Overwatch was released in May 2016, and since then there has been a lot of changes implemented to the game. Honestly, this is one of the most played first-person shooter games. Apparently, if you are reading this, it means you are new or at the baby steps of playing this marvellous game. I call it “marvelous” because it’s fantastic. I am not trying to sell it to you because I know you are already interested in it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be searching for a guide. One will argue and say there is no fun in using a guide just to play a game. Well, it is brave and adventurous to dive into the sea to learn how to swim. However, only when you are inside the water, you get to realise how frustrating and dangerous it is to do something new without proper guidance. What’s up with the serious talk, dude? Yeah, I get it. Anyway, you get my point. On top of that, there are a lot of updates that have been implemented to the game such that if you had not played the game for quite a period, you would need this guide as a kick starter. It can also be useful to those who have been stuck with the same characters and are looking to expand their abilities to use more than one. Above all, a knowledgeable gamer can efficiently analyse and adapt to their enemy’s strategy. This guide will also help you understand each hero’s abilities, maps, team building and many more. So, before I jump straight to the real stuff, let me just walk you through on what the game is all about.
Overwatch is a first-person shooter game that is mostly played in teams. It is an online multi-player team-based type of a game whereby gamers are divided into two teams of six players each. Players in each of the team have got the liberty to pick any character from a roster of above 20 playable characters. These characters are commonly known as the ‘heroes’. Each character possesses a unique style of combat. These styles are categorised into four namely; support, offence, defence, as well as tank. The primary goal of each team is to support each other when fighting to secure, as well as defend control area on the map. Other missions include escorting a payload from one point of the map to another. There are rewards that gamers obtain. These rewards are cosmetic, and they do not affect gameplay as they are used to enhance the look of a character to your liking such as skins, and poses.
Since the game is squad-based combat, each of the six players has to select one hero to use. Note that knowing unique abilities of each character will help you choose the best based on your preferred combat style. For example, offence characters attack very fast but have got low defence mechanism. Defence characters are used as a choke point for your team’s enemy. The support characters act as army doctors as they give buffs to their mates like healing. However, they can also present debuffs to their enemies. The last but not the least of character classes are tank. These are the ones that carry heavy armour and target specific areas to withstand attacks from enemies.
We all know the importance of communication especially if you are to fight as a team. However, at times not everyone possesses the skill to communicate well with others. Thus, prior the start of each fight the game will automatically analyse the selection of characters then give suggestions to the team on where to improve. For example, they might be a lack of defence characters in your team. Hence the game will suggest having one of your teammates switch for a defence hero to create a more balanced team. Overwatch is a forgiving game. Regardless the pre-game analysis, it still allows players to switch a character during in-game. This can be due to deaths of characters and can be achieved by returning to the home base. Each gamer should master the art of adapting when playing Overwatch. Adapting is an essential tool as it will help your team better understand the best strategy and characters to use to counter-attack its enemies.
Characters have got unique primary attack skills. To trigger the ability, the gamer has to build up the meter by performing various activities such as defeating opponents or healing team members. Once built, the gamer has the liberty to use this skill at any given time. I personally advise using this skill only when it is necessary, e.g. when being overpowered or to finish off your enemies. When triggered, the skill may last for some time, a few seconds to be precise. It differs based on which character you are using like others will throw explosives, gain resistance to attacks, as well as increase strength in attack. After the use of the skill, you will have to wait for the meter to build up to perform it again. However, these skills are not inevitable as I have made it seem like. Upon triggering the ability, the opposite team gets alerted that you are about to deliver a massive blow to them; thus, it gives them the warning to take cover, as well as know how to respond appropriately. The alert is announced in various ways, but you will always see an exclamation mark. Characters such as McCree usually shout “it’s high noon” when they spot a player that is about to deal a massive blow to his team.
Then, there is a second meter that functions as a tracking device of your character activities. This meter records points to in-rounds that you obtained over a certain period. These points are obtained when you assist a killing, perform a kill, provide defence, and heal, as well as hitting objectives. When this meter reaches a particular threshold, the icon of the character “catches fire” signalling that the player is on a hot streak and is considered a threat. However, this does not have any impact on gameplay. The meter will cool down and drop when the character stops scoring points.
We like to see the impressive moves that we performed during gameplay. With that said, Overwatch employs a post-fight instant replay system. The system picks match fragments that had a significant effect on the progression of the game like a streak of kills or close call shots. Then, these fragments are broadcasts to all gamers involved in the fight from the perspective of the character player that performed it. These fragments are commonly known as the “Play of the Game” (PotG). After that, the scoreboard appeared that shows top four members of each team based on their kills, heals, as well as shields.
There is also a feature that awards gamers experience points. These experience points can be obtained by surpassing past records, winning gold, silver, as well as bronze medal amid a fight, using your character’s unique skills more often etc. The experience points obtained contribute to the gamer’s experience level. By reaching the next experience level through collected the required amount of experience points, the player receives a loot box. Upon open the loot box, the gamer stands a chance to obtain cosmetic rewards for a particular character/hero which consists of glory poses, speech lines, costumes, as well as pint sprays. By the way, note that this feature got updated in 2017. Previously, players were only able to obtain experience points by playing matchmaking modes. However, now, gamers are able to receive experience points from playing either matchmaking or custom games. The experience level rewards are dished out based on their rarity level.
There are three tiers of rarity namely Common, Epic, as well as Legendary. Among the rewards, you can obtain ‘credits’ which is an in-game currency. Particular items can be purchased using ‘credits’. The cost of the item is determined by its rarity level. If you obtain duplicated items, they will be converted into ‘credits’. Another way of gaining the in-game currency is through microtransactions which allow gamers to use fiat currency to purchase in-game currency.
Roles of Characters
Overwatch characters are grouped into four categories: Tank, Support, Defense, as well as Offense. The categorisation of characters is based on their similar ability and descriptions. Although there might seem to be one character that is easy or fun to use, it is vital for team members to select different varieties of character based on their categories. If a team lacks a specific class, it will be considered imbalance and the game would suggest switching to another character before the match. Below is a list of categories along with their respective heroes:
Offence—this is a group of characters that are highly flexible. They can inflict huge damage by dealing quick blows to their opponents as they are attack oriented. However, each hit generates low points. Characters in this category are;
- Doomfist—his off-hand has got a hand cannon that launches bursts that are similar to the one of a shotgun and then reloads ammo after a certain period. He can also perform a rocket punch, Seismic slam, as well as a rising uppercut. His ultimate skill is called Metteor Strike which allows him to launch into the air and then slams the ground, therefore, dealing heavy damage on other characters nearby.
- Genji—he is ideal for one-v-one fights and is regarded as a flanker, as well as an infiltrator. His skill, deflect, can be used to counter opponent’s ultimate skill attacks. He works best as a lone ranger and can be used to flank snipers. However, his deflection ability can be bypassed by many energy weapons and can be baited into activating his deflecting ability then attacked when it’s on cooldown.
- McCree—just like Genji, he can scope an enemy’s attack his deadeye
- Pharah—she possesses the Concussive Blast, Jump Jets which enables her to rocket jump, as well as her ultimate skill, barnage which allows her to rain rockets on her targets.
- Reaper—easily recognisable with his white skull mask, he carries two hellfire shotguns. He can perform shadow step which gives him the ability to sight teleport and wrath form, which gives him the ability to be invisible for a short period. He is more of a hitman with the ability to teleport.
- Soldier: 76—considered to be one of the best offence characters, he performs well regardless the situation your team is in. Has the ability to heal either himself or teammates making him a valuable member. He is also offensive regardless the range and navigates fast amid the battle.
- Sombra—she is an infiltrator and can hack enemies, therefore, paralysing Other abilities include thermoptic camo, translocator, as well as opportunist which helps her locate enemies that are low on health.
- Tracer—carries pulse pistols that can perform rapid-fire. She possesses a chronal accelerator that enables her to go into the future (blink) or past (recall) either healing or regaining ammunition.
Defence—a combination of characters that can hold strong points of the team. These are characters that can defend particular positions that give the team an advantage. They can also provide field support like traps.
- Bastion—a fighter robot that can repair itself. The ironclad ability enables it to decrease damage being received and its ultimate skill, Configuration: Tank empowers a roll on treads period releasing rounds of explosives.
- Hanzo—an elder brother to Genji, he can detect enemies using his ability sonic arrow and can use ricochets to perform multiple hits at a go using scatter arrows. He can reach standpoints using Wall Climb. Hanzo’s ultimate skill is Dragonstrike. This skill is vital as it releases spiritual dragons that can go through obstacles while dealing damage.
- Junkrat—is Overwatch’s grenade maniac as he wields a Frag Launcher. He is also useful when it comes to setting up traps by employing steel traps, as well as concussion mines that can be detonated remotely. When he gets killed, he doesn’t go alone as he uses total mayhem which sees many primed grenades detonate from his body
- Mei—the ice queen of the game. She is a climatologist with the ability to freeze her enemies using a short-range spray called an Endothermic Blaster which can also launch a long-range projectile in form icicle. She can also heal injuries by freezing herself. Blizzard, her ultimate skill is used to unleashing a drone in the form of a snowball that releases a freezing hell to the opposition in a wide range.
- Torbjörn—wields a forge hammer to perform melee attacks as well as a rivet gun that fires molten slag. In his dwarfish state, he also specialises in building turrets that can automatically target enemies. The ultimate skill, molten core is used to upgrade his personnel.
- Widowmaker—carries a destructive rifle that shoots at short range in full automatic (Widow’s Kiss) and is able to use the rifle in sniper mode for long range targets. Infra-sight is her ultimate skill.
- Ana—has a biotic rifle that fires darts and her ultimate skill is nano boost which gives her an increase in both defence and attack.
- Brigitte—her basic attack is performing close-range strikes on some enemies using rocket flail. Rally is her ultimate skills which make her transpose quicker.
- Lucio—has got a wall ride in the form of roller blades and is equipped with a sonic amplifier weapon which knocks enemies through soundwaves. Lucio’s ultimate skill is a sound barrier which gives a shield for a short period him and his teammates close by.
- Mercy—is the team’s guardian angel as she quickly dashes towards the attacked teammates. Valkyrie is her ultimate skill which boosts her abilities.
- Moira—wields a biotic grasp which heals teammates by using biotic energy. Coalescence is her ultimate ability which projects a beam that heals teammates while inflicting damage to nearby enemies.
- Symmetra—the only character with more than one ultimate abilities which are teleporter and shield generator.
- Zenyatta—transcendence is his ultimate ability, and it enables him to be invulnerable, as well as give teammates within large radius regenerative abilities
- D.VA—a mobile tank that has got an aerial edge. She wields twin firing cannons. She has got mecha that has to go rocket boosters for bursts. The defence matrix enables the mecha to intercept enemy projectiles. Her ultimate skill is Self-Destruct which detonates the mecha after overloading it causing severe damage to enemies within a considerable radius. After the mecha has been detonated, she ejects and continues to fight using a light-gun that is mid-range.
- Orisa—she functions as the anchor and her ultimate skill, Supercharger enables her to deploy a device that will give her and the teammates within range attack boost.
- Reinhardt—possesses a Rocket Hammer and has the ability to protect himself and team members behind him from enemy attacks by using Barrier Field. Earthshatter is his ultimate skill which sees him hammer the floor to unleash a shockwave that paralyses enemies within range.
- Roadhog—Junkrat’s enforcer that carries a Scrap Gun which shoots mid-range shrapnel. Can perform Chain Hook which gives him the ability to draw far enemies closer to him. Whole Hog is his ultimate skill which adds a top loader on his scrap gun to fire it automatically without the need to reload.
- Winston—carries a tesla cannon which has got the ability to electrocute close range enemies and does not need any aiming abilities. He can house himself and teammates with a temporary shield by deploying Barrier Projector. Primary rage is his ultimate skill.
- Zarya—a female soldier that carries a particle cannon and has the ability to shield herself using particle barrier. Her ultimate skill is graviton surge which creates a gravity well to pull enemies in therefore dealing damage and exposing them to further attacks.
Types of Maps
In most cases, maps are randomly selected. Each map supports a particular game mode;
- Assault—the attacking team is given a goal to seize two particular areas located on the map with the other defending team supposed to stop them from achieving their goal.
- Escort—the attacking team is given an assignment of escorting payload from one point to another on the map within a given timeframe with the defending team tasked to prevent them.
- Hybrid (a combination of Assault and Escort)—first, the attacking team is assigned get hold of payload the assault structure and then deliver the payload to a certain point using the escort structure with the defending team tasked to prevent them.
- Control—the map’s control points are positioned in an intrinsic position to avoid neither of the teams gaining an advantage over the other. The task is for each team to obtain control points and hold them until they reach 100%.
There are several gameplay modes that are made available on Overwatch. These game modes include tutorials as well as practice gameplay versus COM characters. There are also casual match matching modes which randomly match the available players against each other. There was a weekly brawl mode which featured certain rules that will see gamers being propelled to play using a certain character. However, it was combined with Arcade mode in 2016. There is also a custom mode which allows gamers to select their preferred rules, as well as conditions for the match like match time and the map. Competitive mode is also available, and it separates players based on the platform or their region and then put them in a ranking match. In this mode, players are matched according to their skill rank which is calculated based on their win/loss/draw record.