You might be hesitant to dive in, wondering if you can really wrap your head around all these heroes, or if you can keep up on the field with veterans dating back to the first game’s release in 2016. But I can guarantee you that Overwatch is a pretty easy game to learn, and you’ll be racking up victories before you know it.
These recommendations presume you know nothing about Overwatch and will teach you the basics. These will lead you down the correct path and prepare you for the sometimes-frantic nature of this game.
Each hero is a rabbit hole of tactics in and of itself, so let’s get the basics down and demystify this highly popular shooter.
A lot of heroes, 3 classes
The First Time User Experience limits the number of heroes you can choose from during the tutorial and your first few PvP matches.
Don’t get too worked up when you have to choose between 15 different heroes about whom you know nothing. As the game will explain, these heroes are divided into three classes based on RPG terminology: Tanks, Damage, and Support.
When viewing the hero selection screen prior to a match, you’ll see that the heroes are divided into three columns to symbolize these classes. You’ll also notice an emblem identifying the class of a hero: A shield represents Tanks, bullets represent Damage, and a plus/heal sign represents Support.
Tanks are there to absorb enemy damage and divert attention away from the more vulnerable Damage and Support characters. With your size and skills, your main goal on the battlefield should be to distract the enemy and block their shots. You are the team’s anchor.
The key to dealing damage is to hit them hard! In a fight against another Damage hero, you’ll do better than the other two classes. But if your team is functioning properly, you’ll be more of an opportunist, picking off the fools who are too preoccupied with dealing with the Tanks.
Support heroes heal and buff comrades while occasionally debuffing enemies.
Your primary goal is usually to keep your friends’ health up-to-date while also buffing factors like movement speed and damage output. Avoid drawing the attention of your opponent’s Damage heroes or becoming caught in the crossfire. As a Support, you can use your talents on the field to keep a skirmish from tilting too far in your opponent’s favor.
If you’re just starting off, I recommend cycling through each class with a different hero in each match. On the field, make decisions based on your class’s role rather than the particular talents of your chosen hero. You’ll learn how to use those special abilities to better fulfill your role over time.
Don’t play overwatch 2 like you play other shooters
Many other shooters incorporate sprinting and aim-down sights into their reflexes. For Overwatch, unlearn that. Only Soldier: 76 has the ability to sprint like a Call of Duty character. Other heroes have additional movement choices, but they are generally attached to a cooldown, so keep them for when you truly need to step up the pace or get out of the way.
Aside from a few characters wielding scoped weapons, there is no aim-down-sights option. Normally, a secondary fire or power of some kind is reserved for the right mouse or left trigger.
Basically, if past shooters have taught you to sprint like a crazy person or to continually aim your weapon, you’ll have to relearn that. Even heroes with more genre-specific characteristics, such as Soldier: 76 or Sojourn, will demand you to adapt in this way.
Find your favorite heroes and practice a lot
Now that we’ve classified Overwatch’s various heroes into three main groups, it’s a good idea to pick one from each class and stick with it until you thoroughly understand their strengths and limitations. For now, focus is ideal. You should test everyone available to you over time so you can grasp how to cope with certain characters.
The purpose here is to determine who your major characters will be, as well as whatever parts you like. You may not always be able to select your main hero in each match, but the lessons you gain from your early choices will serve as a foundation for mastering the skills and abilities of other heroes.
If a hero initially perplexes you, don’t be scared to swap them out for one you can grasp more immediately. Also, Overwatch is a game full of style and personality, so pick a character who speaks to you based on style and personality while you’re new and haven’t yet absorbed the meta. After all, the point of video games is to have fun.
If you’re coming from a more classic shooter like Call of Duty, I recommend giving Soldier: 76 some time. If you’re used to more modern, faster shooters like Apex Legends, Sojourn’s quick slide (which can launch into a super-fun jump!) will be more familiar. If you play during season one, you can get Sojourn for free.
If you want to go into Support, Mercy is a good place to start because you’ll be less tempted to join in firefights. Her main “weapon” heals and boosts, and it can bend around corners, reminding you to keep your head down. Her automatic gun can be useful if you’re quick enough, but her powers are fairly narrowly focused on filling the Support role.
Determine which role you love playing the most, and which hero best fits your playstyle within that role.
Battle some bots and analyze your wins and losses.
If you’re a first-time user, you’ll have to go through the tutorial, which, although useful for the fundamentals, is likely to be so similar to other shooter tutorials that you’ll skip over the details.
Battling AI, on the other hand, is where the (fun) learning begins. While there is a practice range where you can run about, I recommend spending your first few matches facing AI with other players in the PvE mode located in training locations. Refrain from entering PvP matches until the AI battles become tedious. There are three AI levels to pick from, but start with the easiest. Believe me.
The different modes in Overwatch 2 are a great way to learn how to play without the pressure of a real-world PvP game. You can learn about the maps, how different heroes work on the field, and other fundamentals. Remember, you’re simply fighting AI here, so it’s not a big deal if you have to click F1 on PC to refresh your memory on what your hero’s powers do. (By default, the hero information overlay is not tied to a gamepad button.)
Having said that, the bots are no slouches. If your squad isn’t cooperating, they’ll take advantage of it and possibly send you to defeat. Even on the easiest of the three AI difficulties, this can occur.
If you lose to bots, you may feel embarrassed, but it’s actually a terrific opportunity to learn why you lost. Because you’re up against AI, a loss is more likely due to poor teamwork than natural talent on the opponent’s team.
Examine the composition of your team and the opposition team. What is the total number of Tanks? How many Damage dealers are there? Support? Was Support keeping everyone safe and healthy throughout the game? Was Damage failing to eliminate enough enemies? Were the Tanks acting like Tanks? As you begin to answer those questions, you will gain a greater understanding of the game and what you need to do differently the next time.
Use your pings, they are super useful
A generic “ping” can be emitted by pressing the center mouse button on a PC or the left D-pad on a controller. This will draw your teammates’ attention to whatever you’re gazing at, whether it’s a landmark or an opponent, with a big HUD indicator that they can see through walls. Use it to call on enemies who are coming or Damage heroes who are looking for a chance to kill one of your allies.
Calling for help is the first ping command you should commit to muscle memory in addition to the normal one. To enable the “Need Help” ping on PC, hold down the middle mouse button and then pull downward. On gamepads, hold down the left d-pad while using the right thumbstick to pick the appropriate ping. If support is doing their job, they should arrive soon.
Make this all about muscle memory. Call for assistance when you run, when you’re on the verge of death, when things are becoming chaotic, or if you’re just out of health and there aren’t any healing packs around.
Try to don’t die, if you die you can lose the game
This should go without saying, but you should prioritize your life. Yes, you’ll resurrect in seconds, but so many of Overwatch’s game types are basically one big multiplayer arm wrestling fight. And if you’re dead, you don’t have an arm in the struggle for a few precious seconds.
However, if you die and respawn when vital members of your squad are still on a respawn counter, pause for a second before returning to battle. This is particularly true when playing support. You want to survive until your comrades resurrect and rejoin you. If it means allowing the other team to hold the objective point a little longer or pushing the payload up a little higher, you’ll be better off responding collectively rather than individually.
Overwatch 2 is significantly more focused on teamwork than your ordinary first-person shooter. Being a strong team player necessitates more than simply knowing your hero well enough. Timing and staying alive ensure that your team functions as well as it possibly can, regardless of who is on the roster.
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