15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

Getting started in Overwatch can be pretty daunting: there are so many heroes to learn, maps to memorise and loot crates to open, that it's hard to keep track of it all. But we have a few quick pointers that should help. Here are the things I wish I knew before jumping into Overwatch.

Start with an easy character

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

Some characters are easier to pick up than others. For players already familiar with shooters, I'd go with Soldier 76, Pharah, D.VA or Bastion at first. These are characters who are primarily concerned with shooting whatever is in front of them; you don't have to worry about about the nuances of your abilities or how to play the character as much as you might with other heroes. You can just jump in and hit the ground running, for the most part.

For those of you who like being helpful, support characters who are easy to pick up include Mercy, Lucio and Torbjörn. Mercy will click for anybody who has played Medic in TF2, as she has a similar healing beam. Lucio has a bit more versatility, in that he can swap between healing his teammates or speeding them up, his skates give him some good movement options and his sonic amplifier is surprisingly effective for a healer. Finally, Torbjorn can build defensive turrets capable of keeping enemies at bay. Just put 'em up and keep hammer away at them. It's simple, but fun.

Honestly, I'd suggest starting with support types before graduating onto more offensive characters, because support characters can contribute while keeping some distance from the action. This is a good way to familiarise yourself with map layout, and to safely observe how other characters play/interact with each other without having to repeatedly die over and over again.

Pay attention to team composition

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

You are a part of a team, which is to say, your choice on who to play affects other people. Thankfully, Blizzard has a built-in tool that judges your pick the second you highlight someone.

Don't take these yellow notices to the right as suggestions. Make an active effort to balance your class choice relative to what others are going with.

Follow the signs

When you start a match, you should see something like this:

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

Wanna find the objective? Follow the line.

Stick with your team

This is not Call of Duty. You can't just run around all by yourself and expect to rack up the kills, especially not when you're starting out. The best way to stay alive is teamwork, so find some buddies and stick with them.

Listen to the audio cues

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

Blizzard did a phenomenal job with the sound design in Overwatch, in that most of what you hear is mechanically useful to the player. Your character will gasp when you are low on health. Characters will also tell you when an enemy is behind you, or when there is a turret nearby, among other things. Heck, you can even hear enemy footsteps.

The most important audio cues you need to learn are Ultimates. Whenever a character pops an Ultimate, they will typically yell something first. The second you hear an enemy say things like "IT'S HIGH NOON", "NERF THIS" or "JUSTICE RAINS FROM ABOVE", you should quickly get the hell out of there before you die. Other call outs aren't deadly, but they're still worth learning — like when Mercy says "Heroes never die" before reviving teammates. For a full list, check this post out.

Go for the objective

Having a good kill/death ratio is nice, but it won't win you matches. You have to active capture points, move the payload or defend against attackers if you want to play Overwatch the right way. This means resisting the urge to just camp, or to chase down an errant player who isn't by the point and so on.

Learn the maps

The biggest things you need to know are:

  • The routes your enemy can take to the point.
  • Where an enemy can hide.
  • Where the healthpacks are located.

The last one is particularly crucial, because a health boost can completely turn the tide of an encounter. Whenever you see a health pack, make a mental note of it. You might need it at some point.

Try every character

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

You might have favourite heroes, and that's fine most of the time, but you will also experience matches where the only way you can progress is by countering specific characters. The best way to avoid getting stuck is to be familiar with everyone, at least on a basic level. That way, you can switch characters mid-match as needed. Versatility is your biggest asset in Overwatch, and in a typical match you should expect to change classes at least a few times depending on what you need to do.

Plus, being able to play as everyone makes the game more fun — it's harder to get bored when you have plenty of options, eh?

Use your environment

Use the payload to your advantage! It's possible to build turrets on the payload, or to ride it while shielding with, say, Reinhardt. The payload will also heal you, so stick close if you can.

It's also a good idea to build turrets near your objective, especially around corners, where the enemy can't easily see or destroy your handiwork.

Fiddle with your controls

Sensitivity is the obvious thing here, but for those of you on console, you may also want to reconsider remapping your jump button so that you can move, jump and aim all at the same time. Because jump starts out bound to the X button, you actually have to stop aiming in order to leap, which may not be ideal for quick reactions.

Aim for the head

Overwatch doesn't really tell you this, but yes, headshots do more damage than bodyshots.

Get rid of enemy healers

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

If there is a Mercy, Lucio or what have you on the other team, make sure to target them first before they buff/heal your enemies too much. A good support can make it impossible for your team to mount a successful attack.

Resist purchasing loot boxes

$US0.99 ($1.38) per box might seem cheap, but once you start, there's no going back. Take it from me. It's been less than 24 hours and I've already spent 14 additional dollars on loot boxes. :(

Play with friends

It's way easier to play as a team (and win) when you can coordinate with other players. And while Overwatch is friendlier than other games, there's no replacement for playing with a pal. Actually, the game gives you a small XP boost for playing with your friends, so make sure to send out those invites.

Outfit your hero

15 Things You Should Know Before Playing Overwatch

One of the best parts about Overwatch is customising everything, from your skin to your spraypaint to your emotes. Any time your hero gallery says you've got something new, check it out, see if you like the loot. Plastering the walls with your mark before a match starts, or doing an emote after a devastating play, are totally worth it.

Do you have any good tips for people starting Overwatch for the first time? Feel free to share in the comments!


    "Pay attention to team composition"

    One hundred times yes.
    Too often do I start a game, notice that we have no support or tanks and lock myself in as a support just for the other unchosen players to all go sniper.

    I think people keep approaching it more like a CoD game, where your class doesn't matter instead of like a MOBA where team composition is more important.
    You can't win the game by yourself.

      Team balance is critical. Last night I came up against a team with 6 Junkrats at the start. They were absolutely demolished as they couldn't break our defence to take the first objective. He has his place, but not great in a 1v1 firefight. Needed someone to be able to go in and pressure us.

      Knowing the maps, and the characters strengths has been critical.
      Symmetra is my favorite character, but only use her on defence objectives. Although there is an argument for capture to point objectives, where when attacking and moving a payload it is harder to set traps against the enemy. On capture the point, Lucio is awesome as he gives the speed boost at the start to get everyone there faster than the opposition. Then you can take them out 1 by 1 and setup for the cap.
      Really need to feel versatile with the characters to counter whatever is being thrown at you. Sitting on the payload with Winston is great in bursts, but if they contest the load and get set up, he will die very easily so you need to switch out.

      Lastly, playing the objective is needed, not worrying about KDA. Last night I was on Temple of Anubis, the second capture point has 3 entrances and our team was being dominated. The other team started pushing up hard to kill us just outside our spawn. I used a Tracer to get behind and get to the objective. The opposition could not get back in time to stop the capture.

      Flexibility and awareness of strengths and how they fit the objective would be my biggest tips. Then obviously outfitting the character, I mean does the win count if you don't look good?

      Was going to post a similar comment... nothing else in this article is anywhere near as important as Pay attention to team composition... for the love of god 5 bastions on a team is just ridiculous.

    I wish everyone took the sentiment to try every hero, seems like in quick-play people only ever want to play offensives or Bastion/Hanzo/Widowmaker and they all seem to think its call of duty and splinter off. hopefully after a month or so things will get better or if not theirs always competitive play.

    Last edited 25/05/16 12:06 pm

      My only gripe is that it takes hours to try out all the heroes to a reasonable level. I've tried about half of them so far. They play so differently that you really need to know them (by playing them) before you can successfully deal with them. I got pinged a couple of times by Symmetra's turrets before I realised what was killing me, and also didn't fully understand D.Va's ultimate for quite a few matches. It's all part of the fun, trying each hero, but I kind of understand why people want to stick with something they feel comfortable with and like playing.

    "Try every character"

    Nope. I refuse to Bastion on principle.

    One of the big things that dawned on me early on is this is not really a First Person Shooter but rather a First Person Action game. It's not always about landing sick headshots (although it can be with some) because a lot of character's roles revolve around doing other tasks to contribute.

    One of the big things that dawned on me early on is this is not really a First Person Shooter but rather a First Person Action game. It's not always about landing sick headshots (although it can be with some) because a lot of character's roles revolve around doing other tasks to contribute.

    During the Beta I was really enjoying myself. People were playing their roles, and games were fun.
    Now though, I've played a dozen games since launch and everyone has the dumb. People are just wandering off to get a good camping spot, while I'm left as Mercy pushing the damn objective and with no-one to heal. It's infuritating.

    I'm not sure if I'm also just getting unlucky but almost all of the games I've been playing since launch have been steamrolls with multiple Bastions, DVAs and the occasional "Press Q to Win" Reaper. I've been on both side of it, and it wasn't much fun.

      It might just be a case where the Beta had people actively looking to play who are familiar with FPS and objective based games and the launch has brought in a much larger community who will take time to learn the game and adapt, or will move on. I don't want to be critical of new players as don't want it to turn into a toxic community.

      In a couple of weeks it will probably start getting more competitive. Fortunately I am playing with a team, so if you can add some people it might increase your enjoyment.

      Honestly I haven' found this at all. Admittedly I didn't play the beta, but most groups are actively trying to work as a team (how effective we are is questionable, but people gotta learn). Occasionally I've got some duds, usually obnoxious dudes complaining how much the game sucks while simultaneously running off to die over and over.

      Playing on PS4.

    Honestly, I’d suggest starting with support types before graduating onto more offensive characters, because support characters can contribute while keeping some distance from the action.
    If there is a Mercy, Lucio or what have you on the other team, make sure to target them first before they buff/heal your enemies too much.I think there might be a bit of a conflicting message there.

    things u gotta know about overwatch:
    1. You're bad
    2. Everyone cares more than you

    #16 Play a round as 6 Torbjorns on Defense for Temple of Anubis. (jk, but honestly destroyed the other team like that! xD)

    Winston is love, Winston is life

    I've just started playing Overwatch and I've never really played any competitive games before. I'm just getting started and I keep getting matched up with people who are ranks above me, who I bet played the beta and tf2 and know what they're doing. I want to get good because I really enjoy the game, but when I do something stupid I get yelled at. I often recognize when I mess up and know what I need to do better, but getting screamed at by a bunch of nerds does wonders for my self esteem and makes me scared to pick up the game and play with others again. I can't keep playing the crappy AI in custom games because I'm too scared to play with people. I've done research on the characters and I recognize what I'm doing wrong. It's just taking me a while to implement my knowledge mechanically because of my lack of experience in competitive gaming and it really suck that I paid sixty dollars for a great game I'm too scared to play. I know I should probably just man up, turn off the auto join for voice chat, and try to ignore when someone calls me autistic garbage in chat. I know that maybe less people will be apt to get angry in quickplay when there's a competitive mode. I just wish there was a way I could play with a bunch of other noobs like me so we could help each other out and figure out what we're doing together instead of bitching at each other.

    is it addicting?

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