Here's 5 Heroes To Get You Started In Overwatch

If you're not aware: Overwatch is the biggest release this week. You'll probably be aware of that since it's pretty much being plastered on buses and billboards just like A Typical AAA Shooter. Problem is, Overwatch is a little more character-oriented than a standard shooter — and not every character is suitable for every situation.

On top of that, some characters are more complicated to play than others. So if it all seems a little daunting, or you didn't get much experience during the game's closed and open beta phases, here's five heroes that any average gamer can get started with when Overwatch launches tomorrow morning.


Overwatch is first and foremost an objective-based game. It might be fast paced and plenty of characters pack a heavy punch, including the support heroes. But if you want to win, you'll need to either capture a point, push enemies off a point or nudge a payload forward. And to do that, you need someone who can hang around a while.

Reinhardt with his massive hold-down-one-button shield is the perfect tool for the job. He was one of the first heroes Blizzard ever revealed, and he's purpose built for giving yourself and teammates the room to navigate through chokepoints and tricky situations without getting slaughtered.

Reinhardt has his counters, of course: Symmetra can shoot directly through his shield, Junkrat can lob grenades over the top, and Tracer can blink around Sauron's jacked up cousin for days. The shield will often get you close enough to drive an enemy into the wall, however, and Reinhardt's Flame Strike does a hefty amount of damage without needing to be in melee range.


My Name Is Pharah. I Have A Giant Rocket Launcher.

That's genuinely all you need to know about the Egyptian Quake 3 representative. Pharah sounds incredible on paper: you have a giant rocket launcher that does more damage than its DOOM equivalent (on a direct hit, anyway). Your secondary ability can blowback enemies, useful for separating healers from their targets, and your primary ability that launches you into the air.

On top of that, your basic jump functions as a jetpack. It's more useful for hovering in the air than vaulting from place to place, but it beats being stuck to the ground. And it's also handy for staggering your position mid-air, something which is necessary to avoid becoming a completely easy target for the snipers (Hanzo, Widowmaker, McCree) of the Overwatch world.

Soldier 76

There's a reason why Generic Shooter Bro is the character you play through the tutorial. He's the most akin to a character you'd find in any other FPS, with a standard assault rifle, a healing ability with AOE properties, and an ultimate that functions quite literally as an aimbot.

That's already a handy start, but it gets even better when you realise that Soldier 76's default attack doesn't have any recoil. Provided you keep bursting his assault rifle, all your bullets will hit their point (holding down the trigger for longer increases the bullet spread, however).

The secondary Helix Rockets is one of the most versatile and damaging secondary attacks in the game, doing 120 damage on impact. That's enough to nearly kill off the majority of support characters. Finally, Soldier 76's Sprint ability is one of the more flexible movement abilities and is useful in just about any situation.

His backstory might be boring and his animated short might be the most dour Blizzard's produced to date, but he's a bloody versatile character to play. There's literally almost no situation or combination that can prevent him from making a contribution to the game, and if you're just starting out you could do a lot worse than picking Shooter Bro.


The problem with playing a dedicated healer — like Mercy — is that you don't do a great deal else. Your heals are great, but your attacks are pretty weak and a poorly timed ultimate can bugger up everything.

Zenyatta's a little different.

The spiritual Omnic monk is a weird healer. It's fire and forget: you simply aim at a teammate, press a button to give them health over time, and then you just have to keep them in your line of sight.

Zenyatta's Orb of Discord works a similar way — fire it at an enemy and keep them in your sight to amplify the amount of damage they take from allies. It's an excellent anti-tank weapon, particularly against heroes like Roadhog or Pharah that need to be visible and exposed to do their jobs.

But the best part about the contemplative robot is just how much damage it can deal out. The primary fire does 45 damage per hit, while the secondary can be charged up to fire out 5 orbs that does 35 damage each. You can't keep the secondary charged permanently, however, so newer players are best off spamming the primary fire.

There's also the small part of Zenyatta's ultimate: it grants invulnerability to Zenyatta and all allies within a decent radius for 5 seconds. It's a genuine lifesaver when it comes to a final-second fight on the capture point or if you're trying to squeak the payload a few extra metres to the checkpoint, and your teammates will be grateful.


In a month or so, everyone will have worked out what to do against a Turret That Can't Move. But in those first few glorious weeks, especially if you're playing on console, picking Bastion and sneaking around into the right locations is a surefire recipe for mopping up Overwatch tears.

There's not a great deal of nuance or strategy to the robotic turret. One button fires a rifle. Another button transforms Bastion into an immobile turret that fires a bigger rifle. A third button heals you in either mode, and the ultimate ability is a tank with a massive cannon that basically kills anything even remotely within the explosion radius.

It's ridiculously easy to use and not that difficult to combat. But as the open beta proved once again, plenty of people still haven't worked out what to do. That makes Bastion a perfect choice for beginners, and once you've learned the map you can have quite a bit of fun setting up and taking down your turret in bizarre locations for free kills.

Provided you move on a fairly regular basis, there's no reason you can't lay waste to an entire game as Bastion. Just don't do the beginner thing of sitting in one spot for the entire game — that's not going to win you any friends.


    You chose Zenyatta over Lucio? A guy who buffs his team by just being there?

      Lucio is one of the hardest characters in the game to play properly. You won't find me arguing against the fact that he should be in every team, but he is absolutely not one of the first heroes you should play if you're just starting out with the game. There are easier choices.

        The only hard thing about Lucio is his wall ride, which I don't think I ever saw people do (and it's not like there's that many good places to use it).

        Have to agree with Neo here. Zenyatta is so squishy, and lacking in escape abilities. He's great when played well, but he should not be the first support you try out. At all. Lucio was just so much easier to play well than Zenyatta. Perhaps his playstyle didn't suit your tastes, and that's why you find him so difficult to play, but I doubt you'll find many who agree. Skate around, shoot enemies, knock them off things, whilst AoE healing your team without effort. Plus your knockback and speed boost provide much better escape opportunities, which you'll need as support as you're the first target nine times out of ten.

          I didn't say I personally found him difficult to play, but for people who are just picking up Overwatch for the first time it's a hard sell to say that Lucio will be more easily understood than Zenyatta.

          It's not a comparison of which character is better, but which one is better for someone who knows nothing about Overwatch. When you know the maps more and become more accustomed to the flow of the game, Lucio is much more versatile. No argument there.

            True, but the issue I found with Zenyatta being so squishy is that many new players get shutdown hard. It's harder to get a feel for the maps and the flow of the game when you are obliterated right out the gate. Lucio, at least in my experience, has more utility and survivability for newbies than Zenyatta, thereby allowing them more up-time to play and learn.

            I understand that not everybody will have had the same experience as myself, so it could well be that Zen works better for some, but for the majority of the Beta, newbies rolling Zenyatta on my teams died quickly, and frequently, before swapping out to a different hero.

              Fwiw I was pretty terribad at most of the game but instantly decided DJ Dubstop was one of the worst :P

              Meanwhile Dhalsimbian seemed pretty decent.

              Last edited 23/05/16 10:07 pm

    Pharah is a great class for starters, just boost up and use your jump to keep yourself afloat and spam rockets all over the place, direct shots, speculative corner shots, whatever! just be aggressive.

      I wouldn't say that. You REALLY gotta make sure the enemy is looking in another direction and/or your team is keeping them occupied or you will die VERY fast doing that :P Hit and run, flanking and surprise attacks are good. She's got a rocket launcher sure but.. she's ultra fragile. If the enemy sees you and you activate an ultimate, well I don't think I've seen her not instantly die more then a few times :P

        ehh... you'll learn through hard knocks when you overextend or playing just straight dumb mostly saying she is great for starters the rest comes naturally.

    personally I would argue that Mercy is exactly what you should go for if you're starting out as support. it's a very traditional healer so it means you can afford to pay more attention to the map and your 5 other team members

    nothing worse than being overwhelmed trying to understand your class, your map and how you interact with your other team mates simultaneously in a 10 minute window

      I actually found her to be the trickiest of the three healers to get used to, maybe it's just my personal style but I kept trying to swap targets constantly and dying out in the open. After a bit more practice with her though, she's probably my favourite of the three now.

        ah I'm a traditional MMO healer so maybe that's why it clicked for me so fast but each support has their own playstyle so it's pretty easy to find one that suits you

    I found Lucio to be one of the best heroes to start with, for support at least. Can do a decent amount of healing (and some damage/general team support) with barely any effort/knowledge at all and as you get the hang of when you switch up his songs/use the boosts you can be pretty powerful - especially for attacking/pushing payloads.

    Also, slightly off-topic but I found it really helpful as a new player in the open beta, Unit Lost has been doing a whole series of hero guides, map guides and even just some general tips videos for the game (like about when to switch characters and some of the helpful options that are off by default). Might be handy for someone:

      Agree about Lucio, i started out with him and found him quite good. Also little tip for anyone, certain heroes have special options available to them, Lucio you can make the sprint buff only happen whilst holding shift (or whatever you have it mapped to) and it'll automatically go back to healing when released. Helps when you're starting out so you don't forget to be in healing mode, also follows the shooter model of holding a button down to sprint.

      Edit: Derp, should of read everything you said.

      Last edited 23/05/16 3:33 pm


      Lucio was both fun, and easy to get my head around. Made a few Play of the Game moments with him as well, which was nice.

      Unit Lost have been a god send for Overwatch. Tips and tricks for a number of heroes helps play as them, or against them.

    Solid list. I'd also include Junkrat in there as well for beginners. His ult is perfect for standing back and groups out

      I think Junkrat's easy if you've played a bit of TF2 or something similar but if not, he'd probably be a fairly complex character early on. Everything revolves around explosive timing and placement of traps/mines, not quite a simple 'point and shoot'.

    Soldier76 and Bastion (Less bastion then Soldier since Bastion needs to be covered by friendlies to not die) sure but Phara? You kidding? Phara's not as tricky as Tracer to learn initially but she'll still die FAST if you aren't careful and clever.

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