The entire community has hit fever pitch excitement over Blizzard’s newest first person shooter,Overwatch, and they have every reason to be freaking out. Overwatch is a fun and colorful romp that is both a love letter to the genre and a playable recollection of its illustrious history. Implementing many features from many non-shooter games, Overwatch provides enough “new” to get even the casual FPS player jumping into a matchmaking rotation. For those people, and even for long time FPS players who may not be used to the uniquities of this hero-based gunner, here are some basic things to keep in mind.
1. Try Everyone
This may be the one tip you’ll see everyone give for Overwatch all across the internet, and I urge you to spread your play time across the 21 heroes available. It’s a great idea, because your favorite characters may not have the right answers when you need them most. And, to even identify what those answers would be, you’d have to have a basic understanding of what each character can do. Who knows – after spending some time on character you didn’t know much about previously, you may find yourself a brand new favorite!
Generally speaking, I try to stay proficient with at least one character in each role. That way, you can always fill a space if necessary.
2. Be a Team Player
Playing like a team is the key way to win. This sounds obvious, but many folks forget about the fact that they are one of up to six people who have a job to do. Specifically, this means focusing on communication. Be it with the in-game emojis or over voice chat, reporting on the situation as often as possible will help your team stay up on the enemies’ more crafty maneuvers. There are so many ways for you to get out-flanked and out-maneuvered in Overwatch, and it doesn’t take very long to succumb to backstabbing gunfire ofReaper or long-range headshots from Widowmaker. If you see the enemy looking for an opportunity like this, call it out!
3. Know Your Role
Each Overwatch hero has a very specific set of skills, and it’s very important to know what they are good at.Mercy should never be hunting down kills – her side arm is for defense only, and her heals/buffs are way more important for the group. Also: know what your teammates’ jobs are and help them do it. WhenReinhardt’s shield is up, get behind him. Practice makes perfect when it comes to learning how to use a character to the height of their potential, but the most basic way to be proficient is to do what your character is made to do, and don’t stray too far from that.
4. Focus on Objectives
There is no team deathmatch in Overwatch. Chasing kills primarily might get you a Play of the Game replay, but mass murder wont get you and your team a win. Only objectives can do that. Everything you do should be in the interest of securing or holding an objective, or moving the payload along the track. You’re wasting time, otherwise. Set traps to counter the very predictable payload path. Search ledges and hidey holes to clear out snipers trying to impede you. Patrol around objective zones to keep the bad guys from regrouping. Just make sure it makes sense for the greater good.
5. Play to Your Environments
There are 12 maps in Overwatch, and each one of them are rife with twists, turns, open areas, and camping zones. The environment can be your biggest ally or your worst enemy, and keeping a mental note of each one’s hot spots – like choke points, health spawns, etc. – is key to getting the drop on opponents when they least expect it. Another good way to get in touch with your surroundings is to play characters who interact with it. Torbjorn and Symmetra both build turrets that stick into position, and their big strategies often involve finding ways to hide their presence until the very last moment.
BONUS TIP: Read the Comics
Personally, I’m a big comic book fan, so Blizzard dangling the six issue mini series designed to act as a prologue/lore explainer was something I was going to read regardless. That said, now that I’ve finished them, I couldn’t recommend them more. Many different writers and artists collaborated on the series, and the comics themselves are pretty high quality. They don’t take long to read and are enjoyable throughout.