Overwatch Beginner’s Guide: Choosing your hero

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The open beta for Overwatch is now only one week away, so this week I will be sharing a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the last few months of participating in the closed beta.

Reading a few guides won’t make you a top player on day one, but hopefully they can at least give you a headstart and help you avoid some of the common mistakes I have seen new players make.

In today’s guide, I will be going over the first and most important question every new player asks: “Which hero should I play?”

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Overwatch Genji training ground

Before even hopping into a match, you should first consider what your  particular strengths and weaknesses are as a player.

Some heroes, such as Tracer and Genji, reward players who have quick reflexes and incredible accuracy. Other heroes, like Junkrat or Mei, reward players who can take advantage of the environment and predict their enemy’s movements.

When you first start playing Overwatch, you should try to play each hero long enough to get a feel for their abilities and how they play, then decide what play styles work best for you.

The game offers a single-player training map that includes stationary and mobile robots that you can use for target practice, and this is a great way to play around without worrying about letting your team down.

Once you have a better understanding of how each hero plays, it will be easier to decide not only which ones you enjoy playing, but which ones you are actually good at. With the wide variety of heroes available in Overwatch, there should be at least one hero per role that you enjoy playing.

For example, I personally find sniping to be incredibly boring, and I’m not particularly good at it, so I tend to avoid playing Widowmaker or Hanzo, both of whom are defense heroes. At the same time, I am good at anticipating where the enemy will be attacking, and I know the maps inside and out, so I often choose Mei (also a defense hero).

What does your team need?

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Aside from choosing heroes you don’t suck at, the first thing you should think about when picking a hero should be how that hero’s abilities fit in with the composition of your team.

As soon as you join a match, some of your teammates will immediately choose the heroes they want, while others might think about it a bit longer. You can choose the hero you want to play right away, but as the timer counts down, look at which heroes your teammates have chosen and consider whether or not you should switch.

Do you have at least one tank and one support? Do you have a good mix of long range and close range heroes? If your team doesn’t have a good mix of heroes, don’t wait and hope that someone else will switch. Take the initiative and choose the hero your team actually needs at the time, and you will find that you win a lot more matches.

Swapping out your hero during a match is also important, so always keep an eye on both the heroes your teammates are playing as well as the heroes your enemies are playing.

If you are having trouble with a particularly annoying Bastion, trying swapping to a long range hero like Widowmaker or Hanzo to take it out. If your team just can’t seem to get past one of Torbjorn’s turrets, use a hero like Reinhardt or Winston to shield your team while they deal with it.

Newbie friendly heroes

Overwatch well played

New players can choose any hero they want, but some heroes are easier to pick up and play than others.

Heroes like Mercy, Reinhardt, and Soldier 76 are all rather straightforward, and while they can certainly be incredibly powerful in the hands of a veteran, they can also be fairly effective for new players.

Meanwhile, heroes like Tracer and Mei are basically useless for players who do not have a strong knowledge of the game maps or know how to effectively combo their abilities together. A mediocre Reinhardt is far more useful to a team than a mediocre Tracer or Mei.

Of course, that does not mean that you should not choose these heroes, but it may be better to return to them once you are more familiar with the game and the maps.

Luckily, Blizzard has offered a three-star difficulty rating for heroes (1 being easiest, 3 being hardest), and it seems pretty accurate for the most part.

Here is the breakdown of heroes:

1 Star (Easy) 2 Star (Medium) 3 Star (Hard)
Bastion Junkrat Hanzo
Pharah Torbjorn Mei
Reaper Widowmaker Genji
Soldier 76 Mcree Zenyatta
Mercy Tracer Zarya
Reinhardt Lucio
Roadhog Symmetra
DVa
Winston
Image credit: Overwatch courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Screenshots by Eric David | SiliconANGLE