Overwatch How to Improve for Low Rank Players

by Gangsir

Hey guys and gals. This is gonna be a somewhat short guide, and probably a little all over the place.

I was prompted to make this post by a friend of mine who’s in low gold, and a support main. He comes to me and says “Could you take a look at my VOD and point out anything you see?”

So, we review it together. As a matter of curiosity, I wanted to try letting him point out mistakes with his own gameplay that he saw, first. As we went through the vod (he was playing Ana on Nepal), I’d notice certain things, but kept quiet and see what he noticed.

He’d periodically point out errors like “missed my shots” or “bad sleep” or “wrong nano target”.

I’d notice that his positioning was out in the open, he was sleeping targets that he didn’t need to sleep and had a low chance of actually sleeping, he was nading himself instead of standing near a healthpack to use or asking for his other support to heal him, he was trying to take fights with widows, he was trying to chase down flankers instead of healing, etc.

I’m noticing errors in thinking/approach, and he’s noticing what I call “micro errors”. I think that that’s a key difference between high rank mentality and thinking about the game, and low rank.

Micro errors, and useless advice

I define micro errors as “specific instances where you didn’t play perfectly, with perfect mechanics/awareness.” Things like missed sleeps, missed shots, stuff like that, are all micro errors. Players new to vod reviewing/low rank players will focus really hard on micro errors, repeatedly pointing out things that are in the past. “You should have hit that shot”, “you missed your sleep, no good” and the like.

Pointing out micro errors to yourself or others is a complete, absolute, full waste of time. You cannot fix micro errors. It’s impossible. They’re in the past, and there’s nothing to act on. That’s like walking into a hospital and saying to someone who nearly died of a heart attack “Well, you really shouldn’t have been so far from a hospital when you had your heart attack, sucks to be you dude, stay closer to hospitals next time”. It’s nonsensical, and it’s similar advice to “just get better aim 4Head”. “Just hit that sleep 4Head”, “Just anticipate his ult 4Head”, “Just don’t get shot 4He-“…you get it.

Instead of telling them to fix things that are micro and in the past, it’s much more valuable to point out large errors first, the most baseline, simple stuff.

Ultimatum situations, and consistency

Don’t bully yourself by putting yourself in “ultimatum” situations. This is why so many people are inconsistent, by the way. They develop this playstyle that’s high on the ultimatum scale, so they’re repeatedly forced to be a god, or fail dramatically. When they’re playing well and having a good day, this is fine. Great, even. They pop off, gain a ton of SR, FeelsGoodMan. Then, they sleep, tomorrow comes, they aren’t feeling as hot, but they keep playing that playstyle, and suddenly, they’re missing. They’re dying repeatedly, having little impact, feeding their brains out, and lose games, lose a ton of SR, get tilted to high heaven, pledge to never play the game again, and quit for the day.

Playing like this breeds inconsistency, and focusing on micro errors is looking too closely at your gameplay. Instead, take a step back.

Errors in thinking/baseline – A step taken back

When you mess up, and you notice that you messed up, either during a game or preferably during a self vod review, take a step back farther, and think: In the time leading up to that mistake, is there anything I could have done differently so that I wouldn’t end up in the situation that forced me to be a god, or die?

Instead of setting up ultimatum scenarios where you have to be a god, set up scenarios where you just have to hit easy shots, land easy abilities, etc. This concept is illustrated in the swiss cheese model, where there are several lines of defense that have to fail before something bad happens.

Whenever a game ends poorly, often players will look at only the last slice of cheese. They’ll think “oh, if only I hit that sleep on that reaper, he wouldn’t killed me, causing them to win”. You, as ana, hitting that sleep on that reaper is the last slice of cheese. Did you know that there are more slices behind it? Have you considered the following slices:

  • You, keeping track of the reaper so he can’t close distance on you
  • You, positioning so that he can’t approach you without getting shot at
  • You, sticking near your team so you don’t have to worry about 1v1ing him yourself
  • You, just running away and refusing to fight him (Stick near cover like a pillar, you’d be surprised how long you can ignore flankers while they try to kill you, playing ring-around-the-rosy)

All of these are potential options, but they take foresight. The grand majority of players play purely reactionary. They don’t think about specific people, or what specific people are going to try to do. I cannot tell you how many lucios I’ve completely rejected on Rialto all because I took 2 seconds to think “Hey, people tend to run boop heroes on this first point bridge, I wonder if… yep, there he is”. It’s gotten to the point where my sombra rollout on Rialto is to go immediately to the right side and wait with hack extended just to deny any flying lucios. Same with Illios Well. I cannot tell you how many free picks I’ve gotten doing this. People always say “Wow, how did you know he was there!?” and I reply “Because I’ve seen a thing or two.”

You aren’t donkeys, people. Think. Remember. Act. Did their rein try a flank shatter? Especially if he succeeded once, he’s gonna try it again. So instead of having it happen, getting mad, then forgetting all about it, remember that he does it. Learn your enemies’ tendencies, and build a folder of information. Enemy reinhardt:

  • A bit of a bot
  • Likes to flank shatter
  • Holds corners
  • Plays fairly passively, then aggressive when he has shatter
  • Always charges after getting his shatter blocked
  • Always firestrikes off cooldown

Use this info to predict and plan. Think about this actively, you have to keep in in your brain. Next time their rein has shatter, be very careful about your approach. Check your corners, and bait/deny him.

A little thought can go so far, and make your frustrations go way down. Anyway, enough of this tangent.

So, how do you actually improve?

Improvement, and fixing errors in thinking

Like I said before, improvement cannot be made on the backs of micro errors. Improvement can only be made by fixing major, big picture errors. These aren’t small little individual errors like missed shots, these are major, overarching concepts like positioning, target selection, etc.

Instead of focusing on that missed shot, think: Did I need to hit that shot because that was the only option? Could I have killed someone else in an easier fashion? Could I have focused on healing instead of trying to chase down a flanker? Is this teamfight even worth winning, or is it lost and regrouping would be better? Should I be expending this effort and taking this risk?

As a concrete example, I’m going to use a piece of a vod from one submitted to this sub a while back, for a low gold Zen, courtesy of McMoistBurger. Sorry, but I need you to be my guinea pig.

Take a look at this Zen during this teamfight. What do you observe here? What do you notice about his positioning, movement, and his death? It might not be clear as to what exactly he can do about this scenario, as his team dies around him.

What could he have done differently, to stay alive longer?

He’s not quite thinking due to panic, but instead of jumping onto point, he could have followed a different path, (apologies for low quality, something with my recording software messed up) that would have left him less exposed and probably alive. There’s always something you can do to mitigate losses. You might not be able to completely prevent a point capture, but you can make it as hard as possible for the enemy team, and make sure you aren’t part of the problem.

This kind of “what could I have done better there” thinking is how you improve. First, you think in theory. Watch your own vod back, pause it periodically, and think: What could I have done, to at the very least make things not as bad?

Then, once you know what to do, next comes applying it. This is harder, but doable. When I was learning positioning, for example, I set up a recurring timer, to go off every 30 seconds, with a simple single ding. When it went off, I had to check my positioning, and immediately correct my positioning if it was bad. I did this for a while until it became a habit to take better positions that were less out in the open, and safer. This had immediate returns in SR. I won several games that I probably would have lost with bad positioning.

Find a bad mistake/misplay that’s not a micro error, and figure out what you have to do to fix it.

Wrap up

Thanks for reading. I know this guide was a bit all over the place, but I wanted to kinda drop as much relevant advice as I could. Hopefully you learned something helpful.

If you have any questions or comments, drop em below.

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