Overwatch – A Journey Into The CTF Experience
With the new Chinese New Year event for 2018 being Year of The Dog, it was about that time to once again jump into the madness that is Capture the Flag (CTF). This is a favorite game mode among the Overwatch players, but it goes without saying that the experience playing this mode can be hit or miss. It takes some specific conditions for you to be able to handle not playing this a few times and turning to something else, without giving it a second thought.
For me it takes some very specific conditions for me to be able to play it very long, or not pull my hairs out at the thought of who my teammates have chosen to attack and defend.
This is the part that kills me the most, so I will start with this. It drives me up the wall insane that even playing CTF you can struggle with players who don’t understand the concept of roles. You will always need a healer, but you need a proper force to attack and defend. On a good game you will have sensible players who know exactly who will be able to hold the flag, and hopefully there will be at least two players on the flag at all times. Then you will also have an attack force that will be able to hit the enemy flag with aggression and survivability. The problem comes when they all decide that a flimsy composition will get in and be able to get away with the flag. That is NOT always the case. I have walked in with a Roadhog before, and took myself all the way to the capture point by stepping over the right health packs and healing myself at the same time. What does that tell you? Not only does size not matter, knowing the map doesn’t hurt either.
It also should be mentioned that you do not need two healers. In some cases it won’t hurt, but if your team is already suffering from a lack of firepower, be smart and switch to something proper.
This one can make or break a team quick. Too many times I have run into a team where they do not understand that this is not a game mode where one or two people can do everything on their own. Maybe with the previous rules for CTF, but with the adjustments Blizzard made to the mobility of the player with the flag? It would be a fool’s run to jump in without the numbers on your side. Coordination also applies to being aware of what’s going on around you. If you see someone engaged in a fight, go see that said player isn’t probably facing a full-scale attack that you missed. If the flag is being taken from your base, drop what you’re doing and go help out the players on defense. There might be a few there to hold down the fort, but they are not invincible if the right enemies are sent after them. In the case that the flag is stolen and you let the enemy slip past you with little effort? Unfortunately that will be on you.
Reliability can go hand in hand with coordination, but you still have to be able to rely on the other players playing to their strengths. I have played through some games where players will force themselves to play characters simply based on their apparent need for it, but only because other people recommend they are used. CTF should be no different from Quickplay. If you’re good at using a certain character, then that is who you should use. I was playing one game where I was Orisa on defense. In one instant during Sudden Death, just about everyone somehow killed each other and there lied the enemy flag in the middle of the map with only a few people standing between me and it. So what did I do? I walked in, killed them, took the flag, and returned it. Regardless of the distance being a factor, I played to my strength which is being able to play Orisa and my role not being situational. You can do anything you put the effort into when you have the right experience.
Where things can go wrong is when you think “Oh, Lucio is the best hero for CTF right now!”, and proceed to use him as something to constantly throw at the enemy without remembering that he can speed boost everyone to the flag with him, or that he can HEAL.
This makes all the difference between a team that is aiming to win and a team that doesn’t have it all together. The best games I have played are with the teams that tend to have momentum. Everything comes down to that initial move against the enemy team. The time it takes for you to set up a defense, and whether you are going to put your effort into making first contact or letting it come to you. After that, there’s the question of what you do once you have captured that first flag? Do you regroup to go back for the second with the same aggression? Do you fall back to take on a full defensive grid? That conflict to either be aggressive or content plays a big part in consistency. Whatever you choose, it has to be done with the same consistency and effort or everything will come crumbling down when you least expect it to.
At the end of the day, everyone has a different experience playing Capture the Flag. It won’t always go smoothly, and not every game will be a trainwreck waiting to happen. Does having a mic also help? It sure as hell does. If I took the time to talk about that, it would fall under the importance of communication, but at this point that should be common knowledge. This time around for CTF, I will admit that Blizzard made the right call with the changes they have made for the sake of balance and a better gameplay experience.