Getting to Know the Hero: Overwatch Team Spotlight

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes—notably, offense, defense, tank, and support. At the annual BlizzCon 2016 in Anaheim, California on November 4 and5, Blizzard Entertainment announced it will be launching a professional Esports league for Overwatch, a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game developed by the company.

Esports have created much buzz in the world of gaming, with more teams forming in major cities worldwide—including our very own Academy of Art University Urban Knights!

The Urban Knights Overwatch team recently celebrated a victory at the Corsair University Overwatch Tournament in Fremont, California Out of seven teams competing, ArtU’s Overwatch team won overall. The team will play again on Wednesday, November 9 to secure a spot in the playoffs scheduled this weekend.

We spoke with players from ArtU’s Overwatch team about what it takes to make a successful team in multiplayer video games, their gaming backgrounds, and the common misconceptions about gaming. Check out what team captain Kevin Arias (2019, School of Game Development), joined by players Victor Lopez (2016, School of Game Development) and Zachary Zager (2020, School of Game Development), had to say about their experience and strategy!

ArtU: How long have you been playing Overwatch?

Kevin Arias (Off Tank): I began playing Overwatch when it officially came out. I remember playing for 12 hours—from 5PM to 5AM one night—and realized that this game is incredibly fun. The day after, I wanted to be highly competitive and have been so six months after.

Victor Lopez (Aggressive Flex Support): I have been playing Overwatch since beta or since May of 2016.

Zachary Zager (DPS): I have been playing Overwatch since closed beta started.

ArtU: What are the key qualities and characteristics that make a successful team in multiplayer games?

KA: High understanding of game mechanics. Understand how your hero, soldier, etc., works. Use those abilities efficiently. Work together and don’t get angry or upset when someone on your team is unsuccessful. Keeping moral up is huge.

VL: This may sound super cliché, but working well as a team with good communication is key to winning matches. Using your abilities conservatively and together as a team is one of the most important things that has also brought me success. Having good aim does help but if you’re not working as a team and managing abilities together, then you may run into many problems. Don’t rage or beat your teammates up, use constructive criticism that won’t hurt their feelings.

ZZ: Communication, respect for everyone on the team, and determination is key. It is very hard to win and know things that your teammates know without them talking.

ArtU: What is one misconception about gaming that you’d like to correct?

KA: Although I feel that gaming for countless hours a day is unhealthy and may lead to some unwanted side effects, I believe gaming is excellent exercise for the brain. There are fast-paced games that are so overwhelming and if you’re able to formulate what the heck is going on, you can use that same brain function for real life scenario.

VL: It’s definitely fun, but can be mentally draining and it can sometimes wear you down if you let it.

ZZ: That gaming isn’t a “sport” is the big misconception about gaming that I would like to fix. When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with a heart condition. This made it to where I could never do sports ever again. After that, I started to play video games. Since I couldn’t play sports anymore, I devoted all my time to get amazing at video games.

ArtU: What have you learned about gaming since joining the Academy’s Esports team?

KA: I actually discovered what it means to work as a team. In the previous questions, I’ve talked about working as a team, but for me, it wasn’t until joining the team [that I realized] how important it is to respect one another and be a good source of positivity, no matter the course of the game at the moment. I figured out that we adapt to each other and we are able to grow as a team and as individuals. We understand each other and remember each of us play. We are able to make decisions quicker and better when we do.

VL: I’ve learned so much, like learning how to really play like a team instead of trying to be the hero of the game. I’ve learned that it’s much harder, but very rewarding when playing on an Esports team. I have also found out that you can improve so much if you really focus on the game and don’t let losses get to your head.

ZZ: Since being on the [ArtU] Esports team, I have learned that it doesn’t matter who your opponent is, everyone has a weakness and it is up to you to exploit it in a game.

Keep track of ArtU’s Esports teams by following their updates on Facebook and Twitter! Be sure to check out ArtU’s Twitch channel for live streams of intramural tournaments.