Overwatch

My 9 Step Escape from Bronze

Overwatch10 - My 9 Step Escape from Bronze
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This is how I finally got out of bronze after being stuck there forever. Take this with a grain of salt, as I am still climbing and it's not like I'm a GM or something now. But I got out of that stuck place of bronze and even if I somehow hit a horrible unlucky losing streak and end up all the way back down in bronze, I'm pretty confident I won't ever get STUCK there again. This is just my own take–there are probably way better tips out there, and your mileage may vary. I just thought I'd share what's worked for me. Here are my tips:

  1. Positive mental attitude. This is #1 for a reason. It's not enough to not be toxic, you have to be optimistic, happy, and finding the fun even in your losing games. If you can't do that, take a break from OW (or at least comp) until you can. This is a game, it's supposed to be fun–if your fun is dependent on your teammates doing well, YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY–even in Top 500 I see streamers' teammates doing stupid shit sometimes. Found your PMA on your own game and nothing else, and when the fun drains away, go watch some TV, walk the dog, smoke some weed, whatever else, and come back to OW when you're ready and able to have fun again. Not tilting and maintaining a positive mental attitude takes practice and gets easier as you go. It's like a brain muscle you can exercise.

  2. Focus on your own game, not your teammates. It's SO easy to be critical of your teammates' stupid ass mistakes. But you can't do anything about it. If you point them out, 90% of the time it'll just make them hate you and play worse. THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IS YOURSELF. Adapt. Sometimes you have to accept that a certain match is unlikely to be won. In that situation, I still try hard to the end, but I mentally change the goalposts. I just try to focus on my aim, my positioning, and contributing as much as possible without dying. "How many kills/assists can I get without dying for the rest of the game? Can I get gold damage while keeping my gold healing?" Focusing less on the W/L and more on your own game play will actually make you win more, in my experience, and you'll get less tilted at the inevitable losses.

  3. DO NOT DIE. This may apply less to tanks who have to put themselves in risky positions, but if you are dps or support, DO NOT DIE. Every time you do die, ask yourself why you did, what YOU could have done differently. (Thinking, "I wouldn't have died if so-and-so had actually done their job and peeled for me" will not help you at all–what could YOU have done to not die, and what could YOU do next time to prevent another death? They didn't peel for you last time so why would they next time? You have to change YOUR behavior to not die.) Your life is your most precious commodity. Even if positioning more conservatively means you do 10% less, it's better than what you'd be doing if you died.

  4. Be the kind of teammate you want to attract. Be upbeat, positive, friendly. TALK on the comms. (This is MASSIVE.) Rarely die. You'll find if you radiate those qualities you will get people asking to team up with you. Don't team up with anyone who won't coordinate and communicate on voice, or who is toxic or tilted. Why would you? Get in a group of people who are willing to actually talk, to work together, and to try hard regardless of the outcome, and you will climb. I get friend requests after nearly every match, and it's not because I'm some amazing player. It's because I talk on the comms, I try to communicate useful information (who is discorded, what target to focus, positions of flankers and snipers, etc). I stay positive through thick and thin, I never point fingers, I compliment people (usually on good plays they did, but even at the beginning of a match if I like someone's skin or handle, I'll tell them–compliments make people feel good and they'll play better if they feel good).

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  5. Improve your game sense. There are two aspects of skill in this game. Mechanical skill (clicking heads) and game sense. Some of us have terrible aim and although we can certainly improve our mechanical skill somewhat, there's probably a cap and we'll certainly never be able to match these twitchy teens we're up against. But OW is very forgiving and there are numerous heroes that don't require mechanical skill, but who emphasize game sense instead, and ANYONE can improve their game sense regardless of having or not having twitchy reflexes. What is game sense? It's knowing maps, where to position yourself in relation to your team and the enemy team. It's knowing what heroes counter you, and how to counter enemy heroes (in bronze, I see people struggle the most with Bastion, Pharah, Sombra, and Genji–guess what, they all have counters!). It's NOT RUNNING IN AS SOON AS YOU SPAWN (this is called trickling in) but instead, waiting for your team to group up so you can push together instead of presenting yourself 1 or 2 v. 6 to be killed and feed the enemies' ult charges. You can see the silhouettes of your teammates through walls, or hit tab to see who's alive and who's dead, and you should only race to the point when you spawn if your team has numbers or is otherwise likely to survive until you get there. The worst thing you can do is get there just as they die, only to then die yourself. (Obviously at end game when the timer is running out, you have no choice but to trickle in and hope for a miracle, but otherwise WAIT FOR YOUR TEAM so you can work together.)

  6. Focus on only playing 2-5 heroes. Each hero is so nuanced and intricate–even if they are easy to pick up, to approach the skill ceiling requires time, practice, and muscle memory. Ideally try to get solid with one hero in each role (I basically aim for my strongest heroes, Lucio/Zen, and can Zarya and Sym pretty well if we are covered support-wise.) When choosing my heroes, I focused on FUN and I focused on support heroes since, especially at bronze, everyone and their mom wants to play dps instead of tanking and supporting. I worked on my Zarya so I could tank, but honestly I find supporting way more fun so aim to fill that role when I can.

  7. Be in a group of 2-5. I found my win rate drop dramatically in groups of 6. Why? Because in a group of 5, the level of communication and coordination I brought to my team was a HUGE help, but it wasn't as impactful in a group of 6, because when you're getting matched up against another group of 6, odds are against you that they are more coordinated, more used to working together, etc, than the group of 6 randos you pulled together. (Obviously, if you can find 6 people who are willing to stick together through many losses while you develop synergy, then go for it! But I found in those groups people would leave after 1-2 losses and you'd have to start rebuilding your team vibe and synergy from square one periodically.)

  8. Get someone to spectate your game and offer tips. Resist the urge to be defensive, because they are going to say things you don't want to hear. "Yeah but…"–don't let those words come out of your mouth. Just listen, soak it in, and take as much of it on board as possible. Anyone who is willing to do this is doing it to HELP you so don't be a douche and throw that help back in their face just because they aren't saying what you want to hear, which is probably, "You are perfect and your teammates were all terrible." Your teammates may very well have been terrible, but the goal is improving YOUR gameplay. I had someone kindly coach me on Moira, who I was playing a lot at the time, and they pointed out all the times I was dying when I didn't have to (Moira should almost never die, she can get out of almost anything), when I was DPSing instead of healing someone, when I was throwing out damage orbs instead of healing orbs, etc. I found the words "yeah, but…" and some justification for my actions on the tip of my tongue, but I bit my tongue and listened and learned. They were right. (There are many coaches available on Fiverr and elsewhere for cheap or some kind people will even do it for free.)

  9. Never give up. Until it says DEFEAT on your screen, there's always a chance. I've won games that we were losing the entire time, or we were down a player, but sometimes miracles happen and a clutch ult takes out a few of the enemy heroes and suddenly the team fight goes your way. Think about it. It's so easy to just throw if you have a leaver. Yes, you probably WILL lose, but there's a difference between trying hard anyway and just giving up. The latter guarantees a loss. Sure, you're almost certainly going to lose even if you try hard–key word almost. At least that gives you a chance at winning. Which is better–a 1% chance at a win or a 0% chance at a win? Add in the side benefits of trying: staying positive, improving your game, and sometimes working a miracle and getting a cool PotG out of it. It's a no-brainer which to choose.

I hope this was helpful to some people. I've seen other posts about this, but not lately, so I figured why not post my own experience? Good luck!

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