Personal Thoughts

Overwatch – Need for Flex Players

It should come as no surprise to anyone at this point that I’m a fan of Blizzard’s competitive, FPS, Overwatch. After all, I picked the game up the same month it was released and have consistently played it for the past year. During that time, I’ve learned to flex between different characters and different roles; with one of my major ones being tank. At one point, I even had a mate of mine say that “I must really like tanks, because I pick them so often.” My response to that was a bit of a laugh and I mentioned the reason I have so much time on tanks is because no one else would play them – a fact that’s getting more prominent as time goes on.

Back in the early days of the game’s release, I picked up Roadhog as my main, as he had a kit that I enjoyed; hooking people was pretty damn satisfying (even after all the nerfs that hit it). Although, to be fair, Roadhog had been considered a “DPS” in a lot of player’s eyes, just with a bunch of health to go along with that for quite some time!

Despite having a character that I liked to consider my main, I didn’t insta-pick them every chance that I got – even if no one picks tank very often. The problem with being a flex player is that you quite rarely get the chance to play the character that you want the most; at least, not without a fight. Whenever I jump into quickplay, I wouldn’t mind playing as Genji, the badass Cyborg ninja that has a fun kit and a high skill-ceiling, but when you have 4 of your 5 teammates instantly locking in 4 different DPS characters, the last thing we need is a 5th thrown into the mix.

Overwatch is a game about switching heroes whenever the need presents itself, which means that variety is the key to victory! However, very few people are willing to play some of the less desired roles, like healer – that’s where the flex comes in. With a low contingency of players willing to try something other than DPS heroes, someone who is willing to change to a role that is required at the time is a necessity for almost every single game.

Something that many players have been noticing more and more as of late in Overwatch is the high level of toxicity. Left, right, and center, we’ve got players throwing games, badmouthing each other, flaming/raging, and making the game a depressing place to be overall.

Do you want to know one of the quickest ways to get someone to go over the deep end?

Just tell them to switch heroes!

People tend to go mental when you ask them to switch and it is honestly the number one reason I’m a flex in this game. Whenever a new game starts up and there aren’t any healers, instead of asking someone to switch – to avoid an argument – I will just bite the bullet and play a healer. I like to think I’m a nice person, so I do what I can to prevent confrontation where possible and just filling where necessary is currently one of the only ways to stop complete strangers tearing each other to shreds for the most stupid reason: their pick of heroes and refusing to work as a team.

On a more positive note, however, one great thing about being the flex is that your skills with all of those different characters carry over from season-to-season. Hell, even after long enough you might find a brand new main for you to try and become the best with, but without the need to flex I may never have discovered that. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Roadhog – despite his heavy nerfs recently – but I flex as a support a lot of the time, and it’s brought me to love playing as Ana, a character I am more than pleased with to get better and better with.

So, every once in a while, if you’ve got a stubborn team who won’t pick a tank or a support, then try it out for yourself and see how it turns out. They might thank you or they might not, but either way they’re going to silently appreciate you changing to a hero that the team desperately needed for the win!