The fundamental problem with the “don’t one-trick” statement

A former community manager for Overwatch says that: “Yay! I don’t work for Blizz anymore so I can finally say this. Anyone who doesn’t work as a team when picking heroes deserves to be reported. Don’t “one trick” anything. It’s selfish and a shitty thing to do to others.” Needless to say there is a huge thread about this in the Overwatch reddit.

However the argument is fundamentally wrong. Why? Because “one-tricking” which means playing one champion can only be defined over multiple matches while you play only one game with one particular team. They surely don’t care what you were playing in your other games. They want you to play something else in this game. They don’t report for your picks in other games, they report you for your pick in this game, regardless of what you usually play.

The point is that “don’t one-trick” actually means “always do as the others tell you to do”. They believe that if you just pick against their will once, you reportable. Sure, if you do it just once, you just get one set of reports, but you see the problem.

But who is this magical “team”? Who has the authority to tell what to play? The “team comp” you don’t fit in is created by other people’s arbitrary choices. They practically say “I picked a sniper, so you must not pick another sniper”. But why I should change, why not you? Just because your computer loaded faster? This is true for all “not fitting” problems. Let’s say champion X and Y has no synergy but X and Z has (for example X can use a shield tank) and then “the team” says you must pick Z instead of Y. But why you should change, why not the other guy?! Especially when the other guy has multiple golds and the whiner has zero.

There is a thing called “meta”, the champions that people usually play and got used to play with. This creates a sort-of-consensus among the “team”. If we accept that one must follow the consensus, then one must always play the meta. If he deviates once, it’s reportable. Which is especially problematic if the meta is wrong, like 2-2-2 in bronze-silver where people insta-die due to mistakes, without the healers being able to do anything, so the 2 healers are just doing bad DPS. Seriously, if you have a troll account, try to play Mercy in bronze. You’ll be shooting with your secondary 90% of the time (and learn that Mercy ult is for countering Pharah and ninjaing objective). One healer would be much better, “but meta”.

So we reached full circle and can translate “don’t one-trick” into “always play the meta”! You see now what’s the problem with that, right?

Finally, one can ask why not Blizzard intervene and create a champion selection system like it’s in League of Legends? Make 2-2-2 official if they wish and make people queue with their role requests. Apply bans for champions before pick phase. There are 28 I guess and as both teams can pick the same hero (unlike LoL), having 2×6 bans wouldn’t make the game unplayable, especially if the bans are blind. A commenter said it perfectly:

What Blizz wants this game to be is a fun interactive game where people all work together, but also get to play their favourite heroes. You unfortunately cannot have it both ways Blizzard. Either people work together based on structured rules on who should play what at what times, or you just tell people to play whatever the hell they want and stop saying “but you need to switch to help the team”. Right now it’s a shit show, and not even Blizz can stay consistent on what they want to say.


PS: I must quote the best comment: “Finally, someone at Blizzard agrees that other bastard should switch!”

Author: Gevlon

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5 thoughts on “The fundamental problem with the “don’t one-trick” statement”

  1. This sounds like a really badly designed game. Oh wait, Blizzard designed it. So it’s “forced teamwork, because spinach is good for you.”

    Just like the whole “Can’t have two Discipline Priests, even though they’re the most viable Priest healing class” fiasco a while back.

    The best part is the flopping gyrations the fan bois will go through to “justify” the forced teamwork crap.

    Like the guy says: You can’t have it both ways.

    If you’re on a SIDE, all characters of that role type should be able to do essentially the same thing. If you’re on a TEAM, you can specialize the roles to get better synergy. You can’t do both. Complex, wildly variant “classes” don’t work with sides.


  2. Top of Overwatch’s design document is that you can change hero mid-fight (just above the “no wheels in the future” rule), and that part of the challenge is to select the right hero mix to counter the opposition. To facilitate that they encourage people to play a range of heroes. It is also one of the reasons given by Jeff Kaplan for why they don’t want to introduced role-based queue matching. They will do everything they can to avoid limiting hero swapping.
    Personally, I prefer games where I am winning. If I see that switching characters means I can exploit a weakness, counter an opposition strength or otherwise boost my chance of winning I would be a moron not to take it and a slacker if I wait for someone else to do it. At the same time, I know the meta isn’t the only answer and the best answer is to play what you know.


  3. One-tricking also applies also to single games and even rounds.
    Each checkpoint and each enemy comp is different and their comp can change during a round.
    If you take Widowmaker and have a high impact during the first payload point, they could switch to Winston to harass you or other more tanky heroes or they might cap the point anyway and Widowmaker becomes less useful for defending the push. Or you switch sides and be on offense and have different impact.
    One-trick ponies play the same hero without considering all these changing variables. As one-tricking is more obvious for the more niche heroes, you can barely change your hero to compliment their pick due to their niche application based on the map.


  4. Nobody cares if you play Torb or Sym when it’s effective. Anger at one-tricks is because they pick them where they are terrible, e.g. something like Hollywood attack or Hanamura attack. The argument “well I paid for the game so I can play it my way” is bad, what if “my way” is playing pistol Mercy or melee-only Junkrat? Intentionally hamstringing yourself is not fair to teammates – and this is what one-tricks (on some characters) go out of their way to do.


  5. Sounds like Blizzard has made some choices that discourages one-tricking in normal play. I feel like the game setup sequence for Overwatch/LoL/Dota2 and their ilk is in the incorrect order for their style of play.

    It should be: Find team -> Team discusses picks & starting strat -> find other team and play game.

    It actually goes: Find game -> get assigned others with same objective -> quickly pick character -> play.

    We can make the assumption from this that what my “team” does should matter very little. It is given no importance in the game setup afterall. Since teamwork tends to defeat solo-play, however, we can prove that assumption is wrong.

    New hypothesis: Game Devs are creating games with incorrect assumptions about game communities, either because they are morons(who don’t know better) or slackers(simply going with the trend/overlord decree).

    Sadly, this means we also have to accept the M&S title for the game community — we’re letting them do it!


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