“Helden sterben nicht!”
September 3, 2017 10:48 AM Subscribe
• Why Does Everyone Hate Mercy? by Apple Cider [Medium] Despite Mercy being posed as the angelic medic of the popular team shooter Overwatch, she, or the people who play her, might as well be the Devil with the way that many complain about her at every opportunity. Their ire covers a multitude of sins but a lot of it centers around her being a female character, a popular support hero, as well as one that exemplifies peacefulness and collaborative team effort. However, these same design choices, as well as the playerbase that have followed her in, have made Mercy a lightning rod for the obvious derision in the competitive gaming community about who plays support, as well as what we assume about their abilities. It is incredibly gendered at times, and that’s not a coincidence.
• 'Only Girl Syndrome' Pits Gamer Girls Against One Another by Cecilia D'Anastasio [Kotaku]
A thread on the official Overwatch forums [Blizzard] reads with a giant headline in the familiar font face of the game, “Why aren’t there more female eSports (sic) players?” A forum-goer could believe that it is a serious question and would be further explored with nuanced, respectful discussion. Instead, the first post is the dry fart of a punchline: “because they are all Mercy mains.”
• 'Only Girl Syndrome' Pits Gamer Girls Against One Another by Cecilia D'Anastasio [Kotaku]
“If you’ve ever played Overwatch, you know that throwing shade on teammates’ gameplay—and talking yourself up—is a long-celebrated play strategy. But that’s not how the average commenter felt. “Overwatch cat fight,” “#girlgamer” and “e-girls are a different breed” were some of the Twitter replies alongside the inevitable “I’m turned on.” It wasn’t your everyday Overwatch salt; apparently, it was a battle over who could be the team’s Mercy or, if we want to get symbolic, the team comp’s girl. In gaming spaces, it often feels like there’s only room for one woman—the only girl to get invited to Friday night Tekken or, in this case, your regular Overwatch squad’s Mercy main. There’s only room for one. And, when another girl comes along and picks up a controller, she threatens her standing as the “only girl.” The “only girl” is a token and, yes, at this point, a caricature. From this comes the ubiquitous, and now cringe-inducing, trope for girl gamers—one I, as a teenager, heard myself say—“Yeah, I mostly hang out with guys. I don’t like girls.” “Only girl syndrome” is not a fictional dynamic invented in the minds of Twitter eggs and randos on Overwatch.”• Redditor Analyzes Reasons Why Women Play Support and Female Heroes [DBLTAP]
“Comparative Cultural Studies graduate, Ammers, decided to post an analysis of how women being pigeonholed into these stereotypes is a result of cultural construction and products. While the sexism is not directly addressed in Ammers write-up, it does provide insight into why the stereotypes exist, and how our culture is to blame.”• Why is there such a negative stigma attached to Mercy mains in Overwatch? Scott Duwe [Dot eSports]"Why are there so many female Mercy mains?" - The real reasons and a woman's perspective for those who care [Reddit]
1. Video games have traditionally been marketed towards boys, resulting in boys acquiring long-term, transferable mechanical skills
2. Gender schemas taught to boys vs. girls from a young age
3. Cultural norms surrounding gendered behavior
4. Female friendly character design (identifying with female heroes)
5. Fear of stereotype reinforcement
“Dr. Angela Ziegler, better known as Mercy, is Overwatch's resident combat medic. She is described on the Overwatch website as a "guardian angel to those who come under her care" and "a peerless healer, a brilliant scientist, and a staunch advocate for peace." So why does everyone seem to be hating the hero and those that play her? In the beginning of May, a video of an in-game argument between two players [Twitter] who "main" Mercy (mainly play as her) went viral, with over 8,000 retweets. The two players, both female, both mained Mercy, but obviously only one of them could play her in that specific game. And a fight ensued. And so the discussion and loudest hate towards Mercy mains truly began. Much of the recent vitriol surrounding Mercy is in the notion that the skill it takes to play her well at most levels does not translate well to other heroes. The fact is, a Mercy player can do extremely well at their job without having the best of aim or reaction time. That skillset is much needed on other heroes in the same class, such as Ana or Zenyatta.”• Female 'Overwatch' player was harassed for 16 minutes (Tim Mulkerin) [YouTube][Mic]
“The video is absolutely gut-wrenching, not only because the content itself is horrifying, but also because it stands for something larger: It's a distillation of the experience of gaming online if you don't fit the stereotypical image of what a gamer is supposed to be. "I am putting this and a few other examples of the way I am treated up not just for entertainment," Overwatch player Glisa said in the description of the YouTube video. "I want to give people a look into how women are treated online. This is not OK, and I'm doing my best to show that."• Blizzard’s radically changing Overwatch’s Mercy by Michael McWhertor [Polygon]Here is just a brief sampling of some of the things he said over the course of the match:
• "Mercy, heal me. I won't call you ugly again. Just kidding, you're probably ugly."
• "I like how this Mercy's trying to heal me because she wants me."
• "I'm assuming Glisa's setup is in her kitchen — as you know, she is a woman."
• "We honestly lost because we had an e-girl on our team"
• "Can you stop talking please?"
• "I don't care, post about it on Tumblr, you sexist."
• "I like Americans because they're good at raping people."
• "This isn't sexual harassment, this is gender equality."
• "You're a woman, do you even have a right to give your opinion?"”
“Overwatch healer Mercy is getting a massive overhaul, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed today in a developer update video. The most radical change — “and it’s going to seem a little bit shocking at first,” Kaplan said — is that Mercy’s ultimate ability will no longer be Resurrect. Instead, Resurrect will now be a secondary common ability for Mercy, Kaplan said, explaining that she’ll no longer have the ability to resurrect multiple teammates at once as part of her revision. Resurrect is now single target only ability, Kaplan said, and will be on a “rather long cooldown” so you won’t see Mercy players constantly reviving their teammates. Mercy’s new ultimate ability is called Valkyrie, and when she uses it she’ll have the ability to fly. Like, really fly, Kaplan said.”• Mercy is the Most Terrifying Character in Overwatch by Joshua Calixto [Kill Screen]• Caduceus Staff: Mercy’s healing and damage boost beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff’s effective range has been extended
• Caduceus Blaster: Granted infinite ammo, while simultaneously increasing damage and fire rate
• Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed
• Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast
• Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed
Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage
“Screw Genji, screw Reaper, screw Zarya: Mercy is the most terrifying character in Overwatch. Watch her dance through the backline, a gossamer beam of gold and azure granting vitality and strength to her allies. Watch her float high in the heavens with Pharah, lingering there like a blond-haired specter of love and death. Watch as your team empties clip after clip on the enemy Reinhardt, only to realize in white-knuckled horror that Mercy has been around the corner healing him the whole time. Observe in frustration as the enemy Mercy glides to her allies at the very last possible moment, dodging 10 high-cooldown abilities and throwing your entire team on tilt. Rejoice in certain victory during the final 30 seconds of the game as your team finally sets up its glorious three-Ultimate stack, massacring the enemy and walking the payload toward its final destination. Then listen for the three most ominous words in Overwatch, yelled in glorious, unmistakable German: Helden sterben nicht!”• In Support of Supports by Jorge Albor [Pop Matters]
“A well designed support character, defying expectations, is an absolute blast to play. However, well designed support characters are, almost by definition, difficult to master and therefore present a large barrier entry to casual players. Take a look at Team Fortress 2‘s incredibly well designed Medic character. While the medic’s damage output is minimal, his healing powers can be devastating. While healing allies, medics charge up the power to grant temporary invulnerability. The charge speed increases when healing damaged allies, so medics have every incentive to find their hurt allies and top them up. This requires a second level of attentiveness other classes lack. Medics must pay attention to both enemies and allies, while also surveying team composition, battle layout, and current meta-strategy to maximize their effectiveness. Trying to seize a capture point? Try staying with your heavy, the team’s mobile tank. Looking to take out enemy turrets? Maybe follow a soldier instead. Alternatively, circle shootouts, healing your allies along the way, right before you time a blast of invulnerability. Mastering the medic class demands a comprehensive understanding of the entire system, not just your single space within it.”• A group of fans made a seriously elaborate live-action Overwatch short film. [YouTube][Kotaku]
Created by Lupin Productions, it tells a dramatized version of Mercy’s backstory. While the grimdark tone and writing don’t quite land (in my opinion), it’s still an impressive production.