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A Tale of Three Subreddits

There’s some drama going down in /r/Overwatch.

/r/Overwatch is the biggest subreddit for Overwatch links and discussion, coming in at 795 000 subscribers. But as with many franchises that are popular with a more casual audience, there isn’t so much discussion about the game itself, but rather an overwhelming amount of fan art, cosplay photos, memes, and play of the game videos.

Anyone trying to discuss Overwatch beyond its lovable cast of characters will need to wander off and find one of two subreddits: /r/CompetitiveOverwatch or /r/OverwatchUniversity. The Competitive Overwatch subreddit focuses more heavily on discussing the ranked ladder and esports side of the game, whereas Overwatch University is a broader subreddit revolving around self-improvement within the game.

The entire reason these two subreddits had to exist is because any attempt to post anything substantial to /r/Overwatch ends up getting lost in an endless quicksand of meme fluff. Nobody in /r/Overwatch cares about learning how to position yourself better as Lúcio, they only care about a GIF showing off how quickly he can move across the map in a custom game with movement speed set to 500%.

Of course, no one can tell users of /r/Overwatch what they can and can’t upvote, but moderators could influence the content posted to the subreddit by having stricter rules about what ‘s allowed there. However, both the moderators and the users of /r/Overwatch have expressed frustration with these suggestions, because a large part of Overwatch’s appeal is its cast of characters and its memetic appeal, and some flat out think players interested in competitive Overwatch take the game too seriously and need to chill.

Moderators from the more serious subreddits then campaigned to get /r/Overwatch mods to link to them on the sidebar. They were told that out of fairness for other subreddits, they want to put all related subreddits on a separate wiki page and link that on the sidebar, and that they were free to apply. I think this is an okay compromise, since anyone dissatisfied with what they see on /r/Overwatch are likely to click on the related subreddits button anyway to see if any of those are any better. However, they aren’t taking no for an answer and now the entire competitive community is in an uproar. To make matters worse, searching for Overwatch in Reddit doesn’t surface Competitive Overwatch or Overwatch University because Overwatch porn subreddits are more popular than they are.

Perhaps the launch of the Overwatch League later in the year will make casuals care more about the competitive aspect of the game than they currently do and in a few months all of this will be resolved. I strongly doubt it though. Big subreddits tend to be very hit or miss anyway, and it’s not uncommon for competitive communities to be siloed off into their own place like /r/CruciblePlaybook did for Destiny PvP players. I guess I just have a bit of concern that Overwatch might turn into Touhou, where the fandom has become so out of control that the games have become a complete afterthought.