Top Symmetra Player's Overwatch Bans Won't Stop Him From Picking His Favourite Hero

Symmetra

"Report him," an Overwatch player said over team chat last week, referencing a Twitch streamer who goes by Stevooo. It was right after Stevooo hastily locked down the hero Symmetra.

In text, the player then politely asked all 12 of the match's players to report Stevooo "for poor teamwork." Another player responded: "I did 5 times already."

"Trash like that shouldn't be in this rank," one said.

"If he gets enough reports he's actually gonna get banned. Let's do it," said another.

Stevooo is considered a "one-trick," a term for Overwatch players who are very, very good at one hero and don't like playing others. Stevooo's "one trick" is Symmetra, and with his high-level Symmetra play, Stevooo has amassed an audience for his Twitch channel, which is entirely Symmetra-themed.

While he's streaming, Stevooo spits out Symmetra facts and playstyle advice for his audience, which he says is made up of other avid Symmetra fans. His Twitch chat is populated by trollish Symmetra faces. Gameplay clipped by his fans contains Symmetra highlights alongside quips about Overwatch culture.

As of the last few months, though, Stevooo's single-minded devotion to Symmetra in the game's competitive mode has earned him tireless hate and scorn.

A highly situational light-bender, Symmetra's turrets make for some nasty munition when protecting territory. In other scenarios -- for example, when she's moving onto a control point -- Symmetra is a controversial pick. Her turrets aren't easy to weaponize when she's entering enemy zones. Her teleporter and shield generator are at a greater risk if placed on enemy turf.

That's why, in a lot of contexts, Symmetra is seen as a "troll pick." Regardless, Stevooo almost always picks her.

Although he's rated among the top ten Symmetra players in the game, and has an impressive 57% win rate with Symmetra, Stevooo's teammates are consistently unsure that his Symmetra is a winning choice -- or, more broadly, angry that he's not playing the game the way they think it's meant to be played.

In spite of teammates' feedback, Stevooo keeps insta-picking Symmetra most matches.

Blizzard has come out to say that one-tricks are fine; but with changes to Overwatch's reporting system that have anecdotally helped curb harassment, the game is taking swifter action against players deemed disruptive or toxic. After that night last week, Stevooo's account was suspended for "disruptive gameplay," the sixth time he'd faced a ban.

"Once people found out they could report me and get me suspended," Stevooo told me, "almost every game I've been in recently someone has told everyone in the game to report me to get me banned."

Of course, this isn't just happening to Stevooo, whose multiple accounts and shady competitive challenges may also have landed him in Overwatch jail.

Earlier this year, Kotaku reported on a sniper player whom teammates endlessly harassed and reported. Last month, a top-ranked player who one-tricks Torbjorn, another highly situational defence hero, was suspended multiple times after several player reports. Two days ago, a big discussion on Reddit from a one-trick Symmetra player who'd been repeatedly banned garnered over 1,600 comments.

Stevooo's situation has inspired mixed reactions from the Overwatch community. When he's posted threads about his suspensions on Overwatch forums, his character and playstyle are hotly debated.

Lots of fans agree that it's unfair for him to be instantly reported by teammates. Others point out his propensity for trolling and smurfing, adding that one-tricking is selfish. A few suggest that he just wants to draw attention to a system he considers unfair - or to his Twitch channel.

Fans of other first-person shooters or MOBA games might be a little surprised that putting all your time in one hero is a highly problematic way to play Overwatch. A team-based shooter, Overwatch offers 26 playable heroes across the offence, defence, tank and support categories. Optimal teams are diverse. And, the wisdom goes, optimal players are flexible.

In Overwatch's competitive mode, team composition is an ever-flowing discussion throughout a match. If it's determined that a player isn't pulling their weight or actively countering a known problem, that player will almost certainly be asked to switch heroes. It's an expectation that high-level players will know how to play several heroes, although everyone has their favourite.

Stevooo is a Symmetra main, and as a result, players have reported him, threatened him and asked him to kill himself. "People report me because they have a very specific idea of what the game should be," Stevooo said.

He takes issue with the idea that an Overwatch game is won primarily through teammates' flexibility. Building a well-rounded team, he says, is only a factor in what can win a game. The culture should be more open to the idea that, sometimes, a player is just really good at one hero. And that player can pave the team's way to victory.

In one play Stevooo posted to YouTube, his Symmetra weaves in and out of a map's small, labyrinthine rooms, microwaving four opponents with her laser with ease and confidence. His Symmetra is aggressive, confronting opponents head-on and taking big risks. In the YouTube play, a healer is attached to Stevooo almost the entire time, protecting him from death. Stevooo earns himself "Play of the Game."

"Why on earth should players who aren't doing anything against the rules be punished by other players? Blizzard is the one who designed the system, and made the rules, yet players are being punished for doing something they stated wasn't at all an offence," Stevooo said.

Sticking with one hero isn't always the issue when it comes to one-tricking. Often, it's which hero. Although players who main healers are often looked down on, every Overwatch game can do with a healer. Heroes who are tougher to play right in certain circumstances or aren't known to perform super well in higher tears garner more hate. "Symmetra becomes increasingly harder to play in the higher ranks due to her range, low mobility, and clunky kit," Stevooo explained. "Because a lot of people don't play Symmetra, the community still doesn't understand how to work with her, and considers her a liability."

The counter-point here -- and it's a strong one -- is that when one player locks down a hero every game, other players must build a team composition around that player. Because balanced teams are generally considered better, Stevooo's teammates often feel forced to compensate for his one-tricking. And in a team-based game like Overwatch, it's looked at as poor teamwork.

Recently, Overwatch community manager Josh Engen wrote on the Battle.net forum that "We take both sides of the issue very seriously. We believe that players should be able to choose their favourite heroes, but playing as a team (which includes building an effective team composition) is a core part of the Overwatch experience. It's a delicate balance, and we're still working on getting it right (and probably always will be). . . Sometimes that means switching off at your teammates' request, and sometimes that means working around your teammate's specialisation."

Though in Overwatch's "Report Player" window, the game is a little less ambiguous: "Poor teamwork is not playing a hero that is not considered optimal by the community."

Players who don't want to end up with one-trick teammates don't have too much recourse aside from reporting them. In the past, Overwatch offered an "Avoid Player" function. Predictably, it was abused. It would take players like Stevooo eons to match up with others for games. When the function was live, one-tricking players pointed out that they too paid $US60 ($79) for the online game. Didn't they have a right to play it?

Stevooo has asked Blizzard to overturn his suspensions. Usually, they don't.

Right now, players have the reins on who they're letting into their community and it looks like most of Overwatch's reporting system is run automatically. When it comes to toxicity, that means it's easier to pull out Overwatch's weeds. But when it comes to one-tricking, Stevooo said, the players who report him "delight in knowing Blizzard have handed them the power to abuse the reporting system and purge players they don't want in the game, even if that player wasn't doing anything bannable."

Later in last week's game, after ignoring his teammates' repeated requests for a healer, Stevooo received $US500 ($660) from a fan. "Don't feel bad dude :)," it read. "Mute voice/chat."

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Comments

    i personally find character bans to extremely stupid in the first place and are only a thing to stretch out match plays. Watching competitive HotS, it takes about 10mintues for teams to select the characters just due to character bans. Its like saying FLASH is not allowed to play terran vs zerg or NSW saying that Slater, Cronk and Thruston must be benched

      HOTS/Dota/LoL will always have banning because it helps keep the competitive aspect different. Last thing you want to see is the same silly strategy be used every single time. It's fun seeing what people do when flavor of the patch heroes have been banned or a team favorite has been taken out and how people can work around whats being picked/banned.

      Nothing stupid about bans, you just seem to have no patience because you may not understand the repercussions or dynamics of the picks/bans. A better SC2 as analogy would be a SC2 player never doing the same strat for all races. A Zerg player plays differently if presented with a Terran, Zerg, or Protoss player, and again depending on what build order they maybe going it changes the flow of everything.
      It creates dynamic's that if bans did not exist would be stale game after game.

      I am talking purely from high level competitive perspective so take it as it is.

        there good reson to do it in LoL and Dota(BECUASE THERE UNBLANCED lol like to move about whos SOP with there updates)

        HOTS has no reason to.

          yeah see i understand banning a hero for a tornament if it is OP/UP, but banning a hero just b ecause your oppenent is good with that hero is pure bullshit.

            How so? Knowing what is good to ban and what to pick is as integral to the game as much as the actual gameplay itself. It makes players develop into more than (to plug into the above article) one trick ponies. A dota 2 team Alliance won The International one year based around that they were good with farming and ratting (pushing lanes fast). After that they fell off the map because of 2 main reasons.

            1) The following patches killed their play style making them not able to compete at the same level as other players were.

            2) They failed to evolve and change, kept doing the same thing and died out into mediocrity

            There are more factors, but these stick out as very relevant

          HoTS does need bans. Certain maps if you don't have somebody to play the character, its safer to ban it then to end up dealing with it e.g. Sylvanas on Braxis. In other cases it's certain characters are stupidly OP at high levels e.g. Genji.

          as mentioned, different heroes work in different situations, even in HOTS, banning those heroes who excel is guaranteed to throw a wrench in someones works, same goes for LoL especially as they tend to have a meta pool of 10-15 champions and stick to it through out the patch, Dota tends to have more wiggle room with most tourny's in the last patch using 95% of the 110 hero pool for various different strats.

          The implication that Hots is any more balanced than its contemporaries is pure hyperbole, Hots definitely have some favourites that ive seen consistently picked (LiLi for example) that have some huge power spikes along the course of a game.

          6 heroes from 110+ were not picked or banned during Dota 2 International 2017, not sure what you mean by unbalanced?
          If a majority of the hero pool is banned or picked it seems balanced to me
          HoTS is just bad for competitive play imo
          It'd be silly to ban in Overwatch with such a small hero pool to play from

    "Why is our goalie leaving our goal?"
    "Hey man, let him play the way he wants."

      give this mans losing team a participation award.

      That's not a fair comparison.

      The difference between this and real life soccer is that you're free to play goalie if you want. Anyone on the team is. You can switch to it with a moments notice. But they won't because everyone else wants to play striker and just wants to complain that no one else is playing goalie.

      " Our goalie doesn't want to play goalie, better report them for it. "

      José Luis Chilavert would like to have a word with you

    The avoid player option probably is the best way to go, maybe with the caveat that each 'avoid' isn't permanent, maybe prevents you from matching with the person for a month or the season.
    If you're constantly being 'avoided' to the point where it takes forever to match up a game? well that's a consequence of the way you play and unlike banning or suspensions it's a fair one.

      What about people avoiding players who are better than them so that they get matched with easier people so they rank up quicker?

    I always hate the arguments guys like this put up that they have the right to play when really they want someone else to have objectively less fun to support them, which is why i think the avoid feature is fine, you want to piss off your team game after game why on earth should they have to keep playing with you?

    I mean if you really must one trick at least make it a healer or a tank, sure it is just as bad as it currently is to join a team game with no intention of acting like a team but at least maining a healer or a tank 9/10 games people won't even notice you are a one-trick

      One tricking with what is arguably the most situational character in the game is toxic play. End of.

        Demanding other people play how you want, Sooking and abusing the report system is toxic.

        Doesn't matter. It's not against the rules.

      I always hate the arguments guys like this put up that they have the right to play when really they want someone else to have objectively less fun to support them

      That knife cuts both ways, surely? Why should the guy who wants to play Symmetra change characters to another and have objectively less fun just so he can support someone else?

        It does cut both ways, everyone deserves a chance to play the heroes they enjoy and there is a casual mode where you can pick whichever hero you want without consequence.

        But if you queue for competitive and have no intention of working WITH your team to win the game then the question becomes simple utility, should 5 people have a bad time supporting a one trick or should the one trick have a bad time not being able to be a one trick in competitive ?

          if you queue for competitive and have no intention of working WITH your team to win

          In my eyes the simple fact is that if you're in a game with a "one trick" player then they're just as good as you are (with that character, at least). That's why you're in the same game as them. If you force them to step off that character you're now running the risk that they're using a character they're not capable with at the level they're playing at. If they switch to a different character and they're playing poorly they'll get reported for "throwing", just because of the skill gap they may have between characters. This situation is bad for everyone involved as you're hamstringing your team even more.

          If they stay on their main and they lose, they'll either lose rank or they'll make up wins enough to stay at the rank they're on. If they lose rank you don't have to worry about them, they're not in your bracket any more. If they maintain rank and stay in the same bracket you're in, then you need to realise that they're doing just as well as you are, even though they're one tricking and you're swapping. If they're doing just as well as you are and are in the same bracket you are, what right do you have to complain about how they play the game? They're just as effective as you are, they're just not doing what you want them to do.

          As long as someone is trying their best with the character they've chosen, I've got no problem with it. I've played at plat/diamond since launch and can honestly say that I haven't really cared as long as the person isn't having a tantrum and intentionally jumping off a cliff over and again. Have I played games with a Widow/Hanzo who seems to have 2% accuracy? Yep. Have I played games where our Zen spent the entire game going for gold kills instead of healing? Yep. But you adapt and move on, safe in the knowledge that they're not going to last at this rank.

          I really don't think one-tricking is the problem in this game. Smurfs are the problem I hate.

            Look i think at a fundamental level we agree on the same points, unconventional picks aren't ban/avoid worthy and picking a character you are most effective with is better than picking something you can't play just to fill out a composition doesn't help your team win.

            The point of contention for me is that one-tricks don't take into account the strengths of their teams and are happy for someone else to play poorly in a role to fill out a team comp as long as they don't have to switch and also don't have a backup hero if they are being directly countered. I think it is absolutely reasonable that everyone has at least a few characters (minimum one healer) they can play semi-competently so they can support their team to pick the most optimal roster of heroes for their strengths or to allow some madcap strat to come to fruition (i.e flexing around a Symmetra for a sneaky teleporter back cap).

            And yes Smurfs are the worst and from what i have read this guys is also one of the jerks who does bronze to GM challenges (i don't really think it is a challenge if you are a regular GM player, now a bronze level player completing a bronze to GM challenge would be an achievement)

    an impressive 57% win rate with Symmetra

    I assume that's a typo, because that's not impressive. In fact it's below average for Symmetra.

      It is probably impressive as it is a win rate in all game modes for both attack and defense when her overall win rate is probably skewed upwards by the fact that most people only pick her when she is appropriate for an objective or map.

      That is better than my overall career win rate, so it is impressive to me LOL.

      It is if you take in account how many games he has played with hero. 57% is impressive if you rack up more than say 100 games, my 90% win rate playing ursa in dota 2 becomes less impressive when its out of 10 games.

        The overall Sym winrate is above 60% (as in all people across all comp).

    Stevo is a total [email protected]$t, I watched 2 videos of his Bronze to GM challenge all he did was belittle and mock his bronze tier teamates and the other team. Providing analysis is one thing, being a plain ol [email protected]$t is another. I have no respect for this Streamer/Personality and any Ban he gets is well deserved.

    ... this is the reason Blizzard is slow to rollout new content. They have to have meetings and discuss algorithms to filter ban complaints and review this like a judicial case.

    Was the player toxic for being only Symmetra, they earnt their rank did they not?
    Was the player that called for him to banned in chat, toxic?
    Was the other players that joined the ban, toxic?
    Is the system working as intended?
    Are they abusing the system for banning a player for a single action "choosing a character"?
    Should Blizzard just lock out most characters from High rank play so only Meta can be Meta?
    What can be done to improve this system so everyone get everything they want and all the #*@! of the world get their ideal gameplay where they win all the time and everyone DOES EVERYTHING THEY SAY!!!
    Or should Blizzard just give up and ban everyone with a gold badge cause there is no way they got to the rank without being a #&@wad!.

    This is why I don't play Overwatch.

    Not because I can't play in team or too stubborn to be flexible.
    But if I find my pony, guess who's goin to the show.

    I don't get it. What's the problem? If someone likes playing one character and is good at it, why does that matter?

      Apparently its because everyone else doesn't like that character. The game is squad based, and there are optimal groups that make winning easier . Symmetra isn't in those squads.

      So the rest of the group think THEIR idea is the only option, and by justifying the Symmetra players attitude as toxic, force him out of the scene.

      It totally ignores that their arrogance is far more toxic, and is bullying, which are far worse issues that someone merely preferring a specific class. It sickens me, and one of the things that turns me off Overwatch.

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