In case you missed the news, Overwatch is already a billion-dollar franchise—not bad for a game that hasn’t even hit its first birthday. If you don’t currently belong to Overwatch’s 30-million-strong player base, you may be wondering if it’s too late to jump in now. Well, to ease your concerns, we’re republishing our guide to Overwatch basics. So, please enjoy after you’re done adding your own money to Blizzard’s massive pile.
So you’ve decided to play Overwatch, the online multiplayer shooter sensation. Congratulations! You’re going to get your face smashed in!
Overwatch is not Call of Duty. Overwatch isn’t Battlefield. Overwatch isn’t even DOOM. Overwatch is an MMO that happens to be played from a first-person perspective. If you try to use traditional FPS tactics – y’know, RUNSHOOT FRAG! FRAG! FRAG! OMGFLASHBANG – you will get hoghooked until your monitor gets acquainted with the floor.
Don’t worry, we were all newbs (or noobs or even n00bz if you prefer) once. You have the benefit of learning from our mistakes. Our Overwatch Starer Guide provides a few crucial tips for those of you just picking up the game.
Play on a Team
Overwatch is not your typical FPS. Its characters, known as “heroes” in game parlance, have abilities that vary wildly. Tracer can skip back and forward through time. Mei creates giant ice walls and freezes enemies. There’s a giant friggin’ ape named Winston.
Each team of six heroes creates a unique composition that the opposing team needs to counter with their blend of heroes. Then the other team will counter the counter, and so on. It’s all very Zen. The point is, you need to get on a team that gels well and knows the ropes, and how to pick heroes that synergize well and counter the other team.
To find a team, you can either:
- Post in the Looking for Group discussion here on Fandom. We won’t bite!
- Join the Overwatch Discord channel and hop into the Looking For Group chat there. It’s very active — you should find a team within five or so minutes.
- Play solo and send out some friend invites to recent players. Since Overwatch players know the importance of team play, they’re surprisingly friendly.
Pick Lucio or Soldier 76 as Your Starter
There are 22 heroes to choose from in Overwatch, but some of them are mind-blowingly complex. Take Zarya. She has a Particle Cannon that shoots an energy beam in a straight line. Simple, right? Except she also has the bubbles. She creates a two-second bubble barrier for herself or a teammate that sucks up damage and strengthens her weapon. And then her ultimate ability is creating a giant gravity bomb that sucks in enemies and damages them over time. Basically, if you pick a character as complex as Zarya as your starting hero, you’re gonna die and your team’s gonna lose.
Soldier 76 and Lucio will ease you into Overwatch like an old man into a warm bath. Soldier 76 has a gun. He shoots the gun at the bad guys. He can run fast and heal himself, and his ultimate ability is shooting the gun better. He’s as generic as Alex Mason (see, you had to look that up, didn’t you?), and he allows you to get a feel for the game.
Lucio is fun because you help your team win just by existing. He has two settings for his Sonic Amplifier (yes, all these names are silly, just go with it), one that speeds your team up and one that heals them. If you manage to shoot enemies occasionally, use your Amp It Up power to keep the heals flowing, and not die, you’re the real MVP. Which brings us to the next tip…
There ain’t none of this “Press X to Respawn!” nonsense in Overwatch. No no, there’s a respawn timer, and then you always spawn just a ten-second run away from the action. And since Overwatch is a team-focused, objective-based game, any time you’re gone means that your team is battling at a disadvantage.
(You’ll often hear people call out “got one pick!” on chat. That means your team has a one-player numerical advantage over your opponent.)
Lucio has a speed boost and Soldier 76 can run like Forrest Gump, so you can pick your battles. If it looks like you’re going to lose, make like a tree, find a hiding spot, and heal yourself. Alive > dead
Speak Up on Team Chat
Yeah, we’ve all heard the horror stories about toxic gaming communities. If you’ve ever played any multiplayer game online, you have definitely been called (insert childish insult of choice here). The Overwatch community, however, is awesome. You won’t be called nasty names or slurs and people won’t constantly grief you. If anything, you’ll get a steady stream of advice and encouragement, because Overwatch is a team-based game and winning is fun.
All this is especially important to Overwatch because you won’t win any games unless you coordinate your activities. How else will you know where to aim your Wombo Combo? When Lucio speed-boosts the team to the objective, how will you know where to meet? When Winston goes around the back of the map and fires up his ultimate, how else will you scream “ANGRY HARAMBE! ANGRY HARAMBE!”
A cheap pair of headphones with a mic are a worthy investment, and make all the difference between winning and losing.
If you aren’t accustomed to complex, team-based games, Overwatch has a steep learning curve. Don’t sweat it. Take some time to learn the maps, understand the team dynamic, and figure out your hero. Tell your teammates you’re new (just kidding, they can see your rank, noobs can’t hide) and that you’re a quick learner. Listen to their advice when the action starts.
Having fun out there is important because Overwatch is hard, and everyone on the team needs to be in sync. That means staying loose and talking out strategy, both of which are easier if you’re having fun instead of an aneurysm.