Header illustration by Irene Koh. Welcome to the Waypoint High School Class of 2016 Yearbook. We're giving out senior superlatives to our favorite games, digging into the year's biggest stories via extracurriculars, and following our favorite characters through their adventures together in fanfic. See you in 2017!
As I said in my top ten list, I really like Overwatch as a game—but I like it even better as a fandom. Overwatch fans are diverse, passionate, creative, and so horny. And I genuinely love seeing the work that people make around these characters—illustrations, paintings, videos, stories, you name it. People are invested in these characters, and what they represent.
Pharah-Mercy, or Pharmercy, is the best of the ships. It makes sense from every angle. Even as an in-game pair, their skills in-game are complementary. Pharah is an offensive specialist with lots of range-y firepower, and Mercy is an ace healer that can support the most explosive attacks. Both ladies can fly. They go together like angelic peanut butter and fiery jelly.
And you know what? It's just beautiful, positive, and warm to see an interracial lesbian couple. It reflects my own life, and the lives of so many in the Overwatch fan community, a diverse crowd from all walks of life and points on the racial, gender, and sexuality spectrums. It's a warm, inviting group to hang out with and engage with, and damn, so many of these folks are incredible artists and creators.
I've seen Overwatch fan art that made me laugh (in a good, intentional way, at various interpretations of the heroes' antics). I've seen drawings that were genuinely sexy, and portraits that damn near brought a tear to my eye. There's something for everyone—just as there is an over-the-top, fun character for everyone—and the breadth of styles (and subject matter) is dizzying.
Related, on Waypoint: Make sure to check out the rest of today's senior superlatives. Including, uh, one for everyone's friend the Cacodemon.
What's special about this is the way in which Blizzard appears to be listening to and supporting its community. Accepting the biggest trophy at The Game Awards a few weeks ago, Blizzard's Ray Gresko said this: "We've been very happy with how the game has been received, we're also extremely proud that this game and the world that we're building has a message, and it's a message about heroism. It's a message about diversity. It's a message about a bright and positive and hopeful future."
Last week, in a Comic called Reflections, Tracer came out as a lesbian in the game's official "canon" (the storyline as told explicitly by its creators). Fan response was largely positive, and while I'm guessing here, I'm not so sure such a measure would've gone over—making the cover character of one of the most successful games of the year queer—without such a vocal community of diverse fans.
So please, Overwatch fan community, keep making your art. Keep playing with these characters and showing the world how wonderful things can truly be, if you just put a little love and positivity into your work. Pharah and Mercy certainly appreciate it.