To say Overwatch is a popular game would be an understatement. Both casually and competitively, Blizzard’s colourful hero shooter boasts one of the highest player counts and is only gaining steam. Recognizing these trends, bars like Meltdown Montreal have begun hosting Overwatch nights, and it is because of this shared interested that a few ladies with a shared interest in Blizzard’s smash hit met and decided to form the first all-ladies Overwatch team: The Sailor Scouts. The team is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds and take things to the next level. CGMagazine got a chance to talk to a few of the members and find out how the team formed, what their goals are, and why Overwatch brought them all together.
CGMagazine: How did you guys meet, and how did the team happen?
Stephi Melody (HALOKITTY): We all met at Meltdown Montreal, eSports bar that opened up last summer and every Friday they have Overwatch nights. We eventually just randomly met each other, we each went there with different friends and it turns out there’s not that many girls [at the beginning] decided to talk to each other and eventually play together.
CGM: Were any of you friends prior to this?
Melody: None of us knew each other at all
Elizabeth Leavitt (ERULYS): How it started was Stephi running up to me telling me to join this great group; that we should Overwatch with the girls and I said, “you know what sign me up.”
CGM: How long have you guys been playing together [how long ago was that]?
Melody: We’ve been playing together since last Halloween, but we haven’t gotten seriously competitive until the last month.
CGM: When did you decide you were going to make this a serious thing?
Leavitt : I think that we all eventually realized playing together was so much fun, and we’re all really competitive, so we realized how well we work together because we played together so much we were like “hey we got our stuff together, we know what we’re doing” and it developed from there. We started this let’s keep going, let’s be professional.
Melody: I want to say also I think because the announcement because of all these big tournaments in Montreal, especially Dreamhack, is in September so we all wanted to go and to go there you still have to compete at a higher level so we decided that we had to get together, be more serious and plan this to make it.
CGM: What is your training schedule?
Melody: We practice twice a week for two hours, during weekdays. Sometimes we’ll play together on off days just for fun, but those two days everyone needs to be there and it’s more serious and twice a month we meet up together and we boot camp at this eSports training centre called Mixed Virtual Arts and that place is where we meet in person and just talk strategy, what’s going on in-game, in real life, and just spend time together but also practice in person together.
Leavitt: We all really just share a lot of information, any updates, patches that happen to the game, general strategies etc. on a personal Facebook page and just overall we really communicate together and we do have a core team which is listed on our Indiegogo but we also have a bunch of other girls that we’re supporting. I don’t want to call them fillers, side girls, or spares. But they’re not spares in my heart. We keep them and play with them and just generally improve in a team spirit.
CGM: How do you handle disagreements within the group? Like one player thinking they’re a hotshot etc.
Melody: Maybe it sounds crazy but we haven’t had any disagreements.
Leavitt: It’s not crazy. I don’t think girls think they’re hotshots.
Melody: I don’t think any of us think that [laughter]. I think first of all we really say attitude before anything else. All these girls get along together and we like each other’s personalities and that comes first. We really haven’t stepped on each other’s toes or had any major disagreements.
Leavitt: I strongly agree with that. If we all get along together then if something comes our way when someone disagrees we’ll be more adept and able to handle it than if we didn’t get along, to begin with even if we’re super skilful.
CGM: Do you guys do a lot together outside of the team?
Melody: We’re trying to start some team building activities. We’ve gone shopping together; we’ve gone to get ice cream together.
CGM: Are there many all girl teams, or is this something new [to Overwatch]?
Melody: I’m going to say in Overwatch we’ve only heard of one other team, a pro team that just launched maybe two weeks ago. It was a professionally team in Malaysia but other than that we haven’t heard of many all-girl teams in Overwatch. In eSports, older games like Counterstrike, absolutely there are a lot of all-girl teams and I think maybe League of Legends might have a few as well.
Leavitt: In Canada, I don’t think I’ve heard of other ones really taking the time to fund themselves and go pro—especially girl teams.
CGM: When you play, do you play against other girls?
Leavitt: Usually there’s one girl max, maybe two if you’re lucky.
Melody: That’s not what we want. We don’t want to just play against girls; we’re open to playing with everybody. It doesn’t really matter. Our team is focused on being a community of girls but we’re not trying to say we don’t want to play with boys.
CGM: Who came up with “Sailor Scouts” as a team name?
Leavitt: I would say Stephi did. We all kind of jumped on it, like, “hey you like Sailor Moon, me too! We’re kind of like the sailor scouts.”
CGM: No voting process?
Melody: At Meltdown Montreal every Friday random groups of people get together and you have to name your team so that they can call you to the stage. So one night we were just like, “we’re the Sailor Scouts.”
Leavitt: Clearly fighting evil.
Melody: By moonlight.
CGM: The last month you’ve really been getting into the ranked, competitive side of things. How is that going so far?
Leavitt: In the actual game there is ranked modes, usually we’ll go maybe 2–3 people depending on who is available at what time. Away from our usual scheduled practices, so we haven’t had that much practice as an entire team especially in competitive because our ranks do vary at this point and you can’t queue up with people that are too vast of a difference in rank. We’re focusing more on custom games vs. people that we know are good as a team, to really form our team bonding, alliance, and strategies, before really diving into the competitive system.
Leavitt: We really wanted to form a strong team bond and coordination before showing everything we’ve got, even just in-game.
CGM: What are the next steps for the team? Where do you see the next couple months going?
Melody: Right now we’re focusing on the Indiegogo campaign. After that we’re doing an all-female event at Comic-Con, so we’re really going to boot camp and practice for that. After that we’re going to dedicate pretty much all our time preparing for Dreamhack because we want to go there, show up and be the best.
Leavitt: Which will obviously include playing more ranked games and overall our general presence, maybe upping from two times a week depending on what we need.
CGM: How goes the Indiegogo campaign so far? Lots of response?
Melody: It’s pretty good; we’re almost at 50 per cent we’ve got a lot of support from different game studios in Montreal who have given us Steam keys to give out as rewards for donating. That’s going well, we only have a few days left we so really want to hit our goal. If you know anybody that could help us out that would be great.
Leavitt: I don’t think any of us are really used to doing funding or anything of that sort but as far as our first time for attempting this I think it’s going super. There is a good response I’m actually surprised.
CGM: If everything works out, where do you guys eventually see yourselves? Is this something you’d like to do professionally or are you just taking it as it comes?
Leavitt: I would say absolutely professionally. My end goal is really pushing professionalism, especially for girls—boys too—but as a girl team it feels like there needs to be more of a presence.
Melody: I definitely want to see the Sailor Scouts go pro, but also I hope that if we go pro it shows other girls that they can make it as well. A lot of girls right now are maybe too shy to be playing competitively and maybe we can open up doors for a lot of other girls to say, “hey we can do this too.”
Leavitt: Any girl or guy can be in Sailor Scouts and kick butt.
CGM: Is there someone on your team that’s the strategy guru or do you work it out amongst yourselves.
Melody: I would say it is Sara on our team that is the best strategist.
Leavitt: We cannot forget to mention that we also have Veronique who is also a great strategist.
Sara Hum (SURLEYSHEEP): That’s true. We pretty much share that position on the team when it comes to bringing it strategies and in-game comms is mostly on me but Veronique…brings in a lot of information when she finds it.
CGM: Overwatch’s style and aesthetic has lots of female characters, do you think that’s a big appeal to female gamers?
Hum: The aesthetic is super colourful and the characters are very diverse. Both men and women in the game, so I guess it does appeal more to girls compared to games like Counterstrike.
Melody: It’s amazing. The diversity—male, female, robot, and ethnicity—just appeals to so many people. Everyone feels like there’s one hero out there that you would feel connected to right away.
Leavitt: What I think really drew me to it, it was my first FPS and you don’t even need good aim in this game. There are characters that can help you rise, even competitively, that can help you out because you don’t have to aim in the traditional manner. You can play as Symmetra or Winston and still have a huge impact, there are so many different roles that you can just join a team and not feel useless because you can’t aim. It’s a team game. Which character you pick for when, what counters what, it’s strategic.
CGM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Leavitt: As an end point: any girls that read this, come find us on our Discord.
Melody: Hit us up on our Facebook page, Team Sailor Scouts, just message us and we can send an invite to our Discord channel.