Overwatch Beginner Tips and Tricks

Check this guide out for everything you need to get started in Overwatch!

Overwatch is Blizzard's team-based, 6 vs. 6, first-person shooter. It is designed to be accessible to everyone, including those that don't normally play shooters. There are several characters to choose from, each with their own roles, abilities, weapons, and personalities. 

Even though the game is meant for all types of players, it still takes a little time to get the game mechanics down. I'll prepare you by explaining the basics of the game and some tips when starting.

Note: This info is from playing closed beta. There are likely to be several changes and additions by the time the game launches. I'll update this guide as more is added to the game.

This guide will go over the basics of Overwatch including:

  • Gameplay and Controls - The basics of the game and controls.
  • Game Modes - How to play each game mode.
  • Roles - The different combat roles in Overwatch and how to play them.

Gameplay and Controls

Overwatch allows you to switch character at any time as long as you are in the safe room. This place heals you as long s you stay inside.

Every character has a primary weapon, 2 normal abilities, and an ultimate ability. Some characters have more than one weapon and can switch between them, while some have two different firing modes of the same weapon. Each character is unique, so you have to look at them individually to see how they play.

When you die, you'll respawn in the safe room and must make your way back to the battle. As you deal and take damage, you charge up your ultimate ability. You can see how much is charged by the % meter in the middle of your screen. At 100%, your ultimate ability is available until you use it, and then you must charge it again.


Below is a picture of the combat controls. All controls can be customized. 

Overwatch Controls

You can also press H or Up on an Xbox controller's d-pad to bring up the hero select screen and change characters. Press tab or back on an Xbox controller to bring up the scoreboard.

Game Modes

The weekend beta only had one game modes with the same overall objectives, attack or defend a point. One game mode involves attacking or defending 2 areas. Another involves attacking or defending a moving vehicle called a "Payload."

When attacking, players must stand in the area until the meter fills up to take the point, or start the payload. If it is a payload, attacks must stay near it to keep it moving until it reaches the final destination.

There are check points during payload that add to the match time if the attacks reach them.

Defenders only need to stop the attackers from standing in the point, or moving the payload to each checkpoint. When the match timer runs out, the defenders win.


There are 4 roles in Overwatch: Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Each one should be played differently and each character is different than the next, even within the same role.

I won't go over every character in this guide, but I will give you a general idea of what you should do when playing each role.

Offense, Tank, and Support are like damage dealers, tanks, and healers respectively you play MMOs or any other games with roles like that. 

Overwatch Characters


These are the main damage dealers. Their only goal is to eliminate enemies so the team can hold the objective. Some characters, like Reaper, have skills to do heavy damage and sneak around enemies.

He can teleport far distances to sneak up on enemies, turn into a wraith to ignore damage for a short time, and shoot people with dual shotguns. His ultimate does massive damage all around him, but he will usually be focused during this time.


Tanks soak up a lot of damage with their high health pools and defensive abilities. They job is to stop the enemy from killing allies, as well as deal damage.

D.Va, for example, rides a mech and shoots plasma cannons that work similar to shotguns. She has infinite ammo, but must be close to deal full damage.

Her Defense Matrix absorbs enemy projectiles for a short time. When her mech is destroyed, she automatically ejects and can run and shoot on her own. She has low health and no abilities, but her ultimate charges quickly to call in another mech.

While in the mech, she can also fly for a short time, which also knocks enemies back. Her ultimate causes her mech to self-destruct, which deals devastating damage in a very wide radius.


Support heroes can heal and buff allies, or debuff enemies. Having at least 1 can mean the difference between victory or defeat.

Zenyatta can heal allies with an Orb of Harmony, or increase the amount of damage an enemy takes with an Orb of Discord. His main weapon is Orb of Destruction where he throws damaging orbs at enemies, and can be charged for a powerful attack.

His ultimate makes him invulnerable and heals nearby allies. Playing support correctly can keep your team alive and save precious running back time.


Defense is special because they are not like tanks and don't have high defense or health. Their only goal is to defend an objective.

Widomaker is a good example at what the Defense role should do. She is a sniper that can get to sniping spots or cross distances using her Grappling Hook. She can place Venom mines that poison enemies that trigger them.

Her main weapon is a gun that shoots like an assault rifle when hip-firing and is a sniper when aiming through the scope. Her ultimate ability, Infra-Sight, displays all enemies to you and your teammates for a short time.

She is meant to defend points by sniping anyone that gets near it. That's what Defense is for, denying the enemy team.


When you select a character, the game lets you know what roles you don't currently have on your team. There is no requirement to play these roles, but it is a good idea to follow the suggestions.

Attackers have more freedom in what they pick, but I suggest trying to get certain roles filled while defending:

  • At least 1 Offense hero
  • 2 Defense, 1 being a sniper
  • 1 Tank
  • At least 1 Support hero

The last slot is up to you. I generally wouldn't have more than 1 tank, but sometimes it is okay, or even helpful. 2 supports can help as well, depending on your group makeup. Offense is always a good choice, especially if played well.

  • Stay near the payload

Overwatch payload defend

I have seen many people just ignore the payload and try to kill everyone. You have to stay near the payload for it to move. You also don't want to get distracted by an enemy or two away from it while defending.

  • Watch your surroundings

There are multiple characters, Tracer, Reaper, etc. that can get behind your team without even knowing. Good players will try to flank you and sneak up on your team to eliminate them. Be ready for them.

These are all the tips I have for starting Overwatch. Let me know if you have any questions or tips of your own. Remember to check back as more is added to the game and I update this guide.

Guide Editor

After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/2F97BrR) and Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/synzergaming).

Published Nov. 24th 2015

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