Overwatch, Blizzard’s smash hit hero shooter, has been around for a number of years now and continues to be one of the most polished FPS experiences out there. Anyone coming to the hero shooter genre for the first time might be tempted to give it a shot, but the biggest problem the game has with drawing in new players is how intimidating the title is to newbies.
Jumping into the game now requires you to understand the abilities of 32 heroes, learn 21 maps, and recognise hundreds of plays. Simply put, it’s a lot to take in all at once and we can’t blame you for hesitating when deciding on your first hero.
This guide will take you through some of the easiest heroes to get a hold of in Overwatch. These characters will pack a punch, even if you’ve never played the game before and are just getting used to the idea of what a ‘Whole Hog’ or ‘Photon Barrier’ is.
What are the best Overwatch characters for beginners?
Here are the best Overwatch characters for beginners:
- Soldier 76
Soldier 76 is the hero you’ll play as when you first open up Overwatch and find yourself in the practice range. The damage hero is a direct descendant of all FPS characters and Blizzard knows it. He’s supposed to be your first pick if you’re coming into the game from Call of Duty or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and as such, he’s a great first pick.
His gun works like most other automatic rifles you’ll have come into contact with in the best FPS games and it works perfectly at mid-range distances. His alternative fire is Helix Rockets, which launches a cluster of tiny rockets that explode on impact. Sure, they travel slower than your hitscan shots, but the rockets do a lot more damage and are a great finishing move.
Soldier: 76 is also one of the fastest heroes in the game due to his ability to sprint. You can get out of danger or help teammates faster than many other heroes can and it’s a great passive ability. Speaking of helping teammates, Soldier: 76 can also use his Biotic Field to heal characters within a small area – giving everyone just a little boost in longevity.
Soldier’s ultimate ability, Tactical Visor, gives Soldier the best aim assist you could hope for, insta-locking you onto enemies within a specific sightline – a fantastic ultimate when the enemy team has lost a tank or two, and are lacking cover and defence.
Basically, if you’ve played other FPS and want to hop right into the thick of the fight in Overwatch, Soldier: 76 is for you.
Junkrat is a personal favourite of ours. If your team is ever lacking in firepower and the opposing team is regularly bunched up at a choke point, this hero is the bomb. Literally.
Junkrat’s Frag Launcher is his main weapon and it spits out grenades that do a lot of AOE damage. Hitting most damage characters directly twice with these grenades kill them – this is made easier by the fact that they explode on impact, but if you don’t hit anyone immediately, they’ll sit on the ground for a couple of moments before exploding. Launching a ton of these at a group of enemies will do a bunch of damage, and the grenades also break through barriers pretty quickly, allowing teammates to push areas that might be blocked by shields.
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Junkrat’s other abilities include his Concussion Mine and his Steel Trap. The Mine can be thrown into areas of enemies and remote detonated, or alternatively it can be used to launch Junkrat into the air, giving him great mobility. The Steel Trap hides on the ground, waiting for an adversary to step on it. Once activated it prevents an enemy moving for four seconds and does a clean 100 damage to them.
RIP-Tire, Junkrat’s ultimate ability, combos with the trap. The hero releases a robotic tire bomb which you manually control. It can climb walls, jump over obstacles and will detonate on command or break if its health is depleted. Be careful using this ability as it leaves Junkrat vulnerable to attacks when you’re not controlling him.
If Junkrat does die, however, there’s a catch. Junkrat has the game’s only postmortem ability which allows him to explode upon death. Total Mayhem releases six grenades from Junkrat’s body which do 50 damage each – easily killing any unfortunate damage characters still next to his body. And if you’re new to Overwatch and dying a lot, it’s a great way to get a cheap accidental kill.
Torbjörn is one of the two ‘builders’ in Overwatch. He and Symmetra have abilities that allow them to create turrets which actively damage and annoy enemy players – however, Symmetra’s turrets and teleporter placements require a little more knowledge of maps so Torb is the better starting point.
Torbjörn’s main advantage is his Turret, a machine with precise aiming capabilities which will fire at enemies on sight. If adversaries do not get out of the way, this Turret eats away at health and barriers incredibly quickly, so even if you’re not great at aiming, the Turret will do a lot of damage in your place. If your Turret is under fire, changing weapons to Torb’s Forge Hammer, allows him to repair the machine by hitting it – adding 50 health per whack.
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If you’re into using Torb’s own weapon, however, the Rivet gun has two types of fire. The first is a projectile made out of molten metal while the second is more like a shotgun. The first is great for long-distance assault, while the second is a great up-close-and-personal greeting (or goodbye) to enemies. The Overload ability is a 10-second buff Torb can apply to himself which increases the rate of fire of all of his weapons – Forge Hammer included.
As for an ultimate ability, Molten Core allows Torb to spread a bunch of red hot metal lava across surfaces. Any enemies standing in this gunk will take huge amounts of damage, so it is a great tool to eliminate enemies and deny them entry into areas covered by the sludge. If you miss all your adversaries, just pretend it was a tactical play.
The only hero with two lives, D.Va, is a bit of a problem for enemies to deal with. Highly mobile with her Boosters ability, this tank is a blast to play when running around the map, taking out squishy enemies and being a general nuisance. Perfect.
The great thing about picking up a hero like D.Va is that although she is partially responsible for the wellbeing of the rest of her team, she’s an ‘off-tank’ which means that being aggressive and taking out enemies are priorities for her, rather than using barriers and shields to be more defensive. That, handily, takes a lot of pressure off you.
First let’s talk about her Fusion Cannons which, unlike any other damage weapon, do not need to be reloaded. They can keep firing for as long as you like, and although they don’t do a lot of damage from far away, they are lethal up close.
If you are trying to hit someone far away then use D.Va’s Micro Missiles, which act a bit like Soldier: 76’s Helix Rockets. They’re projectile rockets that slowly make their way to their destination, but do a considerable amount of damage when hitting an enemy, and are a great tool for taking down enemy barriers.
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If you’re taking too much damage as D.Va, Defense Matrix is your friend. This ability cancels out many of the damage abilities that come your way. Bullets, projectiles, and some ultimate abilities are no match for Defense Matrix, and we can see why it has been nerfed many times in the past.
Eventually, though, D.Va will take enough damage for her mech to be destroyed. She will be ejected, becoming the most vulnerable hero in the game until she earns her mech back or dies for real. Baby D.Va, however, still can use her Light Gun, which is more long-range then any of her normal abilities. Sometimes it’s even better to stay outside of the mech until you’ve unloaded your clip into a far away enemy or turret.
D.Va’s ultimate ability, Self-Destruct has the potential to be the most powerful ultimate in the game when used correctly. Using it ejects D.Va from the mech and creates a powerful explosion, killing almost anything in its blast radius, unless they’re behind cover. Using this in conjunction with your Boosters means this bomb can be flung into the air, into enemy-occupied areas, or onto a map point with ease. Best of all, using it with Reinhardt’s, Zarya’s, Sigma’s, or Sombra’s ultimates make for incredibly strong combos that can eliminate entire teams.
Winston is quite literally a beast. No really, he’s a highly intelligent Gorilla from the moon, if you can believe it, and he’s probably the easiest Tank to get your head around. The space ape only has a couple major abilities you’ll need so let’s start with his Tesla Cannon.
This short-range weapon fires a beam of electricity that damages enemies within its range, arcing between multiple enemies so you can damage the entire enemy team at once. It’s not complex, as it doesn’t have a secondary fire – just get close enough to an enemy and hold down left-click to whittle down the health of an adversary.
To get close, you’re going to want to use Winston’s Jump Pack. It’s a leap that launches Winston high into the air before allowing him to land and do 50 damage to whoever’s unlucky enough to be under him. Aiming to land on an enemy before using the Tesla Cannon is a great little combination when engaging with the enemy team but it’s even better with Winston’s last ability the Barrier Projector.
This barrier comes from a device that the ape places down and creates a full dome of protection. Although it has less health than Orisa or Reinhardt’s shields it does offer a full 360 degrees of protection. Jump Packing into enemy territory, placing the Barrier Projector, and then using the Tesla Cannon is a simple three-step plan in taking down enemy players, and it’s super effective for advancing your team’s offensive line.
Primal Rage is Winston’s ultimate ability. Popping this makes the simian scientist upset. So upset he takes off his glasses and becomes a raging beast capable of knocking enemies out of the way. Primal Rage also buffs his health significantly. Each time Winston hits a player, it does 40 damage and knocks them back – perfect for environmental kills or removing players from an area. During this time, you can also Jump Pack more which means you can also damage players just by jumping on them – it’s bananas.
Mercy is arguably the easiest character on this list to learn because her main ability is her healy stick – or *ahem* we mean her Caduceus Staff. It’s a weapon which does nothing but heal teammates or boost their damage output. If you’re entering into Overwatch with a friend, they’ll probably tell you that Mercy is the best hero for you as they reap a lot of benefits from you standing there, continually healing them (or pocket healing them as it’s called).
Use her ability Guardian Angel to fly across the map from teammate to teammate healing as you go and you’re doing a good job. Even better when you use her ultimate ability Valkyrie which allows her to heal friends at a higher rate and more of them at the same time.
The biggest plus for Mercy, arguably, is her resurrection ability. Use Resurrect on a fallen teammate to bring them back into the fight. This is where it’s useful to keep an eye on the ultimate ability percentages of your friends because resurrecting the right teammate can win you the game.
Mercy doesn’t have much in the way of defence – she’s got a Caduceus Blaster which does 20 damage with each bullet, but it’s more than enough to contribute to a fight should you need it. Most of the time though, it’s more appropriate to run away screaming from the Reaper running towards you.
Brigitte was a problem when she arrived in Overwatch as she proved to be more dangerous than the average support hero. The more you play, the more you realise that when engaging with enemies, it’s important to take out healers as soon as you can because they’ll prevent you from finishing off your adversaries. Brigitte, however, is almost like a damage character disguised as a healer.
She has her own personal shield called Barrier Shield which she can put up and down without a problem, and it carries 250 health, preventing a lot of otherwise lethal damage from hitting her. Not only can the Shield be used as a defence item, but Shield Bash can be activated when the barrier is up. This ability launches Brigitte forward, striking her enemies for a tiny amount of damage, but also stunning them briefly, leaving them vulnerable.
Her weapon, the Rocket Flail, is a little medieval in concept. Brigitte whips this flail from side to side, hitting enemies for 35 damage with each hit. The same weapon can be used in the form of the Whip Shot, which fires the end of the Flail directly forward which knocks adversaries backwards and deals 70 damage.
So how does she heal with all these aggressive abilities, eh? Well, when Brigitte is using Rocket Flail, Whip Shot, or Shield Bash, she activates a passive ability called Inspire. Teammates around her will heal up as she is doing damage to enemies which makes her a highly aggressive healer and incredibly dangerous to be close to. If she doesn’t have an enemy to fight, then as a secondary healing method, Brigitte can use a Repair Pack which heals a friend over six seconds.
When learning Overwatch it’s important to be a useful healer, however, it’s more important to stay alive so you can heal. Although Mercy is great for healing output, Brigitte allows you to stay on the playing field a little longer and allows you to really engage with your adversaries and gradually pick up some of the game’s more complex interactions.
Those are the best heroes for a beginner in Overwatch. There are far more characters than just those on this list but these are the names you should get to know when entering the FPS for the first time. If Overwatch doesn’t sound like your cup of tea after all, then why not try out something like Apex Legends, or one of the other best multiplayer games on PC?