Hey there! This guide will help you making your games more consistent with a neat trick that RTS gamers utilize to great extent. Let’s learn about the mental checklist that will help your decision making process and to stay focused on the game and be more consistent generally. Hello guys and welcome to the dojo! The concept of a mental checklist comes from games and sports where you have to pay attention to a lot of things all at once. Multitasking requires a lot of concentration if you have to switch between different tasks rapidly. To help athletes and gamers staying focused on the game and playing more consistent with how they make their decisions, it is often recommended to have a mental checklist. If we want to describe this in a single sentence it is a list of things that you need to pay attention to and check repeatedly in order to make sure that your performance is as close to flawless as possible.
So what is a mental checklist in Overwatch? A list of things you watch out for on your screen, and things that you need to constantly think about. We are going to give you examples for different skill levels, explaining what you need to pay attention to in order to be consistent and stay on top of your game. All this is done to have thought patterns that help when you need to decide what to do in the next split second or during the next teamfight. So why should you use a mental checklist, and what is it exactly? The primary goal of the competitive game is to stay alive, do your job and complete the objective with your team.
Staying alive is what a lot of people struggle with on lower levels, and as you get better you are going to find yourself dying less. This is not only because you will have better control of your chosen heroes, but because your mental awareness increases, thus you can concentrate better and able to pay attention to more things parallel . A mental checklist can enhance this learning process, making it easier for you to perform under high stress conditions because you will have something you can hold on and use when in need. The quality of your decisions and actions are what makes you a good or mediocre player, and a good foundation will help excessively. So let’s start with the most basic example that any new player can and should do. We are calling this one the minimum list, and you are probably already doing the points on this list subconsciously or consciously: Check what you can see under and around your crosshair Check what is going on around other parts of your screen, in-game This is the bare minimum that you do, let’s you know about your immediate status in-game.
However, it’s not really enough, let’s continue with the list: Check your health Check your ultimate charge Check your abilities Check your ammo This second set of checks make sure that you don’t only get info about what you are looking at with your character, but you know how you are doing regarding your resources. We can expand it even more, still staying on the visible part of the checklist. Check the kill feed, look for eliminations on both sides Check the objective indicators and timers Check status indicators on your screen Check ultimate statuses in your team (using TAB) So far the checklist contains only things that you can actually see on your screen.
Before we are going more in-depth about the non-visible things that you need to pay attention to, let’s explain why these aforementioned checks are important and what exactly you gain by checking them. If you know these, just jump to the next section! Check your crosshair and other in-game visible stuff Checking what is going on on your screen is trivial. See who is around you, see where you are and decide what your route should take.
Your immediate actions are based on what you can see directly in front of you. Check your health, abilities, ultimate charge, ammo Check your health. It’s important to pay attention to your health. When you are around half your HP go and heal up with a health pack or get back to your supports to get some heals. When you are playing anyone with armor and shields, it’s also really important to make sure that you are getting all your HP recharged so you will be stronger in the next encounter. Low HP means that you will need to concentrate on staying alive rather than doing your job, so keep your current HP count in mind and make decisions based on that. Staying alive is the most important thing usually. Check your ultimate charge. A really important aspect of the minimum list. You can have a good guess about when you will be able to use the ult and quickly call the status to your teammates if you are nearing 100% charge so they know you are ready to use it.
Combo with it if you can, but for getting a good idea about the game dynamics, you should be aware of this charge all the time. Check the abilities to see if they are available, and to know when the come off cooldown. You need this information to be able to plan ahead in the next few seconds. Don’t commit to a fight if you have no abilities, don’t position dangerously if you can’t escape, but know exactly when you will be able to use your skills to do your job. Quickly gaze to your ammo count, and reload if needed and if the time is right. This allows you to know if you are good to go in a fight or not, whether you need to withdraw to reload or not. Checking the kill feed is really important to get used to. A lot of players don’t do this, but this is a must. When you see there are eliminations on your side you can know that the enemy team is weaker. If you see that your counter just died, you can play more aggressively.
Use your advantage! However if you see that your teammates started dying and the enemy team has a big advantage, it may tell you that you should not use your resources in the next fight (don’t waste your ultimate) and get back to your team to regroup. Checking the feed allows you to see the bigger picture and get a good idea about how the team is doing even if you don’t see them. Checking the objective indicators will give you a good idea if you need to commit in the teamfight or not, this goes in hand with the kill feed info. You can see how many enemies are around and you can decide if you need to go in there, because your time is nearly up, or you can wait for a regroup for a stronger push if you are attacking. The same applies in defense, you can predict how desperate the attackers will be if you check the objective status frequently.
Checking status indicators is useful to judge your current situation. If you are discorded, you should lose the LOS to get rid of it. If you are being healed by a Mercy, you can see she is indicated there on the screen, you can get a bit more aggressive. If you are being speedbosted by a Lucio, you need to use that to either charge in or withdraw from the fight. The last thing on the visible checklist is getting info about your teammates, including what ults they have. Combining ults goes a long way, but even if you don’t communicate, you can quickly check to see if there is someone in your team expected to use the ult in the next fight and you can decide how you want to use that knowledge. For example you can expect that a Zarya will grav in the next one and can nade the grav ball with Ana, so keeping your nade is a good idea. All this we talked about so far should register with you in under a second during a game. You can follow the order that we shown here if you need a scaffolding until your checks become a habit.
Start in the middle, then around it, then to the bottom left, center, right, go top right for the killfeed, top for the objective timers, check around for statuses and flash the score screen to see your team. All this compressed into a very rapid and fluid movement, done again and again countless times during a match. All that you register here can be and should be used to make better decisions in the game. Knowledge is power as they say, and it is really true in Overwatch. Even if you just use these checks to help you staying alive more, you should do it. As you get better in the game, all these and more will be needed to make sure that your game-sense related decisions are based on good foundations.
Taking action, practicing the mental checklist This is an abstract topic, and we know you usually want hands on advice. So print the list of checks here, or write them down, and place it near your play area, somewhere you can see them. When in-game, try to do them consciously. Do it just as we described, follow the suggested path. You will see that in the beginning it will be a bit annoying and tiresome, but after doing it for a few matches, you should be more aware of your surroundings and you should feel more involved in your match, as all your decisions will be based on facts, and not just random feelings and guesses. We are going to stop here, and continue this topic in our next video, which is going to extend your knowledge about all the things that are on the mental checklist that cannot be seen in the game, but still play a vital role in how you play the game.
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