Overwatch Character Game Guide
Blizzard’s class-based shooter, Overwatch started out as a runaway hit, pulling in more than 7 million players in its first two weeks, and grown into a massive cross-media cultural phenomena sub-culture, complete with cosplay, comics, and a thriving erotica scene. What makes Overwatch so compelling? As you might expect from a developer like Blizzard, it’s a well-made shooter, and its 24 unique characters give every type of player a fun way to play, whether they prefer to rush headlong into enemies, snipe them from afar, or keep allies alive. Moreover, it’s surprisingly accessible, with mechanics that are easy to grasp, but difficult to master. So of course we had to make a cutting edge Overwatch Character Game Guide.
Although Overwatch is relatively simple compared to other team-based games like Dota, newcomers may still find there is a lot to take in. For those who want to jump in but would prefer not to sink before learning to swim, here is our Overwatch Character Game Guide, with explanations for the various characters and tips for improving your game.
Overwatch Character Game Guide: Roles
Overwatch Character Game Guide Character Class: Offense
Characters in this category excel at taking objectives, picking off enemies and weaving through their defenses. Offensive characters tend to have movement abilities, allowing them to get to their targets quickly, and will usually be the primary damage-dealers on the team. However, these characters also have low health; players will need to maneuver properly, flanking enemies and avoiding fire, or they will quickly end up dead. Here is our Overwatch Character Game Guide for offensive characters.
One of Overwatch’s sneakiest characters, the hacker Sombra, has a set of skills built around evading enemies and neutering their abilities. Her first ability, Hack, renders the target unable to use their abilities for a brief time; she can also hack health packs to make them useless to enemies, and hack turrets to disable them. Her second ability, Thermoptic Camo, makes her invisible and faster for a short period of time, but taking damage or attacking will end the effect.
Sombra can also throw a Translocator, which she can then teleport to at any time, even if it is in the air. Finally, her ultimate ability, EMP, activates a massive explosion around her that destroys all barriers and hacks any enemies within range. Although her damage is not outstanding, she can leave enemies nearly helpless by disabling their abilities. A talented Sombra player should poke at enemy defenses, opening holes that her team can then exploit.
Quick to move and quick to kill, Genji is a nimble character suited for flanking and quickly taking out high-priority targets. Genji can double-jump, as well as run up walls, allowing players to navigate levels with ease. Genji’s ultimate ability, Dragonblade, replaces his shurikens with a sword that deals massive damage at close range. Although he has low health, Genji’s speed and ability to deflect incoming projectiles means skilled players can dance through enemy teams without fear of dying. Players who choose Genji ought to focus on tearing up the enemy supports, or else creating a distraction so their team can advance.
McCree is a sharpshooter who is great at quickly killing enemies from close or mid range. His flashbang lets him stun an opponent, after which he can quickly drop their health by emptying his revolver into them. McCree’s gun is very accurate, rewarding skilled shooters. Although not built to survive much damage, McCree’s combat roll lets him dodge incoming attacks; even better, rolling automatically reloads his weapon. He is a character best suited for quickly eliminating low-health targets.
Armed with a jetpack and a rocket launcher, Pharah can rain havoc on opponents, hitting them from places they didn’t expect. Although she can kill most characters quickly, Pharah herself is quite vulnerable, particularly when flying. Her slow flight speed make her an easy target for snipers. Her ultimate, Rocket Barrage, causes her to hover in place while firing hundreds of rockets forward, dealing enormous damage, but leaving her open. Best paired with characters like Zarya or Mei who can immobilize enemy teams.
Wielding two shotguns, Reaper is a lethal close range character. His abilities, which include short-range teleportation and “wraith form,” give him multiple ways to close in on enemies and sneak up on unwitting opponents. Reaper’s high damage at close range makes him good for taking out enemy tanks, especially if he can get behind them. His ultimate, Death Blossom, can be difficult to pull off as smart teams will kill or stun Reaper the moment he jumps into them. By using stealth and high vantage points, however, Reaper players can potentially wipe out entire teams.
A good pick for new players, Soldier: 76 is a well-rounded offensive hero, with a nice bag of tricks, including a healing field and the ability to sprint. His assault rifle and ability to lock-on to enemies enables him to deal with threats easily. His ultimate ability causes his bullets to home in on enemies, which is useful for eliminating quick targets like Tracer. His versatility also means that he can fit into most lineups, but as a jack 0f all trades — pardon the cliche — he really is a master of none.
One of the most agile characters in the game, Tracer’s ability to move through space and time makes her incredibly difficult to pin down. She can blink (a short-range teleport) up to three times in quick succession. She can also jump backwards in time, returning to wherever she was a few seconds ago and restoring her health and ammo to whatever they were at the time. She is great at harassing and distracting opponents, allowing slower teammates to move get things done, and players who time her abilities well can stay alive through all sorts of firefights.
The robot Bastion can switch between a mobile soldier form and a devastating turret form, allowing him to hold choke points against entire teams. In turret form, Bastion can fire a constant stream of bullets that will shred anyone in sight. However, he is also immobile in this form, meaning snipers and characters that can get behind him are effective counters. In tank form, Bastion fires explosives that can quickly tear teams apart.
Hanzo is a crafty archer with a quiver full of unique arrows that can disrupt opponents. Scatter arrows will wreck enemies in tight corridors, and sonic arrows will reveal any nearby enemies. His normal arrows are quiet and deal high damage, allowing him to snipe enemies without giving away his location. He can also climb walls, allowing him to quickly reach good sniping spots. His ultimate ability, Dragonstrike, does huge damage, and its wide area-of-effect can force teams to move off of objectives.
Armed with grenades, mines, and bear traps, Junkrat can turn any map into the house from Home Alone. His bear trap immobilizes any enemy who steps on it, rendering them easy prey for any character who needs to line up their shot. It also alerts Junkrat when they step on it, so it can function as a security device of sorts. Junkrat is an excellent character for halting enemy advances and closing off flanking routes. His RIP-tire is a remote controlled explosive that can climb walls and deal incredible damage.
Mei is a unique character capable of freezing enemies and blocking objectives with her endothermic blaster. (That’s a fancy way of saying “ice beam”) Her primary weapon slowly freezes opponents, eventually rendering them immobile. Mei can also create an impenetrable wall of ice, which is good for closing doorways or splitting enemy teams apart. When in danger, she can freeze herself in a block of ice that blocks all attacks. Her ultimate is a massive area-of-effect that slows and quickly freezes enemies who stay in it, which can be devastating against teams trying to take an objective.
For those who like Overwatch but wish it was more like a tower-defense game, there is Torbjörn. This industrious Swede can collect scrap on the battlefield and build turrets that automatically fire on enemies. He can also create armor for his allies that reduces the amount of damage they take. Torbjörn’s ultimate, Molten Core, gives both his turret and himself a huge amount of armor and increased damage. Although his own projectiles are slow, they do surprising damage.
No FPS would be complete without a sniper. Widowmaker’s rifle can be charged to increase its damage, and a fully-powered shot can easily kill an opponent in a single hit. Of course, she is also frail, so players will need to keep far from opponents, using long range to safely pick them off. Widowmaker also has a grappling hook, allowing her to reach secluded perches, and a mine to protect her from sneak attacks. Her ultimate reveals all enemies, regardless of where they are, allowing teammates to get the jump on them.
Overwatch Character Game Guide CHARACTER CLASS: TANK
The front line of any team, a tank’s job is twofold: Soak up damage for your softer teammates, and charge into the enemy, breaking their ranks. Tanks may not get as many kills as their teammates, but by shattering enemy defenses, they can decide the course of a battle. Here is our Overwatch Character Game Guide for tank characters.
The newest tank, Orisa, is a true defensive powerhouse. The centaur-style robot is large, but she’s still rather spry on her feet. Her main role is serving as a portable barricade for allies, as she can create a physical barrier to guard teammates. To protect herself even more, her Fortify ability decreases damage taken and negates action-impairing effects. She can also corral enemies using a remote-detonated ability called Halt!, which creates an explosion and pulls nearby opponents into its wake. Her ultimate ability, Supercharger, gives Orisa’s whole team some offense support, provide a temporary 50 percent damage boost to anyone in her line of sight. Her weapon, the Fusion Driver, fires a beam capable of connecting from afar, but slows her movement speed when fired.
With her twin cannons that deal greater damage as she gets closer to her opponent, D.Va is an aggressive tank, one that’s also good at jumping on fragile targets and demolishing them. D.Va is also essentially two characters. In her mech suit, she has thrusters to move quickly and knock over enemies, two cannons that fire spreads of pellets, and a shield to block incoming projectiles. While her barrier is short-lived, it can completely neutralize even the most powerful projectiles, including Zarya’s Graviton Sphere. If her suit is destroyed, she hops out and fights on foot, using a surprisingly powerful laser pistol. While it’s a risky maneuver, D.Va’s ultimate ability causes her mech to self-destruct. Enemies near the blast don’t stand a chance, unless they have their own defensive ability.
The only cover better than a wall is a wall that moves, like Reinhardt. This bulky German knight can create a massive force field to stop projectiles, allowing him to function as a mobile fortress for his team. Reinhardt is no slouch when it comes to fighting, either. His hammer does massive damage to anyone he catches with it, and he can charge at enemies, pinning them to walls. Fire Strike allows him to hit distant foes, but the long cooldown means Reinhardt should use it sparingly. Earth Shatter can stun an entire team if aimed properly, leaving them vulnerable, but it does not pass through shields or obstacles.
Zarya is a unique tank who can absorb damage for herself and teammates. As she does, her own weapon becomes more powerful. Skilled Zarya players can keep their teammates alive early in a fight, then use that energy to become a killing machine later on. Zarya can be more difficult to use properly than other tanks. Her barriers last but a brief time, so using them precisely is crucial. Her ultimate ability, Graviton Surge, pulls in nearby enemies and holds them still for a few seconds. It’s a great set up to use in tandem with high-damage ultimate skills, such as Hanzo’s Dragonstrike.
As a tank aimed at blitzing the enemy ranks, Winston is fast, acrobatic, and does heavy damage at close range. His jump jets allow him to quickly close the gap between enemies, and his weapon, the tesla cannon, does constant damage to everything in front of him. Winston can also drop a massive bubble shield that blocks projectiles. His ultimate turns him into a massive, brawling beast whose punches can send players flying; great for getting enemies off control points and even knocking them off the map.
Roadhog is an odd bird among the tanks, as he lacks any sort of shield to protect his allies or himself. Instead, he focuses on pulling enemies out of position using his hook. With his ability to heal himself, this means Roadhog is suited to splitting off from the group, sneaking up on enemies, and pulling them into his grasp. His ultimate ability fires a constant stream of bullets in a cone in front of him, dealing high damage and knocking enemies back, which is useful for getting them off objectives.
Overwatch Character Game Guide CHARACTER CLASS: SUPPORT
Death comes swiftly in Overwatch, unless you have a good support player backing you up. These characters have abilities that keep teammates in the fray, whether by healing them, shielding them from damage, or making their attacks more powerful. Supports are the backbone of any team, which means they are also obvious targets; players need to protect their supports from attackers, or else the whole team falls apart. Here is our Overwatch Character Game Guide for support characters.
A graceful flying medic, Mercy’s primary job is keeping heroes on the field, either by healing them with her staff or, in the event the team is dying, using her ultimate, which resurrects every dead ally in the surrounding area. Mercy can leap to allies using her Guardian Angel ability, and smart players will recognize when a teammate is in danger. She can also increase an ally’s damage using her staff, and her pistol is surprisingly powerful when fired accurately.
Symmetra is the most aggressive support character. She doesn’t heal allies, but can give them shields that keep them alive longer. She can also set up sentry drones that slow enemies, and her ultimate creates a teleporter that allows allies to quickly move from the spawn point to wherever she sets it up. Symmetra is a great support for teams playing defense, as her turrets can clog up choke points and function as warning systems. While her abilities are difficult to learn, she can seriously hamper opposing teams when used properly.
Lúcio is a nimble support who can switch between healing allies and boosting their speed using his Crossfade ability. His sonic attacks can also knock enemies back, which makes for some interesting environmental tricks, such as knocking enemies off ledges. Additionally, Lúcio can run on walls, an ability that, when combined with his speed boost, makes him difficult to hit. His Sound Barrier provides a temporary shield to allies around him, and timing it properly can nullify normally terrifying abilities like Rocket Barrage.
Perhaps the most difficult support to play, Zenyatta can be rewarding for those willing to learn how to use him. Zenyatta’s two primary abilities, Orb of Harmony and Orb of Discord, give his team an edge by targeting individual characters. The Orb of Harmony attaches to an ally, healing them as long as they are in Zenyatta’s line of sight. The Orb of Destruction attaches to an enemy, increasing the damage done to them, as long as they are in his line of sight. Zenyatta is also one of the most fragile characters, so keeping him alive and in the fight is a team effort.
Many characters in Overwatch give you the ability to shoot your enemies, but wouldn’t it be nice to shoot your friends as well? Ana, a support whose sniper rifle hurts foes and heals allies, does just that. Ana is a tricky support to use properly, requiring players to keep track of their allies and hit them when they need healing. Ana’s other abilities include her sleep dart (which puts an enemy to sleep for a period of time or until they take damage), biotic grenade (which boosts the healing allies receive while reducing that of enemies), and nano dart, which dramatically increases an ally’s stats.
The downside? Ana doesn’t have any special mobility options. If an enemy gets close, a quick sleep dart may be her only means of escape. However, players who find themselves bored with traditional support characters ought to give Ana a shot.
This is a lot of information and even the best Overwatch Character Game Guide out there cant cover everything. We recommend you use our Overwatch Character Game Guide to find a play style that you’re comfortable with and choose a character to main with within that role. Refer back to this Overwatch Character Game Guide when you want to try out a new character!