Hey there, folks! Gather ‘round as we welcome the newest member of our Omnic Data family, Jon Miller, a certified Overwatch aficionado. Far from your everyday player, Jon brings a unique blend of humor, insight, and expertise to our team—and now, to this blog. We’re about to journey with him from his early days playing Overwatch, to his pre-tournament rituals (apparently, a healthy dose of sleep and breakfast goes a long way), and even his hilarious take on why Winston might not make the best roommate. We’ve also got a peek into what it’s like to float as Zenyatta for a day. Whether you’re a die-hard gamer or a casual player, or just someone who loves a good story, there’s a bit of everything in this conversation. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a Dr Pepper, and join us for this heartwarming initiation of our very own Jon Miller into the Omnic Data family.
What initially attracted you to Overwatch as your game of choice?
Honestly, it was one of the few FPS games my parents would let me play since it’s so cartoonish. That turned out to be a good thing for my framerate. I’m a big believer that refresh rate matters.
How do you prepare for a big tournament? Are there any rituals or routines you adhere to?
One thing gamers don’t like to admit matters a lot is taking care of your body. I’m not the best example of this, but when there’s a big tournament coming up, I try to at least get enough sleep and have a good breakfast/eating schedule for those days. The next step for me is to do a quick warmup deathmatch with my teammates before going into a warm-up scrim against another team. Ideally, those scrims are against easier teams looking for more scrim experience against better teams. That way you can win somewhat easily to build confidence and shake off any rust, and they get more experience against higher-level opponents. And of course, I keep a Dr Pepper on my desk at all times on match day.
In your opinion, what are the key characteristics or skills that set a professional Overwatch player apart from an amateur?
Usually when people ask how to improve in Overwatch, the answer is to simply play the game more. But I don’t think that’s enough – you have to be playing proactively and with goals in mind. If you play to just improve generally, without anything specific to be thinking about while you play, you won’t get very far. Pro players do this very well – they only take one or two reps to learn from their mistakes. They have a very high game sense because they’re able to go through the full process of identifying mistakes, figuring out the solution, and carrying it out. Mastering that process is a skill in and of itself.
Which Overwatch character would make the worst roommate and why?
As much as everyone loves Winston Overwatch, you have to admit he’d be tough to deal with as a roommate. Sure, he would mean well, but he is a gorilla at the end of the day. I mean, the thought of it raises a lot of questions. How would he even enter the room? Maybe I’d at least get a big house out of the deal to accommodate his size. I really don’t want to know what the bathroom situation would be like. He also has some strange peanut butter related habits.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become a professional Overwatch player?
The most important thing is to play in an organized team setting if you’re not already. When it comes to grinding it out, quantity is not always better than quality. For instance, playing 10 hours of ranked is only half as good as playing 2 hours of ranked and 2 hours of scrims. Natter has a great video on how to actually use your time efficiently as a Tier 3 Overwatch player, but the same can apply to anyone who currently plays on a team and wants to rank up. This becomes even more important when you have lots of outside responsibilities like school or work.
Could you describe a specific match or play that you’re particularly proud of?
Before I decided to focus on school, I wanted to put everything I had into one final tournament: The Toronto Defiant Holiday Bash (2021). My team at the time, Shikigami, was playing above our normal level and things went really well. Eventually, we played against a pickup team called “Controversial Players Academy”, where Krawi (who is now an Overwatch League tank player for the LA Valiant) was playing off-tank. As a fellow off-tank player, I can tell you there is no better feeling than outplaying the enemy off-tank’s ultimate, whether that’s eating their Graviton Surge as D.va or hooking the enemy Roadhog into your team. So, I made it my goal to cancel Krawi’s ult one way or another. Eventually I succeeded in a Sigma vs Sigma matchup on Nepal: Sanctum, where I rocked him out of his Gravitic Flux from across the map. In the end, we lost the match, but we made it a lot closer than we were expected to.
If you could swap lives with an Overwatch character for a day, who would it be and why?
Zenyatta is really living the best life. Not only is he an Omnic robot, but he’s a monk. I think that would be such an enlightening experience. I’m also very curious what it’s like to be able to float over 20 metal orbs around at high speeds.
How important is communication during a game, and how do you ensure your team communicates effectively?
I’m going to give a counterintuitive answer here and say communication is not as important as you might think. I remember a drill we ran when I was on Shikigami where we muted our mics for a map in a scrim. We actually dominated harder during that map than the other ones – I think because we were all hyper aware of what each other was trying to do, based solely on actions in-game. Overwatch is a unique game in the sense that being perceptive of your teammates’ needs is equally important, if not more so, than doing your own job. The risk with this drill is that there are many micro-level things that could fall through the cracks. For example, if I want to drop my shield as Reinhardt in order to preserve its health for longer, that’s vital information for my Baptiste to know when he’s trying to use my shield to 1v1 a Widowmaker. But even then, in this no-mic drill, the key would be to simply keep my shield up even if it means it will break. You just have to have trust in what your teammates are doing in addition to being aware of what they want to do. You might think this synergy only comes from practicing with the same people a lot, but the higher you go in the ranks, the more synergetic a team of random players will be. This indicates there is a “right way” to play the game that you eventually grasp intuitively and through a lot of practice.
How do you stay updated and adapt to the constant changes and updates in Overwatch?
At its core, Overwatch does not change much. The most important concepts on both the macro/team and micro/individual levels are applicable to every hero and team composition. For example, things like ability efficiency, resource management, and cooldown usage apply to heroes like Sigma, Moira, and Genji equally. Reinhardt will always be a brawl/deathball hero, and Zenyatta will always be a high-damage, long-range support. Of course, when the meta changes, the most important thing to remember is those kinds of fundamentals. After that, every small optimization comes from practice and theorycrafting with your teammates.
And there you have it - a rollercoaster ride into the world of Overwatch with Jon Miller, our newest addition to the Omnic Data team. His tales of gaming escapades and insights remind us that fun, strategy, and even life lessons can be found in every match. So, here’s to many more adventures in the pixel-packed realm of Overwatch. Until next time, keep gaming, and stay awesome!