The Overwatch League is winding down, and the long off-season awaits ahead. This means that many long time viewers quickly need to find some other media to jump into. One of the best options for those in need of a new fix would have to be the longtime classic tabletop RPG: Dungeons and Dragons, also known as D&D (or sometimes DnD) for short. To scratch this itch, there are countless D&D podcasts out there; from the famous Critical Role, to The Adventure Zone, and tons of small creators’ ones as well. However one of the best ways to interact with Dungeons and Dragons is to play a campaign oneself. For those who have Overwatch in their blood and want to get into either playing or watching, comparing Dungeons and Dragons and Overwatch by pairing each D&D class to a hero or two may help conceptualize a lot of things.
Keep in mind for this list, this is primarily personal opinion. Each reader might have his or her own perceptions, especially when subclasses are considered; however this is just meant to be a basic comparison of who might best represent the role. This series also only will cover the 12 standard classes in 5th Edition, not any Unearthed Arcana or Critical Role content. With all that out of the way, it’s now time to match the first six D&D classes to the characters playable in Overwatch.
Starting out this list is the traditional meathead of the Dungeons and Dragons universe, the barbarian. Winston Overwatch himself is far more intelligent than most barbarians, but also shares many characteristics regardless. Winston’s primary goal is to get in and deal a lot of damage; barbarians too aim to soak up damage by being a tank and dish out a large amount back. Winston’s Tesla cannon attacks many enemies at once, similar to how a barbarian aggros in combat. Finally is Winston’s ultimate primal rage, which almost perfectly mimics a barbarian’s own ability to rage in combat, dealing much more damage for several turns in combat.
However, some qualities of barbarians can also be found in Roadhog as well. Barbarians usually don’t use shields, and Roadhog is the only tank who has zero method of shielding in game. His job is to get in, soak up damage, and stop small enemies by being a damage sponge. His intelligence also more closely mirrors that of a barbarian, as most are not scientists and prefer cruder weapons. Between these two, all aspects of a D&D barbarian appear in the Overwatch universe.
Monks are a very up close and personal type of fighter; a monk character uses agility, mobility, and quite a lot of melee to take down their foe. As a result, Doomfist would be the best approximation of a monk in the Overwatch world. Monks don’t typically have magic or spells, and are light on their feet. Doomfist, a character whose abilities all involve his fist, and who darts around the map quickly, match up here. Monks are also known for their high damage output and decent tanking ability, and Doomfist creating shields, one-shotting flankers, and having one of the highest health bars for a DPS proves this as well.
Doomfist also focuses on displacing and stunning, such as with his rising uppercut or his rocket punch; any monk player can attest to how valuable the stunning strike action is for this reason. Both also share the fact of being one of the more niche and limited picks overall, yet the current overwatch meta may claim to differ on that. While monks rarely shoot straight into the heavens to deal a blow from space, with a high emphasis on managing ki points like one would with ability cooldowns, monks could find a lot in common with this Talon baddie.
Even those with little Dungeons and Dragons knowledge have heard of this iconic archetype before; rogues hide in the shadows, strike when least expected, and even get bonus damage for doing so. Rogues are not magic users, and focus more on mobility and dexterity to gain the positional advantage at all times in a fight. For this reason, it’s hard to pinpoint one Overwatch hero who truly embodies a rogue, especially when the entire genre of “flanking DPS” exists. Elements of rogues appear in several flankers, so this comparison will tackle the most accurate three: Genji, Sombra, and Tracer.
Each of the aforementioned DPS heroes has at least one element of a true rogue; Tracer specializes in darting between cover and hiding until behind the enemy to deal damage when their back is turned. Sombra has invisibility, a coveted status boon for a rogue, and uses it to get recon and pounce when she’s ready to strike, before returning invisible to escape conflict. Genji is a literal ninja, but specifically, his usage of shuriken and blades, as well as scaling walls makes him an obvious choice as well. All three do relatively small amounts of damage on their own, but when paired with a good team and in a good position, they truly work wonders just like a rogue of D&D would.
Rangers are the long range snipers of the game, usually preferring a bow and arrow to get the job done. Rangers are also effective at tracking and having high dexterity. If this already doesn’t scream Hanzo, what else will? Hanzo is the perfect tracker and agile warrior due to his sonic arrow, wall climb, and lunge abilities. Plus he’s the only character in the game to use the bow and arrow itself.
Aside from the weapon similarity, the other reason Hanzo takes this spot over Widowmaker is due to variability in rangers. While many rangers shoot from far away, some also choose to focus on hand to hand combat or shooting close range. Hanzo is a mid-range character who can deal with enemies close up with his storm arrow, whereas Widowmaker is poor with this. Rangers also have animal companions, but don’t expect to be shooting them directly out of the bow like Hanzo does with his. For the DPS player who insta-locks this Shimada brother as soon as they queue in, the ranger class is for them.
Probably the most controversial of the first six, the next pick is Sigma for the fighter class. Like the name entails, fighters are all around good at brawling, and use a variety of weapons and shields to do close combat. Like Barbarians, their focus is also getting in close and eating up damage. Therefore, a tank player would make the most sense. However, fighters are much more versatile in how they can be played, doing damage, defense, healing, and sometimes even going into spellcasting focuses. As a result, for an overpowered well-rounded hero, Overwatch’s newest scientist Sigma was the call.
Sigma and fighters alike use barriers to protect themselves and their teammates. Sigma’s accretion and highly mobile Hyperspheres do work at creating large damage output in a limited range like a fighter would typically do. Fighters can also chunk a large amount of damage similar to the way kinetic grasp works, making Sigma even stronger. Sigma’s ult is even reminiscent of the types of AOE attacks fighters can do to create space. Considering how specialized fighters can get, this was the hardest choice of this list to make, as most DPS or tank heroes could work for this class in specific situations. However, considering pure overpowered versatility and his use of shields, Sigma won out overall and claimed the role of fighter.
Rounding out the first part of this series, Reinhardt would absolutely be the best Paladin in the Overwatch canon. In terms of character goals, both swear to uphold justice and always fight for what’s right. For gameplay, a paladin’s job is to protect the team, absorb a lot of of damage, and deal it right back out. Reinhardt’s giant shield and hammer do just that in Overwatch, protecting his team and charging in to do damage.
In terms of paladin spells, Firestrike is also reminiscent of the spell Searing Smite, a level one spell that makes a paladin’s weapon glow red hot and deal fire damage. If that wasn’t enough, one of the last spells a paladin can potentially learn is Destructive Wave, a spell that strikes the ground and knocks its enemies prone. If Reinhardt ever woke up in a fantasy world of dragons, it’s clear what role he’d spring to; he’s called the crusader for a reason after all.
Be sure to check back later in the week for Part 2 of Dungeons and Dragons and Overwatch! The second half of the list will focus more on the spellcasters, and if your favorite character didn’t show up here, there’s always the chance they’ll be on the second half. Thanks for the read!
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