Overwatch is the least overwhelming game with tens of colorful heroes and millions of people playing incessantly. Still, it’s not like anything else out there. It’s not a typical shooter, nor a MOBA, nor even a heartwarming point-and-click adventure starring a gorilla in glasses. Here are some tips to help you wrap your head around it.
For some advice that’ll put you on even footing with everyone else, read Patricia’s post about the 15 things you should know before you start playing Overwatch. That should be your first step. If you’re past the point and want some more specific advice, proceed onward.
When in doubt, switch characters. Don’t wait until the end of a round to do it, even though that’s what a lot of other shooters train you to do. If you’re getting rekt like an old building or a new car driven by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, try another character. If you’re not sure who to go for, ask your team what they need help with at the moment. If one of your teammates decides to be a dick because how dare you not know everything about the game a few days after it came out, kindly remind them that you’re just trying to help, because that’s how you win in Overwatch. Odds are, your other teammates will have your back on that one.
For a lot of people, this one is tough. They either want to jump straight into the action, or they have crippling social anxiety. Overwatch, though, a game where communication can make all the difference in the world. Let people know where you’re going, what your plan is. If the other team has you stuck at a chokepoint, suggest a coordinated assault or a specific strategy instead of individually banging your head against an impenetrable defensive wall. I see tons of people only use their keyboard or mic at the end of a match. They say something like, “That was bullshit.” Yeah, of course it was, buddy. And it’s partially your fault. Nobody talked, and everybody died.
Go for the annoying ones first. Turret pissing you off? Sniper ruining your day? Healer turning the enemy tank into an unflinching bullet sponge? Not so coincidentally, that’s probably also a large part of why your team’s not progressing through a level or getting shellacked on defense. If you can identify the biggest threat, don’t assume somebody else is gonna handle it. Switch characters and do your part instead of just hanging back and racking up kills.
Be a team player. Overwatch is a game that tries to put just as much emphasis on completing objectives, supporting, healing, and countering as it does plain old killing. Even if you graduated from high school with a Most Likely To Be A Professional Assassin award, try playing a support, defender, or tank. They’re fun roles that are often faster-paced and more versatile than in other games.
Don’t be afraid to lose. Overwatch is a game where the spoils of defeat aren’t terribly far removed from the spoils of victory. On top of that, the chances of a big comeback are surprisingly high. Just last night, I was in a match where the enemy team needed one more second in a captured location to win a round, but I distracted them with Mei while my team picked them off. Then we held the point all the way from zero and won. It was thrilling. I’d never played with any of those people before, but I wanted to hug each and every one of them. Overwatch is designed to enable those sorts of moments, so don’t lose hope just because things aren’t going your way.