A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Overwatch

This blog post was written by Siniša Bućan and originally published by UNIKRN.

Overwatch is Blizzard’s first foray into the first-person shooter genre and so far it is a resounding success. For those of you that haven’t been able to try out the closed and open betas, the game may prove to be a bit intimidating. After all, there are 21 unique characters all of which have their own skills and abilities.


Here are 6 tips to help you get started playing Overwatch:

Overwatch Tip #1: Begin with an Easier Character

Some characters in Overwatch are just easier to understand than others. As far as offensive characters are concerned, Soldier: 76 is a great gateway character. Anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter should know how to play him right away. On the defensive side, Bastion is a good pick. Just like Soldier: 76, it wields a straightforward submachine gun. Find a good spot and transform into a devastating stationary sentry that has the ability to repair itself. If you want to start as a tank character, try Reinhardt. His massive shield will protect you and your teammates as you slowly push the cart or take a point.

Overwatch Tip #2: Switch Characters

Try to distance yourself from the idea of having a “main” character. Just because Overwatch feels like a MOBA because it has a large number of different heroes, it isn’t one. It’s a team-based arena FPS with objective-based maps. Sometimes your team’s strategy just won’t be working and/or the opposing team will have all the right counters. Explore and learn other characters that best fit the current situation on the battlefield, don’t blindly stick to your “main” no matter what. Learning a character’s ins and outs will also make you better when facing one on the other team. For example, when you play as Genji, you’ll learn that he can deflect incoming fire right back at his enemies, something that isn’t apparent during a heated battle. That means that the next time you play Bastion, you’ll know better than to mindlessly shoot at Genji and kill yourself in the process.

Overwatch Tip #3: Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once

Sound plays a significant role in Overwatch, especially when it comes to enemy ultimates. Every character has a unique phrase that lets you know that they just unleashed their ultimate ability, which is usually extremely dangerous. Enemy battlecries are louder. The characters on your team will either have an alternate phrase or won’t say anything at all. For example, when you hear Pharah’s loud “Justice rains from above”, you’ll know that you need to get out of there and take cover (or take her out if you’re positioned to do so). Other sounds are important as well. Enemy footsteps are louder and each character has a unique-sounding footstep. The heavier they are, the bigger the enemy. This might not be audible during the thick of battle, but it might prove to be crucial in situations when you are alone in tight spaces.

Overwatch Tip #4: Disrupt the Enemy Team

One of the best ways to help your team secure an objective is to disrupt the enemy team. It’s almost always good to have a lone wolf (but never more than one) who will go behind enemy lines and pester the enemy team while your team takes the point or pushes the payload. The best characters to accomplish this are Tracer, Genji, D.Va and Winston. Tracer and Genji are extremely fast and mobile making them hard to hit and just annoying to deal with. On the other hand, D.Va and Winston are tanks with a lot of health. They can swoop in, make a mess, and then jump back out. Even if you don’t manage to kill anyone, it will be worth it as your team will have a chance to take the objective while your enemies are trying to deal with you.

Overwatch Tip #5: Support Your Support

First of all, give support characters a try. They may not be the flashiest characters (maybe Lucio fans will disagree), but they’re extremely important. Mercy, Zenyatta and Lucio provide healing and/or buffs that keep your team alive longer. Symmetra’s teleporter will get you into battle much faster and her lasers will slow enemies down. If you’re not playing a support character, but have one on your team, take care of them. Don’t leave support characters stranded and alone. It’s your job to protect Mercy when she gets attacked from behind. On the other hand, support characters should be your primary targets on the opposing team. The urge to kill an enemy that is shooting at you is great indeed, but you need to focus on that Mercy behind them. Otherwise, you’ll be dead soon.

Overwatch Tip #6: Play as a Team

This is probably the most important tip. This is a team-based game. Take a look at your team and choose a character based on team balance and possible synergies. You will rarely need more than one sniper on your team. If someone is playing as Reinhardt, make use of that and get behind his shield to easily take out enemy turrets or Bastion. If things aren’t going well and time is running out, group together and get on that point! This is such a common mistake. Players will go one by one into a highly defended area and provide easy kills for the enemy team or they will get distracted trying to kill an enemy instead of taking the objective.

Once you get into the groove and learn these basics, then you can start mastering the characters you enjoying playing the most!