Overwatch's Tracer Is The Best And I Love Her

Every character in Overwatch is different. It's one of the most obvious (and fascinating) things about the game. There are big characters, small characters, attack characters, support characters... and there's Tracer, my new total favourite character. Tracer is easily the most iconic Overwatch hero — she's was the "star" of the first big announcement movie and is more or less the face of the game — but for my first few weeks, I barely played as her. She's quick and squishy, designed more to harry the opposing team from behind than to survive a frontal assault.

When playing attack characters I tended to opt for more approachable alternatives like my mainstay Soldier 76, who basically plays like a slower, deadlier Tracer, or Reaper, who is yet slower and deadlier-er.

Playing Tracer well requires a significantly different approach from just about every other character in the game. (Genji seems closest, but I don't mess with Genji. Maybe if I start playing on PC.) She moves so quickly that it's easy to steer her off a cliff or into a wall, but if you plot your vectors properly, you can get in and out of almost any situation alive.

When I first started playing Overwatch I tried playing as Tracer, but I hadn't worked out her particular tempo. I died a lot, so I decided maybe I didn't like her. This was a mistake.

All Overwatch characters move to their own beat, constructed in the space between their movement speed, their reload speed and the timing on their ability cooldowns. Because of her three-part speed-warp ability, Tracer's beat has a few more subdivisions than most other Overwatch heroes. She takes a bit more getting used to.

I talked with a few of my friends who played Tracer a lot, and got a few tips. "Only shoot at people who aren't looking at you" was a good one. "Play routes that circle around to medkits" was also solid. "Remap your jump to the left shoulder button" has been helpful.

Here's what playing Tracer has amounted to, for me:

  1. Run around behind enemy lines, alone. (This is already unlike any other character I play.) When the rest of your team is attacking, pop out and shoot people really quickly. Always have an escape planned.
  2. Shoot people from range to freak them out but don't even worry about killing them. Distract from the main assault and count on your team's stronger characters to take out the enemies you distract.
  3. Keep a close eye on your rewind ability, and use it basically any time you take damage. Be sure you aren't running around in the same space too long, because rewind is much more useful if it takes you back to behind a corner or some other cover.
  4. Basically be a huge jerk, all the time, forever.

Some levels work really well for Tracer (anything with lots of interiors and doorways), some less well (anything with more open spaces). I have the most fun playing her on teams that are organised for a Reinhardt-led main assault. It's much less fun to play as her on a team primarily made up of fast-moving damage dealers, or one with multiple Tracers. (This is likely because I'm not actually very good at Overwatch and do better when the opposing team is distracted.)

Switching to Tracer has highlighted one of the best things about this kind of game — if you start getting bored, you can just switch to a character you never play. I'd gotten into a Soldier/Mercy/Reinhardt/Lucio groove for a while, and everything was starting to feel routine. Now I feel like I'm playing a whole other game, and I plan to be annoying the shit out of my opponents for many hours to come.


    Switching to Tracer has highlighted one of the best things about this kind of game — if you start getting bored, you can just switch to a character you never play

    So true! I'm not the best fps'er in the world by a long, long shot and usually get bored with MP shooters after a few days play (much as I want to love them) but Overwatch keeps drawing me back. It's super fun just trying out new characters and seeing what works. Except when you get some super-competitive asshat in quick play who starts slagging everyone off for their picks ... Thankfully doesn't happen that often. Quick play is for fun, go to competitive if you want to get super-cereal about it.

    (For the record, if I'm playing competitive I stick with a character I know I'm at least familiar with - I hesitate to say "good" - and that complements everyone else's pick, as much as I can anyway)

    She is my favourite. It doesnt matter if you are attacking or defending both games she excels at. U have lkost count how many times I have blinked or just backed off a cliff and just used rewind and think "phew hopefully noone saw that".

    the funny thing is while yes she is a jerk and meant to harass I find at least she takes skill it actually succeed, ure basically anyone can be the annoying mozzie but only a good tracer, with great aim and timing can do well. Unlike other jerk classes whose sole ability to be jerks revolves around auto-aim and no skill *cough* Torbjorn and Bastion and Soldier's ult.

    I really do try and play a lot of characters but I always end up back on Tracer or DVA. the only thing I dont like is that basically everything can one or two shot you in game, sure it makes things daring but I die more times not to other peoples skill but randomess. A stray rocket, a stray junkrat ball, a VERY lucky shot from Hanzo. Gosh so many lucky shots from Hanzo. Hell he doesnt even need to aim. heh

    Last edited 10/07/16 11:07 am

      Hahaha the Hanzos I play against seem like they can be facing the complete opposite way and headshot me. When I play him I can't even hit a target standing still.

    Tracer has been my go to character for a while now and I think if you are prepared to cop a lot of shit for now being on the payload or on the capture point etc. you can really start to flesh out some interesting plays with her.

    There have been multiple rounds where I would be berated by some idiot on my team for never being with the group and I would be like 'hey remember that time their mercy mass ressed the entire team? No? You're welcome' I would spend he whole time taking out mercy so she could not get her ultimate off and put pressure on he defensive line from behind. Thus making them work 2 fronts instead of being able to barrel down and focus on 1 main advance.

    He problem is she is mostly a solo character for what is a predominently team based game. And some people don't get it. Tracer is meant to be the invisible ally you never see but you know is doing good work from the side lines.

    But more than that she is also great at so many other rolls. Tank buster. Objective ninja. Mei troll troller. Smart nuke. She is just way more versatile than any other character I have played with. And she has very few counters if you can play well, which I don't always do.

    Playing as tracer your own worst enemy will be yourself for not being quick enough on rewind or rewinding into your own bomb or rewinding right I front of road hog etc.

      I have no problem with a genji or tracer being MIA from the payload/cap, that's their job; what gets my goat is when THE WHOLE TEAM is off chasing kills at the spawn and noones defending ... Fine if they actually stop the team but HEY THEIR WHOLE TEAM IS ON THE POINT WHERE ARE YOU GUYS...

      Especially Torbjorns and Bastions, yay great you set up in side alley near their spawn, hows about setting up your turret covering the OBJECTIVE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING

      Sorry.... Rant over

        Yep. A lot of the time it's really easy to slip past the defenders front line and cap from behind because nobody was actually paying attention to the obj

        All good, rant away. One of the most frustrating things is that exact "decision" on Hanamura defense. There is a the perfect choke point at the start with the big door and window, yet people keep going out to try and hit the attack from the spawn, die and give up the point. The odd Tracer or Genji, sure, but Reinhardt's and Bastion's... people don't think.

    Tracer is the worst and I hate her.

    Tracer is my main too but on PC, so I feel like she might play a bit differently. I'm definitely a bit more aggressive with my Tracer, but I've been playing her for awhile now and am experienced enough at it to make it work.

    I think the most difficult thing as a Tracer is you'll rarely get love from your allies when you do great. What you will get though is the enemy calling you annoying, which is a compliment. You will also get enemy teams that call you great. The enemy team is the best one to know how well you are doing as a Tracer, because your whole job is to disrupt and disorganize.

    Another hidden talent is you might be able to keep a game in overtime for awhile until your team can come back and take the advantage. You can do this by weaving in and out of checkpoints, or around the payload depending on the map you are on. I've managed to keep resetting the overtime counter in a King of Hill game once, until it won us the game. I was weaving between all 6 of the enemy team, freaking out, but I had to keep the point going.

    Additional Tracer Tips for Those New To the Hero (PC primarily):

    - Blink Management: Do not blow all your blinks before jumping into a fight. You'll always want to have two blinks going into a fight, preferably three. The exception to this rule is if Overtime clock is running and about to end, it may require you to blow your blinks.

    - Reload Between Blinks: The reload still happens even while blinking, so you can "reduce" your reload time and up your shooting time. Tracer has small clips so this is really good to master.

    - Listen to Tracer: If you hear Tracer gasp, this means she's injured. As soon as you hear it, rewind. This will "double" your health pool. As you get better the rewind will become second nature and you will be able to determine when to rewind. The vocal queues will remain important.

    - Learn Health Pack Locations: Tracer is a lone wolf and it's dangerous for the healer to come to you in most cases. Your healer is the lovely health packs. The author of the article touches on having you paths around these. Most maps leave you multiple options/areas for health packs, and as a Tracer, you can get to them easily and get back out in a blink..... oh god. Honestly this one only comes with experience but keep the packs in mind as you learn the maps.

    - Don't Get Discouraged: I know this is an obvious but if you really like Tracer and want to get better at her you have to keep practicing. If you go up against a better Tracer, don't let it make you not want to play Tracer, let it inspire you to be one like that Tracer. That's all :)

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