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.
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.
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: