Congratulations! You’re here because you’re giving Overwatch, the game that captivated a generation of Tumblr fanartists and aspiring pro gamers alike, a spin during this free weekend. Maybe you’re here because you want to grind, alone, on the ladder in an attempt to be the very best. Or perhaps you’re finally joining in with your friends after a long campaign of peer pressure. Either way, Overwatch is a pretty great game, so you’re making a solid choice. Ryan’s basic guide from last free weekend covers the brass tacks of Overwatch, but each open weekend is a whole new opportunity for new fans to get on board. With that in mind, a 102 primer seems appropriate. Here’s what you need to know.
Down to basics
First, there four classes of heroes. Tank heroes support the team by being beefy and hard to kill, support heroes help their team out by healing (or providing shields and a teleporter, if you’re Symmetra), defense heroes are good at holding a point, and offense heroes are good at taking an objective. If you’re a little overwhelmed, think of the classic MMO trinity: tanks, healers, DPS. You want a mix of all three types, or you’re going to wipe.
If you want to try a heavy damage hero, try Soldier 76 or Torbjorn. Soldier 76 is built to be easily picked up by anyone who’s dabbled in a Halo or a Call of Duty, while Torbjorn can put up a turret and do lots of damage while you figure out how to shoot and where the best place to defend from is. Over time, you’ll figure out which heroes work best on which maps, but for now you are innocent and free to just learn the basics with a nice, easy hero.
If you want to try to heal, Lucio is the easiest healer in the game right now. He can wall ride (which is a blast), speed up his team, or heal them. His ult gives everyone a nice, beefy shield, and it feels great to hit.
Want to try a tank? Reinhardt is a great call. Just check out this cinematic to see why:
Otherwise, give D.Va a shot. She’s significantly less paladin-esque, but she is a gamer celebrity in a sweet mech, so that counts for a lot.
Every character is free, and every character is fun. Overwatch encourages you to actively switch characters, so go ahead and actively switch if you’re not having fun. Try everyone out! The only barrier is you will lose your ultimate charge, so if you’re at 60% or so, you might as well see if the ultimate is fun to use. Otherwise, swap as much as you please. The world is your oyster!
Quality of life
Here are a few quick tips that will make your gameplay experience much better:
- If someone is being loud, obnoxious, or eating chips on the mic, hit P and mute them (or leave chat altogether.)
- Don’t give up! Even if you’re not winning, completing a match will earn you XP, which gets you crates. Crates are full of skins and cosmetics that you keep, even though you’re playing for free. If you buy the game, you get all of your stuff.
- Check out the Arcade for fun game modes. Eight player Free for All Deathmatch is especially worth a shot, and is nearly worth the price of admission by itself.
- Be positive. Seriously, Overwatch is a game where you’re going to lose a bunch due to your teammates. If you’re a perfectionist, just focus on your own gameplay.
- If you’re overwhelmed, jump into a game against bots. They’re great practice!
Overwatch gets content in bursts. There are seasonal events (Halloween, Christmas, Summer, etc.) While there are no events running right now, we did just get a new hero, Moira. A new hero and a new free weekend means that this weekend is a great time to get started, so find your sea legs, shoot some futuristic guns, and earn your first Play of the Game! You have until November 20th, so have fun (and seriously, make sure you try Lucio, he’s a blast.)