The Ultimate Overwatch Beginner’s Guide

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Overwatch is a very popular FPS game made by Blizzard Entertainment. While the game is super fun to play, it can be a little bit frustrating when first starting out. The game has a relatively steep learning curve and can be confusing, to begin with.

This article is therefore made as a guide for complete beginner’s, who recently started playing the game. However, experienced players might also find some tips and tricks by reading this guide.

Please note, we will continue to update this guide over time. To begin with, it might therefore not cover all the topics we want, but we will continue to develop it.

Having played Overwatch since the very first competitive season (season 1) as well as having played in the Overwatch “Master” rank, I am confident I can provide some valuable tips & tricks to new players. Furthermore, I have been following the competitive scene for a long time, and watched countless of Overwatch League matches. So, let’s get started.

Overwatch Beginner's Guide

Intro

In general, Overwatch is a TEAM game. If you want to win, you have to play as a team. A lot of people often forget this and play very selfish. The overall theme in this guide will often be how to play as a team and utilize your teammates and exploit weaknesses in the enemy team.

Carrying a team can be done in Overwatch by some heroes to some degree, but even the best players will have a very hard time carrying their teammates to victory.

Overwatch Beginner – Learn The Heroes

The very first thing you should do as a new player, is jump into the “Practice Range” and try out all the different heroes.

The practice range is a place where you can safely play around with heroes, test their skills and shoot at targets moving around.

It is a very good and quick way to learn about the various heroes in Overwatch and test their abilities. Even though you might not want to play a specific hero, it is very useful to know the mechanics and how they work.

Overwatch Practice Range

You access the practice range by clicking “Training” in the in-game menu.

Start out by picking the very first hero, test the abilities, try to kill some of the targets and go back to the main room and switch to another hero. Once you have tried out all heroes you are ready to move on.

Hero Roles

In Overwatch, there are three overall hero roles; DPS, tank, and healer. Each playing a very important role in the team composition.

DPS heroes

DPS heroes are the main source of damage to the team. They are usually pretty squishy and thus gets killed more easily than a tank. However, they are usually also equipped with mobility abilities.

Soldier: 76 can sprint, Widowmaker has a grappling hook, Genji can jump around and so on.

Your main priority as a DPS hero is to do damage to the enemy team. However, it is important to prioritize who you try to kill, and we will go more into depth with this topic in the “Target Priority” section.

In general, as a DPS hero it is important you try to stay alive. You are squishy and will die easily, so keep an eye on the enemy and position yourself accordingly. Do not rush into an enemy team alone and think you can kill everyone and try to stay away from chasing kills that will get yourself killed. Some DPS heroes, like Doomfist and Genji can get away with rushing into the enemy team (if played correctly), but others are better from a safe distance. We will cover this more in the “Flanking” section.

Tank heroes

Tanks have a large health pool and can, therefore, take a lot of damage from the enemy team. The in-game action is often centered around tanks, as they are often equipped with abilities that can protect them and their team (like shields).

The downside is that their hitbox is usually as large as their health pool, making them easy targets for the enemy team.

Another feature of tanks is that they often do not put out as much damage as DPS heroes. They often depend on the team to get kills and stay alive.

Mobility is different among the tanks. Some tanks are very mobile, like Winston, who can easily jump around the map, while other heroes like Orisa, move very slowly.

Healers

Healers, or support heroes, is a crucial part of every team. They are in charge of healing their teammates and fill in a very important role. The diversity of healers have grown a lot in Overwatch, making it more fun to play this type of hero.

The one REALLY important thing to remember when you play healer is your main priority; healing your teammates.

Dealing damage to the enemy team should always come in the second priority, as keeping your teammates alive is much more important.

While most healers can do some amount of damage, they still do less damage than the DPS and most of the tanks.

Beginners are often making the mistake of not paying enough attention to their teammates.

Target Priority

Target priority is another really important aspect of playing Overwatch, especially if you are playing as a DPS hero.

While tanks are easy to hit, they are often the ones you should prioritize the least.

Think about this; tanks have a huge health pool and are easy to heal. They can take a huge amount of damage before they die, and even more if a healer is standing behind them and healing them.

Instead, a better tactic is to kill the healer or DPS, and then you can easily take down the tank in the end.

Look out for enemy healers or DPS players that are away from their team and try to eliminate them instead. If you go into a huge team fight, look out for where the healers are, and start by killing them. You will see that everything else will go down a lot easier by then.

Sometimes, you can catch enemy DPS players flanking (see next section). If you do, it is important that your whole team goes after the flanker, as you do not want to lose someone from your own team. If your team successfully eliminate the flanker, you have the numbers advantage of being 6 vs 5 now.

Flanking

The definition of flanking according to the dictionary:

to stand or be placed or posted at the flank or side of.
to defend or guard at the flank.

Flanking is mostly done by DPS heroes (or Roadhog if you play tank). What a flanker would usually do, is go away from their team and sneak on to the enemy from positions they do not expect. The purpose is often to get behind the enemy tanks and shields so that they can easily eliminate the healers who are often behind the tanks healing them.

However, flanking has to be done the right way. If you are always getting killed while flanking, you are doing it wrong.

A successful flanker will get into a position where he can target the enemy healers and at the same time get away if the enemy team decides to go after him. McCree is can often be successful at flanking since he has a very long range and can stun enemies that get too close.

Team compositions

This is a more advanced topic, and we will therefore just briefly mention it. Team compositions relate to which heroes are picked. Some heroes have really good dynamics when they are chosen, while others have rather bad dynamics and don’t utilize each other in an optimal way.

Remember that there were three overall hero classes; it is important that you have some heroes from each class.

The classic setup is the “2-2-2” setup. This refers to having two DPS heroes, two healers, and two tanks.

Other setups can be highly viable, but often times setups with many DPS heroes will be less successful in winning. Professional teams can often get away with odd compositions because they are highly specialized and utilizes team dynamics like no one else.

Beginner’s however, will highly benefit from starting out with the 2-2-2 setup.

The “Dive comp”

The dive composition is very popular among high skilled players. It is characterized by its high mobility, enabling it to “dive” into the enemy team.

A typical dive composition could look like this:

DPS

  • Genji
  • Widowmaker

Tanks

  • Winston
  • D.va

Healers

  • Lucio
  • Mercy

In this composition, we have Genji and Widowmaker as DPS. Genji can easily get in and out of fights quickly and is very mobile. Widowmaker is not as mobile, but on the other hand, she can deal a great amount of damage from far away.

Windows and D.va are both very mobile tanks. The can easily jump and fly into the enemy team and split them up.

Lucio and Mercy are healers with a fair amount of mobility as well. Lucio is fast and can even give his team a speed boost, making them even more mobile. Mercy, on the other hand, can quickly fly to her teammates.

However, a dive comp could have many different variations.

In general, the following heroes could fit into a dive comp.:

Dive comp DPS heroes

  • Doomfist, Genji, Widowmaker, Pharah, Reaper, Solder: 76, Sombra, Tracer and maybe Hanzo to some degree.
  • Most mobile: Widowmaker, Doomfist, Genji, Sombra, Tracer

Dive comp tanks

  • Winston, Wrecking Ball, D.va, Zarya, Reinhardt
  • Most mobile: Winston, Wrecking Ball, D.va

Dive comp healers

Most healers are viable in a dive comp, since the healers without mobility can heal from a safe distance instead.

  • Lucio, Mercy, Ana, Moira, Brigitte, Zenyatta, Baptiste
  • Most mobile: Lucio, Mercy, Moira

Hero Selection and Counters

This is an extension of the team composition section. As mentioned, the total composition of the team is very important. An intelligent composition will often have a big advantage.

When you select a hero, you should, therefore, pay attention to which heroes your teammates are picking. Are they all choosing heroes with high mobility, then you might want to go with a hero that fits the dive comp.

Again, Overwatch is won by playing as a team, so if you want to win you need to be versatile and able to play various heroes and hero classes.

If no one is picking a healer, consider being the main healer yourself. Same goes for tanks. DPS is usually not a problem, and in the beginning, you will often have the problem of too many people wanting to play DPS.

If you want to win, you will quickly realize that you will have to sacrifice your hero selection to play something that will benefit the team. The faster you realize this, the faster you will rank up.

Hero counters

As the game develops, you will often find that your team composition is not optimal against the enemy team composition.

It is crucial to realize quickly if this is the case and switch to another hero.

Example

The enemy team has a Pharah and a Mercy healing her all the time. Your team has a Genji and Tracer as DPS heroes.

In this composition, your team will have a very hard time killing the Pharah, since she is above the ground and very hard for both Genji and Tracer to kill. The counter to Pharah will be McCree, Soldier or Widowmaker, since they are all hitscan heroes. Switching quickly will make sure that the enemy Pharah is rendered useless while you can still do damage as a hitscan.

Play as a team – Grouping Up

It cannot be said enough – winning in Overwatch is all about playing as a team.

Before engaging in fights, it is utterly important that you do not engage unless your whole team is ready. There can be exceptions to this, for example, if you have a control point and are able to stale the enemy team from getting it. But in most cases, grouping up before engaging in fights is the best option.

Why grouping up is so important

Even the very best player will have a very difficult time killing a full team of average players. Overwatch is a numbers game, and going in two versus six will almost always end with the two loosing.

When starting out in the lower ranks, you will often encounter players that forget where their teammates are. They will immediately hop into the action (often alone) and quickly die. One by one players engage in fights against a full stack of the enemy team and the outcome will always be the same – they get eliminated and their team is now down by one. The rest of the team is now in a less advantageous situation being 5 vs 6.

Therefore, when you respawn, quickly get an overview of where your teammates are. If only two people are left fighting against a full team of enemies, it is more likely that they will die. Your best option is, therefore, to wait for your teammates to respawn before you engage in a new fight.

This is also called “resetting”. Resetting can also occur before everyone dies. If two or three players are killed, and the rest of the team has the possibility to survive, it is better for the rest of the team to disengage the fight and fall back and wait for respawns.

Be smart with hero ultimates

Ultimate abilities can often be the very reason you win or not. They can be used to take down the whole enemy team if used wisely.

We talked about team compositions earlier, and ultimates is a large part of this as well. Some heroes have ultimate abilities that go very well together and can easily take out the entire enemy team.

An example of a good ultimate combination is Zarya’s graviton surge combined with Hanzo’s dragonstrike.

Therefore, do not waste your ultimate ability, for example by using without noticing teammates or using it alone.

Tips on using ultimate abilities:

  • Make sure to see if you have another teammate which your ultimate have a good synergy with
  • Inform your teammates that your ultimate is ready
  • Do not waste your ultimate – make sure your team is ready to follow up on it

Play smart

While getting a kill might feel good, chasing kills just to get killed yourself will not be very beneficial for the overall match and ability to win. Playing smart is a much better choice. While being a broad term, playing smart will for most beginners often mean playing safe. You are not worth a lot more to your team alive than waiting to respawn. When you get to higher ranks, you will see that people play very aggressive and offensive, but they often do this in an intelligent way where they move as a team.

Communication

Since playing as a team is so important, communication is also key. I would highly recommend that you use your microphone to communicate with teammates, discuss strategies and call out where enemies are and which enemies are low health (= easy kills). If you do not have a microphone, I would recommend you get one if you are serious about ranking up. Communication can often to some degree make up for being a worse player.

Dealing with losses and toxicity

While communication is key, it will eventually also lead to some toxic behavior and angry teammates. When you start playing competitive, sometimes even in quickplay, you will encounter a lot of toxicity when your team starts performing badly. Usually, everyone will blame each other and point to everyone being bad at the game but themselves. Mentally, this toxic behavior will eventually lead to the team losing the game. Having a positive spirit will get you a long way. You would be surprised how many games have been turned around and miracles happened when it seemed impossible. However, if you start being toxic and giving up, this will not happen.

Tips on communication and toxicity

  • Be friendly
  • Call out strategies and enemy positions
  • Keep callouts short and precise
  • Do not flame, do not blame your teammates for bad performance, everyone can have a bad day
  • If you are in a bad mood, take a break from the game. Playing while being angry, will only lead to more losses

If someone on the team is performing really bad, try to tell them in a constructive and positive way. Do not start to blame them. This will often make then defensive and less likely to do anything productive.

The mentality in Overwatch is super important, and a toxic team will often lose their matches. Sometimes you just run into an amazing opponent and taking a loss is fine. Getting into a bad mental state where you blame everyone else for the loss will not help you, but instead, do the opposite.

Encouraging your teammates, giving them constructive feedback with a positive tone will get you a lot further.

Optimize your settings

While less important for beginner’s, optimizing your in-game settings is a way to easily improve by small margins. The most important settings depend on the choice of hero, but most often your ability to aim is important and their mouse settings can really improve your performance a lot.

On ProSettings.com, we have made a list of professional Overwatch players and their settings and gear. Check out our list of Overwatch Pro Settings, where you can find more inspiration for your settings by looking at what professional players are using.

Mouse Settings

The average DPI in Overwatch is 940 and the average in-game sensitivity is 5.9. If your settings are far from this, you might want to tweak it so you are closer to this. A lot of new players make the mistake of having a sensitivity that is way too high. Sure, it is easier to look around, but it also makes fine tuning of the crosshair and hit that small head of the enemy Ana much harder.

Of course, it depends a lot on who you are playing, but if you are playing a hitscan hero, you will most likely benefit from having a lower sensitivity.

Exceptions where high sensitivity is often better: Reinhardt and Winston.

Conclusion and TL;DR

As mentioned in the beginning, Overwatch is very much a team game, and winning requires a team effort. You can do a lot yourself to help promote a healthy team effort and it starts with yourself, your actions and your attitude.

Let’s sum up what we learned and how to play better Overwatch:

  • Learn the various heroes and their abilities
  • Pick a hero that fit your team (try to go for a 2-2-2 setup)
  • Be ready to play as a healer or tank
  • Be ready to switch hero, to counter for enemy heroes
  • Prioritize your targets – try to kill enemy healers and DPS heroes first
  • If you play DPS, try to utilize flanking
  • Group up – wait for your teammates before you engage in fights and disengage fights where you lost a lot of teammates
  • Be smart with ultimates – synergize ultimate with teammates and don’t waste them
  • Play smart – try to stay alive and don’t engage fights alone
  • Communicate – use your mic, discuss strategies with your team and call out enemies
  • Steer away from toxicity – don’t blame your teammates, instead encourage them and stay positive
  • Block toxic teammates – if teammates start being toxic and stay that way, block them
  • Optimize your settings

That’s it, we hope you have enjoyed this guide and learned something. As mentioned previously, we will try to keep the guide updated and extend it in the future.

You can help us out by sharing our guides with friends and communities you are part of.

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