Learn Super Smash Brothers Melee and Philosophy!

you want to learn philosophy? except maybe not really.

i bet you couldn't even learn super smash bros melee. that's a challenge.

if you can't learn smash bros, i doubt you'll ever learn philosophy.

if you managed to learn smash, you would have used various methods of learning successfully. you could then re-use some of them for learning philosophy.

if you learned smash, you would have dealt with details. you would have done precise thinking successfully. you could use that for philosophy.

but maybe it's too hard for you. playing smash well requires being able to research information online, understand it, and apply it. playing smash well

playing smash well requires patience at appropriate times.

playing smash well requires effective practice. you have to practice in such a way you get better.

playing smash well requires succeeding at things you were bad at initially. you will be very bad at lots of the game initially. you'll have to change that.

playing smash well requires asking questions productively.

playing smash well involves running into players who are better than you, and seeing really plainly and clearly they are better than you. no excuses, no denials, you're outclassed. and it involves watching games from top players and learning from them and aspiring to be better.

playing smash well requires learning to do some thinking and situation-handling quickly.

playing smash well requires learning new terminology and physics. the terminology is easier than in biology or philosophy. the physics is much easier than the real physics.

playing smash well requires persistence and effort.

playing smash well requires strategy. you have to think about strategies well and implement them.

playing smash well requires good use of testing. is something a good idea? test it out. you can test out lots of your ideas and see how it goes. to make progress you'll need to choose useful tests, and learn from the results. smash allows doing lots of tests quickly, so if you fail at first, you can try again cheaply.

playing smash well requires discussing smash in a productive way.

playing smash well requires objectivity. biases don't win games. myths you tell yourself (like strategy X or character Y is really great – when actually they aren't) don't win games.

playing smash well requires initiative. no one will hand you smash skills. you have to pursue them.

learning smash requires creative practice techniques. play some slow paced games. play some games where you focus on doing one or two things right and autopilot the rest.

learning smash requires developing some autopilot strategies that you can perform with little attention. but you need to be able to turn them on and off. and you need to be able to make changes to them as you get better.

learning smash requires forming habits but then dropping or improving them as you make progress.

learning smash involves making mistakes and and then fixing it and not making those mistakes anymore.

learning smash involves making many tiny improvements which add up to big progress overall.

learning smash requires judging ideas on their merits, not by how fancy the writing is. there's lots of good ideas about smash that are written casually. here's an example written by a player (MaNg0) who some consider to be the best ever: "My summary for this matchup is..Shielding is your best frienD!!!This match is all about spacing! U gotta like run to them shield but space it.. then fair out of shield..Not much really to say about this match... BEtter Spacing and PATIENCE Wins .."

learning smash requires learning from criticism. if you never seek out criticism, you'll get stuck. if you dislike criticism instead of appreciating it, you'll get stuck. if you don't understand what to do with criticism, you'll get stuck.

if you don't have the initiative, persistence and ability-to-learn to play smash well, you'll never get far with philosophy (which requires far more of those skills).

if you think smash is too much work as a step forward, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which is far more work.

if you're too busy for smash, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which takes far more time.

if you don't want people to see your smash mistakes, and want to learn it all alone in private, you will fail at both smash and philosophy.

if you silently ignore this, you will fail at philosophy.

Smash is available on Windows and Mac for online play.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (30)

Moving On From Fights

I've noticed most people move on from fights in a way I find weird. Like they'll just seem to forget about it, and act like it never happened, without solving the problem. Others don't do this.

I had an idea about the difference in perspective.

Most people fight in an emotional way. Once the emotion fades, the issue is usually done for them. Sometimes the issue is unignorable and they can't do that, but they can ignore a lot, even if it's very unreasonable and self-destructive.

By contrast, I think some people look at problems more logically. So e.g. sleeping, or relaxing with the TV for 2 hours, doesn't change it.

This can lead to conflict. One person can no longer be emotional and want to act like a problem never happened. They don't want to revive bad emotions by focusing on that problem. And the other person can logically see the problem still exists and want to try to cooperatively solve it.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (5)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (3)

Disney Movies Are Immoral Propaganda

i'm watching Frozen. i watched aladdin trilogy yesterday.

the messaging is really evil

like the let it go song, and the stuff about crazy.

and everythign about love

it's life ruiningly bad ideas

and the approach to emotions

aladdin is full of lying and forgiveness

all of them are full of non-communication problems

jasmine forgives aladdin's repeated lies b/c she FEELS GOOD when doing romance with him

iago reminds her of how she felt on a date with aladdin, from a couple days ago, and she'd like forgotten. then relives the feelings and forgives him with no problem solving.

the role of music and dancing and clothing in life is bad too in the movies

the movies have major evil like every other scene

like ana and cristof just jumped the ravine from the wolves

and he makes up a stupid lying excuse to still help her – she won't buy him a new sled if she dies.

he also makes an awful comment about not helping ANYONE in the future, b/c of this particular incident

and then she's like "oh u will [come]? i mean, i'll let you tag along"

which is a like intentionally blatant lie

like playing it off cool, but badly. which is a thing

ppl find it more defensible b/c it's not very clever or sneaky or something

being superficially socially uncalibrated IS CALIBRATED in certain ways, contexts, etc

similar to the stuff about "can i say something crazy?" she does with hans earlier

just acknowledging she (claims to) knows what she's saying is "crazy" makes it ok to say

if u want to do something crazy, but don't know it's crazy, that'd be bad

but if you know it's crazy and want to do it anyway, and it's the right kind of thing, now that's good

it's partly a massive dishonest exaggeration of their deviance

makes them more unique, rebelliious, non-comformist, quirky

but what was her "crazy" idea? a very old trope. love at first sight. a princess marrying a prince she doesn't know well.

it's convention masquerading as craziness

the movies are like this THROUGHOUT

evil after evil after evil

the world doesn't want the information that disney is evil propaganda that destroys their children. which isn't really accurate. it's just selling the kids on the same bad ideas their parents already have and are selling too.

ppl need to learn to see it themselves, not be told the points individually by me

a few demonstrations and examples are good. but i already have provided hundreds of those.

they meet the talking walking snowman and freak out. very very uncalm, rash, stupid.

disney portrays these large character flaws as fun normalcy for kids.

now olaf the snowman is singing a song about how he wants summer, like tanning at the beach and stuff. he's ignorant of melting. the whole song is teaching kids about how to make fun of people, and read between the lines, and not communicate directly, and how that's good and fun and normal.

cristof is like "i'm gonna tell him" and ana says "don't you dare" in a voice tone.

the message is telling ppl the truth is bad

positive emotions trump truth.

early on there was a really blatant attack on capitalism and trade. calling it exploitation. that's marxism!

ana climbing icy steep mountainside with no gear is like "i'm just gonna block u out cuz i gotta concentrate here"

their interactions are full of kinda mean and hostile and stupid banter presented as fun and good

after failing to climb, ana makes transparent, stupid, defensive excuses for her stupidity, and isn't contradicted

it's not presented that way. the voice tones, atmospheres, vibes, character reactions, etc, all lie about the underlying nature of the interactions.

these movies in general portray problems as solved by people being in the right emotional states, and caused by being in the wrong emotional states. elsa freezes stuff cuz fear. ana is positive and happy, so thinks elsa can unfreeze no problem. but elsa thinks she can't cuz she's being negative. says she doesn't know how. later she will unfreeze without learning how, just by changing mood.

they never have rational discussions about anything

that's just not a thing to even consider

elsa causing problems by literally trying not to feel emotions. her dialog is "don't feel. don't feel". the visual imagery shows she's having negative feelings.

she tries to suppress emotions by force of will, and this works out badly. lesson? embrace even "crazy" positive emotions, like ana. especially love.

the trolls are now embarrassing the fuck out of their FRIEND christoff. singing a song attacking various minor traits he has as flaws. this is portrayed as somehow friendly and just kinda over-enthusiastic. it's got the thinnest veneer of helping – they are asking why ana doesn't pursue love relationship with him, what's the blocker. so then they list lots of potential bad things about him.

it's very intrusive about relationship, and done on initial meeting.

lyrics include saying ppl make bad choices if mad or scared or stressed

which is like explicitly what i was saying the movie's messaging was about emotions

and they don't respect at all that she's already engaged.

the movies portray pets as humans a lot. they also have a ton of selective attention on the main characters.

olaf says "love is putting someone else's needs before yours". so: sacrifice, altruism.

elsa unthaws kingdom cuz she feels lovey

then ppl cheer for ana's petty violence and petty insult against hans.

oh look now kristoff is being super beta and getting affirmative consent to kiss ana

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)

Educators Don't Care For Their Students


Until I cared for my parents (both of whom had dementia), I had never given much thought to caring, or to those who do the caring. Having become a carer myself I realised that there was a whole wealth of experience to which I had previously been oblivious.

Twist: Talbot's job, as a Director of Studies, is basically to care for children [1]. She's never given this much thought. Maybe because she doesn't see the students as human beings.

Twist: Talbot's job, as a philosopher, is to think abstractly. her expertise is supposed to be something like not being oblivious without personal experience.

I admit to being glad my caring days are over. But I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.

It was so great that she'd never ever do it again. What a typical and transparent lie.

[1] her job is a lot more like "care for children" than a typical teacher. here is the intrusive and nasty stuff a "Director of Studies" does:

The job involves, "a level of academic support not routinely provided by [most] other universities." The whole description is a big "WE CARE!" (and therefore we meddle). It's paternalistic and overbearing (and disgusting and evil).

BTW, I tried to check what her job is (the linked description is from a different person with the same job title), but Talbot is too stupid to answer a simple, direct question. It's really fucked up – but typical – that an educator doesn't answer the question asked. How that frustrates students!

I asked if her job was like this description. (She has chosen not to explain her job on her website or on Oxford's website. Don't students need to know?) She didn't say anything meaningful about that question, and wrote back with a very vague statement about what her job is. She did use the phrase that she "makes sure" her will is done, though, which is a major red flag for authority and coercion.

on a related note, Talbot considers the children she deals with to be no more important than animals:

(b) Humans are no more important than other animals

why? relativism and skepticism. their claim is a lack of objective foundations for any knowledge of anything:

This means the claim that humans are more important than animals makes no sense because there is no standpoint from which to make such a claim.

as usual with these things, it applies to itself. by their standards, there is no standpoint from which to make the claim: "This means the claim that humans are more important than animals makes no sense because there is no standpoint from which to make such a claim."

How would we justify such a claim? We do not, and cannot, know how important animals’ lives are to animals.

no doubt they are grossly inconsistent. they demand justification (which is impossible – or in the alternative, assigned arbitrarily) when they want to reject something. but then they lower their standards at other times to accept ideas.

We know animals’ lives are important to animals. Animals will, for example, chew off their own limbs if caught in a trap.

in addition to anti-human, they are stupid. this is a pathetically stupid argument parading as prestigious intellectualism.

a robot could be programmed to perform that action. that wouldn't prove the robot cares about its life (or is alive).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (17)

Don't Fight Your Culture On Sex

Deviant sex, such as homosexuality or BDSM, is stupid. The importance and meaning of sex comes from tradition. If you don't respect, care about and value that tradition then don't have sex. With the exception of trying to have a kid, it doesn't make sense to have sex contrary to its traditional meaning. (The main reason people do anti-traditional sex is a rebellion kind of thing, much like many people are atheists to rebel against our culture. This is bad and people shouldn't live that way. Life should be about positive values, not about petty squabbling with one's society.)

Sex contrary to the traditional meaning of sex is similar to the "stolen concept" fallacy Rand talks about. It accepts some premises of the traditional sex positions (like the stuff about sex being good and important), while also contradicting a bunch of them. The result is illogical nonsense.

If sex plays a traditional role in your life, I understand. If sex plays no significant role in your life, I understand. If sex plays some other role in your life ... wtf are you doing? Don't actively fight with your culture over sex. Do something productive.

Many people believe homosexuality isn't a choice. I don't know if they also believe BDSM isn't a choice. But who you have sex with, and what your ideas about sex are, actually is a choice.

Some of these choices are made in early childhood and people are confused about how to change them later. People also create anger problems in early childhood and are confused about how to stop being such an angry person later in life. That doesn't make anger a non-choice. It's just a bad choice that's somewhat hard to undo later (many bad choices have lasting consequences).

The "homosexuality is not a choice" crowd are very confused. They say it's genetic. But if it was genetic it'd be easier to change. Hair color is genetic and is changed by dye. Eye color is genetic and can be changed with colored contacts. Having a right arm is genetic, but can be changed with an axe.

What's really hard to change in life isn't genetics, it's memes. Genetics offer a limited obstacle but don't actively do anything to stop you from changing. Memes aren't set in stone at birth, like your DNA; memes can adapt as you try to change. Static memes also have much more knowledge in them than your genes.

Homosexuality isn't all that hard to change. The reason people find it very hard to change is because they're really, really bad at changing. Plus they generally give up without trying, or don't want to try to change.

The reason changing is hard is that people hate thinking. If they liked thinking they'd participate in rational discussions, but they don't want to do that.

To be clear, I am not recommending homosexuals and others change right now. Many of them have bigger problems that they'd be better at solving. E.g many of them are parents and ought to stop hurting their children as a higher priority. Anyway, pointing out mistakes and problems is valuable and worthwhile, but doesn't imply those mistakes and problems should be one's immediate focus for change.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (59)


ppl find incentives very confusing.

like u say "the game design creates an incentive to do X. it punishes you with Y if you don't do X. X is bad. the game shouldn't incentivize X."

they reply "you should have done Z" or "doing X is being a jerk" or "here is a way to try to cope with the downside, Y, so you suffer less from it" or "Y is not a punishment because if you do Z then it's still possible to get a good outcome despite Y".

they get upset with you b/c you're pointing out an incentive to do something *bad***. and they read it as you advocating doing something bad.

you're actually complaining the game incentivizes doing something bad and punishes you if you don't. you don't want to do something bad and don't want to be punished either. but that's too nuanced for people.

people are also very bad about incentives when it comes to economics or laws, not just game rules. you get lots of the same problems.

say a guy is proposing a law to try to reduce pollution. you might reply, "that law you're proposing creates an incentive to pollute more because..." then people will commonly reply with things like "don't do that" or "what an asshole you are to think of responding to the law that way" or "we're trying to stop pollution here. why are you looking for ways to increase it?" or "just don't pollute anyway, you don't have to follow incentives".

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (9)

The Public is Smart

i talk about the value of public criticism. i say it's important that discussion be public.

people may doubt the public is smart or capable.

here's an example:

Dec 13, 2002, the first version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released to the public. It's a Gamecube game. A division of Nintendo made it.

Nintendo hired people to test the game. They looked for and fixed many bugs. They had a whole quality assurance process. It was successful enough that the game seems to work. Many people play through the game, have fun, and don't notice any bugs.

There seem to be no disasters in this game. Nintendo put substantial effort into ensuring the game worked. And yet there are dozens of disasters and the game is massively broken.

What beats a team of bug testers hired to find problems? What beats Nintendo's expensive programming and game design talent?

The public.

Only a little fraction of the public has ever cared about this game. Only a very small number of people have ever cared really strongly. And yet the public wins by a mile.

Wind Waker is very, very broken. It's packed absolutely full of massive bugs. Here's a new TAS (Tool Assisted Speedrun).

This took less than 15 years, and lots of these bugs have been known for years.

I'll briefly explain two bugs the game developers missed to give you some idea of how shoddy the game is.

When you turn while swimming the game lowers your speed. The concept makes reasonable sense. However, what if you keep turning over and over really fast? Then you get a very large amount of negative speed and can travel around the game world super fast. (So fast you can cause problems like going through islands because they aren't loaded yet.)

Negative speed was also an issue in Super Mario 64 where they put a speed limit so you couldn't just long jump a bunch to go super fast. But they only put a speed limit on your positive (forward) speed, not on your negative (backwards) speed. So people use a bunch of backwards long jumps to get high enough negative speed to clip through walls. Humans can do this. I've personally tried it and it's not all that hard. (In tons of games you can go through walls if you move fast enough because, basically, the collision detection for walls only checks if you're in the wall and blocks you a certain number of times per second, and if you get through the whole wall between checks then it doesn't block you.)

So the Wind Waker people let you swim super fast, backwards, merely by turning around. It lets you go to different islands in a few seconds. Some of the trips normally take a couple minutes of travel by boat. And note that super swims are reliably used by human speedrunners, it doesn't require computer precision.

The other Wind Waker glitch I'll talk about is Zombie Hover. When you die (no health left) the game doesn't figure out you're dead until you touch the ground. So you can fly while you're dead and the game keeps going! You fly by spamming your jump attack with your sword. If you do that fast enough then you actually gain height. This, again, is reliably done by human speedrunners and doesn't require computer precision. Then you can regain health while flying and then touch the ground without dying. You can regain health in the air by landing on a healing item (when your feet touch the top of it you're still slightly above the ground) or by using a Tingle the fairy to help.

There are similar stories with many other games. Like, in lots of games you can go through walls with techniques like wiggling in a corner, jumping into a wall at the right angle, or dropping an item behind you that pushes you through the wall.

Today, the public usually finds tons of bugs in every notable game within a few weeks of releasing it to the public. Give it a few years and the public can be very, very thorough. Not that the Wind Waker TAS is perfect. I bet they missed some major things. But it's far above what Nintendo was able to figure out.

All it takes is a few very interested people and very high quality thinking is quickly achievable. Hiring people to think is extremely ineffective compared to what truly interested people can do. Interested people need to select themselves, and material needs to be public for them to do that. People who care enough to think are amazing.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (2)

Don't Disarm Americans for the RNC

A police union boss has requested the public be disarmed in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. Ohio Governor Kasich refused. I think disarming the public is a bad idea. Let's look at events as reported by CNN:

"We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something -- I don't care if it's constitutional or not at this point," Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, told CNN. "They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over."

Loomis openly doesn't respect the constitution, he just wants his way. He wants to give the orders and not be limited by concerns about the rule of law. And he doesn't sound very interested in having the gun ban be temporary.

I assume Loomis also wants to outlaw concealed carry. I wonder if he wants to outlaw private security, too. Should Trump be banned from hiring the bodyguards of his choice? Or should the government hand out special gun-allowance exceptions to some privileged people?

"We are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry," he said. "An AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It's irresponsible of those folks -- especially right now -- to be coming downtown with open carry AR's or anything else. I couldn't care less if it's legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can't go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that's exactly what they're doing by bringing those guns down there."

Loomis doesn't care about the law, he just wants arbitrary power. People like him are a reason why we need our guns!

Americans want to protect themselves. Self-defense is especially crucial at this time of domestic terrorism by (or inspired by) Black Lives Matter. There's also an ongoing threat from radical Islam.

Loomis reasonably thinks there's a danger. It's especially irresponsible to disarm Americans who are known to be in danger.

Kasich, responding to the request, said: "Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested."

Great reply. I didn't like Kasich much during the 2016 primaries because he's a Democrat-friendly moderate. But here he's standing up for some principles! He's defending gun rights and limited government power. I appreciate that.

Convention CEO Jeff Larson said that organizers remained confident in the security measures currently in place and did not expect Kasich to take any new action.

"The open carry laws in Ohio haven't changed recently, it's been in effect for quite some time, they've had a number of big events that have taken place with open carry without any issues," he told reporters Sunday afternoon. "They've been planning their security around that issue."

That makes sense.

Consider the political meaning for the national gun debate if the RNC takes extraordinary measures to disarm the public. It would signal that even Republicans consider an armed public to be an extraordinary danger. That would marginalize gun owners and advocates.

People frequently call for special exceptions when there's a crisis or a situation is extra important in some way. But the important cases are when we most need to follow our principles and use good methods. When the stakes are high, we should use our best approach, not use an ad hoc plan B.

To disarm the public in a crisis implies that a disarmed public is actually the best and safest approach. If we disarm the public when we want to maximize safety, it implies a disarmed public is always safer. That's anti-American.

Armed Americans are a good thing. People should appreciate gun-owners and recognize that, on the whole, guns increase safety. Don't be scared of your neighbors, they're not thugs. Most Americans are good people who use guns for defense.

If guns are bad when there's a threat of violence, when are they good? Just for sports and hunting, but never for defense? Is gun-ownership just a compromise because we don't have enough policemen to be everywhere? I don't think so.

If cops can't protect an armed public in Cleveland, when can they? When would cops ever be able to safely deal with gun-carrying Americans?

Americans don't want to rely on the government for protection. They don't want to trust in authority. Americans value self-reliance and the ability to get on with their own lives and take care of themselves. They don't want to be dependents. That's a great attitude!

Gun free zones are targets. Disarming the public encourages crime. It means criminals just have to dodge cops, but don't have to worry about armed resistance from their victims.

Also, it's not all that hard to sneak weapons through security into airports. Even with pretty ideal conditions, screening people is really hard. People with bad intentions will be able to sneak weapons into Cleveland. Outlawing guns would primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, not terrorists.

And it's important to go on with life as usual whenever possible. We shouldn't respond to terrorist threats in ways that disrupt daily life unless we really have to (e.g. we find an abandoned suitcase and have evidence it contains a bomb). There's no clear, immediate danger in Cleveland, just broad general concerns.

The world is watching and our choices have both symbolic and practical value. Let's demonstrate that, when the stakes are high, armed Americans are a good thing, and we don't have to rely on the government for everything important.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (6)

Never Trust Ari Armstrong

Ari Armstrong caught my attention because he's a writer who purports to be an Objectivist. But he's got serious quality problems – I caught him making false statements about what the Bible says. Worse, he provided source links to the passages that contradict him. That gives a false impression that he'd checked his claims properly (similar to adding footnotes to a dishonest book to make it look scholarly).

Recently he's done worse:

The article title, "Why I Will Vote for Any Democrat over Ted Cruz", encourages the destruction of America. What's he so bothered by?

In early November, Cruz, along with Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, spoke at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa. At that event, host Kevin Swanson openly called for the death penalty for homosexuals—albeit only after they’ve had a chance to “repent.” Another speaker at the conference distributed literature advocating the death penalty for homosexuals.

Right Wing Watch is a very biased, untrustworthy site. Nevertheless in this case they had more integrity than Ari Armstrong. Armstrong is misreporting events. His own source says:

In a closing keynote address to the conference this evening, Swanson clarified that he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.

That's not openly calling for the death penalty for homosexuals. Let's compare. Armstrong:

Swanson openly called for the death penalty for homosexuals

And Armstrong's source:

he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.

Armstrong is dishonest.

Thanks to Justin Mallone for helping check this.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ayn Rand like Gail Wynand?

Ayn Rand sold millions of books to millions of people who do not understand her ideas or respect her values. Sold perhaps tens of books to people who actually get it. Her books apparently have massive appeal to people who misunderstand them or otherwise don't get the point.

Doesn't this make Ayn Rand kind of like Gail Wynand? What are the differences?

You will say Rand didn't flatter fools on purpose. True. But, intentionally or not, it seems her books do contain a lot of material that's very appealing to fools. She put in something they like. And in most cases the thing they like is not Objectivism, which they don't understand and would hate if they did understand it.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (9)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (55)


This is an open thread for asking and answering questions.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (168)

Overwatch Beginner's Guide

Character tier list by importance of aiming and mouse skill. This is a rough guide to who will be easier to play for the majority of players:

Bottom: Mercy, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, Symmetra
Low: Lucio, Winston, Bastion
Medium: Junkrat, Reaper, D.Va
High: Mei, Zenyatta, Roadhog, Zarya
Higher: Pharah, Hanzo, Tracer, Genji
All About Aim: Widowmaker, Soldier 76, McCree

What heroes to start with:

Which heroes to try first depends on the map. There's 3 situations. On 9 maps you can be either offense or defense. The other 3 maps (nepal, ilios, lijiang tower) are King of the Hill where it's a symmetric fight.

Defense: Try Torbjorn first because his turret aims by itself and he can be really strong for a new player. Build his turret towards the back where it'll fight once the enemy team comes in and attacks, but they won't be able to kill it easily from a distance. Putting it around a corner the enemy team will come through can work well. Then try Symmetra, Bastion and Junkrat who are also defensive specialists that you can be effective with quickly without amazing aim.

Offense: Try Winston on teams with another tank (it's too much pressure on you if you're a solo tank). More advanced characters to try later on are Zarya (with another tank) or Pharah.

King of the Hill: Try Winston then Reaper to shoot people at close range. Zarya works here too if you've gotten comfortable with her already.

Every map: Try Lucio and Mercy on teams with another healer (as solo healer it's too much pressure on you until you get used to playing them). Lucio is preferred on King of the Hill maps and Mercy on other maps, but both are fine. Roadhog is reasonably easy to use, but at first try to have another tank on the team so you aren't under the pressure of doing all the tanking alone.

Focus on learning a small number of characters. These are suggested characters to try out. Try them and see which ones you like more and less. Then pick some to focus on. Don't play them all. If you focus on a few characters you will be able to get good with them faster. 3-5 would be a good number of characters. Try to pick one character for each type of map so you always have someone good to use. Picking one character from each of the in-game labels (Offense, Defense, Support, Tank) would be reasonable, too. You could even start with only 1-2 characters if you're careful to pick flexible characters.

Starter tips:

Duplicate heroes can be a problem: don't use a third copy of any hero on your team. Never use two Symmetras. Don't use 2 snipers (hanzo and widow are both snipers). Initially, avoid doubles of any hero except Mercy, Lucio, Zenyatta, Winston, Roadhog, Torbjorn.

All teams need to have a healer and a tank. Symmetra is a "support" but not a healer. D.Va is not really a tank and cannot be your only tank. Having two tanks is recommended unless your tank is Reinhardt in which case one tank is fine (D.Va can count as one of your two tanks). Having two healers is generally recommended but they're the least popular so you'll frequently only have one. Zenyatta heals less than Mercy and Lucio, so Zenyatta doesn't work as well as a solo healer. Note that some characters can reduce the pressure on the healer(s), especially Soldier 76 and Symmetra, and also anyone with a self-heal ability.

Don't use Torbjorn, Symmetra, Bastion, or Junkrat on offense or king of the hill.

Don't use a sniper on king of the hill maps. Don't use snipers on offense at first. The way people start with snipers is you find a spot in back and then wait for someone to come in view for you to snipe, and that only works on defense. However, as you improve, both sniper characters can actually be pretty mobile and work on offense too.

If you want a high damage hero with good range, try Pharah. Her rockets do area of effect damage, so your aim doesn't have to be as exact as some of the other long range heroes. However she's harder to use effectively than the starter heroes I suggested above. If you play Pharah, don't fly around all the time. The majority of the time, Pharah should stay on the ground and play like a normal hero. Use your jetpack to fly at key moments when the enemy is under pressure. Flying generally makes it so the entire enemy team can shoot at you, so you will die fast if the enemies aren't already really busy in a brawl with the rest of your team.

Set your mouse sensitivity in controls before you play. You want to get a good setting and then get used to it. Each time you change it you have to relearn some of your mouse skill. Here's how to get started: spin your character's view around in a full circle. So put your crosshairs on something then move your mouse sideways so you spin until you see the crosshairs on the same thing again. You can measure the mouse movement distance for this and it's called inches/360. Set it so that it's around 80% of the width of your mouse pad. In regular gameplay you want to be able to spin around half way (180 degrees) to see behind you. This will make a 180 take a little less than half your mousepad so you can still do a 180 even if your mouse is a little off center. (If you have a small mousepad, you may also want to consider getting a larger one meant for gamers.) This will make your mouse slower than a lot of people are used to, but will improve your ability to aim.

Reinhardt is pretty easy to control, but he's very central to the team. Playing him puts pressure on you similar to being a solo tank even if you have another tank on the team. Wait to try Reinhardt until you have a reasonable understanding of what's going on in the game. And when you play Reinhardt please don't use your charge ability to leave your team behind and suicide into the enemy team.

Symmetra is bad when defending the last area of the map before you lose. At that point, your teleporter won't do much. Change heroes after a death when you're defending the last area. Also when playing Symmetra you need to focus on staying alive. Your big goal is to get a teleporter up before your first death.

With Roadhog, after you hook someone you should hold down left click to shoot them in the head as soon as possible, and then hit Quick Melee for an extra 30 damage immediately after shooting.

Soldier 76 has good range but doesn't do his best work in close up brawls. He does best on high ground near some cover, a bit towards the back. At longer ranges do burst fire with his gun (if you just hold it down constantly the bullets start scattering a lot and losing accuracy, but if you shoot around 4-5 shots at a time and then stop shooting for a moment then he can maintain great accuracy at long range). Soldier 76's bullets hit instantly with no travel time. He's a pretty difficult hero to use because his damage really depends on how well you aim.

Some people think McCree is a flanker who fights at short range. This is incorrect. McCree's gun has perfect accuracy and hits instantly at any range, so he's actually one of the best long range shooters. He's also good at close range duels too thanks to his flashbang. McCree is hard to play because really amazing aim makes a huge difference. If you do try him, please stay grouped with your team most of the time.

Zarya is best on offense for taking capture points or pushing the payload to the final end point. The reason is Graviton Surge is a great ultimate ability for getting a team wipe. On Hanamura, Volskaya and Anubis the offense can win the game by winning only two team fights. Two good Graviton Surges can win the game! Graviton Surge excels at winning a teamfight to make progress at the tough spots where you might otherwise get stuck.

The key to playing Winston is to hang back and then jump in when your team fights. Never jump in alone or you'll just die to their whole team. And don't hang out in the middle towards the front of your team. With your short range you won't accomplish much, and with your big size people will shoot you. Winston has to either commit hard to a fight (which needs to be at the same time your team fights) or else don't fight at all. Winston is either in or out. (After fighting for a while, if your team is losing or you're running out of health, then it's fine to use your jump ability to run away.)

Lucio's speed and healing auras don't stack if you have 2 lucios. If both lucios are alive in the same place, one should use healing and the other use speed.

Play extra defensively when you are Mercy and have resurrection ready. You can even stop healing sometimes to stay safe around a corner if a big fight is happening and you need to make sure you live long enough to resurrect everyone.

Lucio's Sound Barrier and Mercy's Resurrect both benefit a ton from your team grouping up. Talk to them! Use the 'Z' hotkey to announce your ultimate is ready and use the Group Up communication too.

If people on your team die, try to regroup in a safe, conservative position. Don't just run in and die once the fight turns against your team too much. While waiting around to regroup, use that time to talk to your team!

Don't flank when you're new. Just stay with your team. Flanking is an advanced tactic which will hurt your team if it isn't done right. Just make sure to pick heroes that are good in the team instead of flanking heroes (tracer, genji, reaper). The flanking heroes can play with their team more normally on the King of the Hill maps, but avoid them on offense and defense for your first 100 levels or longer.

If you're the only healer or tank, switching heroes can screw your team over. Either don't switch that game or, if you want to switch, type a chat message telling your team that you're switching and someone else needs to switch too in order to take over healing or tanking for you. If you switch heroes in a way that messes up your team setup without communicating with your team, you are screwing your team over.

Try not to switch heroes when your ultimate is at 75% or more charge. It's most efficient to switch after a death with your ultimate at 25% or less charge.

On characters with slower attacks like pharah and mccree, shoot each shot individually, don't hold down left click.

V is a bad default hotkey for Quick Melee. Change it to F (easier to reach) and/or a mouse button.

Put the Effects and Model Detail graphics settings to Low. This removes some clutter so it's easier to see what's going on. For the other settings, just make sure you get plenty of frame rate (if you ever drop under 70 fps that's pretty bad).

If you play Widowmaker, go to the controls settings for her specific character and set the zoom scoped sensitivity to exactly 0 (zero). In short that makes your mouse act normally so you don't have to learn two different ways of using your mouse.

Set your crosshair color to green so it's easier to see. I also recommend setting the Short Crosshair option for all characters. You should keep Bloom enabled initially to see how it works, but then disable it for everyone except Soldier 76. Bloom makes your crosshairs expand, in order to show when your character's gun is less accurate. (Some guns are less accurate after you shoot multiple times in a row).

If you're missing lots of shots, definitely stay away from the final two tiers of characters on the aiming difficulty list. And don't play Zenyatta either because if you aren't hitting many shots with him then he's clearly inferior to Lucio and Mercy.

Feel free to try any character if you want for a game or two and see how it goes.

With any character, if it's really not working, just switch to another character mid game. You can try them again another time with different allies and opponents.

Some of these tips won't apply to you if you've already got great aim from playing another shooter like Counterstrike or Team Fortress for many years. The game also changes if you have a group of 6 good players who know each other, plan out strategies in advance, specialize with specific heroes for their team, talk on voice chat, and work as an organized team.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (15)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (293)