So you’ve read the favorable reviews, you’ve seen the gorgeous cinematic trailers on YouTube, or you’ve seen one of your favorite Twitch streamers play, and you’ve decided to buy Overwatch. There’s one problem, though: You don’t have any idea how to play!
Overwatch is an incredibly appealing game, so it’s only natural that at least some of the people who play it will not be veterans of the first-person shooter genre or of team-based multiplayer games. But if you’re one of those people, you can enjoy the game just as much as the veterans, with just a few pointers to get you started.
Some of these tips will seem obvious to veterans of the beta, or to genre fans. But that’s okay! What’s obvious to them is not always obvious to the beginner. So, just like we did with our World of Warcraft beginner’s guide, we’ll ease the complete beginner into Overwatch! Here are some tips that will get you started off on the right foot.
Work With Your Overwatch Team
One of the things which separates Overwatch from the other first-person multiplayer shooters on the market is the element of teamwork and strategy involved. In Overwatch, individual glory is incidental and not necessarily the objective. If you want to win matches, you must play your part in the battle no matter what your role is.
This means you must think carefully when selecting your player. A team full of support characters will not be able to gain much ground, while a team of offensive players will be easily cut down with no tank support. Instead, work with your team! Nobody can carry a game all by themselves, so dust off Discord or whichever voice chat app you prefer and get to know each other.
Be Smart, Not Fast
Because shooters are generally paced around moving quickly and thinking on your feet, it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that a game like Overwatch is all about pushing ahead and maneuvering quickly around the map. You can find fast-paced shooters like that all over the market, and if you’re used to those, you might try to play Overwatch the same way.
This would be a mistake. You must carefully plan your position on the map, and know both the battlefield around you, and how to avoid being stampeded by the opposing side. This is especially critical for some of the support characters, as they need to be in the optimal position to buff as many teammates as possible.
Winning Overwatch Isn’t Everything
In Overwatch, you get experience points just by being in a match, finishing matches, and earning medals. So while you do get a big XP boost from winning, you will still get your experience just by being a part of the fun, rather than from getting the most kills or gaining the most ground.
To put it another way, the players who get the Play of the Game are not necessarily the ones with the highest killstreak (though they can be). You’ll have an equal chance of getting it if you do something to get your teammates out of a tight spot or interrupt an opponent when they’re about to seize an objective. So you’ll be congratulated for being smart even if you didn’t win.
Play More Than One Overwatch Character
It’s common for people who play games like League of Legends to have a single character that they “main,” whose playstyle suits them best. While it is possible to have a character that you just enjoy playing and who you can play very well, there will inevitably come a match where playing as them is not a good option.
You might love playing as Tracer, but suppose you join a team on which someone is already playing that character. While it’s true that there are strategies that could make use of dual characters like that, it’s in the best interests of both you and your team to try a different character. Vary your approach! Try a character you otherwise wouldn’t play, and see what happens.
Check out our guide to every Overwatch hero if you need a primer on them.
Be Imprecise (Unless You’re a Sniper)
I take that back actually: Snipers be imprecise too… please! But speaking seriously, you are incapable of running out of ammo, as it is infinite. Also, several attacks do area-of-effect damage and there’s no need to worry about precision. Precision of positioning, yes, but not necessarily of each bullet.
Can you still go for headshots? Absolutely! But it’s not strictly necessary to make sure your shots will connect before you fire them. Spray bullets from the hip all you like and don’t bother to slow down if you don’t want to. Use the map to your advantage and duck around corners to keep yourself from taking too much damage, because Overwatch has maps that can be compared to some of the very best maps in gaming history.
Use Your Ultimate
Having an ability called an “ultimate” makes it sound very special. If you are a conservative player, or you are coming from another sort of game where using your super-powered move at the wrong time can ruin your whole play, you might be reluctant to use your ultimate except in the direst and/or obvious situations.
Don’t hold yourself back! Your ultimate is there to be used, and it’s better to use it and take out one target than to never use it the whole match. If you’re a support character, using your ultimate at every available opportunity could mean the difference between failure and victory.
Overwatch is sheer, bubbly fun and brims with personality. That alone sets it apart from other, more banal FPSes on the market. If you approach it with the same attitude it brings, then you might find yourself clicking with it even more than before.
Are you playing Overwatch? Do you have any recommendations for those who are just starting to play for the first time? Once you get comfortable, consider playing competitive Overwatch!