Overwatch Ranked Team Communication Guide

by wackygonz

Introduction

Communication is one of the most important skills to learn in a team game like Overwatch. Maybe you have experienced games where everybody is communicating, making good call outs, working together, and it feels like the best game you have ever played. Other times you get games where you have players at each others throats telling them to switch off a certain hero, complaining about not getting healed, or boasting about irrelevant gold medals. In this guide I will talk about what are good and bad calls to make in Ranked. I will also talk about why some players react negatively towards certain calls.

Informational Calls vs Shot Calls

Informational Calls: Just like the name suggests, these are calls that give your teammates information on what is happening before, during, and after a team fight. It’s not specifically telling your team what to do but instead allows your teammates to make the best decision based on that information. Examples:

  • Low HP targets
  • Out of position enemies
  • Location of enemies
  • Cool downs used
  • Ultimates used
  • Status of the team fight

Shot Calls: These are calls that are directed towards the team with specific instructions on what to do. Examples:

  • Target focus
  • Composition and hero switches
  • What ultimates to use next fight
  • Which path to take approaching the team fight
  • Resetting after a team fight
  • Planning for the next team fight

Non-Essential Call Outs

These are calls that you will typically hear in ranked but are either wrong or unnecessary. Examples:

  • Need more damage
  • Need more healing
  • Complaining
  • Boasting
  • Blaming
  • Calling out the enemies they killed (Unless it’s pertaining to a retake or helps with the status of the team fight)

Applying it to Ranked

The reality of ranked is that there is always someone who is not in voice chat, refuses to listen, or just doesn’t understand the call you are trying to make. Think about it, you are expected to work with 5 other strangers for a game, have to work together and be on the same page. So realistically, that is not going to happen. Is communicating important? Very much so. In the context of ranked with random strangers playing together the questions we should be asking ourselves is what should we communicate? and how should we communicate?

  • My biggest advice on effective communication is that you should limit your calls to informational calls. As for the same reason stated above, there are players who are just going to outright not listen to shot calls. So what will happen is a vicious cycle of that player constantly not following, getting annoyed, and the shotcaller getting tilted because that player isn’t following. let’s talk about a prime example
    • You ask for your Genji to switch off to a hitscan because they have a Pharah. Genji player doesn’t want to and you keep asking him to switch throughout the game. You are now tilted and frustrated because the Pharah is kicking your ass and your teammate doesn’t want to do anything about it.
    • Save your breath, if you asked once he’s probably not going to do it. Don’t get him tilted by constantly asking and don’t constantly frustrate yourself by talking to a brick wall. It also clogs comms and annoys the rest of the team having to listen to people arguing the whole time. People just don’t like being told what to do sometimes, that’s just a fact of life, so save your time and frustration on something that really matters.
  • Even if players don’t always react to your informational call outs it’s a good habit for you to learn because from Bronze all the way to OWL these call outs are used. So having that skill of recognizing enemy positions, ult trackinng, and watching cool downs is a good skill to have no matter what rank you are. Let’s apply this as an example:
    • You call that the enemy McCree just used his flash. You have a Tracer on your team who isn’t necessarily communicating but hears that call. She knows that she can go in, kill that McCree, without the fear of getting stunned by him. As you climb into higher ranks your teammates will be able to react to your informational calls quicker and more decisively.
    • Any hero with a significant cool down used is a more vulnerable one. If you haven’t realized it yet, abilities in this game are very powerful so calling them out when they are used is very helpful for your team.
  • Tone and repetition of calls is just as important of what you say. Which of these would make you react?
  1. Soldier 1 HP
  2. SOLDIER ONE! SOLDIER ONE! SOLDIER ONE!
  • If you said the first then you must really enjoy being around quiet people. Think about all times you’ve been in a game and how the loudest person in the game is the most influential. Now I’m not saying you should be loud all the time, but if you really need to get a point across then consider adding some repetition in or increasing tone. Don’t make it sound condescending or obnoxious, you’re all human beings, you know what an obnoxious and condescending person sounds like. Kappa.
  • If you really feel the need the shot call then you have to keep learning. I know what some of you are thinking, “I’m a pretty good shot caller but my team mates still don’t listen.” If you are such a good shot caller why aren’t you Top 500 or a pro player? You know why shot callers on pro teams are so good? It’s not because they always make the right calls, it’s because they are wrong but are constantly learning from those mistakes. Failure is the best teacher, but if you keep making the same mistakes over and over or in this case, making the same call over and over without getting any results then there’s something wrong with your call or how you say it. VOD review and keep asking yourself questions. Was this the right call? What could’ve been a better play? What piece of information am I missing? Why was I wrong? Being a shot caller is a skill, a very hard skill to master, so it requires hard work and time to get better at it.
  • Remove useless and non-essential call outs when you communicate to your team. There are a lot of misunderstood notions in overwatch when people communicate. The first one is saying, “We need more damage.” You do not need more damage, you need more focus fire. The next one is,”We need more healing.” You don’t need more healing you just need to stop feeding one by one and position yourselves better to AVOID damage. Cut out boasting, complaining, and blaming outright. Nobody cares about your gold medals and it pisses people off to hear someone constantly whine the whole time. Yeah you can’t stop someone on your team from doing it but don’t add to the problem by doing it yourself.
  • One of the best calls that I make to a teammate is saying, “I’m with you (hero).” It’s hard to trust a random person, but knowing that you have a teammate who is with you and helping you in a duel is comforting. Like if I’m playing Dva and my Zenyatta is being attacked by a Tracer, I’ll communicate that I’m helping him so he doesn’t just run away like a a little p…erson and we can kill her together.

Summary

I hope this helps give you a better idea of communication in the context of rank. In a perfect world, it would be great to have all 6 players on the same page the whole time. Reality is, it just doesn’t happen so pick your battles and choose what you want to communicate without tilting yourself. People just don’t like being told what to do, focus on fighting the 6 opponents, not your own teammates and making it 1 vs 11, and if you are tilted at yourself well now it’s 0 v 12. What are better odds, 6v6 or 0v12?

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