Beginners guide to Overwatch

Overwatch is not your everyday first person shooter, you cannot play this like you would play Call of Duty for example. A different play style must be adopted if you are to be successful.

You’ll need tactics, team work, experience and skill to be victorious, here are some tips to get you started.

Which Hero do you start with?

The 21 characters in Overwatch are a diverse bunch, but it’s not just cosmetic stuff like hairstyles and win animations: each brings genuinely different gameplay to the table. Your choice of hero really matters and will shape how you play each match.

Your first decision is what role you’d like to play. If you’re only interested in kills and can handle being squishy, take an offensive hero. If you’re something of a strategist and understand how controlling enemy positioning leads a team to victory (or just love to snipe), choose defence. If you want to stay alive and get up in your enemy’s faces, a tank is your best bet. Finally, every team needs a support player and that’s not a bad way to learn maps, staying out of line of fire as you trot around behind the heavies and keep them healthy.

overwatch beta genji

Start simple

 Beyond class, every character is different – and some are more beginner-friendly than others. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to jump straight in with a character whose abilities and ultimate rely on good map knowledge and a working knowledge of other tactics employed by other heroes.

Soldier 76 is probably the easiest character for those coming from modern multiplayer shooters. As a fairly straight forward assault build, he’s relatively easy to use effectively right off the bat – you can definitely help your team out even while you’re still a bit lost.

Blizzard ranks characters by ease of use, which is a good starting point when you’re ready to move beyond run-and-gun.

It’s all down to personal preference of which character you want to use. Try them all, get used to them and choose your favourite.

Teamwork is essential

 When everybody’s in it for themselves, you all lose. Sometimes it’s best to leave your favourite character on the bench and pick up another role, because nobody else on your team is willing to do it. Your chances of victory will increase significantly with a good balance of roles on hand.

Ideally, your team should feature at least one offense hero, two defence heroes including a sniper, at least one tank and at least one support hero.

Killing doesn’t always mean winning

There are three modes in Overwatch, and while they all have similar objectives, the differences have a huge impact on play. In Control, both sides attempt to hold zones over three rounds. Point Capture is similar, except that one team is assigned to offense and the other to defence. In Payload, one team defends a mobile target as it passes through checkpoints, while the other attacks.

Often, the key to victory is just keeping the enemy at a distance, block their routes, scare them off, don’t let them get close to their goal. If you’re defending, the onus is on them to beat the clock. Patience is a virtue.

Positioning is key

 While good twitch reflexes will help, Overwatch is a tactical game more than a run and gunner. Things definitely get intense, but they get intense because players work together to pour chaos down on the enemy. Learn the maps, stay aware of your surroundings to guard against the handful of agile character, and listen out for sound effects to figure out where your enemies are.

Changing Characters

 Like most games, if something isn’t quite working out you can always change it. Same with Overwatch, while you can’t change weapon class you can always change your character.

Constantly dying? Try tanking. Team tank keeps falling over? Time for some extra support. Enemy regularly out flanking you and pinning you down? Clearly some defenders need to return the favour.

Flying characters

 Whenever you take to the sky, keep yourself well away from long sight lines. Snipers will hunt down flying characters and are surprisingly easy to kill. Elevation is most useful when you ambush enemies rather than when approaching from a distance, as it generally takes players a moment to figure out where your attack is coming from. Use this to your advantage, but get down on the ground when it’s not going to be a help.

Snipers, watch out

There’s a whole hero class devoted to long-distance control. A good defence player knows the maps well and camps not for kills but to keep the opposing team pinned down somewhere.

The best counter to snipers is to learn the maps so you can always use cover and avoid their sneaky ways.

Never stop shooting

 In Overwatch, ammunition is unlimited so you never have to worry about wasting ammo. Shoot anything that moves.

Dealing damage fills your super meter quicker.

Practise is your path to success

 There is a level progression in Overwatch, but the only thing you will get is cosmetic stuff for your character. There is no more powerful weapons and skills to gain here.

The only way you are going to prosper is by practising with a decent team of players and your favourite character. Learning the maps helps a lot too.

Want XP to level up? Don’t rage quit

 Overwatch awards you XP for every second you spend in a match. Just hiding in a corner will get you closer to a new and exciting hat. Stick around to the very end of a match, win or lose, and you’ll get a nice little bonus for doing so.

Don’t forget to check out our Overwatch review coming soon!


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Competitive turned casual gamer on xbox one. Graphics designer using CS6. I help run a small gaming community.

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