Girls and Gaming

I’ve been an avid gamer for a long time. I’ve been big into online games since Vanilla WoW, though I’ve been doing more beta than live WoW these days. There has been a lot of talk about girls and their treatment by other gamers. I have decided to weigh in as someone who has been doing this online thing for probably just over a decade. I don’t really want to do the math because some days I already feel older than I’d like to admit.

Gaming was a lot easier for me before I started raiding and had to speak on Vent. Before then, I could just be a good player. Okay, mediocre at best. I had potential, I just get in my head and decide the living is more important than the meters. It was easier back in Vanilla. There were defined roles. Priests were healers, backing up their Paladins in the 40 mans. It was cut and dry. Then instead of just being a player, you became a “girl player”. That was that. Girl first, player second. Eventually, for a short period of time, I became a named GM as part of a council. My peers, male, were regarded as just being “boys”. If I had to reprimand someone or give orders in raid, I was the bitchy girl bossing them around. It happened. The guys laughed. It bothered me a little at first. Not because of what they were saying but because I know why they said it. Anytime I was in an Officer style position after that in WoW, it was the same thing.

When people made jokes about me, they treated me like a wounded animal. It’s okay, they’re just jerks. It’s instinct, right? Protecting the little girl. It sucked but you sucked it up because you couldn’t show weakness. I started mouthing off and not taking it. That’s an easy way to make you a heartless bitch again. You get over it. After a while, things in the game got better. Aside from comments like “we have girl players. Some of them are actually good.” You have to work harder than your male counterparts.

Games like Overwatch are much worse about this. I refuse to talk on chat, unless it is absolutely undeniably necessary. Why? Because despite being praised earlier on in a match, the minute I spoke and came out of my gamer closet as a girl, I was suddenly no longer a badass. I was now terrible at the game. I was playing the same level of play that I was earlier on in the match, but suddenly now I have to get off of competitive because I have no idea  how to play. They would have respected me more if I pretended I was a pre-teen boy who hadn’t experience puberty yet.

It does scar you a little bit. It makes you not want to fully engage the game. Sometimes you get lucky. Maybe there’s another girl in the group. Maybe there are some more open-minded gamers. It’s not even a majority of the time you experience it, at least in my case. If I’m on a winning streak with a group and got 3 PoTGs (Play of the Game) in a row, I’ll speak up and get comfortable. But when it does happen, it stings. I shouldn’t be afraid to chat while playing a team based game. Look at what happened to Geguri. She is ridiculously good, so she obviously has to be cheating as a player. I’m not entirely sure she would have faced the same scrutiny if she were a male gamer.

The moral of this story: it depends on the game and the people you surround yourself with. In WoW, my guild treats me as one of the guys. They don’t care about anything other than that I’m a team player who shows up and does my job. There’s still a little bit to go with games like Overwatch, but I feel as though part of the problem is the age and maturity of the players. As more women dominate this game, I think it will be a strong turnaround.

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Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 2

It is nearing closer to the end of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The playoffs are coming and it is going to be a race to the finish for some teams as this new meta seems to be a difficult one for some of our stronger competitors. NYXL has already clinched the top spot in the post-season, which comes as no surprise to anyone. This is a brief look at this week in the Overwatch League.

There are currently 4 teams that are winless in this stage: Seoul Dynasty, Boston Uprising, Shanghai Dragons, and the Florida Mayhem. Surprisingly though, Shanghai isn’t in dead last thanks to the win differentials in this stage, but they have yet to get a win overall this season. This is a bit surprising, especially since Geguri finally has the opportunity this stage to show off her amazing Zarya skills. However, this is proof that one person can’t win an Overwatch match. The team still has a lot of issues to work out, which I hope they do because I want to see Geguri succeed in the league.

Seoul is still struggling this stage, unable to get a win so far. This mighty team has certainly fallen since the early estimates of being a top contender for the championship prior to the league starting. This is a group of solid players that doesn’t seem to be holding up as well as their skill should be. Unrelated note, Fleta for Uprising?

Speaking of my favorite team, this stage is not going well for these underdogs. Despite shocking everyone by coming in 2nd place in Stage 3, they are struggling hard this stage. Last week was their most impressive showing, forcing LA Valiant into a tiebreaker. What happened to this team? Crusty being gone definitely hurt them, but there’s more to it than that. This is their weakest map pool and they still haven’t figured out how to beat Brigitte. I don’t take any of these as excuses though. A good coach would have helped them figure it out by now, rather than watching the team drown. We need a new coach badly. So badly. It’s hard watching this team that works so hard and puts everything out there just to watch them crash and burn. It’s especially demoralizing when the experts talk about how last stage was a fluke or at least now the team is where they expected them to be. They can still pull this out and hopefully get themselves a spot in the post-season.

Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 1

The final stage before the playoffs and grand finals is here. With a new character introduced, things were bound to be shaken up a little. And it definitely did. With Brigitte comes a new meta that people need to learn how to deal with: she will destroy anything in her path and she doesn’t care who you are. Another new map pool, here is a look at this week in the Overwatch League.

Will Brigitte be a viable option in Competitive? Everyone certainly got their answer with this first week. Many strategies did involve the new character, with even SBB getting into the Brigitte action. (In case you’re wondering, he’s just as deadly at Brigitte as he is at Tracer.) The teams that dominated this week knew how to keep the Brigitte at bay. It was the teams that didn’t have an answer for her that really suffered this week. With less Tracer in the lineup, it was easy to worry about stars like SBB and Striker, but it turns out they adjusted just fine to their new roles on their team. With more Zarya, it was great to see Geguri really in her element which is something that fans have been looking forward to.

One of the teams that really suffered from this? The Boston Uprising. Was it the fact that Crusty left that made this week so hard for them? Did they just not master Brigitte enough? There was not a lot of Brigitte playtime on this team and that certainly hurt them. What probably hurt them the most is the fact that they could do nothing about Brigitte. The strategy of trying to ignore her didn’t work for the team. She destroyed Striker’s Tracer, which is one reason that you are going to see a lot less of her if Brigitte becomes more popular. Nothing worked for them. The teams that they played against had a very solid Brigitte (/cough Jake), and Uprising just never stood a chance.

The team looked very different from the one that went undefeated last stage and came in 2nd in the finals. They were disjointed. Maybe it has to do with this being their worst map pool in the game, but you would think that they would have worked extra hard to master these maps. I think this all comes down to bad coaching. Crusty leaving really hurt and it seems that the team they have in place just can’t even hold a candle to the former coach.

I hope that they straighten this out. The team has solid talent but that means nothing if the coaching staff behind them can’t take them to the next level. Also, Mistakes learn Brigitte. I have faith that you could be awesome at it. A final note: RIP D.va in this stage. I don’t want to miss my main main in competitive now.

Overwatch League: Boston Uprising vs. NYXL

A team that was expected to go nowhere in the league (my team the Boston Uprising) not only overcame any controversy and low expectations from the experts by making it into a stage playoff, they went in undefeated and in the 1st seed. They broke all types of records along the way including first team to go undefeated in a stage and the first team to win their playoff game 3-0. They had the longest win streak in the game. They were put on a pedestal by the casters, who still had no faith in them to win the playoffs but couldn’t help but to marvel over them.

The problem with being on a pedestal… is you generally always fall off. They had another strong showing against the LA Gladiators, but the NYXL is another beast entirely. The Boston Uprising put up a fight but always came up just a little bit short. They didn’t make it easy for the XL, but they are the top team in the league for a reason. I’m just happy that a team nobody expected anything from took the 2nd place spot and prize money.

I do need to clarify something, as a Patriots fan and an Uprising fan. You cannot compare the fact that the Patriots went undefeated only to lose the most important game, because that would be way out of context. For one thing, the Patriots were absolutely dominate and the favorites to win it all. The Uprising may have been dominate this stage, but up to this point they were an average team that people thought would be in last place not 6th. The NYXL was always one of the favorites to perform well and they were the favorite going into the match. Uprising was dismissed, and expected to be knocked out by the Gladiators. The Giants were the underdog that surpassed the beasts known as the Patriots. The comparison would make more sense had NYXL went undefeated and then lost in the final match to Boston as if some reverse karma had taken place. In fact, the only real comparison that you can say is that the Uprising is owned by the Kraft organization and NYXL is the New York team. They are still pushing the NY/Boston rivalry hard and you can’t force something that really isn’t there.

Boston played a solid match. If it were any other team than XL, I believe that they would have easily won. The errors that were made wouldn’t have mattered too much against other teams, but XL will punish every mistake. They are aggressive and just really hard to beat. I didn’t expect a win. I hoped for one and thought it would be awesome if they did. But I didn’t expect the win.

Still, I’m very proud of my team. I supported them when everyone thought that they would fail (buying their merch as soon as it was available). I can still say that I proudly wear it now. I’m going to save up, buy myself an away NotE jersey (D.va main here), and be happy that I have a team that I can believe in. I’m glad that they get to do their Boston tour, coming home with their $25,000 prize and their heads held high that they showed everyone what they can do.

Overwatch League Stage 3- Week 3

Can I just enjoy this moment? This week was another incredible week for matches. There were shocking moments and heartbreak. This is a look at the week in the Overwatch League and outside of it. Especially a nice moment to gloat about my favorite team.

First, a look inside the league. The matches here were relatively as expected. Shanghai is still without a loss, though people expected them to finally get their win against the Mayhem. They worked hard but ultimately still walked away from the match win-less. Maybe next stage everything will finally come together. I’m rooting for them, especially Geguri. I love a good tank and I do support the only female player in the league. If I didn’t love NotE so much, I would take her over him. But NotE is awesome and we are lucky to have him on the team.

Speaking of the Boston Uprising, holy cow! Their week was set to be another tough one: going against the London Spitfire and the Seoul Dynasty. Both teams have been in a sorta slump, not achieving their potential. Spitfire, the stage 1 champions seemed to have struggled since their first big win. Seoul just seems to be suffering from something, but I don’t quite know what it is. Is it a communication thing? Have they just not found a group that clicks for them yet? Whatever it is, the Spitfire seems to be struggling with the same issues.

As much as I love the Spitfire, Boston is my team. I rooted for them but honestly, I didn’t think they were really going to win. They have been strong so far this stage but they were due for a loss. After that season where the Patriots went undefeated only to lose the Super Bowl, I kept saying “only one of those games mattered and they lost it.” I don’t want to say this about the Uprising. It was definitely a struggle for them in their first match against the Spitfire. They finally lost on Temple of Anubis and the next map was Numbani, which is a bad map for them anyways. They went into halftime down 2-0. Then much like their football counterparts, they took control of the second half. It started with a strong showing on Ilios, then a not so promising start to Junkertown: the map that was going to decide if there was a defeat or tie breaker.

Despite only capping one point, they managed to surprise everyone by holding the Spitfire to 0 caps. This led to quite the intense tie-breaker map. After splitting the first 2 rounds, the last round was going to decide it all. With 99% cap on both sides, it did not look good at all for the Uprising. Until it did thanks to their strong team work and a clutch EMP from the new kid on the block Mistakes. Then my hand went into the ceiling fan as I jumped in excitement and awe over it. There is a battle wound still, but I’m fine.

The next night was going to be another difficult one. Despite their slump, Seoul is still a strong team that was going to be extremely hard to go against. The first map was Volskaya Industries, our final undefeated map. We walked away still undefeated in this map. We then went on to tie on Blizzard World, making every map so important now since there was no tie-breaker map to fall back on. The next map would win it all for them. Both teams came back after halftime with their game faces on. Then, Uprising went on to win the next map, Nepal. They lost the final map in Route 66 but they had already walked away with the match.

This leads us into territory that no one thought we would be in: Undefeated and in 1st in Stage 3 and overall in 2nd place. Not bad for a team that everyone said would be in last (or second to last) place.

As a final note, be sure to check out the social media accounts of these amazing players. You get such great moments, such as the creation of Froguri (Geguri in a frog onesie will make anyone’s day) or hilarious interactions between these players. Because at the end of the day, they love the game and they are here to win but also have a great time with each other. The casters are also very amusing to follow on social media. This is a great group of people and I am proud to support the league.

Overwatch Leage Stage 3- Week 2

There were a lot of surprises in the Overwatch League this week, but the biggest surprise of them all comes from the underdogs of the league: the Boston Uprising. Here is a closer look at a quick recap of this week of play, primarily focusing on my favorite team.

Going in, a lot of Boston Uprising fans (including myself) were scared for our future without our disgraced former star. We were on a high after upsetting teams the first week, primarily as a result of the strong play from the aforementioned disgraced star. With only 1 other DPS player on the roster, the future seemed pretty uncertain for the team. I, having watched Mistakes stream, was decently confident that he would do better than most people gave him credit for. My husband, who is as much of a fan of the team and league as I am, had his doubts. After arguing back and forth about the next move here: Do we go with Mistakes? Does Neko step up as DPS and let Snow or Avast come in as our second support? Do we try to go after such strong players as Shadowburn or Pine who doesn’t seem to get the playtime that they deserve? What about streamers like AimbotCalvin? I dismissed the idea of one of the world’s best Zenyattas going DPS, because, well, he’s one of the world’s best Zens. I put all my eggs in the Mistakes basket and hoped for the best.

… and anyone who didn’t made some huge Mistakes this week. (Those jokes never ever get old.) Our first game up was against the New York XL, a game that as much as any Uprising fan wanted us to win knew that it wasn’t going to be likely. Again, especially without such a strong player that we have grown used to. This was going to be Mistakes thrown to the wolves to see what he was made of. And to everyone’s shock, the Uprising won 3-2 against the best team in the league. Going into the game, XL had only lost 2 games the entire season so far. The team came together and showed us that they are more than one player; they are a strong team.

In case anyone thought this win was a fluke, they also went 3-2 against Florida Mayhem. We’re still undefeated as of yet in the stage, putting us in the position no one predicted we would ever be in: 2nd place for the stage and 4th place overall. Not bad for a team that people predicted before the season started that would be in the last or second to last spot. In true Boston fashion: never count us out.

In other shocking news, Seoul and London are continuing to struggle. London faced off against Fusion for the first time since they lost to them in the Stage 2 playoffs, but they were not redeemed. Shanghai is still looking for their first win of the season and Mayhem is still struggling to find something that works for them. These two are going to be facing off this week and it will be very interesting to see just how this plays out.

I have been streaming the Battle for Azeroth alpha play on my Twitch stream. Next week I may be adding some of my amazingly mediocre play on Overwatch as well. I play mystery heroes. My gold rank in comp will probably just rot because toxic people are no fun. We’ll see. Check me out on Twitch in case you haven’t already.

A Plague within the Overwatch League

I am a huge fan of the Overwatch League, so much that I dedicate my “gaming” day of the blog on it. Normally today, I would be discussing politics or some other relevant issue that I felt like needed to be discussed. Instead, today I will be dedicating another day to the gaming category to discuss the problems with the Overwatch League especially in light of the big events that happened to my beloved team, the Boston Uprising. I touched upon this briefly in my blog yesterday, but I will elaborate my thoughts further on this today.

DreamKazper was a player that I frequently applauded during matches and someone who I would always watch on Twitch when I would see him streaming. He wasn’t my favorite. As a tank main (specifically D.Va), Note and Gamsu are my favorite players. Still, he was easily one of the best flex DPS players and a perfect DPS partner for Striker. It was exciting to watch him play. I even agree that we won a lot of our matches because he was such a solid player. Like other fans of the Uprising, I feel betrayed and disgusted at these turn of events. At first, I was suspicious for a lot of reasons but that didn’t take away the fact an adult pursued a barely-teen girl and it was absolutely reprehensible anyways. When the second accusation came out, any suspicions that I had about the matter went away and he went from “an immature adult who did a horrible thing” to “a predator”. It’s awful. It’s truly awful. The Uprising did the right thing. I feel horrible for the girls that came forward and those who may not have. I won’t be surprised if there are more but we don’t know that there is. It’s all speculation at this point.

This does show something that apparently needs to happen within the Overwatch. There needs to be a sit down with all of the players with a discussion of “what is actually appropriate behavior”. This includes:

  • Not using derogatory terms
  • Not using “racially insensitive” gestures
  • Do not sexually harass or sexually exploit anyone, including minors
  • Do not send or ask for naked photographs from people who are unwilling participants and/or are minors who cannot legally consent
  • No does mean no
  • Just generally avoid anything that a decent human being would avoid, such as homophobia, racism, sexism, or general douchebaggery
  • If you think that you may be doing something wrong, you probably are

Some could argue that these are young kids getting a ton of money before they have fully matured. “They are gamers, they are just socially inept geeks that only know how to game.” I’m a gamer, socially inept, but I know what appropriate behavior is. This is not only one more notch against the Overwatch League in the eyes of non-gamers, but these are all behaviors that contribute to the belief that the gaming community is a toxic and perverse one.

At the age of most of these players, they should know better. Even if they have the inkling to do stupid things, as would be expected of many people their age, they need to know better. They are in the public eye. The teams should better monitor their players. They are representatives of not only a professional league, but of an entire community of people across the globe. If there was a microscope on this community before, it has only gotten worse today.