With Overwatch, the charming hero shooter from Blizzard, launching this week, we want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to help your team dominate. Overwatch’s main focus is clearly on the interplay between its dynamic characters, so in order to become competent, you’ll need to understand how every character works. Throughout the week, we’ll be publishing guides on each of the 21 launch heroes, three at a time, with the hopes that you’ll be able to recognize certain patterns on the battlefield.
If you’re looking to dive into the world of being a tank but don’t necessarily want to just absorb damage or worry about only fighting at close range, then D.Va is the character for you. What makes this particular hero unique is that she’s an absolute beast when inside of her mech, but once its health reaches zero, D.Va essentially gets a second life as a light glass cannon. While D.Va is inside of her mech, her main weapons are her Fusion Cannons, which allow her to fire unlimited ammo at short range. Despite the fact that these weapons function like machine guns, they shouldn’t be thought of in the same manner as, say, Bastion’s Recon weapon, as their range is considerably shorter than one would expect. Still, if you’re looking to cause more damage than anyone else on your team, then you could do a lot worse than peppering your foes with D.Va’s Fusion Cannons. A small note, D.Va loses a great deal of her movement speed when using these weapons, so you’re not going to want to just permanently hold down the fire button.
D.Va’s first ability, her Boosters, allow her to rapidly fly in whichever direction the reticle is facing for a handful of seconds. Not only is this a wonderful method for getting to an objective or getting out of trouble, but it also allows her to cause a bit of damage whenever she comes in contact with an enemy. In addition to the Boosters, D.Va also has access to the Defense Matrix, which functions as a smaller version of Reinhardt’s shield (essentially absorbing all incoming fire).
When D.Va’s mech is out of hitpoints, she ejects and is able to roam the stage as a quick 150 HP hero equipped with a Light Gun, which is accurate at all ranges but isn’t super strong from a damage perspective. The main point of the Light Gun is not necessarily to get kills, but to survive and build up D.Va’s ultimate meter in order to get a brand new mech. Unlike when her mech explodes, D.Va’s default ultimate, Self-Destruct, allows her to eject from her mech, causing a massive explosion and giving her the opportunity to instantly summon another. What’s more, this ultimate can be used in combination with her Boosters, creating a massive, horrifying moving explosion of destruction.
Solider: 76 is the standard first-person shooter character in Overwatch. Still, despite being a fairly normal, by-the-books character, his normalcy not only stands out in this zany cast of heroes, but it also allows him to be one of the most accessible heroes of the entire group. Equipped with the Heavy Pulse Rifle, a fully automatic assault rifle that excels at medium range, Soldier: 76 is outstanding at sitting back behind tanks and dealing massive amounts of damage. In addition to the standard firing mode, which is also super successful when shot in bursts, the Heavy Pulse Rifle also allows Solider: 76 to fire Helix Rockets, a triple-headed set of explosives that fire without an arc. Unfortunately, for as powerful as the Helix Rockets are, they have a pretty massive cooldown, so make sure that you use them only when advantageous, as you risk letting your foes know that you’re without your most powerful weapon.
Soldier: 76’s abilities are both simple and incredibly useful. His main, low-cooldown ability, Sprint, is exactly what it sounds like: a dedicated button that allows him to run fast. Outside of heroes like Lucio and Tracer, who have dedicated techniques that allow them to move fast, Sprint allows Soldier: 76 to escape battle quicker than the vast majority of heroes out there. If you’re someone who despises the fact that Overwatch doesn’t have a dedicated sprint function, this might just be the character for you. In addition to this, his other main ability, Biotic Field, enables him to place a small healing area on the ground around him, giving him the chance to regain health and get back into a fight right away. Finally, Soldier: 76’s ultimate ability, Tactical Visor, gives him a few seconds of automatic, 100% accuracy aiming (yes, this is a straight up aimbot), and is perfect for eliminating a host of defenders on a given objective. Needless to say, if you’re looking for the most balanced hero of the entire roster, you should give Solder: 76 a hard look.
If you were to rank all of Overwatch’s heroes in terms of sheer quirkiness, then Lucio might wind up claiming the top spot. A support hero with potentially devastating offensive power when used properly, everyone’s favorite Brazillian DJ has the potential to completely turn the tides of battle with proper positioning and ability knowledge. His main weapon, the Sonic Amplifier, has two distinct firing modes, each mapped to a specific mouse button (or trigger for those of you playing on console).
The Sonic Amplifier’s primary firing method is a close-to-medium range automatic barrage of soundwaves, and even though this weapon is relatively weak, its sheer accuracy allows for you to pick up eliminations left and right with clever aiming. Lucio’s secondary fire is far more interesting, as it’s a knock-back blast that operates on a cooldown, making it perfect for taking out snipers that you sneak around. On maps that feature opportunities to plummet to one’s death, there’s nothing more satisfying (or frustrating) than having Lucio push you off of the stage while you attempt to line up a headshot. Oh, and if you’re in a situation where Roadhog, Reaper or D.Va is wreaking close-range havoc, this is an exceptionally useful skill
Lucio’s abilities take a little bit of getting used to, but they turn him into potentially the best support hero if used wisely. It’s important to note that Lucio emits an aura around him constantly, with its effect varying based on his use of his Crossfade ability. By pressing the corresponding ability key, Lucio will swap his aura frequency to either buff ally speed or health; of course, Lucio also gains this buff himself. The wisest players will use his speed buff on allies who are struggling in battle, or those who need to get back into the action after an untimely death. His other main ability, Amp it Up, allows him to increase both the range and strength of his aura, meaning that you can either heal a significant portion of your team in an instant, or make everyone on your squad incredibly quick. Finally, Lucio’s ultimate ability, Sound Barrier, gives a massive, but temporary, increase in hitpoints to both himself and everyone in the surrounding area. Timing your use of all of these skills can take an average team and make it outstanding, but those who simply spam these abilities will find themselves either dead or completely ineffective.
Great Against: Hanzo, Widowmaker, Reaper, Roadhog, Zarya and D.Va
Weak Against: Soldier: 76, McCree, Junkrat, Zenyatta and Pharah