In May of 2016, Blizzard Entertainment officially released their First-Person Shooter multiplayer game called Overwatch. If you are a gamer or follow gaming in the slightest way, then it is a high probability that you have heard of the game. I was lucky enough to have participated in two betas for the game prior to its release and have played it pretty consistently ever since. Overall, the game is solid in every way and Blizzard has done a fantastic job of continually making improvements and promoting the game in true Blizzard fashion (World of Warcraft is a discussion for another time). With that said, the focus of this blog is not the game in itself, but instead, will focus on a particular hero in the game. That hero, err villain, is Widowmaker!
Why focus on Widowmaker? Well, before I get into why I enjoy playing Widow, let me first give you some backstory on me. In short, I love snipers! I have been a gamer most of my life, as described in “Why make YouTube videos?”, and have found memories of most every game I have played; however, I have always been drawn toward multiplayer games and the sniping classes within those particular games. Heck, I even enjoy reading about the heroics and accomplishments of military snipers like Simo Häyhä, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Carlos Hathcock and Chris Kyle. Obviously, there is nothing glorious about war but in the courage, bravery, and devotion to those they fought alongside, there most certain are though that is a story for another time. To say the least, it was that intrigue that drew me to the video game class, not to mention the concept of taking one shot in a video game and eliminating an opponent.
So, when Overwatch launched I was immediately drawn to Widowmaker, a typical rifle/scope sniper. In the early stages of the game, any team with a solid Widowmaker could absolutely destroy the competition because of the raw power of her charged scope, both with shots to the body and head of an enemy. This was certainly apparent on the MLG circuit as you had amazingly talented players who could do incredible things with the hero. As for me, well I am far from amazing but even I could do quite well with her. Fast forward to now, there are currently three “snipers” in the game. Hanzo, who is more of an archer than a typical sniper (is an archer just a sniper with a bow?), Ana, who is a concept sniper though due to her role as a support class and her insanely fast bolt action rate of fire many just hip-fire her weapon which is not really sniping, and finally there is Widowmaker.
Times have certainly changed with balance changes trying to find that ideal equilibrium between the classes. With those changes, Widowmaker has become more of a niche or situational hero, though there are still some gamer out there who can completely dominate matches with her. For those like me, who are competent players, she fits the aforementioned niche role or simply a hero to play for fun and make videos with. I truly enjoy the hero and hitting that one-shot headshot is as gratifying as it has ever been, but when it comes to playing in a competitive setting or even a casual setting at times, you are more often than not better off playing a different hero. Not to mention the amount of verbal abuse and utter disregard of effectiveness you will endure by selecting Widowmaker. A brief and subdued version of such an experience can be found here: Widow Gets No Respect.
Who knows what the future will bring for the Overwatch villain, perhaps one day she will again become more than a niche selection, but either way I will continue to play Widow in Quick Play matches and occasionally in Competitive when the situation warrants it. I know I am not the best player as well, but I will continue to make YouTube videos featuring my favorite hero in the game. Luckily, with a few edits here and there I can look like a decent player from time to time and hopefully fool others into thinking they can be as well. If you have been hiding underneath a rock and have not heard of Overwatch, or you have been on the fence about trying the game, I highly recommend you give it a look and even try your hand at the villainous sniper. Just be sure to mute voice communication and hide your chat to avoid all the senseless hate that will likely come your way (not a bad idea in any case).