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By Faran Thomason

Overwatch is all the rage these days in the world of gaming. Millions of people are playing it every day and it has set a ton of world records since its release last year. Today we’ll try to cover some basic aspects of the game to help accelerate your improvement as a player and have a successful and pronounced learning curve.

The first thing you have to know, is that Overwatch is a very complex game and strategies vary from character to character. In thin guide we’ll cover the general notions, tips and tricks that you will need to overcome your enemies and take your team closer to victory.

Overwatch puts players into two teams of six, with each player selecting one of several pre-defined hero characters with unique movement, attributes, and abilities; these heroes are divided into four classes: Offense, Defense, Tank and Support. Players on a team work together to secure and defend control points on a map and/or escort a payload across the map in a limited amount of time. Players gain cosmetic rewards that do not affect gameplay, such as character skins and victory poses, as they continue to play in matches.

Overwatch is a first-person shooter that features squad-based combat with two opposing teams of six players each.Players choose one of several hero characters, each with their own unique abilities and role classes. The four character roles include: offense characters with high speed and attack but low defense, defense characters meant to form choke points for enemies, support characters that provide buffs and debuffs for their allies and enemies respectively (such as healing or speed alterations), and tank characters that have a large amount of armor and hit points to withstand enemy attacks and draw fire away from teammates. During the pre-match setup, players on a team will be given advice from the game if their team is unbalanced, such as if they are lacking defensive heroes, encouraging players to switch to other heroes pre-match and balance the starting team.Within a match, players can switch between characters in-game following deaths or by returning to their home base. The game is designed to encourage players to adapt to the opposing team during a match by switching to characters that better “counter” their abilities.

Now that we’ve got that cleared out, let’s start from the beginning:

The Basics

Assuming you already understand how to play the game (controls, teams, game modes and the like) there are still many aspects of the game that aren’t that clear to new players and that regular games don’t tend to contain.

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· Role Balance:

Different heroes have different abilities and different roles in a typical game strategy. You have offensive, defensive heroes just as you have tank and support heroes and a balanced team will have at least one of each type. The usual setting has one or two attack heroes, two defense heroes, one tank and one or two support heroes. This is no coincidence, pro players follow this setting for a reason, this has been proven to be the optimal setting to get a proper balance and failing to follow it might mean losing a match before it has even started.

· Teamwork:

Like most team-based multiplayer games, Overwatch forces you to rely on your teammates abilities in order have a successful match. This means that whether you are a demigod playing individually with a hero, failing to help your team and to follow a strategy that requires teamwork to work is most certainly going to cost you the game. Always keep in mind that you are not alone and take advantage of that every time you can.

· Be Nice:

Sometimes, teammates aren’t just that good, or a team fight doesn’t go as planned. You have to remember that we are humans, we are not all equal and others will almost never find themselves under the same circumstances you are. Insulting or just plain trolling your team will never have a positive outcome. People who play nice and fair are proved to be more successful in average than toxic players. If your team is losing, try to give advice instead of just complaining. Come up with a comeback strategy and take the leadership if you have to. But as long as you’re not part of the solution, your just part of the problem.

Usual Mechanics:

Now we can talk about the main ways you can play to get the most out of a match.

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· Know Your Resources:

As I’ve already said, every character has a unique set of abilities. Each of them has the potential to become stronger when using it in combination with another heroes abilities. For this reason, it is important to have fair knowledge about as many heroes as you can, this includes amounts of damage, exceptions to their passives, cooldown rates, area and duration of effects, etc. Not only to be able to predict your enemies but also to be able to exploit your teammates abilities and get the most out of a combination. A good combo is the difference between a good and an awful team fight.

· Choice Matters:

The first decision you have to make once you find a match is the role you would like to play. As I mentioned, you have to keep in mind the balance of the team, this just as much as you have to be able to identify its weaknesses and be able to pick a hero that better suits the team according to that. This is another reason to main as many heroes as you can, maybe the best pick for the team is your worst character, meaning you either don’t pick it or play it awfully, resulting in a deficient match.

· Keep Objectives in Mind:

A common mistake made by beginners is to value winning fights more than actually progressing on the match. In Control and Point Capture, you win by holding a zone as long as you can, in Payload you win by defending or attacking a target throughout a map. Neither of those has killing members of the other team as the main objective. Following an enemy with low health instead of defending or attacking objectives can result in a loss much bigger than anything you could earn by getting the kill.

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· Never Stop:

Staying still is never good in an online game except if you’re acting as a bait. Constant movement in every direction and jumping is mandatory in fights. Also, one of the main differences from Overwatch compared to most online shooters is that ammo is freaking unlimited. Landing shots fills your ultimate bar more quickly so you have no excuse to ever stop firing. Besides, a nice rain of bullets can help you avoid being engaged by an enemy.

· Use Your Head:

Even if you’re a mess with the controller, meaning you have poor coordination and don’t pull many skill shots during most games, you will find that with the correct planning this can become unimportant in a match. Ambushes, baiting, ways of approaching the enemy and overall a good strategy is almost always the real game changer and the thing that settles most games. Try to use your brain rather than your hands.

· Pay Attention to Details:

Overwatch’s sound design is amazing, but it wasn’t made just to be cool. Footsteps are an important thing to always pay attention to. They are a very effective way of keeping track of your enemy. Certain snipers rely on footsteps when their vision field gets reduced. Every character, except for Zenyatta has a different footstep recording and learning to identify them can help you set a better strategy on the go.

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· Practice Makes The Master:

As I already said, Overwatch is a very, very complex game with lots of diversity in it. Even pros are all the time trying to figure new strategies and regular patches change many details in it all the time. The secret to get better is always going to be practice. The more you play, the more experience you earn and in a game that allows you to make so many choices and that has so many details to memorize, patience is a bigger virtue than it normally is. So keep playing, learn from your mistakes and use your experience to come up with new, innovative plays and you’ll eventually be among the best.

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