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Esports Overwatch

More than Guns: Explaining Overwatch’s Underlying Tactics

We’ve heard it before, “Overwatch is fun to play, but hard to watch.” This statement causes people who play the game regularly to roll their eyes, and for good reason. This statement usually comes from people not knowing what they’re looking for in a match and certainly not understanding the level of thought that goes into the plays made. Sometimes this line of thought goes into the heads of low level players as well, which is probably the last people who need to have a hard time understanding the game. Me being the good guy I am, figured I’d help try to explain the game and make it not only a better viewing experience, but maybe even help some people understand how it’s played a little better.


The Goal

We all know what this is. Push the payload, take the two points, take the point then push the payload. The goals in this game are slight twists on older FPS game mode objectives and vary only slightly from map to map. What changes are the maps themselves and thus the cover zones, healing pack placements, high grounds and flanking positions. What people don’t understand is that part of The Goal is to control these places. This is done through the use of zoning tools like Torbjorn turrets, Symmetra Microwave rooms, Junkrat in general and the threat of Roadhog hooks. Of course, this is easier to coordinate with friends, but it’s difficulty in solo games doesn’t make it any less of a goal. Many times in solo games, the enemy team will be just as uncoordinated and as a result, makes a single person defense of a vital choke or vantage point easier.


The Desired Result

The entire point to the strategic control of these areas is simple. To pick someone off without dying yourself. Why is this the desired result? Because 5v6’s suck. A lot. If you can pick off the healer, especially if that healer is a Lucio, then your team is almost guaranteed a victory. Same with the tank, the only people it doesn’t really count for at the low level is DPS, primarily because the chances that they’re doing DPS in the most efficient way is low, whereas healing and hitting Q with a Lucio is not only easy, but game changing. As you climb, the game becomes about picking off anyone as people become better at it, but it’s still about the same result. It’s hard to win a 5v6 and if you can force one then the enemy team either backs off or gets run down and killed, which then staggers the amount of time they can do anything until they can all regroup as a six person unit.


The Beauty of it All

What makes all of this so great, and indeed some, including myself, would say makes Overwatch so great is the endless level of depth that can be created from a something so simple. There are many ways to defend these zones, and many ways to break those defenses. These don’t become issues until further up in the ladder where the strategy game is being played on a high level, but when you do see it, in Seagull’s Genji running the walls to look for an out of position backliner or basically any professional Reaper teleporting from vantage point to vantage point, or when you see a Hanzo or Widowmaker camping out watching a particular position and waiting for these people, you’ll know it’s the strategy behind the game coming into play.


I hope this article helped someone to understand a little bit more of the thought that goes underappreciated in the worlds newest E-Sport, for more riveting analysis of this game, follow me @TirasCarr on Twitter, or even if you just want to yell at me and tell me I’m an ignorant clod, follow me anyway, I entertain that too! Until next time, keep improving Overwatch-ers!

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