Overwatch 2 Shorthand is twisted, steamy and perfect

Overwatch 2 Shorthand is twisted, steamy and perfect

Overwatch character Moira holding her damage and healing orbs

“Come into my pee stream,” I shout into my mic. Outside, a car hits a telephone pole.
Image: Blizzard / Kotaku

I almost exclusively play competitive shooters and always wear headphones, so the only gaming sounds you’d hear if you walked past my apartment window would be the screeching of my own voice. Without context, the things I shout at games like Warzone 2.0 and Infinite Halo would still make sense to the average passer-by (“he’s up there” or “sniper watch out!”). Monitor 2, however, is a different animal. The slang that Blizzard’s hero shooters have spawned is so colorful, so strange, so downright horrifying at times, that any ordinary person unfortunate enough to hear me shout it at my TV screen might be tempted to call health and social services.

This shorthand was cultivated by the Surveillance playerbase for years, and is so in-depth and bizarre that there’s Blizzard Forum Posts and Reddit Posts offering dictionaries to help incoming players analyze terminology. Competitive shooter shorthand serves a purpose: it conveys information as quickly as possible, avoiding the proper multi-syllable names given to locations, characters, and abilities.

But while the average FPS is grounded in a semblance of reality that is often only a few degrees removed from the military-industrial complex and its commonly used expressions, Monitor 2 is a bit more fantastical, with characters like a super-smart space gorilla, a mean hamster in a wheel of death, and a sexy female sniper whose skin is blue because a terrorist organization slowed her heart to make him a better assassin.

Due to its quirky characters and out-of-the-ordinary abilities, Monitor 2 the shorthand often sounds absolutely absurd – and gamers lean into that absurdity, ensuring that some of the phrases they commonly bark in the thick of the action will raise eyebrows. As Moira’s main, I’ve long believed that her yellow healing stream (which can be recharged by draining enemy players with her Biotic Grasp ability) can be commonly referred to as “pee.” That’s why you’ll hear me scream “get in my pee stream” or “I need to suck before I can pee” during almost every game. I’m also not the only evil Moira player to think so.

But there are so many other examples of oddities Surveillance shorthand that would set off alarm bells for anyone not intimately aware of its inner workings. Since D.Va is a character who fights inside a giant robot and can only be killed if she ejects from that robot before it explodes, players usually call the D. Va untied a “baby D.Va”. As such, phrases like “kill the baby” and “abort the baby” will ring out during games, the latter of which a Republican senator would like to support as an example of player brain rot.

The aforementioned super-smart gorilla, whose name is Winston, is almost never referred to as such. He is for all of us Surveillance players, simply “monkey”, and when he uses his ultimate ability (Primal Rage), you’ll hear the team he’s up against shout “Angry monkey! Angry monkey!” to warn each other of his anger.

Often Surveillance players will use nicknames for characters’ ultimate abilities, like Reinhardt’s “hammer” instead of Earthshatter, Lucio’s “beat drop” instead of Sound Barrier, or, uh, “blowing your load” as a replacement for Torbjorn’s ultimate Molten Core, which spits out lava everywhere in a designated area. It is a suitable replacement.

Although each game has its own shorthand, there is something particularly twisted and perverted about the slang used in Monitor 2. In a way, it’s incredibly fitting for a game marked both by diversity in cast and playerbase as well as toxicity in its competitive modes. Only in Surveillance would the phrase “Can you please throw your bullets at Soldier, he’s got an aimbot right now” would make sense, and I wouldn’t otherwise.

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