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Overwatch 101: Three Core Principles



I started playing Overwatch casually a year or so after it came out and it wasn’t until six months ago that I started to truly appreciate it and play it more frequently. After having played many multiplayer videogames I can confidently say that for me Overwatch is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding. Very few videogames have kept me excited or maintained my interest for so long.

However, Overwatch can also be extremely frustrating and nerve-racking. It is a team based game and a victory or defeat rests entirely on your performance as a team, never as an individual. The moments of frustration I sometimes feel are due to easy victories or crippling defeats that are not a result of unskilled players but instead of their neglect or misunderstanding of some of the core principals of the game.

In this post I want to spread the word of what in my opinion are Overwatch’s three core principals, without going into details of each hero or map or strategy, etc.  I want to be able to finish Overwatch games saying ‘That was a well-deserved victory/defeat. We did not drop the ball!’ As opposed to “What was that guy in our team playing at?!” or “The other team had no idea what they’re doing”.

Before jumping in, these core principals apply to Overwatch’s quick play and competitive modes, not to some of the arcade games.



Always bear this in mind: games in Overwatch are won and lost based on the objective! Regardless of whether you are attacking or defending, if you neglect the objective you will lose. I have seen teams with skillful players lose a game simply because none of them were paying attention to the objective and other games won at the very end because every player throws themselves into the objective.

To give a quick overview to the uninitiated in Overwatch, the four types of objective games are:

  • Assault – There are two points, or areas, in the map that an attacking team must capture by removing the defending team from the point.
  • Control – There is one area in the map that the two teams must fight to control. Just like in Assault, you gain control of the area by removing the other team from it. When you are in control of the area there is a percentage counter that increases. There are up to three areas per match and the winning team is the one which reaches to 100% control in two of them.
  • Escort – An attacking team must stay close to a payload in order to move it from one end of the map to the other, while the defending team have to push them away from the payload.
  • Hybrid – This is mix between Assault and Escort. An attacking team must first capture an area before unlocking a payload.

All of the objective games share two very important aspects.

  1. During a game, at the top of the head up display (HUD) the objective status is clearly indicated. At a glance you can see things like the location of the payload, the percentage controlled of an area, or the game’s remaining time. Don’t lose sight of this! It’s important to know the objective status at all times!
  2. OVERTIME! When the objective time is up or you have reached 99% of a Control point, you may enter Overtime (also clearly displayed in the HUD). This is additional time that the attacking team has at achieving the objective and it lasts indefinitely until someone from the defending team knocks the attackers away from the objective. As an attacker, when you have very few seconds left of the game or when you enter Overtime, you MUST stay at the objective. It doesn’t matter what hero you choose, stay on the objective! If you are a hero with few hit points, chances are you may be eliminated within 2 or 3 seconds, but that may buy enough time for a tank to reach the objective and that may allow your team to regroup and have a fighting chance. This has happened! In Overtime, stay at the objective, NO EXCUSES!


2. Know your role

Each hero has a unique set of abilities and you should know these before choosing a hero in an objective game. It’s very hard to learn these abilities during a fast paced game but fortunately there is a practice range where you can familiarize yourself with each hero. I highly recommend this, and especially to learn how to use the hero’s ultimate ability which can be decisive in a game!

Heroes are classified under three blocks:

  • Tank –Heroes with many hit points that are meant to soak up bullets and damage like a sponge.
  • Damage – Heroes whose abilities and weapons are meant to inflict as much damage as possible to the opposing team.
  • Support – Heroes who provide support to the others in a team by providing armor, increasing speed or damage, and most importantly healing.

Whatever hero you choose, it is very important that you know what your role is towards achieving the objective. Games are won by teams, do not forget your role or else an attack or defense will crumble miserably!


3. Avoid dying!

This is a pretty obvious one that is applicable to every game out there, but it is especially relevant in Overwatch because death is very heavily penalized!

Every time you die you have to wait 10 seconds until you respawn and the respawn location is usually far from the objective; it can take you another 15 seconds or so to reach it (depending on the hero and map). That means that every time you die, you may be out of action for approximately 25 seconds in an objective game that lasts only a few minutes. On top of that, during the 10 seconds after you die you don’t charge the hero’s ultimate ability either. This adds up with every death and can be a considerable toll for your team.

Whenever you see you may be eliminated, you should run away from the action and find a health pack or hope that you have good support team mates that can heal you. This is almost always a better option than being eliminated, unless if running away jeopardizes the objective! In that case, make a grand last stand!

Quick takeaways:

  • Know the objective status at all times
  • Head of the objective and stay there during Overtime! No excuses!
  • Know your hero’s abilities and your role in the team
  • Do not die needlessly!

The world could always use more (and better) heroes!

Thanks for reading!

Image result for overwatch


3 thoughts on “Overwatch 101: Three Core Principles Leave a comment

  1. Nice post! I really like the game! It’s perfect to play with a few friwnds. I have to remark the part of playing as a Team, if not it can be frustrating. Everybody must know it’s functions and remember the objective.

    Liked by 2 people

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