Interview With Writer Of Popular Overwatch Guide: The Skill Disparity In Platinum Was Enormous

A few weeks ago a little-known gamer from Australia named Mark Timms, perhaps better-known as "Struth" online, posted a comprehensive guide to being a better Overwatch gamer on r/OverwatchUniversity. While Struth didn't expect a huge response, within a few hours, the post was exploding with praise.

This "Ultimate Overwatch Guide," that can be found at www.elevateoverwatch.com, became the second-most-popular post of all time on the Overwatch University subreddit. GameRevolution recently sat down with Struth to talk about the current state of Overwatch and what he hopes to accomplish with the wildly popular guide.

Talk a little about yourself – who you are, what you do, and how you became interested in Overwatch.

 

I’m 23 and I’ve been gaming since I was four or five years old, and I’ve never stopped. I went to uni (college), studied business in marketing, but I also studied psychological science, so that got me thinking that what I was most interested in was learning about how people learn, and combining that with gaming, I saw a disparity between low- and high-tier players. So I decided to put something on paper.

 

Were you always interested in honing the best gaming techniques?

 

It’s fun for me to try to master each game. Every game is a lot different. I play a lot of different genres and they all take something new. I love making big plays, and that takes a lot of different factors. What I’m trying to do with the guide is try to bring people up. Everyone is capable of playing better; they just need a different mindset and different learning habits.

 

Did you expect the guide to take off the way it did?

 

It’s come a long way. Originally, I just wanted to get this information on paper. My website was originally just going to be a blank page with this wall of text, which it almost kind of is. But, with the perfectionist in me, I just kept growing and developing on it. When I posted it on [r/overwatch], a few hours in, it only had maybe 10-15 upvotes and a couple of comments. I was like “OK, cool. Some people found it helpful.”

 

A few more hours, and it’s almost at the top of the subreddit with a couple hundred comments. It was awesome.

 

There's currently no paywall on your guide, which a lot of people were happy to see. Do you see that changing at all?

 

Not really. I didn’t plan for it to be so complete or polished. What I’m teaching is a lot different than your common guides, and I can’t convince people without them reading it. I don’t want to be the gate keeper of this knowledge.

 

You describe your guide as teaching people how to become better gamers, with special focus on Overwatch. Why did you choose Overwatch to illustrate these techniques?

 

When I started writing it, I planned on doing it just for gaming. I play a lot of different games, not just Overwatch. But I found it so frustrating that I couldn’t provide good examples without jumping between games, and I figured that would be confusing.

 

In the perfecting your aim section, talking about sensitivities, the stuff I was talking about was perfect for Overwatch, but if you’re playing Counter-Strike: GO or something, it’s going to be a bit different. So I thought just for clarity, and that Overwatch is so popular at the moment, that it would be easiest to focus on that one game, even though you can use it for other games.

 

If I didn't play Overwatch, what could I learn from your guide?

 

A lot of the concepts are very broad, even for things outside of gaming, a lot of these things will transfer. Things like playing on a low sensitivity or arm aiming will work for any first-person shooter, but things like the schematics, good decision making and the topics on focus and awareness. These are broad concepts that certainly don’t only apply to Overwatch.

 

If you read it, and found it helpful, that’s going to help you in any game.

 

Do you have any update plans for the guide in the future?

 

I want to flesh out the emotional control section. I didn’t go into it in too much detail. Things like team morale are actually incredibly important – if you’re getting angry while playing, that seriously affects your play.

 

I’m a bit of a filthy Hanzo main, and, even in the picking screen, my team can just go off the wall. They derail themselves before the game has even started. They just get in this terrible mindset, and they’ve already lost.

 

I’m trying to figure out how to avoid it yourself and how to stop your team from falling into that pit, but I don’t have anything concrete yet. When I do, I’ll certainly update it.

 

What do you think about the current meta in Overwatch (needed changes, i.e.)?

 

Honestly, I’m not a fan of the current meta. It’s all about stacking tanks, playing Solider 76 and Ana, and it makes playing heroes like Hanzo really tough. I think Ana’s grenade is silly. That’s what’s enabling tanks to play so well, so some changes to that would be great so we can actually start seeing heroes like Hanzo and McCree in our games again.

 

If I’m playing McCree, a D.Va can just fly up in my face and kill me in one second, and I just have to ask “why am I even playing this hero?” These tanks are just enabled to play so aggressively, yet so safely, and that’s pretty much just because of Ana.

 

Do you play mostly competitive or quick play?

 

I play mostly competitive, but I can’t play with a lot of my friends because of rating disparities now, so we’re playing more quickplay, but you tend to get lower quality games because people aren’t trying as hard.

 

What is your take on the one-hero limit?

 

I love it. I’m so glad they did it. I’m not a huge fan of cheese – four Winstons or six Genjis. It may be fun when you’re doing it, but it’s not fun for the other team. I think with a little more balance, the one-hero limit will come out on top as being the better choice.

Do you think Blizzard made the right choice by spreading out Skill Ratings?

 

If you’re in Master’s, you can only queue with people up to 500 rating below. So I’ve only got one or two of my real-life friends that are in that bracket, so I simply can’t queue with them. While it’s frustrating, I understand why they did that.

 

I’m not sure what the actual percentages are, but the skill disparity in Platinum was enormous. You could have great players and terrible players still playing in the same game. There’s going to be some growing pains, but it’s better in the long term.