Overwatch's Commendation System Is Great For Passive-Aggressive Jerks (Like Me)

Commendations are one of the coolest little things in Overwatch. After matches, you get to formally declare whose contributions you found to be most valuable, even if they’re on the other team. The system encourages good sportsmanship and a sense of camaraderie. That is, of course, not how I use it at all.

I am a regrettably passive-aggressive person by nature, and commendations enable the ever-loving, Junkrat-cursing heck out of that tendency. Yes, I’m saltier than any rational human being should be. Helpfully, I keep it to myself! Except right now. Here are just a few situations in which my commendations don’t mean what you think they mean.


The situation: Someone pulls off an incredible Play Of The Game—maybe a well-timed Reaper, D.Va, or McCree ult, or Torbjorn goes for a nice hallway jog and his turret kills a couple people—and I’m part of it. They’re up for a commendation afterward. Everyone in chat is singing their praises because, OK yeah, good fucking job or whatever.

Who I commend: The person who got PoTG.

What it looks like: Nice one, dude! You really got me haha.

What I’m actually thinking: Everyone else is commending this asshole, so if I don’t do it, I’ll look petty. They saw me get stomped so hard that a few of my teeth are now embedded in the Earth’s core. They know what’s up. But I clench my jaw while I click the upvote button, and I press on my mouse so hard my finger pops and aches. I do this because I want you to feel my spite. I pray that some unknowable force of the universe transfers my agony through that click, and it makes you feel bad. We could’ve been friends, you know. I can see it now: us going to parties together, me offering you a shoulder to cry on after a tough break-up, the two of us—aged, but satisfied with a long and happy life—watching a sunset from our rocking chairs in a very on-the-nose moment of idyllic subtext. Now that’s all gone. You ruined it by beating me at a video game.


The situation: A healer or support is up for a commendation, even though they only did an OK job and some other fucker played the best of round of their life as Junkrat and killed me, like, five times. Consecutively.


Who I commend: The healer/support, whether they’re on my team or the other one.

What it looks like: You did a good job healing there, kid. Remember: the most valuable natural resource of all is friendship. Or maybe it’s fossil fuels, since people, you know, do wars over that stuff. Whatever. I’m still proud of you.


What I’m actually thinking: OK, there are a couple things going on here: 1) Supports don’t get enough credit in Overwatch, and their job is often tougher than anyone else’s. Who supports the supports? In many cases, nobody. A commendation is the least I can give anyone who takes on a job that, sometimes, nobody else wants. 2) FUCK YOU, JUNKRAT PLAYER. I HOPE BEING SO GOOD AT THIS VIDEO GAME GIVES YOU THE FLEETING JOY YOU CRAVE, BECAUSE YOUR CHILDREN ARE UGLY AND YOUR MARRIAGE IS PROBABLY DISTINCTLY UNSATISFYING, BUT YOU’RE STAYING IN IT FOR YOUR UGLY CHILDREN.

Exception to the rule: A Symmetra player is up for a commendation, but in part because she got me with a turret cluster around a health pack. I bet you think you’re sooooo clever. Sure, maybe I should’ve seen it coming and avoided it, but more importantly you’re a jerk and I hate you.


The situation: I’m playing one of my favorite characters—Mei, Genji, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Lucio, Reaper, Symmetra, or Pharah—and so is somebody else on the other team. The match ends, and the commendation screen pops up. I’m not on it. They are.


Who I commend: Literally anyone except them.

What it looks like: I hope you find yourself south of the Sahara in Africa. I hope a giant boulder falls on your legs and immobilizes you completely, and then two stinky-ass wildebeests start doing at it right on top of you. I hope you have to watch their engorged genitalia slap together for hours, maybe days. I hope that, months later, the wildebeests ultimately give birth on top of you, and you witness the miracle of life in all its hideous wonderment. I hope it puts everything in perspective, and then—and only then—you realize what a dick move it was to PLAY BETTER THAN ME WITH MY OWN FAVORITE CHARACTER.


What I’m actually thinking: Exactly that.


The situation: Bastion is up for a commendation.

Who I commend: Nobody.

What it looks like: No.

What I’m actually thinking: I refuse.


The situation: My Lucio skated circles around the competition, or my Reinhardt blocked every bullet and tackled an exploding D.Va mech off a cliff right in the nick of time, or my Pharah blasted the whole enemy team into a pit and laughed and laughed and laughed. Regardless, I’m up for a commendation.

Who I commend: Somebody who’s not me.

What it looks like: Grace in victory, the only thing more important than grace in defeat (which is my best quality, obvs).


What I’m actually thinking: I am so humble and kind, unlike a certain Patrick Klepek. Everyone had damn well better notice that. Really, I deserve a commendation for not giving myself a commendation. Also a medal for just being a really cool, down-to-earth dude who’s super fun at parties. Hey, I’m suddenly back at the looking-for-game screen. Where’d everybody go?

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About the author

Nathan Grayson

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, PC gaming.