After Dropping A Tier, I Am Freaking Out About My Overwatch Rank

After a difficult string of placement matches for the current Overwatch competitive season, the unthinkable happened. I dropped to a lower tier. I had spent multiple seasons comfortably sitting in the Platinum tier, and suddenly I was Gold. I have become obsessed with undoing this demotion.

I like to think that I'm a decent video game player. In most games, I straddle the line between intermediate and advanced. Sure, I have bad games now and then, such as a recent Quake Champions game during which I demonstrated a reckless disregard for the movement techniques I mastered years ago. But in general, I know I'm pretty good at video games. Not great but still dang good. With Overwatch, I've consistently ranked in the Platinum tier each time I've made the effort to qualify. Until now.

The criteria for Overwatch ranks is unclear at times but the progression of ranks is straightforward: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster. There's also a separate rank for the top 500 players. You're given an initial rank after ten placement matches and can work up to the next through strong individual play and winning matches. I've been content with a consistent Platinum that signals strong fundamentals with room for improvement and I do hope to reach Diamond eventually. Slipping away from my normal ranking has proven a difficult personal trial.

One's Overwatch competitive tier isn't just a badge of honour. It also dictates who you play with. It might all be in my head, but so far Gold tier has been a swamp of negativity. My teammates often panic and get into distracting arguments with each other. It's been hard to coordinate and secure wins, and I've been underperforming with some of my favourite characters. In part because I play poorly, my teams don't win and my rank doesn't advance. I've psyched myself out to the point that I'm playing like I belong in Gold tier. I know it "doesn't mean anything," but my lack of upward progress has left me frustrated.

My fixation on improving my rank has caused me to pour more of myself into Overwatch than I have before. I now perform an extended warm-up routine before playing competitive games: extended aiming drills against bots, followed by a series of consequence-free quick matches. I've tried new heroes and switched more often at my team's request, learning more and more about the game's roles beyond my usual focus on offensive heroes like Tracer and Soldier 76. I even paid for a training session from a Grandmaster ranked Ana player to get a better game sense and understanding of key map positions to improve contributions to my team during battles. I've done this and more, all for the sake of a goddamn number.

I spent most of last night grinding my way from rank six to seven and I have no clue why.

My negative tilt has spilled into non-Overwatch games, too. Numbers have begun dominating my attention no matter what game I'm playing. I've just started playing ranked matches in Arms and have reached rank seven. The idea of losing a string of matches and sliding back down the ladder is anxiety inducing.

When I dive into PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the prospect of dying before making it to the final ten stresses me out much more than it used to. I don't just want the satisfaction of knowing I did my best. I want my best to actually be the best. I want other players to see it. I want it emblazoned right next to my username. I want a shiny badge that tells people I don't suck.

By and large, my newfound obsession with ranks hasn't really lessened my enjoyment of these games. My love of Overwatch hasn't diminished, even as I languish below my desired rank. I relish the challenge, and welcome the chance to watch myself improve. I'm aware that I may be worrying too much over too small a thing. It's just a number, but it's my number. I know I can make that number climb.


Comments

    I can't even be bothered to get through placement games

    I've given up playing ranked or highly competitive games like Overwatch. Too much stress for me, give me something slower paced like Kerbal or Factorio these days.

    I get that ranked matches in video-games are good for the competitive spirit and help people work hard to improve. But man, they make people sooo angry and some of them become absolutely mad at their team when loosing. I know it is true in CS and Dota 2, where I think people are not enjoying playing the game anymore and play simply for a number that they "grind"...

    It would be nice if ranks were hidden at low-mid level and were used simply to match people of similar skills. After that you can assign public rank for the top tier players, who are actually really good and competitive and can emerge as pro players/streamers.

    I have dropped 600 points, for EACH season, in the last two. I was gold worked up to platinum, drop to right on the edge gold the following season, worked my way up to high gold. Next season I dropped to silver, fell into bronze area, clawed my way back to silver to end on.

    This season I was too terrified to be place in Bronze I have stopped playing the game, figured I got my golden gun, who needs the competitive toxicity and another smash to my ego to drop another 600 points, for nothing.

    There is too much focus on winning for my liking, too little gain or show for losing. Everyone knows you learn more from losing than you do in winning.

    Heather, it sounds to me like you are going through a painful re-adaptation phase.

    I liken this period to when you lose your baby teeth, to grow your adult teeth. Right now you are improving your overall understanding of the game (game sense stuff like ult economy, win conditions, , etc.) and playing different roles/heroes to better complement your team. I went through this process myself, I was a one trick Lucio main who got to Masters by just playing him and maybe a little a Mercy along the way. I tricked myself into thinking I was a very good player, until I played against grand masters and top 500 players who would roll me very easily. It took for me to learn how to play other characters (Ana, Reinhardt, Mercy and Tracer) and watching a lot of YouTube to get back there after dropping to 3000.

    I'm back in Masters now and the only thing holding me back I feel is a lack of time to play, but if there's one piece of advice if you'd like to improve is watch pro-gameplay/analysis videos. The best YouTuber for OW right now is Skyline, he has a great way of explaining things and I attribute my success as a player in most part down to his teachings.

    Good luck!

    That's why I like single player games. I feel like a scary story all the npcs tell their children to make them behave. Competitive multiplayer gives me a serving of too much reality.

      Honestly I've been really enjoying online coop these days. No stress, hang out with friends... I've played The Division / Ghost Recon and now Elder Scrolls Online with buds and I'm really enjoying it.

    More salty competitiveness from the US team. I mean, I remember having a similar problem when i was like 12 years old. It's a pretty sad thing to see in an adult.

    OW ranked is silly, it is a game that is all about decent people making concessions for jerks. There are no systems in place to punish small premades that tend to throw games in completely selfish fits, thanks in part to how Blizzard handle reporting. I have a friend who is cancer as and has managed to escape the ban hammer even after a great many warnings about his behaviour.

    That being said I recently got back into Siege ranked play, but that also has issues due to kicking being disabled and your team still being fully punished, even when you have two early rage quits that never reconncect.

    Ah crap, I just realised I haven't played in a week. My rank of 3,600 has probably dropped.

    All your team needs is a pro Genji. I know a guy and it's glorious.

    Come, join me in bronze. Experience the true slums of the underhive.

    To be fair I only managed 20 ranked games last season, and I did make it to silver. So practically a pro now

    On Xbox One I went 9-1 in my placements and placed at 2830-ish, around 30 higher than where I finished last season, but then immediately dropped down to the 2400s thanks to virtually every post-placement match featuring smurfs that were throwing or kids rage-quitting because someone else took "their" hero.

    Since then I've managed to get back into the 2600s but then keep dropping back down to the 2500s. This yo-yo effect has gone on for a week now and it's gotten beyond frustrating!

    What is it with there being so many more throwing smurfs/toxic players/rage quitters this season compared to last?

    And consoles still haven't got the report player feature so there's still nothing we can do about such players. Thanks Blizzard.

    I say this with respect, its not worrying to much or anxiety that are the root causes of your loss of enjoyment. It seems to me that you may be baseing your self esteem and self image off of your success and ranking instead of belief in yourself. Look how hard you worked to improve, that itself should give you comfort. For our strenght of character shines through in the tough times, on your way to the top.

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