Thursday, January 18, 2018

Get Off My Lawn

I've written about a few of the obstacles in my path to Git Gud at Overwatch. Another obstacle....perhaps the biggest one I face so that I hate people.

I don't hate people, of course, not in an aggressive, hate-crime way. I don't mean anyone harm, and I don't really want to see anyone suffer. I just don't like talking to strangers, or seeing them, or hearing them speak, or being around them. I've always been like this...but in my older age, this tendency in me has become more and more insistent, now to the point where it shapes my personal decisions. I spend days upon days by myself. I like being alone. That's not to say I don't get lonely every once and awhile; just that when alone, I'm more often happy than not.

So how did I find myself obsessed with a multiplayer competitive shooter? I often joke that the worst part about Overwatch are the other people playing it. I've mentioned before that I often play with all comms muted. It's because of the gameplay. I love Overwatch because I think it is the closest thing I've ever played to a perfect game. Part of what makes it perfect is the chaos, the spontaneity, the unpredictability brought on by playing other humans, instead of AI. Every game of Overwatch is a raging storm of chaos, contained within a simple 10(ish) minute match. In that storm, the other players are helpful and harmful to me in my quest to stay on the heckin' payload and win the match. That's how I like it: looking at the other players not as human beings, but as sentient, self-aware allies and foes in my own, personal goal: to contribute meaningfully to a win (or a valiant effort in a loss).

This, I think, is another reason why I like Symmetra so much. Being the least-essential hero on the roster also makes her the easiest to ignore....which I like both as a person because I want to be left the hell alone, and as a player, as punishing those who ignore you is what Sym is all about.

I'm not sure how I feel about any of this. You see, I don't mind being a misanthrope. I kind of like it, in fact. It's like I'm owning my truth or whatever. But at the same time, it seems clear to me that the Path to Get Gud shall require a certain amount of not-hating people. I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to that.

I'm writing about this because last night, as I watched the first matches of OWL, Week 2, I don't really see myself having any admiration or affection for anyone who's a part of it, currently. All of the players just seem like stereotypical hardcore videogame nerds. The commentators' analysis, to me, often just seems like an esports equivalent of seeing shapes in the clouds. I have respect for everyone up there; I'm not saying I don't. I'm just saying I'm not sure if I care about what anyone is doing, aside from actually playing Overwatch. 

That alone didn't trigger all of this, however. This morning, not feeling like jumping into it right away, I instead went to Twitch and followed a few pro streamers playing Overwatch. To my surprise (or not, perhaps), I found myself feeling the same way: I love watching the matches, but literally everything else around them had me sneering in disgust. The stupid comments in chat. The stupid quips from the streamers. The stupid suggestions from the streamers' teammates in chat. I thought of myself as a streamer, and how I would handle all of that. I'm not sure I'd last five minutes. And who would want to watch someone just silently playing a videogame?

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