The Search for an Overwatch Main

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This weekend’s Overwatch beta was my first real exposure to Blizzard’s new class-based shooter. I’ve managed to avoid any real details on this game, but a few days with it was enough to place it high on my list of must-own games. The beta looked polished, and the gameplay was clearly designed around enabling a variety of styles. As a completely new player to Overwatch I stuck exclusively to the beta’s Mystery Heroes mode, where death forced players to switch to a random hero, providing the perfect opportunity to explore the game’s classes.

After a weekend of testing it’s clear no two heroes are equal, and if I’m going to be a decent teammate I need to find my go-to heroes. It may have only been a weekend, but I think I’m closing in a my spirit-warriors. Here are some quick thoughts and observations I came away with after the beta.

Defense
Junkrat
Despite being a defensive class, I managed to deal damage and eliminations in spades with Junkrat. Lob a few grenades at a group of enemies, then flee and booby trap the nearest corner. It’s kind of sad how many people fell for it.

Torbjorn
Never was a fan of Engineers in TF2, but Torbjorn feels versatile enough that his play style never feels… turtle-ish. It’s not a sexy class, but any team will need one.

Widowmaker
If you camp as Widowmaker, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Unleashing your inner Spider-Woman is the most effective (and fun) way of playing Widowmaker.

Mei
A pain to play against. A pain to have as a bad teammate. A pain to learn early on. Totally worth if for the trolling potential though. You haven’t lived until you see a well-placed ice wall funnels an enemy team to their doom.

Bastion
This is the only class I can see needing a small nerf, either in rate of fire or damage. He has counters, but the maps have so many corridors at key objective points that he gets a natural bonus when stationary.

Hanzo
His secondary attacks are a lot of fun, but I could never get the hang of the bow. It didn’t help that Hanzo was one of my least played characters during the beta. If I feel like going lonewolf, I’ll probably stick with Widowmaker.


Offense
Pharah
This is my guilty pleasure hero. I know it’s not a difficult class to play, but few other classes offer the showstopping power of Pharah. Play her right and you can keep a handful of enemies busy. Oh, and the rocket barrage special is one of the most satisfying attacks in the game.

Tracer
Similar to the engineer, I never did take to the Scout of TF2, but I can’t get enough of Tracer. I recently read a comment that described her play-style as “weaponized lag,” and that couldn’t be more true. Not sure if I’ll ever use her as a main, but I definitely want to keep practicing at it.

Genji
Another class I only barely played during the beta. Genji’s learning curve is high, but reflecting shots back at enemies is the kind of thing that makes you feel like a god.

Soldier: 76
The “Jack of All Trades” hero. Doesn’t excel at any any one facet of the game, but should also have a place in any match. You won’t realize just how slow some classes are until you use Soldier’s sprint.

McCree
More like McStreaky. I was anything but consistent with McCree. Either I reeled off a nice set of kills, or I flailed around like a madman before getting taken down. To those that can cowboy consistently, have at it.

Reaper
I have come to terms with the fact that I suck at playing as Reaper, and I’m ok with that. My problem? I could never figure out the range on those damn shotguns. Maybe one day I’ll force myself to learn, but for now I’m content leaving the death-incarnate hero alone for a while.

Support
Lucio
The most flexible hero of my beta experience. Skate around the edges of a skirmish, pepper your opponents with damage, heal your team, then give them a speed boost to your team and make a push forward. Lucio may just become my primary choice.

Mercy
Heals on easy mode. As with so many healers, fun is directly correlated to how much your teammates decide they want to protect you. Mercy will likely be essential to more competitive matches, but I’ll likely stick to Lucio or Zenyatta for day-to-day play.

Zenyatta
He’s listed as a “high skill” hero, but I felt pretty comfortable with Zenyatta. While starting out, it was hard to tell just how much of an impact I had on a match, but I eventually saw things payoff. I was best with Zenyatta when I was targeting specific players. Toss an Orb of Discord at an enemy tank, then pepper it with Orbs of Destruction. Add in healing abilities and it’s easy to see how a skilled player could make the most of Zenyatta.

Symmetra
The most frustrating hero for me by far. I could never get into a good rhythm as Symmetra. Without healing capabilities she seems to be stuck in limbo between between being an offensive or supportive class. I will say, her charged shot started to click for me toward the end of the beta, and it was particularly useful for taking out those pesky Bastions rooted in at cap points.

Tank
D. Va
The super light machine guns take some getting used to, but I loved the survivability of D. Va. While her low damage makes it difficult to take on too many enemies at once, her mobility serves well in ambushes. It’s a harassing style of tanking, and I really took a liking to it.

Reinhardt
If I could pick a single class to have more time to test, it’d be Reinhardt. It only took a few matches to see just how effective a skilled Reinhardt player can be. Few experiences match the rush of pinning a group of enemies against a wall before pummeling them with your war hammer.

Winston
I can see how Winston can be useful as a tank, but I’ll need more practice with his main gun before I use him regularly. He’s definitely the least solitary of the tanks, but pair him up with another hero or two and you’re suddenly a force.

Zarya
As I said with Winston, I think I need more time with Zarya before I come to a conclusion. She has enough offensive and defensive abilities to hold her own in a fight, but you really need to pair her up with a teammate to get the most out of her. I have a feeling playing with a dedicated team would be best.

Roadhog
Similar to Reaver, I just can’t figure out the range of Roadhog’s shotgun. His chain grab makes this less of an issue, but he’s still a bit too clunky for my liking. Given the variety of other tanks’ play styles, I’m comfortable leaving Roadhog to other players.

There it is; my quick and dirty breakdown of every hero in Overwatch, and that’s after just one weekend beta. That said, Overwatch’s classes and maps allow for a huge variety of gameplay, and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of what the game should offer come its release. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wiki to read until my eyes bleed.

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