Reaper is spot on. He’s Saturday morning cartoon baddie. But where is the evil support of that? Bad guys need to be healed too. Or a character who creates fancy weapons or gadgets for their evil schemes. Where is the eccentric follower like Igor in Frankenstein, for the Talon organisation? Mercy supports Overwatch so who supports Talon. And before you say Sombra, she’s a wild card. She’s like Catwoman. She has her own agenda and helps when she wants to. A good bad support is needed. I’m hoping we get one in the short future.

Anyway, go play Overwatch  if you haven’t already. Currently the Halloween event is on and Junkenstein’s Revenge is a great mode.  I can’t recommend the game enough. Feel free to comment and I hope you enjoyed the read.