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Competitive Play – “Get Good” Isn’t the Answer to Its Problems

Competitive Play – the heated topic of so many online team-based games. From griefers to poor mechanics to toxicity,  you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. The complaints about solo-queue or “PuGs” are endless across forums and social media.

Recently, top Overwatch streamer Brandon “Seagull” Larned dropped his version of “wisdom” to his viewers. He claims that to climb the ranks in competitive play, you just need to, “get good.”


The problem with that claim is it’s made from a privileged position, one of either skill or luck. That “get good” garbage ignores so many other factors beyond player control. This behavior is basically “victim-blaming” people who may be perfectly good at the game, but are repeatedly thrust into bad situations.

First, “get good” presumes that you’re focusing on a character that can carry. Sure, if you’re a pro flanker or sniper, you can end up harassing a team so hard that even mediocre teammates can pull off a win. But what if your mains are support or tanks?

Do you really think even pro-healers can carry teams scattered across the board or running into crossfire? Is the only answer to give up on heals or defensive characters and “get good” with damage?

Second, “get good” ignores an important factor: randomness. Call it what you like: fortune, kismet, RNGesus, but some people will have (long) strings of good or bad luck.

Players who end up with random teams that work together? They’ll talk about how “things balance out in the end” or even praise their own skill. Those who experience game after game of griefers, leavers, and idiots? There’s no end in sight to this “ELO Hell,” and they’ll criticize the matchmaking mechanics.

The point is, some people have good fortune in matchmaking, and others don’t. “Getting good” has nothing to do with either; even a pro-Genji can’t carry a whole team of stupid and willful sabotage… especially on Defense.

Third, “get good” assumes everyone can achieve high tier skill level. Not everyone can, or even wants to, reach the highest levels. Many players may never have that talent, for a variety of reasons, and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be playing competitive modes.

Competitive is not just for “pro” players – it’s for anyone who wants to push themselves and see how far they can go. A player may never reach past middle ranks, but they shouldn’t be forced to the bottom because of bad luck and horrible teammates. Would you tell an AAA baseball player to “get good” if they’re stuck in Rookie leagues because of bad coaches, players, or fortune?

“Good” and “pro” players: Get off your throne of privilege.

You may be the best in the games, or just have some good luck in matchmaking, but that doesn’t mean everyone else just needs to “get good.” Just as likely, we’re stuck here because of bad matchmaking mechanics or the curse of randomness. Maybe if you’d stop blaming the critics and start looking at it from their perspective, you might see why people are complaining.

You know… “get good” at seeing others’ perspectives.

About Brook H. (269 Articles)
Generalist, polymath, jack-of-all-trades... Brook has degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology and has majored in everything from computers to business. He's worked a variety of jobs, including theater, security, emergency communications, and human services. He currently resides outside Baltimore where he tries to balance children, local politics, hobbies, and work. Brook is HoH and a major Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing advocate, a lifelong gamer (from table-top to computer), loves everything paranormal, and is a Horror-movie buff.

1 Comment on Competitive Play – “Get Good” Isn’t the Answer to Its Problems

  1. I couldn’t agree more with someone in my life…


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