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What is Overwatch?

If you’re just now getting into the world of online gaming, Overwatch is one of the best games of its type to dive into. Overwatch is classified as an online multiplayer FPS (first-person-shooter) game, but where it differs from many other popular FPS games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, or PUBG, is its colorful and friendly graphics along with how easy it is to pick up on the fly. Overwatch breaks team-based gaming down into many linear steps that make the game easy to learn and fun to play.



HEROES

After completing the tutorial, where you play as two of the game’s most popular heroes “Tracer” and “Soldier 76,” the opportunity to jump into the world of online gaming becomes available. Suddenly, you’re fighting to complete objectives, working together with your team, and learning to pick the right heroes. But what classifies a “hero” anyway, and how do they work together in game? First off, the best thing to know is that Overwatch has three hero “roles” made up of a variety of diverse characters with many unique abilities. Each team, which consists of six players, has two of each role that all work together to win matches.

“Tanks” are heroes with large health pools who lead the frontline and protect the rest of their team from the enemy. They can range from a shield-wielding crusader to a giant ape with an electric cannon.

“Damage” or “DPS” heroes are those with less health but far more damage potential, and the DPS category holds the widest variety of heroes to pick from with multitudes of different abilities to help their team.

Lastly, “Support” heroes assist their teammates by being the main source of healing and utility, and are integral to a team’s survival from one fight to the next.


MAPS

After choosing what role you enjoy playing and a specific hero in that category, you can get into what makes Overwatch so fun - the online multiplayer aspect. In both the casual and competitive modes of Overwatch, you’re put onto a team of six to fight for the win on many different types of “maps.” There are many map types, like King of the Hill (Control Map), payload escort (Escort), point capture (Assault) or a combination of those (Hybrid). Despite map types being vastly different, the concept is still the same - teamwork is integral to coming out on top in all maps, and coordination and strategy are of the utmost importance.




COMPETITIVE OVERWATCH LEAGUE

Now that you’re getting the hang of what Overwatch feels like to play or spectate, the discussion can move to the competitive side of the game. After its resounding success on release in 2016, fans created unofficial tournaments and competitions to suit their more competitive nature. Blizzard noticed this, and only six months after Overwatch was released, the concept of a competitive game mode was introduced. In the competitive mode, players could gain or lose Skill Ranking (SR) points based on the outcome of their matches.


This system allowed Blizzard to recognize outstanding players and bring them onto an official team - thus, the Overwatch League (OWL) was created. Featuring live-streamed matches with millions of dollars in sponsorships, Overwatch League is still a resounding success to this day, featuring the most successful players worldwide - fewer than the top 1% of the player base. Even while not in-season, many OWL players find success on platforms like YouTube or Twitch discussing or playing Overwatch.


Lastly, smaller leagues have the same principle - coaches with team experience in Overwatch band together to teach players all they have learned about the game in a variety of different aspects. Players soak up this knowledge in hopes that one day, they too can participate in the official Overwatch League or make a career out of esports.


 

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