Overwatch is a first-person shooter with a huge emphasis on multiplayer — how hard could learning the game be?
Actually, figuring out Overwatch controls can be a huge hurdle, especially for those trained on more "traditional" multiplayer modes like those found in Call of Duty or Halo. In Overwatch, figuring out how a single character plays can take quite a bit of time — and that's scratching the surface of what Blizzard's latest has to offer. Between the different maps, abilities, Heroes and Ultimate attacks, it can take a few dozen hours just to learn how everything works.
That's not to say that Overwatch is a bad game — far from it, actually. With so many moving parts, the game's multiplayer mode is one of the deepest in recent memory — but that means there's a lot to learn. It's not as easy as simply picking up the game and playing well ... unfortunately, that might be enough to turn some players off.
Don't worry — if you've been having trouble wrapping your head around Overwatch and its different mechanics, we've got just the guide for you. Here are five basic tips for jumping into Overwatch without getting in over your head:
Start Off Slow
When you first dive into Overwatch, it can all be a bit overwhelming. The game heartily encourages you to try out all of its 21 different characters ... but where does one actually start?
Believe it or not, playing through Overwatch's tutorial can actually help quite a bit. It's short, it's easy to understand and it does a great job of explaining how different powers and abilities work across all characters. Not only that, but it serves as an introduction to one of Overwatch's best starter characters, Soldier: 76.
Speaking of good characters to start off with, new players may want to stick with some of the simpler Heroes. Soldier: 76 is a great place to start, Reinhardt works a perfect introduction to defensive heroes, Mercy's healing is easy enough for anyone to grasp and Reaper is about as straightforward an offensive character as you can get.
Of course, there are a ton of different Heroes to choose from — for the best characters based on playstyle, make sure to check out our in-depth guide to the game's different Heroes.
Make Sure to Experiment
So, you've played your first few games and have a good grasp on how your favorite character works. That's great — because now, you're going to start all over again.
Half the fun of Overwatch is figuring out how each character works. In most games, that would amount to seeing which assault rifle is better than others, but in Overwatch, each character plays so vastly different from one another that it's almost like playing a different game each time you switch. Sure, Hanzo and Widowmaker may both be considered snipers, but that's where the similarities end.
On a similar note, don't be afraid to switch things up in the middle of a match — just because you started the game as Mei doesn't mean you can't switch over to Junkrat halfway through. Keep an eye on how the team is doing, and adapt to keep the flow of battle in your favor. Mid-game experimentation may sound like an easy way to lose a match for your team, but you'd be surprised by how many times an impromptu strategy will work.
Stick with Your Team
There's no faster way to get killed in Overwatch than by leaving your team behind. To be completely fair, there are a few Heroes that benefit from relative seclusion — but even then, it's best not to stray too far from your teammates.
First and foremost, you'll want to stay near any healers that happen to be on your team. If you do happen to be spotted, you'll need someone that can patch you up quickly ... but if you can't make it to your healer, then there's a good chance that your enemy will get the better of you.
It's also much easier to coordinate with your team if they're close by. Every Hero plays a specific role in any given match, and it's a lot easier to play that part if everyone sticks together. For example, Mei works best when she can freeze people from behind a shield — but if you keep wandering away from Reinhardt, there's no way that'll happen.
Playing so closely with others can take some getting used to, but trust us — it's worth it.
Learn the Maps
This may sound obvious to experienced players, but learning the ins and outs of each map in Overwatch is paramount to one's success. It's not as simple as learning where enemies are going to attack from, either: the game's focus on different playable characters makes learning the maps that much more important.
Take the King's Row map, for example: matches begin with the attacking team being forced down one of two main paths. That's easy enough — just make sure that a few team members are placed at either point, and there's no way the enemy can get through, right?
Wrong. Both Genji and Hanzo can climb walls, Mei can create giant ice shields and Reaper can simply phase through your defenses — and those are only a few different strategies. As such, it's important to not only know where players are coming from, but where they can go as well. Once you've got a handle on the different maps, as well as what Heroes the other team is using, then, you can set up a solid strategy — until then, there's always a chance of someone knocking you out.
Don't Worry About Kills
In most other shooters, kills are what win a game. Even if it's not a score-based game (such as Capture the Flag), killing the enemy more than they kill you is usually the key to victory.
That's not the case in Overwatch: it's far more important to stick together and work as a team. Yes, it's tempting to hunt down that Tracer and make sure it doesn't come back, but if that means leaving the objective behind, it's usually not worth it.
Instead, focus on helping your team as a whole. If you're a healer, make sure that everyone is healthy. If you're a tank, make sure you're supporting the smaller, more fragile characters. If you're playing a Defense Hero, don't rush forward — stay behind and make sure the objective is safe.
Again, it can be tough to unlearn what most modern multiplayer games teach — but at the end of the day, learning to keep your team alive and effective is far more important than any sort of post-game kill/death ratio.
Overwatch may seem like a simple game on the surface, but there's quite a bit of depth — of course, the only way you'll learn is by playing, so go ahead and join a match!
For more on Blizzard's latest, make sure to check out our final Overwatch review.