Competitive Guide to Overwatch’s Free Weekend

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Overwatch is going free-to-play for one weekend only in an effort to rope in a bunch of new players. If you’re already an avid Overwatch player, then you’d understand how the weekend of the 22nd to 25th of September is going to bring in a whole lot of new players that may seem clueless. This is not for you, but rather for those who have sitting on the fence (after a year) regarding Overwatch and want to make the most of the free weekend to sway your opinion.

Overwatch offers two core modes – competitive and quick play. While most of you free-weekenders won’t make it into competitive (you need to be level 25) this guide will hopefully help you not look like a complete noob, but rather gain some level of enjoyment.  And, of course, help you win your quick play games.

DPS Heroes

If you come from an FPS background, then there are a number of DPS heroes you might want to try. Some of them have extra abilities, which you may not be familiar with, while some are pretty straight forward.

Solider: 76

Image result for Soldier: 76

Have you ever played Call of Duty? Well, Soldier: 76 is a straight up gunner. He has an automatic rifle which is aim and shoot. His shift allows him to sprint (like Call of Duty and other FPS titles), and his right-click shoots off a “helix rocket” which is three rockets at once in the direction of your crosshair. Pro-tip: try aim it near the ground because it does a small AOE when hitting. Soldier: 76 also has a heal, when pressing “E” which drops down a healing aura and heals up you and allies. His ultimate, tactical visor, is an aim lock which locks onto all enemies in your line-of-sight.

Pro-tip: Stick to the backlines and shoot down any enemies at close or long range. Use your ultimate when there are many enemies in sight, for instance when they’re attacking the objective or defending it.

Widowmaker

Image result for Widowmaker

Widowmaker is a sniper, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Her left click is a scope, which powers up for more damage, while her right click is an automatic rifle which is less lethal. She has a mine which poisons enemies, or can help you detect people behind you, and a grappling hook using Shift to get the higher-ground advantage. Her ultimate is a “wall hack” which gives her vision of all enemies on the map, so use it wisely.

Pro-tip: get onto the higher ground, remain mobile and snipe your enemies from afar.

Once you’ve mastered these two characters, feel free to try out Reaper, McCree and perhaps Hanzo before jumping onto the more complex heroes. Learning the maps and other heroes is important to understand what they do to you, but mastering the gameplay of the simple DPS heroes first is important to getting a good grasp of the game.

Tank Heroes

Enjoying being on the front lines? Taking massive amounts of damage and protecting your teammates? Then tanking could be for you. There are two tanks which are relatively easy, and playing them will help your team out.

Winston

Image result for Winston ow

Winston is a large Gorilla with high mobility. He’s tanky and can jump far distances using “Shift” while wielding a lightning gun. His weapon, the lightning gun, hits the nearest target when pressing left click and can spread to multiple targets if they’re close enough (really close). It’s great for chasing down low HP heroes and protecting the objective from sneaky DPS like Tracer or Genji. His “E” is a massive shield which protects a large AOE around your teammates, but can be burst down. His ultimate turns him into a mega-ape (enraged) and like a Friday night when a fight breaks out a pub, he just swings his arms and knocks everyone back. Your jump has a shorter cooldown, and you deal massive damage. Your left click is replaced with a punch, so no lightning gun I’m afraid.

Pro-tip: remain with your team as much as possible if you’re the only tank, make sure to use your shift offensively and defensively when protecting and chasing down enemies heroes on low health. Save your ultimate for engagements from the enemy team on the objective.

Reinhardt

Image result for Reinhardt ow

This hero incorporates everything there is about tanking. You wield a massive hammer, and put a shield (with “right-click”) protecting your teammates. Your “E” hurls a line of fire towards your enemies, which penetrates shields. Your shield has its own health and taking it down will replenish it. Be sure not to drop it and let your teammates die. If an enemy gets a bit too close, you can use your shift to charge and pin an enemy against a wall which is an instant kill. If any enemies get too close and you cannot charge, use your “left-click” to swing your mighty hammer and deal large amounts of melee damage. Your ultimate slams the ground in a frontal cone stunning all enemies caught in it. It cannot go through shields, so make sure to use it at the right time. Once they’re stunned, you can charge in and pin someone or simply swing your hammer for Play of the Game.

Pro-tip: Make sure your shield is up when taking high amounts of enemy fire. Let it replenish once enemies are killed or reloading. Your charge is great for escaping and can be manoeuvred using movement keys. If you do charge in, make sure other teammates are following because you can easily be mowed down once landing.

Once you’ve got the basic understanding of a tanks duties, the next best pick is either D.Va or Roadhog. Roadhog is pudge with a gun, basically. Zarya is a bit more complex, so if you’re feeling really confident, give her a try.

Support Heroes

Fancy keeping everyone alive? Healing or support may be your calling. As a healer or support it’s important to keep your teammates safe from harm, you form a symbiotic relationship with your tank, and keeping core DPS alive is important as well. It all comes with practice, but it feels good to have this mastered.

Lucio

Image result for Lucio OW

Lucio is a special character. He’s unashamed to ride roller-blades and looks cool doing it. You’re essentially an AOE healer which means you just have to hang around your team to heal them up. Your “left-click” fires sound blast at your enemy (three at a time) and do moderate damage if they hit. Your “right-click” shoots one large sound wave knocking enemies back and consuming all your ammo. You have both a heal and speed aura. Pressing “Shift” will boost your healing or speed (depending on which is active) increasing their effect. Your ultimate is a massive increase of health in an AOE, and you can roller-blade on walls.

Pro-tip: use your wall riding to both escape and enter engagements. Always try to remain within range of a large majority of your teammates and make sure to use your ultimate when engaging enemies or defending against a large enemy attack. Your speed boost is great for engaging enemies and retreating, and the healing boost will help when massive damage is put on your teammates or quickly reviving their HP after combat.

Mercy

Image result for Mercy OW

Mercy is a little more complex, compared to Lucio, and essentially has two weapons. She has a staff which she uses for healing or damage boost. “Right-click” is healing while “left-click” is damage. Her “Shift” allows you to fly to within range of a teammate to channel either healer or damage increase. She can also fly to players in the air and pressing “Spacebar” will make your float. Her healing and damage are single target, so that’s her only real limit but she clicking on players allows you to change targets. You can switch from her staff to her pistol, which has infinite ammo, and shoot down enemies with moderate damage output. Her ultimate is a revival which revives all teammates in a large AOE. Be sure to use it when a number of teammates are down.

Pro-tip: grasping Mercy’s playstyle is tough, but easy to get used to, but your biggest task will be mastering your position. Make sure during enemy engagements and team engagements you’re relatively far back in order to jump in and get a resurrection. It takes practice and understanding to truly master Mercy’s positioning, but after a few games of Mercy you should be good to go.

Other healers like Zenyatta and Ana are a bit tougher to master, but once you have an idea of what your role is, feel free to try them out.

We’d recommend some time in the practice range to get used to the movement and heroes listed above. The game is a lot of fun, but coming in with a brief understanding will always make it more enjoyable for yourself and your teammates. Try playing with some friends who are familiar with the game to offer some guidance, and if you really don’t think you need any help, just pick Hanzo every game.

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Last Updated: September 15, 2017

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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