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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The Overwatch League- The End of the Regular Season

The final stage of the Overwatch League’s inaugural first regular season has finally ended. Shanghai never got their win, but they did get significantly better. Things are going to turn around for them next season when they work out their little issues, such as not being able to close up a match even though you fought hard. Here is a quick look at what happened this week.

Boston Uprising started off the stage with no wins but turned it around, winning every game that they needed to in order to stay in the playoff contention for the post-season. This team, that everyone predicted would finish in last, actually finished off in 3rd place and will cry home with their fancy  guaranteed $150,000 prize money on top of the $25,000 they won for second place in Stage 3. Just for getting into the playoffs, they will walk away with a minimum of $50,000. Not bad for playing a video game.

Valiant did not walk away with the first seed in the Stage 4 playoffs, but they did walk away with the championship. Valiant defeat the reigning Stage 3 and 4 champions the NYXL to take the $100,000 prize pot for the stage. This win wasn’t a surprise. Valiant had a solid Stage 4 and in the previous match, NYXL struggled against the Dallas Fuel to even make it in the finals. With no break in between to rest up, they weren’t the strong team NYXL fans have grown accustomed to. As much as I love SBB and Pine, I was glad to see another team walk away with the championship title.

The playoffs are a month away and these teams are going to be practicing non-stop to get their hands on the $1 million prize for the Grand Finals champion. I hope my Uprising makes it, but realistically it will be a NYXL vs. LA Valiant for a rematch. I hope to be surprised but that is my early prediction.

I also can’t wait to see what’s in store for the All-Star matches. I’m hoping for some Mystery Heroes or Competitive Deathmatch action. No matter what happens, that will certainly be a fun event to watch.

Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 4

With the final week of the Overwatch League finally upon us, it’s time to take a look at how things are shaping up for playoff time. Fortunately the post season will keep us occupied for the next month, but when I don’t have to post about OWL I can post about the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth beta. But until then, let’s take a quick look at this week in OWL.

The first point that should be mentioned is the fact that the Valiant is still undefeated and have their spot in the Stage 4 and the post-season playoffs locked up. Shanghai Dragons had some seriously strong matches, but still ultimately came up short in their hunt for their first win of the season. This team has some strong players but they just can’t seem to close the deal to get those crucial wins. Their only real chance for a win would’ve been against the Mayhem, but they ended up losing in a heartbreaking match. That doesn’t stop the crowd going wild for this team, rooting for them to at least get one win by the end of the season.

Then there was my Boston Uprising. I was skeptical that they were going to even beat Shanghai this week, but Boston seems to be getting back up to their Stage 3 form. They have found their stride so much that I would actually buy NotE that corgi if I had the money to. They went 2-0 this week, which helped their shot at making the post-season playoffs. We went from worried that they would even make the playoffs to now being able to say that they have clinched a spot in the post-season. Will they get far? They could, especially if they find themselves in sync as they did all last stage. They have figured out Brigitte finally and have 2 wins on Hanamura now. If they keep this up, they are going to have a strong showing in the playoffs. Though, we should be happy that they even made it there considering the experts had them in last (or second to last) place prior to the season starting.

This is going to be an exciting week at OWL, watching the last teams clinch up their spots in the playoffs. Who will win it all? Probably NYXL, but there’s always a chance for an upset.

Overwatch League: Stage 4, Week 3

This week in OWL didn’t really offer many surprises as one would have hoped for the week. Boston is still winless in this stage, though they did nearly win against the Spitfire. Shanghai is still winless for the entire season. NYXL is still the top team, though Valiant beat them on the tiebreaker map to keep their undefeated stage alive. Fuel is also still on fire, which I’m going to credit partially to Mickie being just an amazing Brigitte. Brigitte has shown to be a huge shakeup to teams, since those who can play her well do great while the ones who can’t seem defenseless against her.

Boston has had a really tough stage so far. The best match they have played so far was against the Spitfire, where they tied on a map and fought hard to stay alive. It wasn’t enough though despite pouring everything they had into those matches. The one great thing to come out of them this week? They finally have their first win on Hanamura. Progress? Maybe, but as much as I’d love to see Shanghai finally win one I really don’t want to be the team they win against. And the way Boston has been playing and the way Shanghai performed against Houston, they may actually beat us. I’m conflicted about how I feel about that.

The playoffs for the stage and the post-season are coming very soon. Boston needs to figure it out because I want the analysts to say that they were wrong about them. They did when they were winning but now they seemed to have written last stage off as a fluke. We need a better coach. Losing Crusty was obviously rough on the team, both in playing and for morale reasons. And where’s Neko? Are they saving him for the playoffs if they get in? Does he just need a break? I can’t help but to wonder if his experience in the league could be more beneficial to us right now. I am happy that Mistakes seems to be doing well on Brigitte, so maybe things will turn around soon. This team obviously still has talent; they just need to figure it out.

This will be a great finish to an eventful inaugural season. I’ll miss it when it’s over, but soon football will be back and I can be happy again.

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: 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.