Overwatch: Tips for new players

A couple of months ago, I wrote about my early experience with Overwatch. I had something of a rocky start, being pretty new to FPS in general, so the game took a bit of getting used to. However, a few weeks in, I found myself hooked, and when I broke my arm shortly thereafter, Overwatch was the game I missed the most.

I had a few issues with the game when I first started playing, though the loot boxes have recently been changed so that they almost never drop duplicate items. Though I’ve delved into the story and lore of the game through outside sources like the comics and animated shorts, I still feel there’s a place for single player or co-op story based missions in the game. I’ll keep hoping that Blizzard grants my wish somewhere down the line.

My biggest gripe with Overwatch, however, is that it does little to guide players as to what they should be doing or what they should pick. Without friends to guide me, I would probably still have very little clue as to what makes a good team composition or what works on certain maps or game modes. I’ve also discovered – by watching YouTube videos – that you can set up custom games with bots to explore specific maps or practice with different characters. I still feel a bit more in-game guidance would be nice. I’ll often group up with someone and have no idea what game mode they’ve chosen, only to be surprised when it’s random heroes or mayhem or something.

As such, I’ve put together the following list to help new players find their feet. Tips are in no particular order. I hope you find them helpful!

  1. Team composition is important. There are four types of heroes in Overwatch: support, tank, offense, and defense. Each fills a specific role, and in any given game, you’ll usually need at least one tank and one healer. Often in casual games, no one else is willing to take on these roles, so it pays to know how to play characters from each of the four categories. And, if someone else chooses your favourite hero, it’s good to have a backup choice!
  2. There are several different game modes:
    • Quick Play: The default casual game. Usually you’ll be capturing or defending several points or defending a payload. Though the game tries to match you up with people of a similar level, sometimes you’ll end up playing with or against vastly more experienced players.
    • Competitive: The not-so-casual aspect of the game. You’ll play 10 placement matches to determine your skill rating. You will generally be placed in games with players of similar skill rating, and players usually take the game more seriously in this mode.
    • Arcade: There is a rotating selection of game modes here, including capture the flag, deathmatch, random heroes and total mayhem, as well as any seasonal event modes. This is also where you can set up a custom game to explore certain maps or try out different heroes.
  3. Make use of the practice range and custom games to get a feel for different maps and different characters. In the heat of matches with other real people, you usually don’t have time to figure out how a character’s abilities work or where all the health packs are. It also helps to know what all the heroes can do, so you can play effectively with or against those heroes.
  4. Don’t panic, especially when your ultimate ability is ready. You don’t need to set off your ulti the second it becomes available. Often it’s better to wait and combo with a teammate’s ulti. Conversely, don’t save your ultimate indefinitely! You might want to murder or resurrect a whole bunch of players at once, but that’s not going to happen every time you use your ultimate. Sometimes just making the other team run away from your exploding mech is enough to allow your team to take the point, even if you don’t actually kill anyone.
  5. Communicate with your teammates. There are several hotkeys you can use to share the status of your ultimate, or request healing, and so on. If you plan to play competitively, it’s probably a good idea to get a mic set up, or at least join the voice channel so you can hear your teammates.
  6. Stay with your team – and the objective. Except in specific circumstances, having your team scattered about the map is going to make it very hard for the healer to heal you or the tank to protect you. Similarly, if you’re not on the point or the payload, you’re not contributing to actually winning the round.
    • Also, if you’re attacking (i.e. escorting) a payload, the payload will heal you if you’re close to it! Extra incentive to actually stick with the objective.
  7. Take breaks, especially if you’ve been losing a lot of games. Some people get angry when this happens (apparently this is called tilting), though I just get kinda sad. Either way, strings of losses can affect how you play, and will probably lead to even more losses… so take a break every now and then!

I hope these tips will help you on your way to some fun games in Overwatch. I’ve learnt a lot from playing with more experienced friends, watching YouTube videos, and of course, playing lots of games. Good luck!

Gamer, geek, LEGO fanatic. I also love Pathfinder RPG, The Sims, cross stitching, crochet, and sci-fi and fantasy movies, games & books. And animals.
  • blizzard games:
    the only winning move is not to play.

    • [but nice write up, and i hope other people who are actually new to the game and do want to try it read this.]

      • TriangularRoom

        Thanks! 🙂

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