Theory: Chris Pratt is simply playing alternate versions of Andy Dwyer

Theory: Chris Pratt is simply playing alternate versions of Andy Dwyer

One of Chris Pratt’s best known roles is well-meaning idiot Andy Dwyer from Parks & Recreation.

because we smart

For those unfamiliar with the show, Parks & Recreation is a sitcom about the Parks & Recreation department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. Andy starts the show as the lazy boyfriend of Ann Perkins, a nurse who wants to see the large pit behind her house filled in because Andy fell in and broke both his legs. After he and Ann break up, he starts working at City Hall as a shoe shine, starting a relationship with the Parks department intern (whom he eventually marries) and goes through a number of different jobs before starting his own children’s television show. Andy is the show’s main comic relief, and can be relied upon to do something stupid, insane or both. Despite this, he is also a sweet and caring individual who just wants to everyone to be happy and having fun at the end of the day.

However, it recently occurred to me that Chris Pratt, while a good actor, does seem to fall back on Andy Dwyer mannerisms when performing other roles, which is why I present my theory that his major roles since the show ended in 2015 are actually simply versions of Andy Dwyer in non-Pawnee scenarios.

Exhibit A- Owen Grady (Jurassic World/Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom)

Pratt led the cast of the 2015 reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise, portraying Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady. Grady, in line with the tone of the films, is a much more serious and straight-faced character than Andy Dwyer. However, Andy often adopted a more serious persona, that of rogue FBI agent Burt Macklin, if a situation at the Parks department required a law enforcement aspect. There is also Johnathan Karate, the older brother of his television persona, Johnny Karate. Johnathan is more mature and serious than both Andy and Johnnie.

Both characters care strongly about animals- Owen with his pack of raptors and Andy with his three-legged dog, Champion and both are surprisingly innovative thinkers, notably in Andy’s case when he suggests that a charity run by Pawnee’s local confectionery manufacturer, Sweetums, can optimise its giving by forgoing the decadence enjoyed by those who run it.

Furthermore, in the trailer for the upcoming sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Owen says something to former Jurassic World executive Claire Dearing (who was the other major character from the first film) that is almost painfully Andy Dwyer-esque:

“If I don’t make it back…remember you’re the one who made me come here”

The last piece of evidence for this exhibit that I would like to present is that Burt Macklin’s middle name is Tyrannosaurus.

Exhibit B- Star Lord/Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War)

I will admit that my links between Owen Grady and Andy Dwyer aren’t as strong as they could be. However, Star Lord is undeniably a deep space Andy Dwyer. Firstly, there is Quill’s decision to challenge Ronan the Accuser to a dance-off at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is totally a stunt that Andy would pull, right down to the use of “bro”.

Dance off

Secondly, they both share a love of 1980s pop culture. Quill has his signature cassette tapes of classic rock, and a love of Footloose. Meanwhile, Andy lovingly recreates scenes from Roadhouse while entertaining guests at an election party. In addition to this, Quill responds to Iron Man stating that he is from Earth by saying “I’m not from Earth, I’m from Missouri”. Andy Dwyer has shown a similar lack of geographical knowledge, asking his wife where the “mountain with all the faces on it” [Mount Rushmore] was after they take a road trip to the Grand Canyon.

Furthermore, both Quill and Andy have an interesting reaction to jealousy. In Avengers: Infinity War, Quill deepens his voice to mimic Thor and goes toe-to-toe with him when comparing how tough their families are in terms of dealing with them after the Asgardian makes him feel a little self-conscious. Andy, on the other hand, camps out in a pit to spy on his ex-girlfriend and spends a good portion of the show’s second season trying to win her back in various ways.

In conclusion, I believe there is sufficient evidence to state that Chris Pratt actually and very simply plays different versions of Andy Dwyer in his post-Parks and Recreation career.

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Shoppe Keep 2: Simple, wholesome fun

Shoppe Keep 2: Simple, wholesome fun

Shoppe Keep was a simple game- you ran a shop in a small fantasy village, providing the sort of goods that adventurers require.

Late last week, Excalibur Games launched a sequel, Shoppe Keep 2, into early access on Steam. The premise is very much the same- you run a shop in a small fantasy village. The main mechanic is beautifully simple- you buy goods, you sell said goods and you use the profits to buy more goods.

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Your store starts small and simple but has plenty of potential

Alongside the primary objective of buying and selling, you are assigned quests around the village, which is wholly open world. The first five quests or so are to familiarise you with how the game works- buy X pedestals to display your goods; pay taxes (more on that in a moment). It is undeniably hand-holdy but you don’t feel patronised, it’s simply a nudge in the right direction (and completing the quests provides you with coin, which is useful in the early game when you are still establishing your shop).

The other major mechanics are taxes and town management- you are required to pay taxes on the goods that you sell. At this point in the game’s development, you have to pay taxes manually and if you exceed your tax threshold, the town will shut down your store until you pay them. However, you have complete control over your tax rate for different item types and the money accrued from your taxes is put into a fund which you can use to purchase new buildings in the town, unlocking new items and characters to interact with.

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You will rely on this gentleman for the first few hours of the game

The best advice for the start of the game is to start small- don’t buy a water bottle for 3 gold and then try to sell it for 20 gold. In my playthrough, I brought 3 water bottles and sold each one for 4 gold, making a meagre 1 gold profit. It’s a slow yet sustainable tactic which allows you to grow over time without risking too much of your small starting fund, especially as the early game items are be surprisingly expensive.

As previously mentioned, Shoppe Keep 2 is very early access and so there are inevitably going to be bugs and issues. I didn’t experience too much except for a slow load time. However, the major issue I did encounter was an almost nauseating mouse sensitivity, even at the lowest sensitivity, I was forced to move the mouse slowly and carefully as not to launch my character into a wild first-person camera spin.

Overall, the game is simplistic but incredibly satisfying and I for one am excited to see how the game develops.

Infinity War does what it needed to do to keep the MCU going

Infinity War does what it needed to do to keep the MCU going

Avengers: Infinity War was always going to be an ambitious project- bringing together around twenty main characters, literally spread across the universe, into a coherent plot that also sufficiently addresses main villain Thanos and his magical McGuffin rocks, something that is literally a decade in the making.

For the most part, Infinity War serves its purpose and serves it well. The plot moves along at a nice pace, fluidly moving between its Earth-based heroes (Cap and co., Black Panther, Hulk) and those spending the film in space (Iron Man, Spiderman, Dr Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor). On top of that, the film is genuinely engaging- while the plot is somewhat of an on-rails adventure as Thanos collects the six Infinity Stones, the long-awaited interactions between fan-favourite characters is what keeps the audience watching. Personally, the story arc concerning Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy is far and away the highlight of the film. The set-pieces are suitably epic and the humour ranges from smirk-worthy to laugh-out-loud.

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Thor’s time with the Guardians of the Galaxy felt like a teaser for the third Guardians movie that we truly deserve

Without delving into spoiler territory, the ending delivers both emotional punch and heavy-handed brutality, only really let down by the shameless nature of its set-up for the second part of the Infinity War story. This could have been a single movie, there is more than enough that could have been cut to make room for the whole plot to unfold, but that is not the way of modern cinema so, so be it, we’ll see the resolution next summer.

However, Infinity War is from perfect. As an excellent article from Polygon notes, Thanos’ plan to bring balance to the universe by killing half of all sentient life makes little sense when he can simply create the resources necessary to sustain its current population. In fairness, this may be due to an inadequate adaptation of the plot in the comics. In print, Thanos wants to kill half the universe to woo Death, an embodiment of the end of all things. Death is not in the MCU so the plan stayed while the motivation was changed to ‘crazy zealot’.

While on that topic, the film tries hard to make you care about Thanos, his journey and the sacrifices he makes throughout the film, despite his on-screen appearances in the last decade of Marvel cinema equating to about seven minutes, and based on that, there is simply not enough to make me care. The same goes for the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision- this is a love story that has been developed off-screen, with only a few scenes devoted to it in films like Captain America: Civil War. No matter how much Paul Bettany acts like he is in Love, Actually, there is very little reason for the audience to care or invest in the sub-plot.

Finally, there is one thing that sort of renders the entire film utterly pointless- the Time Stone. The green Infinity Stone, first introduced in 2016’s adequate origin story Dr Strange, is arguably the most powerful and best defined of the six Infinity Stones. Providing the wielder with control of time itself, it is essentially an in-universe retcon. Don’t like how something turned out? Time stone. Just lost a fight but you didn’t die? Time stone. Again without touching too heavily on spoilers, the film makes it pretty clear that it will the Time stone that makes the world right again. And honestly? That kind of sucks- it removes any allusion of tension in the second part of the film.

All in all, Infinity War did what it needed to do. While it was a noticeable dip in quality compared to recent Marvel outings such as Black Panther, it was by no means a bad Marvel movie and is far better than DC’s attempt at an ensemble superhero film. The film had a beginning, a middle and an end and does undeniably leave the fans wanting more, even if that ‘more’ is simply some resolution.

Overwatch: Uprising- Please sir, can we have some more?

Overwatch: Uprising- Please sir, can we have some more?

Blizzard’s massively popular first person team-based shooter, Overwatch, received a new patch last night. This is nothing new, the Overwatch team is very keen on keeping the game fresh and provide regular updates. These updates are typically known as ‘events’ and are usually based around a seasonal theme- 2016 ‘Summer Games’, Halloween, Christmas, Lunar New Year. They are all to be ‘expected’- new skins for the characters, maybe a fun seasonal game mode. However, Overwatch: Uprising  is different, very different. Here are 5 reasons why it is and why what I hope this is a promising glimpse of the future.

1. Uprising is completely different to the other game modes that previous updates that provided: The Summer Games had a variety of sports;  Halloween had a four player co-op horde mode; Christmas had a snowball fight and Lunar New Year introduced Capture the Flag (which has since been reintroduced as a main game staple). These are usually fun and cutesy. Uprising is not that- the game mode introduced is a four player gauntlet run that combines the point capture and payload escort of the regular game. It is the first lore based game mode, centred around four members of the Overwatch roster (Tracer, Torbjorn, Reinhardt and Mercy) fighting their way across the London-based King’s Row map against waves of AI-controlled Omnics, the lore’s big bad robots. You capture three control points dotted across the map; defend a payload for four minutes, escort said payload and then eliminate four mini-boss enemies. While the humour remains in the scripted interactions between the characters, the experience is a lot more gritty and tense, especially when the game mode opens with Tracer, Overwatch‘s hella gay poster girl, cheerfully explaining in her cockney accent how robot terrorists killed hundreds of people in the Whitehall area. The combination of the multiple segments, PvE set-up and general foreboding tone finally bring something unique to Overwatch.

2. The story mode option gives a perfect team balance: There are two ways to play Uprising- story mode and all heroes. As previously mentioned, story mode only gives you access to four characters, each one representing one of the four hero classes.  The good thing is that they have purposefully gone for non-specialised heroes. Granted, Tracer needs a little time investment to be able to play effectively but the team composition of Tracer, Torbjorn, Reinhardt and Mercy gives a good balance of abilities, strengths and weaknesses as well as being accessible for a majority of players. And once you grow tired or tiring to master that, Uprising is available with all twenty-four Overwatch heroes.

3. New cosmetic content that isn’t trash: Go to any Blizzard forum or talk to anyone in team chat and you’ll soon realize that a lot of the fan base isn’t exactly fond of some of the skins released for the characters of Overwatch. Often these skins are tacky seasonal garb, a little too out-there or just plain ugly. However Uprising, which provides seven characters with new skins in the blue of the original Overwatch uniforms, are largely very pleasing (I’m a little miffed that my main, Mercy, has something of goofy nurse look (It’s the hat and having her hair down that does it) but you can’t have everything). Uprising also provides a large number of emotes, victory poses, sprays, highlight intros and voice lines for most characters. It seems that Blizzard really have gone all out with these update in terms of cosmetics, rather than the somewhat phoned in efforts of previous events.

4. Uprising is a lesson in teamwork (for those who may have forgotten): For a game whose premise is 6v6 multiplayer, people sure do forget about teamwork. 6 times out of 10, you lose a match due to not working as team (the other four times are a combination of people quitting partway through, poor team composition, trolls etc.). However, if you don’t work together in Uprising, you will lose. I haven’t played a lot of games in Uprising yet but so far, I have only lost once and that was due to the team fanning out across the map in order to collect the time bonuses or whatever. The healer (me) couldn’t heal and so the team was picked off one by one. Teamwork is essential to success in the new game mode, especially at the horde mode and control point sections. Blizzard and Overwatch creative director Jeff Kaplan know that players have a lot of issues with teamwork so I like to think that Uprising is a subtle reminder of the importance of teamwork.

5. Unfortunately, once you’ve played it, you’ve played it: During the Summer Games event, the specific event was changed up once a week to maintain flavour and so it managed to stay fresh, as was the case with the old weekly brawl system before the development team cleaned it up and turned it into a fully fledged arcade mode and custom game server. The Lunar New Year Capture the Flag had similar longevity as it complemented the full roster of characters and played like the other game modes of the regular game. However, as with the Halloween Horde and the Christmas Snowball Fight, the only real variation the mode offers is the difficulty of the AI. While the novelty of the shiny new game mode is going to last for a while, it might not be retained in any real sense after the end of the Uprising event (May 1st). However…

What does Uprising mean for the future of Overwatch? Uprising and its associated game mode are the first real lore-based game modes, the first thing vaguely resembling a story mode/campaign. Its release has me very excited as, while Kaplan and the dev team have expressed an objection to building a full-blown story mode, more co-op extended missions like Uprising, that either tell stories from the past or do push the present lore forwards (mission that ends with a Doomfist boss fight anyone?) would be a great addition to the game, as well as beginning to truly justify the Triple A price tag.

Are you enjoying Uprising? How do you think it compares to events of the past? What are you hoping it means for the future of the game? Let me know in the comments!

More angry Overwatch advice from an angry healer

More angry Overwatch advice from an angry healer

Overwatch competitive season 4 is upon us and let’s just say that I’m not enjoying it. A combination of bad teams and the unilateral ranking system during placement meant that I ended up far below my potential. However, working my way to more fulfilling games has let me see the dark underbelly of the Overwatch competitive scene and so I am back with more advice for any players willing to listen.

1. Provide cover for your healers. Your healers are a collection of DJs, doctors, snipers and monks. They may have potent healing abilities but they are squishy and fragile, with around 200 hit points each. This means that your healers can’t take a lot of damage before they die or have to retreat. So maybe, as a big, buff tank or high damage offence character, you could maybe take that damage for us? Tanks should be intercepting Reinhardt charges instead of jumping out of the way to maintain their precious KDR and offence characters should be sticking to their healers so the team can actually get heals. Ensuring that your healer is still alive is the best way to win a match.

2. Learn the abilities of the characters you don’t play as. Right before I began to write this piece, I was in a competitive match (we lost). At one point, the team’s Reinhardt was screaming at me via voice chat for me to heal him (I was Lucio). Funny thing was that I was stood right behind him, providing Lucio’s AoE healing abilities. Sadly, Lucio only heals 12.5 points of health per second so to a 500 hit point character like Reinhardt, it can seem like Lucio is slacking off. Players should also remember that characters like Ana and Lucio have heal boosting abilities with substantial cooldowns. Take the time to learn what characters can and can’t do so that you don’t have to waste your time berating a healer for doing their job.

3. Accept the fact that healers aren’t gods. Healers can’t keep you alive in a firefight, it’s part of Blizzard’s checks and balances in the game to ensure balance. To emphasize that, let’s do some math, using the Reinhardt scenario from the previous point:

Reinhardt has a base health of 500 (300 health and 200 armour) as well as a 2000 hit point strong shield. In this scenario he is defending against an attack from Soldier 76, whose primary weapon does 20 damage at the distance he is from Reinhardt, as well as an attack from Hanzo, whose primary weapon at full charge is doing 125 damage. Reinhardt is being supported by Lucio, who has just used his healing boost and is current doing 12.5 points of AoE healing. However, Lucio cannot heal damage to Reinhardt’s shield, only Reinhardt himself.

Reinhardt is a large stationary target, meaning that Hanzo and 76 aren’t missing him. This means that Reinhardt’s shield, something that can’t be healed unless he stops using it, is going to last around 15 to 20 seconds when reload times are factored into the equation as Hanzo and 76 pump 262.5 points of damage a second into it. This has been something of a protracted fight so Reinhardt it already injured at the start of the scenario, sitting at 312 health. This is when he starts demanding to be healed. With Lucio stuck in the 12 second cooldown for his amplification ability, he is stuck doing 12.5 of healing per second.  Reinhardt is calling for healing because shield is at about 400 health, and will last another second and a half.

Here’s the problem- it’s going to take Lucio 15.04 uninterupted seconds to fully heal his teammate and he only has 1.5. Once the shield goes down and the 76/Hanzo combo press the advantage, not only does Lucio come under the threat of fire, at the very most he can only reduce the damage to Reinhardt to between 250 and 226.5 per second. Reinhardt is either going to die or have to retreat to a health pack, as the rest of the team is frantically defending the point.

And substituting any other healing in the scenario doesn’t help. Mercy only need 3.3 seconds to fully heal Reinhardt but that’s still double the amount of time his shield can hold for and once that’s down, Mercy can only reduce the damage to 202.5 per second. Ana needs 3.3 seconds to fully heal Reinhardt and even with perfect aim, she only reduces the damage to 206.25. Finally, Zenyatta would need 6.2 seconds for a full heal and then can only reduce the damage to 232.5 per second.

What all of this shows is that if you are under fire, your healer can’t keep you alive, especially if you there is not one returning fire on your attackers. Please accept this.

4. Don’t insult your healers. In another match I played today,  the team’s Soldier 76 boldly proclaimed ‘No Heals’ at the end of a lost round, suggesting that he had not received adequate healing from the team’s healers. My fellow healer and I were understandingly confused, having done a combined total of 17,000 healing across the round. If you aren’t near the healers,we can’t heal you. This isn’t Call of Duty or Battlefield with healers, it you aren’t at the objectives, you’re not getting healed. The player proceeded to get increasingly abusive towards the team healers until, as he had said, we gave him no heals.

Remember this: If you are going to give your healers shit, your healers aren’t going to be nice to you. We own your ass because we’re the only ones who will keep you alive.

What advice do you have for Overwatch players? If you haven’t check out my previous instalment of angry healer advice, click here!

Prey: What I want

Prey: What I want

Prey is an upcoming FPS survival horror game from Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, the development-publisher combination behind 2012’s DishonoredPrey is a re-imagining of a 2006 game of the same name but only really takes the name and concept of ‘survive being the prey of an aggressive alien enemy’ from this game.

What we know so far from teasers, trailers and reviewers being given is the first hour or so to play is that you play as Morgan Yu (with both male and female models available) who appears to live in 2032 San Francisco. However, this takes place in a timeline were JFK survives assassination, the US and USSR work together to defeat an alien force known as the Typhon, who are attracted to Earth by their space technology and thus, we have a future with much more advanced space technology. However, this reality comes crumbling down in the first ten minutes or so as it is revealed you are actually on Talos I, a space station orbiting Earth, and you have been the subject of repetitive neural modification testing, with the removal of mods wiping the memories of their implant time, meaning that you as Morgan have been experiencing the worst Groundhog Day ever. In the only testing time you see, it all ends abruptly as you watch a researcher get attacked by a shape-shifting monster known as a Mimic. It is then revealed very quickly that you are essentially alone on Talos I with the mimics and their ‘evolutions’, with only an AI called January for company.

From what we’ve seen, Prey looks to be a tense blend of Alien: Isolation open-world survival horror with the smooth, fluid combat of Dishonored and Bioshock, with the powers and uneasy atmosphere of both those games also added to the mix. Prey is out worldwide on the of May but before then, here are 4 things I want from the game.

1. It stays scary. Horror can be one of the hardest elements to maintain in a game. Sometimes a game can just run out of steam and the horror/scare elements just don’t spike the player’s heart rate towards the end of the game. Or the introduction of a security weapon mean that I don’t have to be scared because look at my awesome gun.

It seems there is no end to what the mimic class enemies in Prey can shape-shift into- coffee cups, bins, even discarded guns lying beside corpses. However, the game needs to be careful that we go into every room so terrified that we miss the third shoe in a pair or waste an entire clip of ammo because a basketball lazily rolls across our line of sight and that we don’t go into every room, ready to sigh at a cheap mimic jump scare.

Towards end of the reviewer played content (Here are a few videos if you want to watch some of that or hear people who play video games for a living talk about the game), you are teased with the sight of a Phantom through a window. This enemy class is bipedal and distinctly humanoid, rather than the four-legged, spider-like mimics. Trailers for the game also tease gargantuan, presumably boss-fight creatures that, personally, give off a definite Cthulhu vibe. Only time will tell if the proper introduction of these enemies diminishes the horror and suspense of the game.

2. Tools are sparse but useful. Prey will feature degrading weapons and a crafting system, requiring you to build new tools and weapons to replace your equipment. From gameplay, your main weapon appears to be a hefty wrench but pistols and shotguns also feature, as does the Gloo Cannon, a gun that fires a quick hardening expanding foam that can be used to freeze enemies, create alternate paths through the game’s various sections and can even put out fires if needs be. However, there are two things that will destroy this game- durability on your tools is too high due to the tools being too sparse, making the crafting system useless, or the inverse and having weak tools in plentiful supply. Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite are two examples of perfect balance for this, with new powers being introduced at a nice pace and ammunition for your various firearms being in good supply but not in enough abundance to allow you to shoot your way through every mission objective. And speaking of powers…

3. Balance across Neuromod trees. For players of Dishonored and/or Bioshock, neuromods will be the games version of Outsider powers and plasmids. For everyone else, neuromods will be the skill trees of the game. You find neuromods lying around Talos I and they give you upgrades to your skills in a variety of areas such as security and physical attributes. These mods will not only aid your game, but also give you access to specific areas and alternate paths through the game,. For example, a terminal that allows a route around an area that looks like it could be crawling with mimics may only be usable with a specific neruomod installed. However, for the game to deliver on this, there needs to be balance- if I’m shoving my mods into A and neglected B, I shouldn’t have to miss out on everything because a majority of the off the path content is unlockable by B.

4. The multiple endings can’t be a cop-out. Lead designer Ricardo Bare has stated that the ending of the game falls into one of two major narratives depending on how you as Morgan interact with the world and the surviving humans along the way. Now, multiple endings can be very hard to pull off. A good example of this is the recently released Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Spoilers ahead for that game). At the end of the game’s second act, you have a choice of who to administer the last syringe of mind-control mold counter-acting serum to- your wife Mia, who has been missing for three years and is visibly affected by the mold (she cuts off your hand with a chainsaw in the first twenty minutes of the game) OR Zoe, the enigmatic stranger and black sheep of the Baker family, who has been infected along with the rest of her family but has not actually succumb to the crazy. If you choose Mia, the two of you get on a boat and speed off towards the tanker that was carrying Evie, a supernatural little girl who is the cause of the mind-control mold. Evie crashes your boat and then you play as Mia for a little bit before you jump back to main protagonist Ethan just in time for a tearful goodbye from Mia, who pushes you out of a door and seals you off from her so that she won’t hurt you any more (again, she did cut off your hand). However, if you choose Zoe, the two of you get on the boat, go towards the tanker and then Evie just straight up kills Zoe and crashes your boast before you then wake up as Mia, who is now just there at the tanker. After some more Ethaning around, you defeat Evie and are rescued by Blue Umbrella (another blog post for another time) and fly away with a now fully cured Mia. But that’s if you cured Mia, if you used your cure on Zoe, you get saved by Blue Umbrella, rewatch a video message Mia made you before her disappearance, toss your phone out of the helicopter and then fly away. While Resident Evil games have always had a good ending and a bad ending, this seemed less like that and more like Capcom having the game as having a right ending and a wrong ending.

This is what Prey needs to avoid. If multiple endings are going to be part of the game, then they should be equally satisfying and serve as a reflection of how I played the game, rather than as a ‘punishment’ for picking a choice that the developers deemed to be ‘wrong’.

Are you looking forward to Prey? What are you looking for in the final game? Let me know in the comments below and if you’ve got some time, why don’t you have a look at some of the other things I’ve written?

An angry healer’s guide to Overwatch

An angry healer’s guide to Overwatch

Hi, I play a healer in Overwatch and let me start by saying “F**********k yooooooooooou”. While most healers in the game are not ranked very highly in terms of difficulty to play, being a healer in Overwatch is a harrowing experience and 95% of this trauma will stem from the actions of your five team mates. And so, allow me to give you a whistle-stop tour to playing Overwatch, from the perspective of an angry healer.

1. No, we didn’t lose because of my actions: Overwatch is a game of winners and loser, every match has got to have one (except in competitive mode but that is more of a points based league so it makes sense to have ties in that area of the game). However, I will guarantee you now, even before we get into the match itself, the team healer will not be the reason we lose. You see, unless your healer AFKs or spends all their time trying to get the gold medal in eliminations for some reason, we spend the game frantically running around the map trying to keep five people alive. Please consider the following reasons why we might have lost:

  • Everyone ran around merrily engaging in 1v1, off the objective battles and so we either failed to defend effectively or never launched coherent group attacks
  • You, in your lofty role of offense or tank, negated the healer of your beleaguered Mercy,  Zenyatta, Lucio or Ana by continuing to engage in heavy firefights will being healed. Remember, your healer is not a god who can keep you alive, most characters will deal more damage than the continuous healing a healer can provide.
  • Team composition was wrong. I’ll come back to this later but maybe the structure of the team was wrong? Think about it, did we really need a Widowmaker in the battle of Illios: Lighthouse?

It’s very simple, your healer was doing the best they could and there are very few viable scenarios in which your healer will be at fault for a defeat. And speaking of how you treat your healer…

2. Healer etiquette: So, you’ve found yourself pinned down with the edges of your screen going red, your character breathing raggedly and your bottom-left health bar in low double digits. With panicked motions, you select a message and I need healing! rings out across the map. Nothing happens, no Brazilian DJ, Egyptian sniper, Nepalese cyborg monk or Swiss healthcare professional appears to bring you back to full health so you can maintain those four gold medals you’ve got going for you. You hit ‘I need healing’ again. And again. And again and again and again until Blizzard times you out for tripping the spam filter. For the love of God, please don’t do this. I heard you, alright? I know that you need healing but newsflash, there are a number of reasons why I’m not attending to you:

  • Most healers use a triage system, like a real hospital. This means we attend to injuries based on severity and in a combat situation, such as an Overwatch match, we also need to factor in strategic value. You might be the best goddamn Reaper in the world but in terms of the game, but I’m going to prioritize this half-health Reinhardt.
  • You may be in an area that I’ve deemed too dangerous to get to. Most healers have low base health and so if there a Widowmaker or high damage offense character near where you are, it’s unlikely I’m going to reach you without dying.
  • If you are engaged in a firefight and calling for healing, no. Like I said in point one, the healers of Overwatch can’t keep you alive. Our healing abilities heal over time and don’t give you a health dump like the health packs, so if you’re engaging members of the enemy team, I’m can’t do much for you.

Furthermore, if you have backed off from the fighting for healers to reach, stand still and get healed. Please Tracer, don’t run around me in circles spamming I need healing, I will just leave you alone. And speaking of annoying things people choose to do…

3. Team composition and character play styles: There is no golden rule to team composition it depends on the map, whether you’re on attack or defend, the game mode and even the composition of the enemy team. However, there are definitely some things that can be said to avoid when it comes to team composition- two to three varied offensive characters is usually a good call, a tank or two never hurts, don’t play snipers on payload attacks, Torbjorn will never be effective on attack period and of course, despite her character overhaul, Symmetra is not a substitute for an attack or a high damage offense character. Once again, a healer can only do so much if team composition is bad enough to mean that you are respawning every three or four kills. As for character play styles, most characters can be utilised in more than one way. Mercy, my main character, can be a straight up healer or more of a battle angel, helping pick off low-health enemies and providing damage boosts while providing healing when necessary. Mercy cannot be your personal health pack, dealing death in 1v1 battles and sticking to a single character as the run around the map. When you pick a main, find the best ways to play that character- for example, Reinhardts who only use charge  and constantly over-extend themselves deserve the terrible KDR that approach brings with it. As a healer, I can’t do much for you if you aren’t utilising your character.

4. I see your medals and raise you actually winning the game Overwatch awards gold, silver and bronze medals for number of eliminations, number of eliminations on the map’s objective, time spent on the map’s objective, amount of damage done and the amount of healing done. I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Four Golds, but these medals don’t actually mean anything. You see, medals don’t actually reflect how the game went and more reflect your play style and class preference sure you got gold eliminations but your team was shut out on Oasis because you never once stepped on the point. Let’s take me as an example in the most recent competitive season- I played 48 matches and from those 48 matches, I won 61 medals, 44.3% (27) of which were gold. However, my actual record was 15 wins, 29 losses and 4 draws, which is not fantastic. There are also 48 matches in 3 regular seasons of the NFL so I crunched the numbers for the last three seasons of pro football (splitting the ties and adding two to both the win and loss totals because ties are uncommon in American Football) and found that I am the St. Louis/LA Rams of Overwatch (they’re not very good if don’t follow football). The thing is that, as I mentioned before, medals are weighted towards certain classes- eliminations go to offense and tanks, damage goes to offence, defence and tanks, objective time is weighted towards defence and tanks and healing is almost exclusively for the supports (unless your supports really really suck or your Roadhog spams his health canister). And so, if your team is screaming for you to switch from Symmetra and play someone else, don’t argue that you shouldn’t be the one to change because you have two golds and a silver at the moment.

5. Let’s be nice to one another (to an extent): Peer interaction is an integral part of human life. However, when you lose (or are losing) at Overwatch, you might be tempted to scream at the other players on your team. But here’s a quick guide to how to do this:

  • If your automatic response is to tell someone ‘KYS’ or something as horrific as telling someone to kill themselves, log off Overwatch and go rethink your entire life outlook because why in God’s name do you think that is even a vaguely acceptable thing to say someone?
  • ‘It’s just a game, why are y’all getting so salty?’ is the gamer version of ‘We have to respect a Nazi’s right to believe what they want’. It doesn’t help anyone and in case, it’s just a game is correct but I come to enjoy myself on Overwatch, not slogging through the chore of bad game after bad game. I have a right to get angry if people aren’t pulling their weight, impacting on my enjoyment of how I choose to spend my free time.
  • Don’t belittle the other team by saying they won by carry (one player did all the work). They won, suck it up.
  • Don’t blame your healers

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to say, I guess I should put some cliché Overwatch rant trash at the end of this to drive up views so here goes ohmyfinggodsymmetraisobrokenandneedstobenerfedandwhiletheynerfhertheyshouldmakeTracercannonstraightbecauseitspoilsmyheadcanonalsothepayloadshouldmovefasterandIshouldnthavetopointmygunatpeoplebecauseaimingishard (Note: This is parody and does not reflect the viewpoint of the author). But yeah, I can hear Genji screaming for healing so I better go devote all my attention to ignoring that. Thanks for reading, what advice do you have to Overwatch players, are you also an angry healer? Let me know in the comments!