Overwatch has, to say the least, been pretty popular. It’s near inescapable in every corner of the gaming universe, with it’s constant updates, plays of the game, funny instances, and overall competitive nature. Being from Blizzard it’s pedigree is also unmatched by other Triple A games. Lastly, it’s just plain fun! While the game’s been out for a few months many players have developed their personal strategies for each level, character, occasion, etc., but unless you’re playing the game consistently every day, there are some strategies you might be missing out on. Here are some tips and tidbits that have helped me jump from an average player to a slightly above average player!
Don’t be afraid to change your character. Seriously.
The biggest no brainer for competitive Overwatch player often goes unnoticed by casual gamers, but it can’t go on any longer. Overwatch is designed to give you the option to deal with any strategy your team throws at you at any time. Go back to your spawn room and change your character to deal with a certain situation. Bastion picking apart your Reinhardt? Swap out to Winston and jump over the robotic turret! Best of all, you can coordinate with your teammates to tackle the enemy in unison, oftentimes leading to much greater chances of success. Don’t hold back changing things up, don’t worry about your Ultimate being reset, and don’t worry about not knowing a character effectively enough to change: if you know how to take down the enemy, take them down. Also, there are plenty of fun characters to fit your playstyle, so experiment around and try to see who suits you best!
Always look for an alternate route into battle.
Every room and control point has a separate way to enter outside of the normal head-on route. Look for these entrances and flank your enemy. Some stages, like Hanamura, don’t have entrances every character can use, so switching to those characters that can reach them is useful. Widowmaker, for example, can quickly climb up a windowsill and start sniping from otherwise obscure locations. Characters you wouldn’t think of as having abilities to reach odd locations, such as Reinhardt using his charge ability up high to reach a distant platform, can throw a wrench in your enemy’s strategies. Experiment with what works and have fun flanking!
Reinhardt’s shield will absorb all damage until it shatters.
Something I figured out through playing Reinhardt a few times is that his shield will absorb the entire damage of the incoming attack. This is incredibly useful for blocking single-hit, high damaging attacks, such as D.Va’s Ultimate or Tracer’s sticky bomb. If you see one of these ult’s coming out and your Reinhardt has their shield up, get behind him and you’ll all live. Granted, this takes some coordination from Reinhardt, but if you’re playing him you can have your team really behind you and save their lives!
Sacrificing yourself might be the best option.
It’s natural to want to live in any game. Overwatch makes it even more fun when you go on elimination streaks by calling it out on screen. But sometimes the best way to tackle an enemy is by getting knocked off yourself. Use the skills of your character to your advantage to sacrifice yourself and save your team. If an enemy D.Va or Zenyatta is Ult’ing, Reinhardt can charge them out of combat (and maybe off a ledge!), and Mei can put up a nice Ice Wall to block off herself and the enemy team, saving your team valuable seconds! Like many tips this is very situational, but remember this is a team based game, and your goal is to win as a team and not an individual. You might not get a play of the game, but you might get bonus experience for winning the match!
Play the role your team needs.
Yeah, it might suck to have to run another Support character, but it might just be what you need to help the team win. There’s still plenty of fun to be had with a Support character, no matter how you like play. If you’re more offensive in your gameplay, try running Zenyatta during match. If you don’t want to heal but still need a healer, be Lucio, who’s passive healing targets your team without having to really do anything. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Overwatch so much is the class diversity. Even within a class there is such a variety of players you can easily find someone who fits your style. Yes, even Mercy is fun to play after you get used to her!
Keep your kill feed on.
I believe the game naturally has this feature turned on, but if you aren’t seeing it then I suggest going into your game settings and turning on the kill feed. It will show in the top right of the screen who was killed and how they were killed. Knowing when your team is all dead can let you plan your attack accordingly, and knowing when your enemies are all down can help plan your strike! This is also a nice way to see who is on your team and who is on the enemy team. Also, in case you didn’t know, you can hold the touchpad down and you can see your team and the enemy team at a glance.
Your team’s Ults are always in English. Enemy Ults are in their native language.
This can be a bit confusing at first, but it can help you a lot if you know what to listen out for. Essentially, if you hear a character shout out their Ult in a foreign language, such as Hanzo or Gengi’s in Japanese, then you can run for the hills because those are coming from your foes. If, however, you hear characters who normally speak other languages say their Ult in English, like when Hanzo shouts “Let the Dragon consume you!”, then you know that it is coming from your own team. This can get tricky when characters normally speak English (or whatever language you’re playing the game in). For example, Junkrat speaks English, and when an enemy Junkrat uses his Ult he’ll say “Fire in the hole!”, but if he’s on your team using his Ult he’ll say “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!” Through your persistent playing and observation you’ll learn soon enough what it all means. Also worth noting, enemy Ults are always played loudly, but your team’s Ults are heard relative to your location to them being unleashed. Here is a list of everyone’s Ultimate quotes.
Use the chat wheel to communicate with your team.
If you hold down on the D-Pad you can bring up a wheel with some common phrases to use during gameplay. These range from saying Hello and Thank You to more crucial tidbits like the status of your Ultimate gauge and requesting healing. Whenever you say these things there will be a cue on the screen for you teammates to see. It’s useful to see who says “Group up with me” and then find them faster on the map. Same goes for who needs healing and who has their Ult. The PS4 doesn’t have a simple way to communicate if you don’t have a headset, so this somewhat alleviates that necessity if you use it wisely!
Know how to counter the enemy.
Overwatch is built on team based strategies, and knowing how to counter the enemy team is key. The best way to counter an enemy is to know the enemy. Yeah, it’s philosophical but it’s true. If you’re struggling with a Torbjorn and his pesky turret, remember how you play Torbjorn and what that might mean. Maybe you’ll need to flank around the side and drop Torbjorn first, then his turret. It’s definitely easier said than done, but if you’re playing smart you can take out just about any threat coming your way. The best way to stop an enemy is a coordinated attack. Work with your team to time your Ults appropriately to take down the enemy team as one. On a more basic level, some characters are better suited at combating others. Tracer might be weak, but she’s pretty effective at taking down Reinhardt. Remember, don’t be afraid to switch your character to more effectively deal with the enemy!
Mercy can, and should, boost the attack of her allies!
Whenever your in a match you might be playing with a really good ally and you’ll remark, “Oh man, that was a good Zenyatta,” or “that was a good Zarya!” But the one thing I’ve seen that doesn’t happen near as much as it should is an effective Mercy. On the surface she’s a healer much like the Medic in Team Fortress 2. but she’s more than just a healer: her secondary fire on her Caduceus Staff boosts the damage of who it’s connecting with. This makes her so much more versatile and dangerous in any situation. Heal your tanks, then jump over and boost your offensive/defensive damage dealers, then jump back to healing. This will make your entire team more effective, live longer, and you’ll charge your own Ult faster! This list has been pretty general, but there are so many Mercy players, I feel like this is necessary reading for those players in order to achieve greatness!
Those are some of the hints, tips, and advice that I’ve gained from other players, reading strategies online, and playing hundreds of games! What are your strategies for victory? Is there something you’ve learned that helped you become a better Overwatch-er? Let me know in the comments!