OVERWATCH has been out now for a month, and many people have enjoyed countless hours of it (I am already pushing over 40 hours into the game myself, and that is on the low-end compared to some people).  From playing the game, I have seen those at low level (right now I am 72) perform extreme well, I have seen those who have already gotten a star or two perform extremely terrible.  It all comes about what you know, how you play, and who do you play.

From my own personal experience playing OVERWATCH, I have a few tips that I want to share with everyone in order to up their own game.  Hopefully these will shape some better players out of those who take the time to read it, and possibly help garner me with better teammates in the future!



 7 Tips for OVERWATCH 

Before I get started, it should be noted that I play on a Playstation 4.  While I understand that some of these tips will be useful for both those who play on console as well as PC, they have two different skillsets required for success.  Therefore, I am mainly using these tips for console players, so if they do not apply to you because you play on PC, do not be surprised.

Also, while I understand that some of these tips seem "pretty obvious" to experienced players or those who understand how to make a team-based shooter work, this will be the very first TBS for a lot of people.  Therefore, it is aimed to get down some key elements some might need in order to improve their game.  Spread the love!


 #7 – Protect Your Healers 


While it is something that should be commonplace on every team, you would be surprised by the amount of people who cannot grasp this very simple concept: PROTECT YOUR HEALERS!  This is really something that is more aimed towards Mercy and Lucio compared to Symmetra and Zenyatta (while they can heal, they are also capable of protecting themselves).  Also, if you are going against the enemy team, it is to your great benefit to target their healers first and foremost (the only thing that are higher priority in my opinion are turrets and snipers).

Healers make everyone on your team incredibly hard to kill, it also makes them more aggressive because they do not have to worry about backing off to run back to spawn or search for health packs  because they know their life will be full soon.  In turn, it also makes it harder to stop opponents because they never have to retreat for life, or it takes an insurmountable amount of damage in a relatively short period of time to down someone who is healing while being hit.  Not to mention crucial use of their Ultimates can easily turn a game around, or make the best of a bad situation.  Mercy's Resurrect in order to give everyone a second chance is invaluable, or Lucio's Sound Barrier to stop the team from dying to certain Ultimates or to survive long enough to deal with turrets or tough choke points.

Too many times I have been playing Mercy and I am busy going around trying to heal people, only to start being targeted by the enemy team and the A.I. automatically makes her shout out for help.  However, all her pleading for teammates is to no avail because they are not worried about saving me.  This frustration actually leads me to switch from support which actually makes us do worse because they cannot be as aggressive as they want, or they happen to all die easily from their bad decision making.  At the same time, I do not want to constantly die trying to protect the team; especially if the other team already sees me as a problem and have it their #1 priority to see me die first.

Healers can make or break the game very easily, and even though they appear like they are not as much of a threat as other characters, they definitely are as it makes the whole team that much harder to deal with.  Protect your own while killing theirs, you will thank me for it later, trust me.


 #6 – Learn Character Counters 


You will find that, while people do know how to play multiple characters, they do not know how to use the character they have to counter characters on an enemy team.  Learning how to play multiple characters is a necessity for victory, yes, but so is learning what your character can do to render one of your opponent's characters either useless or harder to use effectively.

Tracer is easily countered by Road Hog, who is countered by Reaper, who can be countered by Mei, etc.  Everyone has someone that is hard for them to deal with and learning how to play those characters in situations where someone is obviously destroying your team with a specific character makes a massive difference.

OVERWATCH does not lock you into a character choice at the beginning of the match, you are free to change in spawn whenever you feel is necessary.  This allows players to adjust on-the-fly to deal with a specific character, strategy, or gimmick a team might be using in order to gain an upperhand.  This means that the team who has the better adaptability to any given situation will always be at a massive advantage... which brings me to my next tip.


 #5 – Learn to Play Multiple Characters 


Unless you are within an organized team that always play together and each person within that team has their specified roles, you might want to learn to play multiple characters in multiple roles; Offense, Defense, Support, and Tanks.  While not everyone has the ability to be able to snipe successfully, you should learn to use at least 2 characters out of every single archetype available within the game.

Even if you only play one character from each class, you will learn that not all characters within a certain role are good at the same things.  Zenyatta and Mercy both heal, but Zenyatta is better if you are dealing with a team that has a lot of tanks while Mercy is better if you are dealing with a tough choke point or are storming an objective and it is very likely all players will die in the process and need to be revived.  You will be covered if you learn to play more than one character in every role so that you are ready for what needs to be done by a specific character within that archetype.

A big thing to learn how to play multiple characters is so that you can counter the characters on the opponent's team mid-game.  You are not restricting to just playing your starting character, so take full advantage of the ability to switch in case what you planned is not quite going as you would have expected.

Something else is that you may need to take over a role that no one else has the ability to play because they have not taken the time to learn as you have.  Zenyatta's ability to make tanks into squishy characters might be necessary if you are fighting a host of high health characters, but you find that no one else on your team is really playing Reaper.  You may really need a counter to an annoying character and realize that you must be the one to deal with it; such as switching to Widow Maker to deal with a highly mobile Pharah.


 #4 – Learn the Sounds of Character Ultimates 


Ultimates are devastating in their destructive capacity.  A single, well-placed Ultimate has the ability to turn the entire game around.  Your team could be losing or needing one last push to an objective, maybe a team is trying to recover desperately from a surprise attack, a single Pharah "Barrage" or even a McCree "Deadeye" could make all the difference.  Whilst defending or attacking, a portal by Symmetra could supply enough pressure to nullify the deaths of most teammates, resulting in a situation where you do not have the annoying wait time of a minute or so for a fallen teammate to get back into the fray.

"Ryuu ga waga teki wo kurau!", many people are familiar with this iconic phrase from Hanzo, and many know it is the call sign of his Ultimate move "Dragonstrike".  However, many do not take the time to familiarize themselves with the sounds of everyone's Ultimates, often resulting in disastrous results.  You do not know how many times I have heard Junkrat's Rip-Tire or hear a Genji activating Dragon blade, only to watch teammates who could have escaped to safety fall prey to them.  Most of the time these are not sudden activations with only seconds to react, most of the time they have ample time to escape or to counter.  While some characters do not give you much time (Pharah, Zarya, Reaper, etc.), you could still recognize them to deal with them as soon as possible.

Learning to hear them so you can counter them is also well.  A Pharah who is shooting her Barrage can be killed mid-Ultimate by a skilled Widow Maker; Zarya can use her barrier to tank the blast from Junkrat's Rip-Tire, saving the rest ofher team; Mei can also freeze Genji during his Dragonblade to wear down the time or even put up a wall to block off D.Va's Self-Destruct from killing teammates.

Overall, Ultimates are something EVERYONE should be paying attention to.  If you hear one, you should be making sure to take all the necessary precautions to either avoid it or counter it.


 #3 – Learn Health Locations 


Often in each level, you will health packs around the stage.  You have smaller ones which recharge rather quickly while larger ones take longer but heal you more.  Knowing where each of these are will aid you dependent on how vital you are injured.  I once had a friend tell me that he did not know how I already had the trophy for healing so many times with a health pack, that he rarely uses them and has no idea where most of them even are...this probably explained why he died so much with every character type.

Dying while being right behind a health pack is frustrating to see on a kill cam, especially if you are now going away from it up some stairs while running away from an easily killed opponent because you have 8 health compared to their 170 or so.  Learning where all the health is will aid you in staying alive while your healer is either dead, nonexistent, or busy tending to another person.  Staying within the fight as long as possible will help keep opponents at bay on attack or defense, so making sure you are killed as less as possible is a no brainer.

An easy tip on learning where health locations are is to simply start a private game, run around on every map while checking out exactly where all health is.  Simple.


 #2 – Form "Shells" 


I get the term "Shell" from when I played Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.  A shell is basically the synergy between two characters to bring out the best of both of them.  While this game is focused entirely upon team composition, synergy, and what your opponents are playing, you have some characters which blend rather well.

I find that, unless you are a pro team, you typically do not have a full team playing together.  Often times you will have clumps of two and three people playing with each other.  Therefore, you can form shells and better utilize each other's character to give the team a headache.  Multiple Shells within an organized team is something incredibly hard to deal with, mainly because you could essentially have a shell that counters the weakness of a particular character or characters and make them extremely effective (such as Mei and Symmetra teaming up to take down whoever).

More thought needs to be given to this concept, but if you start to plan out who you are playing and pair it with a teammate, you may start to see a dramatic change in results.


 #1 – Communicate! 


This has got to be the biggest problem I have encountered while I have been playing OVERWATCH.  There are seldom people within the voice chat communicating with their teammates about what they see, what they think the others should do, or what they plan on doing themselves.  That is because a lot of people do not have mics or simply resign to be within a private party with the group they are playing with (which is usually only one or two other people at most).  This makes for a terribly disheartening session from my previous experiences.

I have dealt with situations where multiple Torbjörns or other simple strategies have single-handedly picked the team apart, and they did so because we did not have the basic communication to deal with such obvious tactics.  Suggestions and the knowledge I have from playing the game are going to waste because we have someone running around with Reaper while multiple Mei players are freezing him and killing him repeatedly.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people do not talk more and let their team know what's going on.  This is not like Call of Duty, Battlefield, or even Halo.  There is no way possible that a single Godlike person will be able to stand up against an organized team or strategy, no matter how good they happen to be with any particular character.  Therefore, why would you want to put yourself at a disadvantage by not talking to your team and figuring things out?  This is a team game, communication is part of a team.  You will lose easy matches due to not having any interactivity with those you are allied with, change that.