Being a tank is scary. You need to lead the way, make the decisions, and be the driving force for your team that encourages them to push forward and claim victory. I’ve written about the role in Final Fantasy 14 and how it will never be for me, but Overwatch was an exception.
In the original game, teams always consisted of two tanks, two DPS, and two support. It was an even split, meaning the responsibility was shared across six members instead of a single role being thrust upon you. This changed in Overwatch 2, with teams now made up of five people and only a single tank. Whoever fills the role is expected to soak up damage, keep their position, and have a level of confidence that I absolutely do not have. I am a baby.
For years, I was a D.Va main. A stylish gamer girl in an energy drink-fueled mech that could launch into enemies and blow them to pieces with an explosive ultimate attack. I have 21 of her 25 available skins, and used to pick her almost immediately if I wasn’t expected to fill a healer role because my team was useless. I am not a Lucio main by choice, it is a burden I was given out of obligation, and one I take on more often than not now playing tanks is kinda scary. A single tank means you must lead the entire team, defending DPS and support alike as they move across the map and push the objective.
Failing to do so consistently will lead to a constant stream of deaths or a lack of focus, because without a tank to move alongside, all your teammates can do is flounder around and hope for the best. I’ve been on the other end of this conundrum constantly since launch. So many matches have been lost because a dipshit tank doesn’t play the objective, or charges in before immediately complaining that I wasn’t around to heal him despite jumping into the fray being impossible. Bad tanks are the worst, and I don’t want to take on that reputation because I end up making a silly mistake. Anxiety is one hell of a thing.
I mean, I shouldn’t be afraid of disappointing random strangers in a game of Overwatch 2, or worrying they think less of me because I don’t know how to stop feeding as D.Va or suck at hooking folks with Roadhog. If being tank is thrown at me when I queue for all roles, I stick to a reliable hero who is fairly hard to fuck up - like Orisa. She moves slowly, but has plenty of hit points and abilities designed to deflect attacks and heal your allies. Doomfist, Sigma, and Zarya are a little more varied, and I’d need to practice standing a chance at not sucking so bad. But with only a single tank role to fill and a fairly toxic player base, outside of playing against AI and mucking about in the firing range, that opportunity has been taken away.
A smaller team and more concentrated strategic focus for each player in Overwatch 2 is definitely a good thing, but it also presents a higher skill ceiling for us to meet if we want to perform well and not let people down. I am a decent DPS player, but now I can hang with the best when it comes to heroes like Moira, Lucio, or Mercy. So I stick with them, staying in my lane instead of risking old favourites that might get people moaning at me as I fail to do things correctly. This shouldn’t be a problem, and the majority of it is definitely on me, but Overwatch 2 has brought back a lingering multiplayer anxiety I thought I had conquered.
I’ll keep working on improving my tank skills, but overcoming that anxiety is arguably a harder obstacle than getting good at the game in the first place. Please gamers, I just want to play D.Va and not get shouted at for no reason. Stop being so stinky and grumpy.