Overwatch Player’s Struggles At Each Rank and How to Overcome Them

by wackygonz

Outside Factors That Can Affect Rank

These are the mental aspects and outside factors that can really affect a players rank. I will list a few of them and explain the common trends I have noticed.

  • Tilt: Very common in ranks Diamond and below, players will tilt very easily due to bad team comps, toxic teammates, losing SR, and not knowing why they are losing a match. This is usually the first roadblock that players need to get through in order to start improving and gaining rank. A player who is tilted easily, will have a very difficult time to climb, and those who are not are more open to learning and getting better. This is something I’m struggling with as a coach to help players because part of it is who they are as a person. I can give them advice on, “it’s only a game” or “focus on improving yourself and not on your teammates mistakes” but again there are players who can’t get over this mental roadblock.
  • Confidence: There are two sides to this, overconfidence and lack of confidence. The players who are overconfident, often times have very good mechanics but are then hard capped because they don’t understand the other aspects of the game. They get away with winning duels and fragging in bad positions but when it comes to adjusting around the team, players who are overconfident often struggle. Overconfidence is very common in Platinum up to Masters but I have seen it at the lower ranks as well. On the other hand, lack of confidence is common in players who are constantly being harassed or believe that they are really bad at the game. Typically found in ranks that are gold in below, they usually are the ones most willing to listen, but have a hard time executing it in game due to their lack of confidence.
  • Stacking: Probably not something people think about often, but stacking can either increase or decrease your rank. While I do think stacking is good because you can always rely on someone to communicate, whether you like it or not, there is always going to be a skill and knowledge gap between players in a stack. Meaning that there are weaker players in a stack and better players. The weaker players in a stack tend to gain more SR than their actual ranks shows, and the stronger players are capped by the players in their stack. It’s difficult to find a good stack where everyone is about the same skill level and are all improving at the same rate. For those that have one, that’s very fortunate, understand that a lot of players will struggle to find a good stack to queue with. For those of you who stack but have been stuck in the same rank for the last 2-10 seasons now ask yourselves what your goals are? If you just play the game for fun and like to play with friends I think that’s perfectly fine, but if your goal is to climb with a stack you guys need to either work on helping each other improve or might find solo/duo a better option.
  • Time Playing: Players who play 5 hours everyday but have barely moved in rank, are probably stuck (notice how I did not use the word capped) and need to do some significant change in mentality or gameplay in order to start climbing again. There are also players that just don’t play enough and need to gain more knowledge and experience to be familiar with the game. These players usually only play 5-10 hours a week, not really enough to understand the game at a deeper level, but these players just enjoy playing the game with their friends and have fun, and I honestly think more players should include the fun aspect of the game more into their mentality. Players that do not play for a long period of time lose their mechanics, so when they are gone from the game for a week or a month and then go back, I’ll notice the rust, but most of it can be shaken off by playing for a couple of day.s
  • Previous Game Experience: My general observations is that a lot of tank and support players have past experience in MOBAs and RTS games, or no experience in FPS at all, while DPS players have more of a FPS background. There can be overlap between all the classes of course, and these are just general observations I have noticed. A lot of the times though, previous game experiences only help a certain aspect in Overwatch. Like a player with MOBA experience needs to improve more on mechanics, a player with FPS background needs to understand more cool down management and the team aspect of the game. How much they are are willing to fill in those holes varies, and is up to them on how much effort they are willing to put in.
  • Quality of PC/Console and Internet: Pretty self-explanatory, a player with a bad PC or banged up console will have a hard time playing the game. Players with bad internet are always going to have latency issues and have to try their best to predict what’s going to happen or where the enemy is going to be. Needless to say, it’s already an uphill climb for players with bad set ups and internet.


Prevalent Mistakes: These players just outright have very little knowledge about the game or have very little gaming experience. Players in Bronze are heavily affected to what I have mentioned above like quality of PC/Console, age, and time playing. These players struggle with a lot of the aspects of the game including mechanics, cool down management, ult usage, positioning, and most importantly, awareness. Biggest struggles are just not knowing enough about the game or they are plagued by so much external factors that they have a hard time playing the game.

What to Learn: You just need to be more familiar with the game and some playing time to grasp some of the basic concepts of the game and the heroes they play. Find the heroes that you are really comfortable with, then stick with them because you don’t want to play 4-5 different heroes from each class. Focus on a class and then a few heroes from that class, then maybe have a secondary role if other players decide to pick that same role. Just don’t try to play too many heroes, nobody can master all the heroes, so it’s important that you focus on just a few, get a basic understanding of those heroes, and then just play more. Honestly you can get out of Bronze if you focus on just existing and surviving as much as possible.


Prevalent Mistakes: Similar to Bronze players, but at this point they have a very basic understanding of the game, like grouping up and attacking together, though it isn’t the cleanest it’s a lot better when I was in silver 2 1/2 years ago. They struggle with aggressiveness, or lack thereof, and the play styles of the hero they play. For example, it’s very common to see a Reinhardt hold his shield, stand there, then once it’s broken he charges in, essentially doing nothing for his team. So they may have a very basic understanding of what their abilities do, they don’t know how it fits into the context of making those abilities effective. As an example, I see Zen players being a healbot, even though Zen is actually a damage dealer first and a healer second. So I’ll notice Zen players actually track their teammates because they are constantly trying to put a healing orb, when they should be focusing more on Discords and dealing damage. In summary, the players in this rank have a vague understanding of what a hero does but still don’t know how to effectively use their kit.

What to Learn: It’s important to further your knowledge of the heroes you play and when to use the cool downs of these heroes. Understand that a tank moves up, makes space for his team, and not necessarily constantly going for kills or standing in one area. As a DPS, it’s your job to frag within the context of the hero you are playing. For instance, if you are playing McCree, he doesn’t have a lot of mobility and has VERY LOUD FOOTSTEPS so it may be better to be relatively close to your team. If you are a Tracer player, then you are a flanker, go and flank, be annoying, take duels, and frag, don’t stay behind your Rein shield and basically play budget Soldier 76. For supports, you aren’t just healbots, almost every healer has abilities in their kit that do more than just healing. Now I’m not saying don’t heal, I’m saying it’s important to heal AND use the rest of the supports kit to get full value out of them. So, take a step forward with the knowledge of the heroes abilities by using them at the more appropriate time and know the play style of the hero your are playing, while utilizing the entire kit of the hero.


Prevalent Mistakes: Once I get to gold, which is the most populated rank in Overwatch you start to see A LOT of varied mistakes from player to player. The BIGGEST mistake that I see gold players is they just try to do too much. It’s common for DPS to overextend to try to do as much damage as possible because their tanks don’t properly give them space. It’s common for supports to do damage in the wrong situations because, “the DPS aren’t doing anything.” It’s common for the main tank to push up then peel against flankers even if it’s not their job to do so.

What to Learn: Understand that in this rank it is better to perform your role at it’s maximum potential. Stop frontlining as a DPS, stop trying to be the best damage dealer as a support, & for the love of xQc’s dieting habits, tanks go in and make space!


Prevalent Mistakes: Without mentioning the issues stated above, the biggest problem Plat players have is their cool down and ultimate management. Players in Plat still lack the critical thinking of knowing when to use a cool down in the right situations to make the most impact. It’s basically them going in, pressing all the cool downs without a thought, then hoping something happens.

What to Learn: Every ability and ultimate in OW needs to have a purpose. For example, as Ana you may be hitting every single sleep dart, but it’s not about how many sleep darts you hit, it’s about how impactful those sleep darts are. Sure you hit a sleep dart across the map but did it lead to a kill? Did it stop an ultimate? Did it save a teammate? Apply that to every other hero in the game and really ask yourself if you are getting full value out of the hero’s kit.


Prevalent Mistakes: At this rank players have a decent grasp of what their hero is capable of. The most prevalent mistake is players not making plays. A lot of the players get to this point because they have learned how to play their roles and survive in team fights. Then they start being stuck at this rank because just “existing” isn’t good enough anymore and you have to take the next leap and make plays for the team.

What to Learn: To take the next leap you have to be able to make the right play that separates you from the rest of the pack. Players at this level are good enough that just staying alive won’t cut it. For example, as a Reinhardt you have to win the mind games, land almost all your shatters and block the opponents Rein every time. As a Dva you must be ready at all times and know when to peel, enable your main tank, and have Defense Matrix ready to stop an enemy ultimate. As a Lucio you need to make big boop plays and still be there for your team to provide speed boost and healing. For DPS players you need to be in team fights to not just provide trash damage but actually confirm kills. If you’re relying too much on your tanks to do the damage for you and they are the ones getting kills you have to step up, win duels, get solo kills, and capitalize on the kills your team sets up for you consistently. Granted, tank players at this level still aren’t great and take a lot of damage so end up taking a lot of resources from your supports but it’s important to make an impact


Prevalent Mistakes: This is a big turning point for a lot of players because at this rank everyone is mechanically very good at their individual hero. They need to transition that individual skill to a more macro level of knowledge because this is where the game really starts to get more team focused. It’s no longer just making your individual play, but knowing when to enable another person’s play. At this level most players know the general rules of a hero but lack the knowledge of the exceptions of those rules. The reason this happens is because their mechanical skill and individual play has gotten them to this point but they lack the adaptability to change on what the team needs.

What to Learn: So how do you apply that individual skill and start becoming a better team player? The first step is having flexibility not just with your hero pool but with your play style. Think of having another play style as an extra hero. For example, instead of being a Tracer player that only goes for the enemy backline, think about taking a duel with the enemy Tracer so that Tracer will not be able to focus your backline anymore. This allows your supports to be safer and if you time the duels correctly, you can duel that Tracer with help from your supports then capitalize on that to get a free kill then free farm on the rest of the team. You need to transition the mentality from, “how do I make the play” to “how do I enable my team for their play.” Now this is not to say you shouldn’t be a play maker like I previously mentioned at Diamond, but it’s adding an extra layer of game knowledge because you are including how to help your team WITH your own individual play.


I would like to add that in order to reach the next rank you can’t just be good enough for your level, you have to consistently outperform the players in your rank. If I were to summarize the natural progression of players it would be this.

  • Have the mindset and the hardware to want to get better
  • Find the hero pool that fits you the best and that you want to get better with
  • Continue to improve on these fundamentals:
    • Awareness
    • Positioning
    • Mechanics
    • Cool Down Management
  • Become a play maker
  • Learn the macro level of the game and play with your team

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