“Please give me Ana; I need her for the gum test”, I type into the abyss that is Overwatch 2’s game chat. It’s 2am, and I still haven’t finished my very scientific and complicated experiment to find if gaming gum improves my performance.
“Just pick another character”, the hero stealer types. How could I pick another character? That would obliterate the integrity of my scientific experiment. No, I need the same hero; the same game mode, at the same time of day, and playing with the same people to ensure that the best possible information is found. That’s why I dragged my mate, who decided to join me on this endeavour, into staying up this late. Despite protests, I conclude that we’ll just lose this match and play another.
However, we ended up winning the game. Unfortunately, I couldn’t count it in the test as I was forced out of my control hero, but it made me realize something as I stared at my reflection once the victory screen faded to black. How much does the gum really help me?
To find out whether gaming gum was the performance enhancer for me, I decided to play ten games with Razer’s Respawn gum, ten games with sugar-free Mentos, and ten games with nothing but my thoughts to keep me focused. When looking at my performance, I took the averages from kills, assists, eliminations, damage, healing and scoped and sleep dart accuracy.
I initially thought Razer’s gamer gum would answer all my prayers. After all, it did say that it would “support normal mental performance”, according to its product webpage. However, what I found in my results really did surprise me.
After correlating all the averages from the different performance aspects, I found that I performed better in six out of seven categories with no gum at all. Finally, vindication. However, when just looking at the win-to-loss ratio, the Mentos came out on top with seven wins and three losses compared to my abysmal score of three wins and seven losses with no gum.
But there was a silver lining to that hard truth. Thanks to this experiment, I finally realized that it isn’t enough to master one hero in Overwatch 2. No, this FPS rewards jacks of all trades.
The revelation that flexing is integral to Overwatch 2 is nothing new. Flexing, or the ability to play several heroes, is a required skill in a shooter with such an extensive roster. However, I didn’t realize the extent of the impact the wrong hero choice can make when it doesn’t fit in with a team's composition.
I played my best games with no gum, securing an average of 68% scoped accuracy and 7,280 healing over all ten games, but I only won three. I’m not saying that I’m entirely exempt from these losses, but playing Ana with a Dive composition team made up of Doomfist, Genji, Tracer, and Moria, who spend most of the match on the other side of the map, wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
However, when I played with the Mentos gum, I won seven games, but that was less to do with my performance and more with the team I was on. It just so happened I played with tanks that stuck by the objective or close to their supports so I could heal them and be protected.
Being restricted to only one role in Overwatch 2 is the quickest way to ensure your own defeat, and that’s what’s going to keep in hard stuck in the lower competitive ranks. While this little experiment was just a bit of fun and isn’t massively reflective of what it’s like to play Overwatch, thanks to all the uncontrollable variables. That being said, I’ve learnt my lesson. I’ll not be caught in another situation where I beg for a character in a group chat because I can’t play anything else.