A Step By Step Guide To Getting Better At Overwatch

Getting better at any one thing in life requires dedication and focus. Fortunately, improving one’s skill in video games isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem at first glance. Esports gaming, in particular, is a very fascinating beast. There are many different types of games and genres, and all of them are unique in their own right. That’s what makes them so darn attractive. Some players love the slow burn that a game of Hearthstone provides. Others, however, prefer the hectic nature and the pixel-perfect accuracy that’s required when playing an FPS like, say, Overwatch or Apex Legends.

tixti/123RF

Fortunately, all of these esport titles have a lot in common. They might not belong to the same genre, but the most important concepts and gameplay elements are almost always universal. Things like map awareness, communication and adaptability are insanely important regardless of the game you’re playing. And some of the best players in the world always say it’s not about the gear you have or the speed at which you can react — those are all beneficial, of course, but they are far from essential. Instead, it’s about the way you approach the game and a handful of key elements that are often overlooked by newer players.

In fact, many of the most important factors listed below are so simple in their core that they might seem uncomplicated or undemanding. You might think they’re negligible or easy to grasp, and yet they’re absolutely integral and require a fair bit of time to master. The biggest problem, in a way, is not being aware of them, and thinking that it’s all about mechanical prowess. It’s not. Once you make that realization and start focusing on the aspects that actually matter, you can make the necessary steps to ensure rapid growth and improvement in any esport.

In this article, however, we’ll be looking at Overwatch specifically.

So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at five things you need to work on in order to improve!

Communication

One of the most important things in any esport is communication. That holds especially true for a game like Overwatch. Without communication, you’re bound to fail sooner rather than later. Generally speaking, you should start talking to your teammates from the moment you’re in the hero selection phase. What kind of team comp should you go for? Which heroes are the best for the job? Do you have an idea on how to counter something your opponents just picked?

Tell your teammates everything, even if they’re not the kind to respond. Don’t just lock in a hero and hope for the best — take a strategic approach and think things through.

Once you spawn on the map, that’s when communication becomes the most important thing. Did you see an enemy? How much of your ultimate has charged? Do you plan on going into the thick of things? Make sure to always keep your team updated because that way they’ll be able to respond and follow up. Without them by your side, almost any high-risk play you might opt for will fall through.

Finally, utilizing your ultimate at the best possible moment can often be the difference between victory and defeat. Pulling off an insane ultimate wombo combo is incredibly important, but to have one you first have to draft in conjunction with your team.

Once you have your ultimate, ping and notify your allies like your life depends on it.

Now, it’s important to highlight, that you won’t always have allies that will share your enthusiasm or willingness to communicate. That’s natural and it should in no way dissuade you from trying your best and sharing as much information as possible.

Adaptability

Overwatch is a team game. While you can surely hard carry from time to time, you’ll often have to adapt to your team. This starts off with the hero selection phase. Having three DPS heroes just isn’t going to cut it, no matter how talented you might be. There’s a reason why 2-2-2 (two damage dealers, two tanks and two supports) has been the meta for so long — it works flawlessly and doesn’t have any one glaring weakness.

This means you’ll sometimes have to play tank or support. You don’t have to do this because you’re a stand-up kind of guy (or girl), but rather because it’ll considerably improve your chances of attaining success.

Adapting on the fly is key, especially in a game like Overwatch. You should never be too stubborn — if things aren’t working out then, by all means, switch it up. Pick a different hero, try a different route, ask an ally to switch roles. Sometimes you’ll have a bad day. Other times you’ll just be outmatched and outgunned. But if you quickly identify these issues you’ll be able to fix them in time and not lose out on anything in-game.

This is also a great segway into our next point: flexibility.

Hero Flexibility

Being an OTP (“One Trick Pony”) isn’t the worst thing in the world, but if you’re looking to climb and improve, then you absolutely have to diversify your arsenal. For example, if you’re a support main, then try to master as many support heroes as you possibly can. Each of these heroes will then allow you to adapt on the fly. Some maps or team comps work best with Mercy. Others, however, require a Zenyatta or Lucio. By playing all of these, you’ll stand a much bigger chance of winning.

The same thing goes for playing heroes that don’t fall into your role. Sometimes you’ll have to fill and play tank, so make sure to grind a couple of meta picks like D.Va or Reinhardt just in case the need arises. Finally, you should always be willing to do what is necessary to help your team out. You won’t get far by yourself, so make sure to do what’s in your power to get the win.

Awareness

Awareness starts much earlier before any action happens. You have to be cognizant of not just where you are but where the rest of your team is as well. This is sometimes incredibly hard, especially if everyone’s doing their own thing — but it’s of paramount importance. You should also keep track of your opponents. Is someone hiding, perhaps trying to pull off a sick flank? Did a key hero fall in battle? By being aware of the nuances that happen during the game (or a team fight, for that matter), you’ll be able to adapt and capitalize.

In other words, you won’t be able to maximize your team’s potential (inherent strengths, damage output, synergy, ultimate stacking) if you’re only focusing on yourself.

Watch the Pros

Finally, you can learn a ton by just watching and analyzing the best players in the world. After all, it’s their job to be good at the game. They’re talented, creative, in-sync and always have a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Watch what they do and when they do it and then try to replicate the same things in your own play. There’s always so much you can learn — maybe a hero specific play that you’ve never seen before, or a team comp that works wonders on a specific map.

If you’re looking to learn from the biggest masters of the game, make sure to tune in to the Overwatch League once the third season begins on February 8th.

Verdict

Improving at Overwatch isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. Obviously, sometimes you’ll face a mechanical deity who’ll wreck your team through incredible aim and talent, but no matter the opponent, you’ll always be able to find an avenue towards success if you play as a team and communicate at a high enough level. As with any such endeavor, you’ll need time and effort to actually improve, but if you do things right and focus on your fundamentals, you’ll see results sooner rather than later.

Petar Vukobrat

Petar Vukobrat