Overwatch's Hanzo Mains Don't Think They Deserve All The Hate

In Overwatch, "Hanzo main" is a dirty word. The Japanese marksman has become a joke, an insult bandied about by hardcore players and school children alike. But people keep picking him, sometimes heedless of team composition and multiple all-caps insults. Why? I asked a whole mess of Hanzo mains to find out.

The majority of the 20 self-identified Hanzo mains I spoke with via email told me they didn't start out as Hanzo mains at all. Some resisted the temptation of a bow hero despite being bow lovers themselves, opting to try to main more comp-friendly heroes like tanks and supports. Others regarded Hanzo with the same mix of spite and pity as much of the Overwatch-playing populace -- until they tried playing him. They fell in love with the supple curve of his bow and his single, sublimely exposed nipple. For many, it comes down to the fact that Hanzo feels damn good to play.

"You can feel the bow's weight, and I love the arrow travel time, how satisfying it is to snipe across the map," said a player named Holly Webster. "The entire way he plays just feels so rewarding and solid to me that I think that's why I started to main him."

Others see Hanzo as a challenge, a character who walks a knife's edge between frustration and satisfaction. His arrows aren't as straightforward as Widowmaker's sniper shots due to their arc, and his ult is easily avoided unless he's being super sneaky with his positioning and timing. A Hanzo who isn't a good sniper can't make up for it by soaking up damage on his team's frontline, meaning a bad Hanzo can be, in some ways, even more useless than a bad player of another character. Nevertheless, this challenge inspires many Hanzo mains who are looking for something new.

"I play fighting games mostly," wrote a player named Remington Hayes, "and I have never gravitated towards top-tier characters. To me, there is no challenge in that, and without at least a little challenge, there's no fun for me. When you hear that signature 'dink' of a headshot, it just feels so good. Like getting that first sip of water after being out in the hot sun all day."

While Hanzo is challenging to play well, a couple players told me they pick Hanzo because they use Overwatch to relax. They felt that, with Hanzo, they could sit back and pick their shots. There's an almost minigame-like challenge to drawing back the bow and aiming, but Hanzo is removed from the screen-consuming chaos of team fights and payload pushes.

Other players told me they play Hanzo out of necessity. His Sonic Arrow, which reveals players' locations through walls, is an effective form of communication when nobody's using voice chat. These players told me they actually play with the team in mind, even if their teammates don't always see it that way.

Nearly every Hanzo main I spoke to said they take a lot of crap for their character of choice. Hanzo hate is a meme, after all, so people feel especially empowered to yell obscenities as soon as his extremely pointy face appears on the character select screen. One player told me they get some kind of pushback in 70 per cent of matches. A few told me they have been reported for picking him. Another said the hate is simply inevitable, even when a Hanzo player is decent.

The reason? Hanzo's an easy scapegoat for a team's deficiencies. "I have noticed that [people who get mad at me for picking Hanzo] blame the loss of the game on me," a player named Cristian Salazar explained. "Despite their poor tactics and timing of ultimates."

The unusual amount of abuse Hanzo mains get is enough to make some reconsider. "[I've gotten so much crap that] I rarely play him in solo-queue anymore," a player named Neryl told me. "I actually don't even play competitive since I think the whole awkward 'who will comply with the meta' dance kills the fun of the game for me."

A lot of the Hanzo hate seems to stem from the idea that Hanzo mains refuse to switch, even when the team really needs someone in a different role. Most of the Hanzo mains I talked to disputed that, saying that they tend to switch characters when it becomes apparent that Hanzo is holding everybody else back. However, a few told me that all the vitriol brings out their stubborn sides. They stay on Hanzo because, god damn it, they will play how they want to play.

"The other day, this guy reamed me for picking Hanzo, even though I was leading the team in kills three minutes in," said Hayes. "I told him that I don't care, and that when people are being toxic, I do what I want. I never throw a match, because I have too much pride, but I will pick whoever I want despite cries of the meta or 'die' [from the] peanut gallery. Honestly, I keep picking him because he is fun to play, and that's the whole point of the game: FUN."

"I've been told to uninstall," said a player named Lawrence Fells. "I've been told to kill myself. But I play Hanzo in spite of it for two reasons: For one, I'm not going to let someone I don't know dictate how I play. More importantly, however, I want to win."

For Hanzo mains, the ultimate reward is to prove everybody wrong. The sweetest victories are the ones you can rub in other people's faces.

"The most memorable moment for me," said a player named Ricardo Damico, "[happened when] I was having a really good play streak, and we were on the attacking team. Some guys started with the 'change hanzo pls,' 'no hanjo,' etc. I kept my mouth shut, helped my team quite a bit, sniped down a lot of enemies, and had Play Of The Game. In the end, one of the haters said I was a high-level Hanzo player using a low-level account and, thus, smurfing. If only they knew that [I] was [in] such rare form."

Another Hanzo main, Lucina, put it more simply… and with a bit less sportsmanship.

"I find it incredibly satisfying," they said, "to get POTG, get the most medals, [and] wait until the next game to see if [the person who yelled at me] is an opponent. Then I proceed to tea bag them after they die."

A lot of the Hanzo mains I spoke to said they take most of the vitriol -- especially the memes -- in good fun. Hanzo is haters' flavour of the month. Soon it will be somebody else, especially since Hanzo is probably about to get a buff. For now, the memes and insults are only a problem when they stop being jokes.

"In-jokes in a community are never a bad thing," said Neryl. "Inevitably, though, people on the internet are going to internet it up and take it too seriously, and that's when there's a bit of a problem. I think anyone who is absolutely sincere in their blanket Hanzo hatred is doing more harm to the community than any Hanzo main ever could."


Comments

    In my experience with hanzo players. It's never the fact that they've ONLY picked hanzo. It's usually because 4 or 5 players have picked and we're clearly in need of a different role. A tank or a healer to round out the team effectively. But instead of picking for the team, they pick hanzo, giving us 3 DPS's classes meaning we're not at an imbalance.
    This either forces someone else to change out their role to accommodate their greedy pick or the team moves forward at a disadvantage.

    Honestly it comes back to something i use to say in league of legends alot too. I don't care if you want to play hanzo, if you think you can play him well and want to play him... great. Just talk to the team first though. Ask if someone want's to switch roles instead of just picking it in spite of the team and expecting everyone else to accommodate you. Communication starts at character select, and if you're going to neglect teamwork and communication there, then we've already lost.

      i agree with teamwork and communication breakdown leads to team fails - but you need to understand that you dont own these people, you havent employed them to fill specific roles.. which brings me to my disagreement - they have paid for a game they want to play, and are allowed to play it as whatever character is made available to them (the game allows it and until that changes, you need to adapt to people who want to play their style, and not follow the strict meta plan)

        It might be worth noting that my experience is from a ranked standpoint, not quickplay. Quickplay i don't really care since there's no gain or loss associated with it, but in ranked you need to use every advantage you have (including following the generally accepted meta) to maximize your chance of besting the enemy team. Everyone's ranking is on the line so you need to function properly as a team and not be selfish.
        If people don't want to work with the team, then go play quickplay/arcade/custom where your actions have less of an effect

          in ranked you need to use every advantage you have (including following the generally accepted meta) to maximize your chance of besting the enemy team. Everyone's ranking is on the line so you need to function properly as a team and not be selfish.
          Read more at https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/05/overwatchs-hanzo-mains-dont-think-they-deserve-all-the-hate/#SgZEeZsLIXL4cAbh.99

          Do you though? I mean, unless you've paid for my game, the system running it, my internet connection, etc. then you've got absolutely zero right to dictate how I play the game. It's all shades of "if you don't play the meta, don't play ranked at all".

          Let's think about what "being selfish" actually means. You're saying that someone should invest time and money into a game, just to play it the way *you* want them to play it. Sorry, but that's not what the game's about. If they play Hanjo and only Hanjo and they suck, they'll drop out of your SR bracket pretty quickly and you won't have to play with them. They'll get to play how they want with other people of their skill level. How is that selfish? If you're continually in the same games as the Hanjo, maybe it's time for some self-reflection where you say "Huh, I'm the same skill level as a Hanjo main who's terrible. Maybe all these losses aren't Hanjo's fault. Maybe there's room for improvement in my playstyle".

          Finally, why should Hanjo have to change? Because he picked last? So what? You can change to another character that better helps the team composition all you want. Who cares if you picked Winston straight away and, once everyone's picked you see you've also got D.Va, Symmetra, Genji, Mei and Hanjo. Sure you need a healer, but how about you switch and fill that role? Surely, if you're not being selfish, that's the best way to play?

          Sorry for the rant, I'm just so sick of everyone playing Overwatch thinking that everything's always someone else's fault and always blaming others. If you're losing in the games, I suggest blaming yourself and looking for opportunities to improve, rather than blaming Hanjo.

            You assume that i don't swap to fill. I spend easily 90% of my ranked play, playing someone i typically don't want to, just so i can fill a gap the team needs (seems to be tanks this season).
            The other 10% is usually when the team is stupidly imbalanced (something like 0 healers, 4 DPS, 1 tank) and i'll just play whatever the hell i want since it's obvious the team doesn't care.

            Typically yes i move out of the SR rating of the "I HANJO's" in time, the issue i always have is i seem to get placed alot lower initially (probably because i mostly play healer, we get placed lower for whatever reason), then i work my way back up to my normal SR.

            These are the rantings of a goddamn bronzelord

              Sorry mate, Platinum/Diamond here.

              I just happen to believe that as long as you're playing within the rules, you should play the game you paid for however you want.

              Your post sounds like the aggravated whining of someone upset that they can't tell others' how to enjoy their toys.

            You are absolutely free to play your game how you want it. You paid for all the things you mentioned, so that's true. BUT you could be impacting the player experience of 5 other people negatively, so you have a positive experience. Now, you shouldn't care, because you paid for your game and you play how you want it. My beef is with Blizzard for ruining 5 people's experiences, just so the 6th is able to pick Hanzo when there are 0 ways that's even remotely effective. How is your experience more important than mine?

            Again, that's not your responsibility, but it is a problem.

              Here we agree entirely. It's not the responsibility of the player to fix this. But it certainly is something that Blizzard will want to solve as it's certainly impacting their player base.

        You could also buy soccer equipment and join a local club, but instead of going with the team you screw around and do whatever role you want.
        People will still be mad that you're playing for yourself and not the team's best interests.

        Notice the hanzo player has to change to accommodate the team, but if some one else has to change its the end of the world.

          That's not true, loads of people change all the time. I always change if asked (e.g. if I picked someone's main and they are good with it, I'm happy to swap). But don't pick Hanzo if you have a team consisting of 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 dps and 1 open spot. Picking Hanzo here, instead of a healer or tank is just a waste of 10 minutes and everyone's SR.

          Which brings us to why the hell anyone has a main in this game to begin with. You should be able to perform reasonably with at least 5 different characters in different roles. I swap all the time between D.Va (Guess you can consider her my "main"), Orisa, Symmetra, Pharah, and sometimes Reaper, Mercy and Lucio depending on the situation. Believe me, this game is an aweful lot more fun if you get better in multiple characters.

      No.

      I main Lucio.

      The cancer are the "I pick for the team" douchebags that like to make calls, that think they know the game, that tilt because someone didn't pick to fit their meta.

      They throw games because you don't follow their orders, and when you explain why they aren't fulfilling their role they rage at you.

      I got yelled at for playing Lucio and standing next to Reinhart. Apparently I was supposed to stand at the back of site next to the turret... even though my aura is 10m.

      Meanwhile a Hanzo main picks, and you know what he's doing and what he's about. All you have to do is pick around him.

      Instead, some MLG team-captain who has 83 hours on soldier rages in chat, tilts, then fails to co-ordinate and continually makes bad calls and bad decisions.

        The pick for the team people are the best. They pick who they want then the rest of the team have to pick to suit them.

    God this article gave me flashbacks to my WoW days when people would call you a huntard regardless of how good you were.

      I frequently reference the only main hunter in my guild as a huntard. He's also in the top 3 dps, plays damn well and I have him in my group whenever possible. It's a joke now more than an insult.

      My first character was a Troll Hunter and I started during those dark days...

      So many good runs spoiled by some passive aggressive dork while somebody else explains how your not doing as much DPS as you should.
      It was great when you won a roll, being courteous and thanking everyone while wearing the biggest grin.

      It didn't help that I typed like a Yardie for fun, some people considered it unnecessary I guess.
      One guy did freak out in a good way though, I joined a run and said, "Ah Gwan me brethren!"
      The reply was instant, "HE TALKS LIKE A TROLL!!"
      The guy got really excited for some reason, it was a hoot.

    I don't care what character people in my comp teams play, so long as we have good team comp and they're good at the character they choose.

    I've played with and against some damn good Hanzos!

    I myself prefer to play the quirkier heroes like Torb and Junkrat, so I'm familiar with the kind of hate being described in the article (I've actually had my Xbox account rep drop to "Avoid Me" 5 times since January because of people reporting me for playing such heroes as supposedly that's "throwing" despite the fact I've never thrown a match in my life!) but I've no qualms with changing to tank or healer if my team needs it.

    This is one of the reasons I've avoided Overwatch.

    Nearly every story here about the game revolves around the strict meta.

    If I wanted angry micromanagers dictating my every step, I'd go back to random WoW dungeons/raids

      To be fair to overwatch, the only game mode where people should care about the meta is competitive. In the other game modes, play whatever char you want because your performance only effects you... not the rest if the team.

        I said one of the reasons.

        Another more damning reason was the influx of Overwatch porn.
        I've seen far more of that than actual gameplay, so it's like watching porn stars play shoot em up.
        That and people are sick freaking puppies

          But if that is a reason you can't play any games! Maybe Tetris?!?

          What!? That is disgusting! Tell me the web address where you find these sickening videos, so I can report them!

    Hanzo sucks ass, hes a game ruiner, all he has to do is spam shots from the rear of the pack and get one shot kills. The skill is minimal. Scatter shot can one shot around corners or even meters in front of you. Its the shittiest character out of them all. Its for the lazy fuks that cant main a real toon

      y u so salty?

      Show me on the doll where Hanjo's arrows touched you...

        Ha! That made me chuckle.

        But seriously. One shotting people from the backline takes skill with Hanzo, he has a very slow rate of fire. Scattershot damage should be reduced a little bit, not much, but a little bit so not every scattershot into a random hallway is a kill. And scattershots up close should have friendly fire on him, the same as Pharah's rockets. One shotting tanks with a scattershot up close without harm to Hanzo is stupid. But that's just my opinion.

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