With nearly 30 Heroes to chose from, Overwatch can feel overwhelming to a newcomer. It is all about understanding which best suits your play style (Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)
So you’ve discovered Overwatch, installed the game and entered a Quick Match. Your first steps are complete! But, now that you’re in-game, which Heroes should you play? Let’s break down what the best Heroes are for beginners and which Heroes might be worth avoiding until you get more comfortable with the game.
Low difficulty Heroes aren’t necessarily the most simple, but they are the most intuitive for FPS players and newbies. They require less finesse to achieve results, but still have unlimited potential once you get comfortable with their kits. They’re the Damage Heroes with bigger hitscan boxes, the Tanks that have intuitive kits for their roles, and the Supports that give a lot through minimal action.
For Damage, we recommend Bastion, Mei, Soldier: 76 and Torbjorn. Bastion and Soldier: 76 both have long range damage that is second-nature: point and click. There is minimal recoil on their rapid left-click attacks, meaning you can practice targeting down your opponents in a more newbie-friendly way. Torbjorn has the unique mechanic of placing down a Turret to do an immense amount of his damage, so your focus can be more on finding strategic Turret placement over aiming and using complex abilities. Finally, Mei is a Hero with a cone-shaped left-click attack that can freeze enemies, a snipe right-click attack, and several survivability-centric abilities which allows her to take on most close-quarters Heroes with ease.
For Tanks, you have a ton of options: Roadhog, Orisa, Reinhardt and Winston are all easy Heroes to learn early on in your Overwatch career! Orisa, Reinhardt and Winston all focus on a central mechanic: shields. By throwing down barriers or, in Reinhardt’s case, holding up a barrier, you can protect your team incredibly well without being an expert Overwatch player. In Roadhog’s case, his massive health pool and self-healing ability allow you to sustain most damage the enemy may throw at you, while his deadly hook is very intuitive and reminiscent of Dota 2’s Pudge hook or Heroes of the Storm’s Stitches hook. Pair that with a mid-ranged, wide hit area left-click attack and you’ve got an easily accessible Hero!
For Supports, three stand out as easy picks: Brigitte, Mercy and Moira. Brigitte is an Armor machine. She has a shield reminiscent of Reinhardt’s (just smaller) plus both knockback and stun abilities. Her healing output is also monstrous and, with a frontal cone left-click attack, her damage is nothing to scoff at either. Mercy and Moira are both sustain healers and are intuitive for new players. Mercy’s mobility is near unparalleled, with the ability to fly to any ally (including recently killed allies’ bodies) including those high up in the air such as Pharah. Her heal is a locked-on beam ability that can be switched to a damage boost at will, and her Resurrect ability is easy to use given proper coverage by a Tank. Finally, Moira is a point-and-click healer with plenty of damage potential. Her orb is all about angles and geometry which means you can optimize heals once you get used to her, but in general, has strong healing output without min-maxing the angle at which you throw it. While the necessity to deal damage in order to have more healing potential might seem daunting, her attack is a mid-ranged lock-on beam meaning it’s near impossible to miss your target. With a point-and-click beam Ultimate, Moira is an easy Hero for new players to master!
Medium difficulty Heroes have kits that have some barrier of entry to utilize to their full potential but are still somewhat easy for the average player to pick up and try out with some success. Some have very easy-to-understand abilities that take finesse to utilize to their full potential but still have ease of access, while others have more complex kits but simple concepts or themes to their abilities that allow any player to learn them over time.
For Damage, we recommend Doomfist, Junkrat, McCree, Reaper, Sombra and Tracer. Doomfist is a unique Hero in that he is a melee with plenty of ranged capabilities. Mobility is the name of the game for him and his kit isn’t the simplest to figure out– but, once you do, he’s a fight-and-flight machine, taking down your enemy’s back line with a series of swift punches and aerial drops. Junkrat has perhaps the most unique left-click attack in the game, lobbing grenades with his Frag Launcher that explode upon contact with enemies or after a set amount of time. Figuring out the angles at which to launch these explosives is tricky, but it also allows you to spray down cover for your allies without having to aim down sights. His ultimate, Rip-Tire, is incredibly easy to utilize as well, meaning his barrier for entry is low but his skill cap is sky-high.
McCree is a pseudo-sniper, with a mid-range revolver left-click attack and a Flashbang stun. He also has a Combat Roll that allows him to dodge into cover easily, and his Ultimate is essentially an auto-focused snipe. Reaper is your frontline counter, dealing massive damage with twin shotguns and the ability to teleport behind or above your opponents with the click of a button. Pair that with a mobile immunity and AoE Ultimate and you’ve got a Hero that’s on the easier end of medium difficulty, but the finesse it takes to properly target down opponents and position your Ultimate makes him arguably a mid-tier Hero.
Lastly, Sombra and Tracer are both highly mobile Damage Heroes with rapid-fire pistols as their left-click attacks. Both have teleport abilities – Sombra through her Translocator and Tracer through her Blink – and the ability to get out of trouble in a pinch. For Tracer, she recalls to a previous location, while Sombra goes invisible. Their Ultimates are also very niche, with Sombra AoE EMPing her enemies to disable their abilities, while Tracer’s Pulse Bomb is an assassination AoE Ultimate that requires precise positioning to properly “stick” an enemy with the bomb. The finesse these Heroes take to master make them strong medium difficulty contenders.
For Tanks, two shine as medium difficulty: D.Va and Zarya. D.Va’s kit is easy to get used to, with plenty of safety built into her abilities, but to utilize her as both a Tank and a heavy-hitter takes plenty of practice. Her Defense Matrix stops only front-facing abilities and her Ultimate, Self Destruct, leaves her completely vulnerable and squishy until her Mech comes back online. It’s important not to overestimate your survivability, and that lesson is also relevant for Zarya players. Particle Barrier allows Zarya to protect herself and charge her weapon simultaneously, but once it’s on cooldown you are easy pickings. What makes Zarya medium difficulty and not hard difficulty is the beam effect on her left-click attack as well as the utility and simplicity of her Ultimate, Graviton Surge. Beam abilities are much easier, technically, to aim and deal effective damage with, while Graviton Surge sets up your team very easily for kills even if it only hits two enemy Heroes.
For Supports, Ana and Symmetra* fit the bill. Symmetra has a beam attack similar to Moira’s, making her left-click attack one of the easiest in the game. Her turrets, like Torbjorn’s but with lower range and the ability to be placed on walls, deal minimal damage but allow you to know the position of the enemy at all times essentially. Finally, her Teleporter and Photon Barriers are tricky to position properly but, when set up well, can change the tides of battle in an instant.
Ana, on the other hand, is the first sniper on this list and the only sniper to be considered medium difficulty and not hard. Her grenade heals allies and debuffs enemies hit by its AoE and is fairly easy to aim. Similarly, her sleep dart is fairly easy to aim, especially at close-range targets which will likely be your focus. The tricky parts of her kit lay in hitting her left-click attack, a snipe that heals allies when hit, and properly prioritizing Nano Boost targets at key moments, such as when your team is zerging a capture point.
*Categorizing Symmetra as a Support is tricky because, in-game, she’s considered Damage; however, based on her utility and team-centric kit, we still consider her to be a Support despite her rework.
Hard difficulty Heroes are categorized by their mechanical intensity and unique kits. These Heroes take hours and hours to master and, even then, there’s still more to learn. Often, you’ll feel like you’re learning more about the game through playing that Hero than you would ever learn from an easy or medium difficulty Hero. Precision is the name of the game for hard difficulty Heroes, regardless of whether you’re a Tank, Damage or Support. If you’re a natural at any of these Heroes, you’re a prodigy and we applaud you, but most likely you’ll need hours of practice to hone your skills.
For Damage, we’ve got three snipers, an aerial assault master and the master of the sword himself. Ashe, Hanzo and Widowmaker are the snipers you’ll have to look out for. They’re the Heroes that can easily become useless but, in the right hands, can single-handedly shut down an entire team. Hanzo and Widowmaker are all about using their secondary abilities to get into position, spot out the enemy, and take them down headshot by headshot. But quickscoping on Widow or aiming down your shots on Hanzo takes practice, practice, practice. Similarly, Ashe is all about aiming down sights and blowing up the competition. Her Coach Gun allows her to knock herself and others away, giving her some mobility, but otherwise, she is heavily reliant on hitting the enemy before the enemy can hit her in true sniper fashion. Being able to accurately hit your Dynamite at the opportune moment and positioning her Ultimate, B.O.B., effectively takes perfect timing and, well, practice.
Pharah is your aerial threat and the bane of every player who has ever faced the dreaded Phar-Mercy duo. Being able to capitalize on Concussive Blast to knock herself in the air (or enemies away) to get even further height, then staggering usage of her thrusters to keep sky-high is tricky, but when you pull it off you unleash a rain of rockets the likes of which no tank shield can survive. Finally, there is the yin to Pharah’s yang: the melee threat himself, Genji. One of the Shimada brothers alongside Hanzo, Genji’s Swift Strike allows for intense and constant movement from this Hero and is the key to his kit. Darting in and out of combat, assassinating the squishies on the enemy’s team before darting back out of combat for some quick heals, is exactly what you need to do. With targets all over the place and front line Heroes just waiting to stun you, you’d better have fancy footwork and quick key fingers to master Genji.
The only Tank that fits this category is Wrecking Ball AKA Hammond AKA our hamster overlord. Every part of his kit is unique from almost every other Hero in the game. Grappling Claw is a cool ability, sure, but mastering its potential takes an iron spirit and incredible instincts. He is mobile, tanky, and deals a hefty amount of damage, but only if you figure out how to optimally play him. If you can’t, he might as well not be in the game.
For Support, two of the best in the game are suitably the hardest: Lucio and Zenyatta. Lucio’s wallriding takes practice because, while you might understand how to hop around intuitively, knowing exactly where you can position on each map and how to adapt to avoid enemy abilities takes expertise the likes of which does not exist for perhaps any other Hero. Booping enemies and hitting your Sound Barrier at just the right moment takes a lot of time to master but, once you do, you’ll be a top healer in no time.
Zenyatta, on the other hand, is all about charging your attacks up at just the right moment to unleash hell upon your enemies. While his passive healing from Orb of Harmony might seem easy enough, having to stay in line of sight of your target is an artform when you’re as squishy as Zenyatta. Simultaneously, you have to be dishing out damage on your Orb of Discord target and the hitbox for Zenyatta’s attacks is nearly as small as a sniper like Hanzo’s. Finally, you’ll be tempted to use your Ultimate in semi-clutch situations but a true master of Zenyatta knows how to hold it for the most intense of team fights.
There’s a reason these descriptions got longer as we delved deeper into the categories of Heroes: The more difficult the Hero, the more difficult it is to explain exactly why they are so technically challenging. The best way to improve is to find a Hero that suits your style of play, whether that’s an easy Hero or a hard one. Find your niche and expand from there and, soon enough, even the most difficult of Heroes can be at your beck and call. Finally, remember that even an “easy” Hero can have subtle nuances that make their skill ceiling sky-high so don’t underestimate their potential!