Overwatch: Tips for New Players

Now that Overwatch has been out for over a week it seems like a good time to step back and look at some of the basic things that new players could work on to improve their play. With that, here are six tips for new Overwatch players.

Prioritize Supports

Supports are the life blood of any team in Overwatch, and are you number one priority along with the objective. There’s little point shooting at anyone with a mercy or harmony orb healing them when all your doing is increasing their healing stat and, in the case of mercy, building their ultimate charge faster, A support should always be your first target, once they are dead the rest of their team suddenly becomes more vulnerable. Most supports are low hp and easy to pick off if they are out in open and unprotected by their team, which brings us to the second part of this tip: protect your own support. Most supports have few tools to help themselves against offensively stronger heroes attacking them, so it’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure you ward off any attackers and keep them alive. On top of that,  if you’re being healed by someone who can’t heal themselves in the middle of a fight (Mercy or Zenyatta) don’t take health kits, you’re being healed anyway, let them get it.

Don’t lose focus

A lot of new players, in all sorts of games not just Overwatch, get distracted by hunting kills and looking to buff their stats and medals. For most heroes, the few exceptions being those that are based around backline harass and pick offs , the objective is the number one purpose, and even those exceptions should be thinking about whether or not what they are doing is actually helping the push or defense at all. It’s all well and good having 30 eliminations but they mean nothing if you lose. Mechanical skill is important, but it can only get you so far in Overwatch, as as a game it has a large focus on team play and strategy based around the objective. The more people you have focusing on the objective, the easier your game is likely to be. A common example of this is defensive teams setting up a choke point slightly ahead of a control point, only to have a hero like Tracer or Genji get behind them and get capture time.

Change heroes

Swapping heroes in the middle of a match is one of the key parts of winning in Overwatch, with the game being majorly designed around the heroes, not the maps or game modes.. If you feel that you aren’t having an adequate impact on the match, like a sniper who’s struggling to get eliminations, a tank that’s dying all the time or a support who can’t keep their allies alive, change your hero. A lot of people will avoid switching heroes to preserve their ultimate percentage, attempt to build to an ultimate that may or may not help or for some weird pride in playing their “main”. Not swapping heroes can hinder yourself and your team, make sure you look at your impact in a game and change hero if it’s not enough, or if you’re being countered too strongly.

Learn every hero

Even if you have no intent on extensively playing a hero, you should learn them to an extent. Knowing what the heroes you’re facing can do is an important part of beating them. This also doesn’t necessarily mean playing them, although it would help, but just reading their skills, health, damage and cooldowns, on a resource such as the Overwatch Wiki can go a long way to increasing your success in the game. This will also go a long way to helping you learn which heroes are strong and weak against each other (something that will likely be gone into in a later article, or the hero specific ones) Again, the game is designed around the heroes, make sure you keep that in mind at all times. Some heroes such as Zarya and most supports need to know what both allied and enemy heroes will be looking to do in every situation so they can know when to shield, heal or damage buff them.

Know when to regroup

Of everything that could lead to a loss, a team running in and dying individually or in too small groups is high on the list. Making sure you can recognize when too many of your allies are dead for you to be effective in a defense or push is important, or you could end up in a cycle of deaths meaning you never have enough teammates alive to complete your objective. Taking the time to wait for respawns and making sure your whole team is alive and ready for a push is well worth it in the long run. Having said that, throwing a body or two at an objective in overtime with no other option is often a good idea.

Hero specific options

This is less a tip about game play and more drawing attention to some somewhat hidden options in the game. Under the control options there is a drop down menu that by default says “All heroes” but can be used to select any hero. This means you can change certain options for different heroes, but some heroes also have options only they have. For example mercy can turn on toggle heal so you don’t have to hold the button to heal or damage boost (and turning off “guardian angel prefers beam target” is recommended”), while Reinhardt can toggle his shield instead of holding right click, and both Soldier 76 and Zarya can see allied health bars all the time. Look at these options (as well as all the others) and make sure you’re comfortable with them and have what you feel is optimal.


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