Overwatch Beginner Guide - Master the Game
Welcome to our Overwatch Beginner Guide! Right here, you will be able to get the information necessary for you to start your effective gaming journey in Overwatch. With this simple guide, you will be able to get into the competitive game mode in close to no time. In this one - you will read about basic mechanics, map-types, and some tips to get you going in the beginning, so you can smash your enemies in the heat of battle. We will help you, so you can start playing Overwatch the right way.
Meet the Heroes
Number of Overwatch characters can be overwhelming, especially when you are just starting with ranked matches. This ain't a simple Battle Royale. Currently, there are thirty-one Overwatch heroes, each with different playstyle, a unique set of skills, characteristics, voice lines, and role to fulfill in a game. Some heroes will be great for the attacking team, some will specialize in objective capture, and some will provide utility for their teammates. Some will be complicated, some straightforward and beginner-friendly.
Overwatch Hero Mechanics
With so many characters available in the game, there are a multitude of Heroes that have unique mechanics. We won't mention every possible character-specific mechanic (like Pharah's flying, Bastion's turret mode, or Soldier 76's Sprint). It would simply be a lot of unnecessary fuss. But some general mechanics apply to a group of Heroes, and because of that - we have to make a beginners list:
Hit-Scan - Basic thing about close to every FPS game out there. Hit-scan works in a way that makes it easier for hitting targets, as the bullet will hit at the exact time that you shoot your weapon. Bullet has no travel time, and it will hit your target immediately. Characters using his technique of shooting are great at pure DPS since their damage can be consistent if complemented by a skill in aiming. Mostly guns are using this mechanic, meanig McCree, Soldier, or Tracer.
Projectiles - Some characters will base their auto-attacks around shooting projectiles. Projectiles are essentially objects that will travel through the in-game world and will react with the environment in a pre-set way. Some projectiles will explode on impact with any obstacle or enemy hitbox. Some projectiles will bounce off terrain and explode upon contact with the enemy. Some will pierce through enemy characters, and some will deal damage to stop on the first enemy hit. There are many types of projectiles in this game. Aiming with these will be hard as you will have to always compensate for the distance and enemy movement. Your eemy can simply jump up for some defense to completely dodge a projectile. But the trade-off is worth it when your projectiles can either deal a massive amount of damage in a single hit to your enemy or deal it to multiple foes through an explosion.
Headshots - Enter headshots - a sign of a good player when they can score these consistently. Most characters in the game are able to hit the head area of the enemy to deal double damage. It can net some good kills. It applies mostly to single-target projectiles and hit-scan weapons. However, not all hit-scan weapons will be able to apply headshot damage due to their nature. Same with projectiles. For example - Pharah can't hit a headshot with her rockets. Same as Bastion who won't be able to do that in his cannon form as well, as that would be a little bit ridiculous.
Ultimate Abilities - Each Hero has a set of abilities that makes their playstyle special and unique. And the most powerful skill that they can use is their Ultimate Ability. Most of the time, it's the most game-changing skill that will make some mess on the battlefield or provide some utility. Be it a a cannon-form of Bastion that will enable him to fire massive AoE cannonballs, or Soldier 76's auto-aim that will make all shot hit the enemy closest to the middle of your screen. These skills make a significant difference, and they open windows of opportunity for your team.
These Ultimate Abilities have to be at 100% before you can unleash it upon your opponents. The timer on these abilities will depend entirely on your character, as the skill loads by itself through the course of the game. However, each Overwatch Hero can increase the rate of the meter to get the Ultimate faster. All characters can fill the meter up faster by dealing damage.
Each Hero is different, and their ultimates will require various amounts of damage to fill 1% of the Ultimate Ability. Some Heroes also have some unique ways of filling up their Ultimate Meter. For example, Mercy will have her Ultimate rate increased when healing her allies, and someone like Ana will gain some percents for healing allies with her Biotic Grenade. On the other hand bad Genji will spend a few days trying to get his ultimate. Stacking ultimate is something that you should improve if you want to play in higher tier.
Each character can be assigned to one of the three main role brackets. While you can see the role of each Hero in character selection screen - these roles are basic. Many articles will tell you about three basic categories and that will be it about features. But there are way more roles that one character can fulfill. For example, a single offense DPS character can work both as an Assassin-flanker, tank buster, or Long-Range Snipers. In the same way, one Support hero can provide heals and utility, while being useful as a diver, disruptor, and even providing some damage. That's why we split those main three categories into a few pathways for our Heros:
With so many sub-roles, it will be easier to for you to choose the best character that will be just perfect for your desired playstyle. We won't list those characters here, as we've already done that in our Overwatch Roles Guide. So absolutely feel free to check that out if you want to see which character exactly fill fit your desired gameplay style.
Nature of Overwatch Characters
Overwatch is one of the most balanced competitive games out there. Characters have clear strengths and weaknesses that are manifested by their health pool, hitbox, and set of skills and abilities. Large characters are easy to hit, that's true, but most of the time they can block the damage, or heal themselves reliably, and they have substantial health pools. Their duty is basically to soak up damage and heal it, while dealing damage or controlling the battlefield.
On the other hand, Heroes with small hitboxes and large damage outputs will be very squishy most of the time, somewhere between 150 and 200 Health Points. Almost every healer has a small frame with a low amount of health. It makes them very easy targets, that can die even through accidental Area of Effect damage. Doomfist is a powerful guy in close range, but outside of close encounters - he is utterly useless, similarly to Tracer. Not like Widowmaker - who is an absolute beast long-range, but she falls short in close-quarters combat if a player can't aim at close targets through the scope. Therefore, Heroes balance themselves quite nicely.
What makes this game even fairer is how characters interact with each other when they are placed in enemy teams. Heroes in Overwatch are very rock-paper-scissors, Genji will be perfect for 200 HP Heroes, and he can counter characters like McCree, and Bastion easily with his Deflects. But he will be useless against Winston, who can follow him almost anywhere with jumps, and damage him with the cannon that can't be blocked. And Bastion will wreck Winston, quickly blasting through his barriers and health-bar. Let's look at the previous example as well. Widowmaker will destroy Doomfist from a distance. But if he gets close to her and she doesn't time her Grapple Hook properly - she has close to no chance of killing her attacker or surviving at all. Which leads us to character choice and teamcomps.
Best Character for the Scenario
Depending on the game mode and whether your team has to attack or defend - you and your teammates should consider picking something best for the upcoming scenario. Is the enemy going to be cocked up in one place most of the time? Someone like Mei, Zarya, Torbjorn, Junkrat, and Pharah will be great for pure Damage, Winston and Hammond will be great for Diving and Zoning, and Moira will be perfect for splitting formations with her damaging ball of dark energy.
Is your team supposed to push a cart? Having someone like Reinhardt that will block incoming damage will be invaluable. And from the other side - flankers like Reaper and Sombra can change the tide of the game in one good ult or a few picks.
And if enemy Pharah is melting your team away - switching from Reaper or Doomfist to Widowmaker or McCree can make a huge difference. So there's a lot of back and forth between character picks.
Ain't no place for a Hero. Overwatch is a pure team-based experience. And while some characters have a huge outplay potential, and players can turn the entire games around by themselves - the strength of six competent players combined will always be successful against a team of average players with a single carry - mechanical god.
It is why team building will be crucial if you want to win games consistently. The game itself will always push for 2 Damage, 2 Tank and 2 Support Heroes for each time through a series of hints. And that teamcomp is fine, it's balanced, it covers all needed roles equally, and you have a jack-of-all-trades team. But equality is not always right. Many other teamcomps can work.
Take Deathball comp for example. It's used on Cart map, on Attack Side. The team will consist of Bastion as the primary carry who will sit on the payload. Reinhardt will stay beside him to shield him from any damage. And Mercy will focus on boosting the damage of Bastion while keeping everyone alive with heals.
Or completely different - GOATS playstyle, that involves three tanks and three supports. Each tank can deal a considerable amount of damage or make some picks here and there. It's not uncommon for Reinhardt to do more damage than his carries, due to the severe damage of the piercing Fire Hammer Projectile. This team can outlive their opponents through sheer force of pressure, sustained damage, and sturdiness.
Overwatch has a multitude of maps with different objectives. There's no point in mentioning every map out there with its secrets and layouts, but you should know about game modes that you will experience in-game.
Assault - Attackers have to capture two points in a specific order to win the game. There's a timer that will extend after the first objective is capped.
Control - King of the hill gameplay. One point in the middle of the mirrored map. Each team has to hold the point and fill the completion meter to 100%. It's a best of three in the normal queue and best of five in the competitive queue.
Escort - Classic payload culture. One team has to push a cart through two delivery points to win. The more attackers sit on the cart, the faster it will go (up to three heroes).
Hybrid - Combines Assault and Escort. The first objective - take a control point, the second one - move a payload straight to the finish line.
There are 21 maps available in normal and competitive mode, each with a unique layout and climate. Most maps have some "secret" pathways that can be used by specific characters that have more movement possibilities. Sombra, Genji, Hanzo, Winston, or D.Va will be easily able to reach some outskirts of the map to backstab the enemy team.
Each map also has various types of healthpacks in a few locations, so if you are behind enemy lines - you should learn the locations of these if you want to keep yourself alive and kicking. No support will follow a Genji into the backlines to kill a few players and leave the point or cart unattended.
As the last part of this beginners guide - you should get some tips regarding basic gameplay scenarios. So you know what to expect, and what you can focus on if your games go downhill, and you struggle to live long enough to do something in the round.
Play for your team
It feels good to play your only main and completely wreck people. However, the further you go up the ranks, the harder it will be for you to carry with a playstyle like that. It is why it will be crucial to look at your team and find a character that will be the best for the team, as long as you know how the character operates, and you can play it at a decent level. No one wants a bad Soldier 76 who can't take down Pharah, who is currently wholly wrecking your team. In scenarios like that, you should communicate with your team, that you want to take over another role so that you can be useful to the team. And that brings us to the second tip. As for opposing team - its best if they are bad/
Communication is key
Communication starts the moment you see the Hero roster. You have five other players in your team, and each member probably wants to play a specific character. In Solo Queue, it will be an absolute mess, especially in lower ranks. People will pick what they want. They won't listen. They will pick a 3rd DPS just like that because they do not enjoy playing other characters. You can't fight that, but if you are one of the 3 DPS Heroes at that moment- maybe it will be a good idea to go for another role that is currently lacking. As you go further and further into upper ranks - people will focus more on the teamplay aspect of this game. Of course, you will have some one-tricks who will push for their main, and sometimes - it can actually be worth it to allow them to go with their Hero.
During the match - it's essential also to give valuable teamplay to your team. Mei is zoning the right side? Is Widowmaker in the window overlooking a particular zone? Enemy Zenyatta is out of position? Call everything out. Speak to your team, and listen when they have something to say. Because maybe that Genji behind you wouldn't be able to single-handedly kill your supports and healers if tanks and DPS Heroes knew about his plans and location.
Flexibility is a must in this game. It will be mandatory for you to learn at least two or three characters from each role bracket. Some Heroes will translate into others; for example, someone playing a hit-scan Hero will be able to switch to other hit-scan DPS characters easily.
Also, this tip refers to the previous tip. You WILL switch characters. And you will switch them a lot. Not only because your obnoxious teammates, but to actually counter enemy team. Deathball tactic? It might be a good idea to pick Hanzo or Widowmaker, for their long-range damage and shield breaking capabilities. You can also go with Reaper or someone for the extra distraction, like Genji, for example. Enemy Widowmaker wrecking everyone? Switch to a Hero which can quickly get close to her, or duel her with your Widowmaker.
Also - it's not so smart to main only one or two characters, as those can get taken by your teammates. And it will happen many times. No one wants a dead weight in their team. And you shouldn't feel like dead weight either. And if you are, your "allies" will track your email address, and pay you a visit. Maybe. Maybe not.
Because if you don't have fun - what is the point? Learn Heroes before the july of next year that you enjoy playing and bring them up into the competitive online scene.
It is the end of our Overwatch Beginner's Guide. We hope we made it easier for you to get the hang of the Blizzard's best-seller. September is upon us, winter is coming, and the cold season is a perfect time for playing video games.
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