If someone told me ten years ago that people playing video games would generate a bigger audience than the NBA, NHL, and MLB, I…
Last week we talked about the very basics of what makes Overwatch a game and how a team can claim victory over another on all the various map types.
This week we are going to delve a little bit deeper and explain what makes up a team of Overwatch players in a typical league game.
Teams are comprised six members who will specialise in different roles to help achieve a balance to their compositions. Usually this will be comprised two tanks whose job it is to soak up enemy damage, two damage dealers (often called DPS) who can’t take as much punishment as tanks but deliver heavier blows, and two healers who keep the rest of the team alive.
There are variations of this where teams may opt to go for three tanks or one healer but generally we see this 2/2/2 composition in Overwatch League matches.
The tank players are usually split into the main tank and an off tank meaning one member will be making the calls as to when to push in and the other follows and can deviate more if the team needs defences elsewhere.
Throughout Overwatch League history main tanks have usually used the hero Winston (otherwise known as the giant gorilla guy) for his ability to jump in and out of areas with his bubble shield and currently D.Va (The girl in a mech) is the most common off tank due to her boosters for quick getaways and projectile eating defence matrix.
Overwatch is a game with many heroes and so we do see other tank characters in the mix but the main thing to be aware of is that it is these players jobs to act as the front line of defence for the rest of the team.
While all characters will deal some damage the dedicated DPS will be where most of the assault comes from. They are usually positioned just between their team’s Tanks and healers in a standard battle or may be flanking the enemy team and as there are the most heroes in this category there tends to be a lot more variation in who we commonly see played.
Tracer, for instance, is one of the more commonly used characters due to her ability to go around the back and distract other teams and she will often be paired with a sniper character like Widowmaker to make sure pressure is being applied from all sides.
Other commonly used DPS include Pharah as she can fly and deal heavy splash damage from afar with her rockets, Genji for his aggressive flanking and ultimate ability, and this season has seen a lot of Junkrat play who spams grenades which work well against tank shields. You’ll find that much of the game will be from the perspective of one of these heroes as they are usually the most action-packed and fun to watch roles and should be making most of the kills on the enemy team – these guys are the rockstars of Overwatch.
Lastly, healers generally make up what we call the back line of an Overwatch team and their main goal is to top up the health of the Tanks and DPS, usually in that order. Healer characters commonly used include Mercy, who is usually restricted to either healing one ally, boosting their damage, or shooting her own pistol.
She can be favoured for her ability to resurrect a member of the team when fallen and her ultimate ability which grants chain healing.
Zenyatta and Moira are also common picks who can both heal and do a fair amount of damage at the same time and Lucio is sometimes seen for his area of effect healing abilities while also providing some damage output.
To make a successful push and win an objective each member will be needing to do their particular job to work together as a team. Tanks need to act as protection, DPS need to be applying pressure, and healers should be keeping their team alive or everything can fall apart very quickly.
Teams will work hard to practice using different heroes and strategies to most effectively achieve and even go beyond these goals but ultimately without these foundations, a team will be quickly rendered useless and overrun.
With a hero pool of Overwatch currently sitting at 27 characters to choose from it takes a while of watching or even playing the game to get an idea for exactly which abilities they all have and how they are used effectively in a game. Having a basic knowledge of each class and what each member of the team should be doing is a good foundation and important part of understanding what makes an Overwatch game so varied and interesting to watch.