Game Guides

Overwatch Guide: Which Is The Best Character Class For You?

by Dean James


Overwatch is one of the biggest releases of 2016 thus far and for good reason, as it provides you with hours upon hours of pure fun. Being a hero shooter in the vein of something like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch is build all around the characters and the classes they fall into. That’s why we wanted to help you figure out just the type of class you will be best suited for based on how you want to play.

The cast of Overwatch is filled with colorful and likable characters that each come with different weapons and abilities, with them tailored to specific classes on top of that. These are split up into four types, Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support, which should be rather familiar to those that have played other hero shooters or even MMOs.

Whenever you start a match in Overwatch, players will be able to choose any characters they want. Technically it is possible to get a team of nothing but Offense class characters, but that is not recommended. In fact, the game warns you on the character selection screen if a match has too many or too few of a particular class. In my experience with the game so far, it seemed like the majority of matches had an abundance of players picking Offense and Defense, with Support characters not being picked often enough.

One aspect that can really help your team here though is that anybody can switch characters when they are back in their base where they respawn. This means that if one particular character just isn’t working well against the opposition or you realize that you could do more by healing your teammates as a Support character, you can easily make the switch.

The Offense class features six different characters, including Genji, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier: 76, and Tracer. The purpose of this class is obviously to go on the offensive by being able to quickly take down opposing players, especially those that are around the objective locations, which is helped by having some of the highest speed in the game. Their biggest downside is that they are in turn pretty weak defensively with lesser health bars, so you may find yourself dying a lot more often. In return, these characters also have abilities that negate this a bit, such as Soldier: 76’s Biotic Field and Reaper’s Wraith Form, but they are definitely pretty vulnerable.

While you might think the Defense class would be weak on the offensive side, the six characters of Bastion, Hanzo, Junkrat, Mei, Torbjorn, and Widowmaker are actually some of the strongest characters in the game. There is a reason why you will see a lot of players picking Bastion in most every match, as he can switch forms and mow down the opposition with relative ease. While the speed is less than with the Offense class, Defense class characters have more overall range through long distance attacks and traps that are good at keeping objective areas free of the other team, such as Mei’s Ice Wall ability.

The third option is the Tank class, which MMO fans especially should be familiar with, and includes D.Va, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston, and Zarya. Tanks are the types of characters that will always be in the thick of battle, largely due to the fact that they have the largest health totals of all and have more short range attacks. The health isn’t all, as Tanks also have various buff abilities that help, such as Winston’s Barrier Projector and Roadhog’s health restoring Take A Breather move. While Tanks can take a lot more hits, they are also somewhat limited in attack power, but if you can get some good teamwork with a Support character, you can really do some damage over time.

The final class is the Support class, which some may think is boring, but are one of the most important cogs in Overwatch. Limited to only four characters options with Lucio, Mercy, Symmetra, Zenyatta, there isn’t as much variety to choose from, but the four available are very vital in the game. The point of Support characters is pretty self-explanatory, as rather than focusing on taking out the opposition or holding down the objectives on the map, your goal is to literally support the other players, especially the aforementioned Tank characters. The Support characters can still deal damage, such as with Symmetra’s Photon Projector and Sentry Turret, but their main goal is to focus on healing and buffing other players on the team. Overall, this class may be the most complicated and difficult to use, as it can be hard to step back and focus on protecting players, but it can also be the most rewarding if you do it effectively.

For those that have been playing the beta in previous months, you may know the classes that you prefer, but the great thing about Overwatch is that each one can be a blast to use while still being very well balanced with the others. The first instinct for a new player may be to go with the Offense, but that is not exactly the case with Overwatch. You can definitely pick a character like Tracer or Reaper to start off, but with that you’re also expected to do a lot right out the gate with taking down enemies and securing objectives.

A safer option for newcomers might be the Defense class as they can deal a ton of damage while also being able to do so from a distance. It may be more difficult to perfect the abilities to help protect the objectives on the map, but Defense is overall the most forgiving.

Tank also may be a good option for new players due to them having so much health that you can have a little time to figure out the flow of the game. However, this does mean that you will be more focused on close combat and therefore a target, so be ready to get up close and personal with the opposition and hope that your team has some good Support players.

Speaking of Support, this one is probably the most difficult to start off with, but the growing pains may be worth it in the long run. It seems that less people are choosing this class so far in my experience, so if you can really figure out one of the Support characters, you may just be the player to push your team over the edge.

Overall, you honestly cannot go wrong with any particular class or character in Overwatch. Each one is exceptionally balanced and a ton of fun to play as, so it’s worth giving each one a try at some point. Hopefully this guide will at least put you on the path towards choosing what class sounds most suited to you and then you can experience those characters for yourself to see what feels right.

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