Early access to Blizzard’s Overwatch Open Beta has dropped, with full access opening in a few days. As plenty of people haven’t had much time with the game before, I thought I’d offer a few helpful tips to ensure you make the most of your time in the beta. After about three weeks in the previous closed beta I’m far from an expert, but with these tips in mind you’ll be in a good spot to play well from the get go!
Test out every character
In Overwatch there’s four main classes, but within each the heroes vary greatly. You’ll find an assault character with heals in Soldier 76, a support character who fills rooms with beam-turrets in Symmetra and a scientist monkey capable of leaping across battlefields. With a roster so varied some characters will really click with you, in roles or styles you’d never usually jump into. For me, this came in the form of the adorable ice warrior Mei and D.Va the tank, even though tank is a class I rarely pick. Each character is really special and giving everyone a go, even some of the more trickier or strange ones, will be sure to deliver memorable moments.
Communicate. Work as a team!
Overwatch is first and foremost a team game. Communication is paramount to victory, and thankfully the game offers you plenty of tools to do so easily. Hotkeys allow you to shout ‘group on me’ or ‘attack the objective’ to help guide the team, but even letting other teammates know when your ultimate is charged can be game changing. A well timed combo of a Zarya ultimate and D.Va mech explosion can clear out a whole team on a point, giving you some much needed breathing room.
During the beta most people were pretty active in chat on PC, letting you know if a pesky Bastion is guarding a point or commending a well timed Mercy resurrect. Keeping up on things like that will give you and other players a good sense of what’s going on across the field. More often than not good communication and positivity won the day, helping players to learn new characters and maps.
Play the objective
Overwatch is not a game for diving in alone, nor is it a team deathmatch scenario. The objective style changes map to map between pushing a payload to a point and capturing a zone (or sometimes a mix of both) and sticking to this is hugely important. If you want to win that goal needs to be firmly in mind. Things like making sure you stand near a payload to keep it from being pushed back after a teamfight will stop you losing valuable ground. Similarly, stalling tactics like Mei’s self-freeze or a well timed ultimate can hold a contested point until back up arrives.
There’s no K/D ratio on the end screen in Overwatch, so the time old FPS ideals wane a little. More often than not it can be worth sacrificing your life in a tight spot to finish off a high priority foe or hold an objective – it can even be game changing.
Don’t be afraid to use your ultimate
Ultimates require a short time to charge and can have a big effect on a match, but quite often people hold them off, waiting for that big perfect moment. More often than not this opportunity never comes, so using an ultimate soon after it’s charged is often a better move. Once you’ve used it you’ll start regaining charge pretty fast, especially if you’re helping others, dealing damage or on an objective.
You never know quite what the enemy has in store, so if you see an opportunity to cause some chaos with an ultimate like Pharrah’s rocket barrage, take it. You’ll soon have another to deploy anyway.
Queue with friends
If you’ve got other friends playing the beta, party up and queue together. Aside from the sweet 20% XP boost (which means faster loot boxes!) it makes teamwork a lot easier, but also allows some zany, fun strategies. Want to run a team full of Mei’s and freeze everyone? Go for it. Load up a team of McCree’s and have stun duels? The perfect high noon fun.
The abilities each character has somehow manage to get more crazy the more there are on the field. This is just one of the reasons to jump in with friends; the cool moments you can coordinate as a group. The game is about having fun and making plays that’ll be great stories to tell later on, and after one of these game’s you’ll be sure to have a great play of the game up your sleeve.
With these tips you should be primed to jump in and have a lot of fun in the beta. Overwatch is easy to learn once you spend a bit of time with it, so get in and play a few games. May luck be on your side as you open plenty of loot boxes and try for that memorable play of the game!
Overwatch launches May 24th for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The open beta runs till May 9th, accessible for ALL players from May 5th.