From Battlefield to Overwatch: The Necessary Evil of Stats in Games

Published: July 28, 2016 11:00 AM /


Overwatch Winston reads

From Halo to Battlefield to Overwatch to Call of Duty, most multiplayer games have some kind of stat tracking feature. It could be as simple as a kill counter, or perhaps even something that just shows how many points you scored as a result of doing certain actions, or it could be a more complex system (that is usually visible on a website) that tracks things like accuracy and average kill range or whatnot. Of course, this varies from game to game, but for the most part a basic K/D scoreboard that shows everyone's stats on demand is something that the vast majority of multiplayer games have. 

Oddly enough however, there seems to be an occasional game that comes along that does away with the traditional scoreboard and replaces it with something else. Destiny for example only keeps track of your score and only shows you your K/D ratio at the end of the match, and Overwatch keeps track of a lot of your personal stats, but you can't actually see any of your teammate's stats at all. Now you may be asking "Why does this matter? Being able to see your teammate's stats only encourages toxicity!" While it may be true that certain people will use people's performance in games to belittle others, this fear may actually hinder those who want to be able to do better in games.

Fascinating, but it doesn't exactly help in the middle of a game and you can't actually see it in the game itself anyways.

Take the Destiny example where you can only see people's scores. Yes, you can see that so and so has a much higher score than everyone else, but you can't actually see how many times they died or, for that matter, what their score is based off of. Sure, you can make a fairly educated guess as to what that person did in the game, but if that person died many more times than everyone else, you can't really tell the person to maybe hang back and not get shot in the face so much because you wouldn't know. Similarly, getting a lot of points by playing the objective certainly means that they were playing the objective, but what about all the times that they died trying to rush the objective? In either scenario, the person may be getting more points, but it can lead to scenarios where your teammates are constantly fighting at a numerical (or some other) disadvantage.

Overwatch doesn't even have any way for you to see your teammate's performance in a match, despite how detailed your personal stats may be, which presents an even bigger problem in such a team-based game. Yes, you have minimized the possibility of people lording their stats over others, but you also can't really identify who needs to change what they're doing, nor can you identify who is a major threat on the other team. Suspect that someone isn't pulling their weight in objective time? You have no real way of knowing. Curious about whether or not Mr. Genji main's gold eliminations come entirely from assists? You've only got your gut to tell you whether or not that's true. Throw in the fact that assists reward the same audio and visual cues as actual kills, and some players may not even realize that their eliminations stat is misleading.

Chances are that even if Ana has the most healing done, someone will be angry because they didn't heal them and they can't actually see if she did have the most healing done until the end of the game.

Of course, it is entirely possible that opening up a floodgate of easily accessible stats will encourage certain people to really nitpick their teammate's performance, which could theoretically drive away the more casual audiences of a game. That is a very real scenario, but there has to be a balance between "I know exactly what that engineer is doing every single second he is alive" and "I am completely blind to what both the other team and my team are doing." Neither extreme is helpful, and it is no different from handing out participation trophies to everyone who has a pulse and outright insulting people about the most inane things possible.

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Anson is a Writer at TechRaptor and has been playing games for as long as he can remember. As far as he's concerned, games are one of the greatest forms of… More about Anson

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Learn More About Overwatch
Game Page Overwatch
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date
May 24, 2016 (Calendar)
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