Saw this shared and just started reading through it.
Despite Mercy being posed as the angelic medic of the popular team shooter Overwatch, she, or the people who play her, might as well be the Devil with the way that many complain about her at every opportunity. Their ire covers a multitude of sins but a lot of it centers around her being a female character, a popular support hero, as well as one that exemplifies peacefulness and collaborative team effort. However, these same design choices, as well as the playerbase that have followed her in, have made Mercy a lightning rod for the obvious derision in the competitive gaming community about who plays support, as well as what we assume about their abilities. It is incredibly gendered at times, and that’s not a coincidence.
Women make up a good portion of the gaming audience but their numbers in competitive games are more limited. This is attributed, wrongfully, to the “stress of competition”, but more truthfully is credited to the open toxicity in these games from other players. This then gets portrayed as women having an innate inability to be competitive (rather than wanting to avoid suffering hateful slurs). Across gaming forums and in voice chats, women are spoken of as being “too delicate” for the rigors and stress of these games, preferring more collaborative, supportive roles. This falls in line with the fact that the perception that women often will pick support characters (characters that heal or buff teammates) in these games, if they play at all; this logic then loops into how support characters just so happen to be for players who “lack skill” despite being a necessary part of the team. Sexism is a poison that creeps into everything that is perceived to be “for women” — to those who believe in it, it degrades everything.
more stuff at the link
Every Mercy main that I spoke to about this lack of skill laughed about it, since anyone who has actually played the role for a significant amount of time knows how demanding it is. Playing support requires a high amount of game sense (knowing where enemies are), a continual tally of team and enemy ult usage, risk assessment in split seconds, as well as crisis prioritization. She is the antithesis of everything we think about first-person shooters mechanically and, therefore, earns a lion’s share of derision because of it.
I don't play Overwatch, but I do watch someone play it a lot and found it a shame support characters of all characters get crap like this. Overwatch characters requiring diverse skill sets is a huge positive imo and there's such thing as impressive, skillful play for every character.