How has Your Overwatch Experience Been?

How has Your Overwatch Experience Been?

It’s been a few weeks since Overwatch came out. I’ve logged something like 50 hours total since release and it’s been a blast. I didn’t go too crazy on it during the beta because I didn’t want to burn myself out. Have to say though, the game is infinitely more fun when playing with friends as opposed to hitting the solo queue on your own. This is especially true if you happen to be playing alongside players willing to switch to heroes that work well in given situations.

Currently, my hero pool is bolstered by Zarya, Pharah, 76, and Symmetra. You might remember that Lucio was my bread and butter during the beta streams on Blizzard Watch, but I’ve switched over to a more offensive, DPS role.

Why Zarya?

zarya

Those are my stats on my Master Overwatch profile (which should absolutely be taken with a grain of salt). That being said, I’m sure there’s some similarity between that and my official stats on Overwatch. After almost 200 games, it looks like my matches on Zarya have stabilized to an approximately 55% win rate which is what the devs are aiming for (something between 45 to 55%).

Speaking of winrates, Symmetra’s just a beast on defense with a seemingly unsustainable 78% (27 games total) and Soldier 76 right behind at almost 70% (35 games total).

A note on stats

I love tracking my records as much as the next guy because they can paint a picture about your strengths and weaknesses. Without numbers, you can’t measure yourself improving. While many out there will say your personal stats don’t matter, and it happens to be true to an extent, you can’t win a game without eliminating the opposition. In general, the team that can eliminate the other team more often than not will win the match.

(Take that, Sun Tzu).

But what you have to keep in mind is what the stats don’t say. Much of the information is contextless.

As you win games quickly and early, your damage (on average) per game will go down. The hero win rate is based on the one you played the most games with and it does not reflect any hero changes you’ve made that might have had an impact. Maybe you were rocking it as Widowmaker until the other team adjusted to you and then you switched to Reaper to regain momentum.

Let’s talk about the actual damage. Was it meaningful and effective? Did the damage go straight to removing Mercy from play or was it spent mostly on Roadhog who kept hogging medpacks and chugging his gatorade? What damage is relevant and what’s irrelevant? How much of it was absorbed by a shield?

Accuracy is another thing. People who play Junkrat or Pharah understand the concept of “zoning” where you just fire projectiles in a certain area to deny the opposing team from entering it unless they take damage. Common areas include chokepoints or areas near medpacks. You don’t need to score a direct hit if the splash damage is enough to affect them. My Pharah accuracy is 41% largely because much of it is spent prefiring in areas where I think a player is about to run to.

There is definitely more development and work needed to be done in this area, but the existing information is a start. I’d like to see more individual map stats. Do I play better on King’s Row or Hollywood? Does my character matter at certain phases of the match?

Think about DPS meters and logs in WoW and you’ll get my drift.

Back to the original question of why Zarya? I figure she’s one of the more well rounded heroes in the game and can easily slip into any pub game.

Terminology

Pub: A public game that any can queue into. Best known as Quick Match.

Not to be confused with …

Pug: Short for pickup game which is a loosely organized match between a pre-determined roster of players who may or may not know each other well at all.

She can sort of tank in a pinch although she’s not the greatest pusher. Her shielding abilities have the ability to save teammates and yourself during key engagements. Her ultimate is a great trigger mechanism and works alongside other heroes who can follow up on it (because by itself it doesn’t do much damage). Think of Zarya as more of a secondary tank. When she gets charged and goes off, she’ll turn into a wrecking ball with both resilience and staying power.

The problem is that you can get really greedy. Once the shield wears off, if you get focused, you’ll be taken out immediately. You have to recognize when to jump in with a full charge and when to back out back to the safety of your team even if you still have like a 60 charge left.

I’ll write up more Zarya tips later, but if you’re interested in more Overwatch pieces, you can check out my columns here:

The Overwatch Support Life

The Overwatch Support Life

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and readers!

It’s been a running joke for a while now. In WoW, I played a healing Priest (and the spec didn’t matter) for raids. In Heroes of the Storm, I mainly stick to heroes like Rehgar, Kharazim, or Uther if I’m playing with others. With Overwatch, I’m used to maining Symmetra, Lucio, or Mercy. All of them are support or healing roles.

During the beta weekend, I thought there’d be more players trying out a wider variety of heroes.

I thought wrong. Most teams I solo queued into had compositions like 3 Widowmakers, a 76, and 2 McCrees. These are glass cannon compositions which have loaded fire power but didn’t have a lick of staying power whatsoever. Even in games where I dominated as the 76 with 20+ eliminations or 10+ final blows, it led me to a sinking conclusion I realized right from the beginning:

Someone’s got to play support or a tank in order to secure objectives.

It’s nigh-impossible to carry your team to victory on the scoreboard alone without some sustainability from other heroes.

In that particular matchup, I activated 76’s Visor ultimate and just blew it to get as many quick kills as I could before switching to Lucio. He’s one of my more favourite support heroes to use on close encounters maps since your team will be near you to benefit from buffs. After that, the key to playing support is keeping yourself alive first and then healing the rest of your team. Lucio’s speed boost does not build up towards his ultimate, however. Make sure the healing aura is active if you’re not in the middle of setting something up.

If you’ve PvP’d in WoW or other games as a healer, you’re going to have a headstart here. Many newer support heroes tend to heal from the center of the action — which is absolutely stupid! Do not make yourself vulnerable and give the opposition free shots at you. If there’s a lull in action at any moment, look for places to hide or find cover. Behind cars or in side rooms or other objects are always a good start. Don’t give the defending Widowmaker a free shot at you.

Positioning is important. Lucio makes it a little easier because your team just has to be near you. Mercy emits an obvious beam as to where her location is. By putting yourself off to the side as you’re healing your team, now you’ve split the enemy’s focus. If they attempt to pursue you, they leave themselves open to suppression from your team. If they decide to go after your team, you’re busy healing them at the same time thereby giving them extra staying power.

Nothing says your team is limited to just one or two supports, either. Last night I was playing offense on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, and defense fielded a lineup of Reinhardt, Pharah, Bastion, two Lucios, and a Mercy. After captured the first check point we simply could not push back that line at all. Some of that was due to our team composition since I think we lacked a tank.

I’ll be streaming more often during weekday evenings so keep an eye on mattic.us!

More Overwatch thoughts to come later!

 

Post BlizzCon Highlights and Warlords Levelling Tips

Back from BlizzCon! What a crazy weekend. Biggest weekend ever with the announcement of Overwatch and several new game features coming to Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone. Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft were silent this year for obvious reasons since Reaper of Souls had already debuted and we have the Warlords expansion launch tonight at midnight.

BlizzCon Highlights

I held it! The strategy guide that I mentioned I was working on the other day? Brady Games had a booth set up and they happened to have a few copies to give away during a random draw. I went up to them and asked if I could take a picture with it in front of their giant sign and pointed out that I was one of the contributors. At 400 pages, it’s fairly hefty but I think it’s roughly the same size and length of previous strategy guides. Just remember, expect this information to be out of date within a few months due to patches and such.

Overwatch was insanely fun! My original gaming background started with shooters, actually. I’ve since strayed from that genre but it’s great to see Blizzard try their hand it especially since Starcraft Ghost was cancelled ages ago. I wrote up my initial impressions on a few of the heroes I played like Tracer, Pharah, and Widowmaker on BlizzPro. Give it a read!

The rest of my guild was being anti-social for most of BlizzCon but we did manage to meet up a few times for a few drinks here and there. While I was out on the Hilton lobby most days catching up with other internet friends, they were upstairs playing Cards Against Humanity and WoW Trivial Pursuit.

Actually, some of those questions were pretty tough. Can you list all the factions associated with the PvP battlegrounds? I had to think real hard about that one.

At the airport, I was at my terminal waiting to board. I went up to the ticket agent to see if they had a pin or a paper clip I could use to swap out my SIM card. She eyed my poster tube and asked if I attended BlizzCon this year and I said yeah! I go every year! She was so envious because every year she wants to go but she can’t make it out because her airline always schedules her to work BlizzCon weekend. She jokingly offered to trade me a pin for one of my posters in my poster tube. Of course I said yes! I managed to get a few extra copies of the mini Overwatch posters to give away to a few of my friends back home here and offered her one.

She didn’t feel that was a fair trade so she offered me a seat upgrade as well! Damn! Look at that! Just goes to show that you never know who plays games out there. We ended up chatting a little more about World of Warcraft and some of the new features coming before I started boarding. Go figure!

Warlords Levelling Tips

  • Stock up on drinks like water. If you need the extra caffeine, go for tea. If you absolutely must burn energy drinks, go for the 5 hour energy.
  • Try to time your bathroom breaks at every even level. LEvels 92, 94, 96, and 98 feature breadcrumbs that involve you going on a gryphon.
  • Starting to feel a little weary? Splash some cold water on your face or dunk your head under the shower briefly to wake yourself up.
  • Switch your talents and glyphs and load up for instant casts or lowered cooldowns.
  • Check your binds if you’re just returning to the game now.
  • Load up on whatever consumables you need like your potions, flasks, food, and guild banners.

Anyway, good luck out there! See you at 100!