So You Wanna Get Competitive in Overwatch? (Pro Tips)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
With Overwatch launching their competitive mode this week, players of the widely popular hero shooter finally get something to shake up the monotony after over a month of escorting payloads and vying for being king of the hill.
So with competitive mode now ranking players based on skill rather than just how long they played the game, matches have been immediately leveled up and after playing quite a few competitive matches I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these have been some of the most intense matches I’ve played in Overwatch since the game first launched.
First off, it wouldn’t hurt to review a few basics from my “So You’re New to Overwatch” guide I posted early last month. I will revise a few things but for the most part, much of my advice stays largely the same.
Communication is key in Overwatch but even more so competitively. While ideally, you’d want to queue with a group of five friends to better foster strong synergy among the team… sometimes that isn’t the best option. If you have a group of only 2 or 3… even a group of 5… I suggest using the team chat option rather than sticking to a group voice channel.
On PC, hit P to bring up the party window and switch from group to team, it’s a bit more cumbersome to do on console but prioritizing game chat versus party chat is a viable option. I also suggest changing the keybind for push-to-talk or switching to an open mic. If you prefer push to talk, if your mouse has additional buttons you can map it to one of your mouse buttons… another option is using the click wheel to activate push-to-talk.
On that note, make sure you have a mic or headset before playing competitive. Follow the below Amazon links for a few that I suggest picking up.
Be a team player and remember your KDR doesn’t matter. Despite competitive mode ranking you based on your contribution, helping your team win is still the most important goal to focus on. What good does getting kill after kill if you over extend yourself and let your whole team down?
On that note, I discourage picking heroes you aren’t quite familiar with yet. Jump into a few quick match games to better your proficiency with new heroes, but save your best heroes for competitive mode.
Speaking of picking heroes, it still would be best to master one from each role you’ll have to play. Master a damage hero, a tank, a defensive hero, and a support before even jumping in to competitive mode. If you are a proficient Hanzo player but the team lacks a support or tank, your contributions will end up falling flat as far as the team is concerned. Understanding good team composition but also understand that a team needs diversity is key in competitive play.
Refer back to my newbie guide for good heroes to master, these are especially easy for new characters to play and make diversifying your arsenal that much easier in the long run. Of course, I suggest playing public quick match games to further arm yourself…
Understand your hero's strengths and weaknesses in combat. Nothing feels worse than over extending yourself away from the warm embrace of Mercy's healing stream. Even an HP powerhouse like Roadhog can fall to a well coordinated team if your careless. Understand that characters with high mobility like Tracer and Genji are meant to harass a backline and snipers like Hanzo and Widowmaker belong in the backline. You don't want to be a lone Hanzo far from your team facing down the combined might of a full team.
While I hate to stifle creativity in playstyle, I feel that some characters have no business being tanky. You wouldn't rush the front line with a Tracer would you?
On a previous note… don’t count out quick match games. There’s only so much you can do facing bots. With competitive mode upping the ante this in turn makes quick match out to be the game mode to experiment with heroes you aren’t quite proficient with yet and also to see how using unfamiliar heroes works against live players. Since losing in quick match doesn’t affect your overall ranking, it’s the perfect place to practice some of the harder to master three-star heroes.
Don’t get too frustrated with cheese strategies in quick play. Sure, facing down a team of 5 Torbs and a Mercy can be a frustratingly mind-numbing experience, but it does serve as a good learning experience to think outside the box when it comes to countering.
For example, a match like this is how I learned to better handle a turret without relying on a sniper. For example, if I was Zarya and I had a Lucio on my team… I’d ask the Lucio to speed boost me as I rushed in with both myself and Lucio shielded, for Zarya and the Lucio the shield eats up damage while powering up my laser, effectively helping to melt a turret in no time.
Finally… take breaks when you can! It can be frustrating if you are on a losing streak, and I know that Overwatch is incredibly addicting… but for the sake of your sanity just step away for a second. Personally, I try to take a 15 minute break after losing 5 matches in a row, when I’m on a winning streak I keep at it but after losing 5 games in a row I allow myself to decompress a bit before jumping back in again.
Hopefully this was helpful for anyone looking to jump into the arena for some real reward beyond just the match. Your slot on the battlefield is waiting, I just hope I was somewhat helpful for you.