When it launched in 2016, Overwatch took over the world the way few other games have managed to do, and though Blizzard’s hero shooter dropped off the map in the years afterward due to its lackluster post-launch support, there’s been no shortage of excitement surrounding the launch of Overwatch 2. Now, after years of anticipation, the sequel is finally here, and millions are obviously jumping into its offerings. If, however, you’re new to Overwatch, you might find yourself having to play catch-up with those who have more experience with the series. Fret not though- here, we’ve compiled a few handy pointers that you should keep in mind as you start out in Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 has adopted the free-to-play model, which means the game centers largely around its battle pass now, and though there are several ways to earn XP, not all of them will help you make quick progress. One of the best methods is to do the daily challenges- you’ll get to finish three daily challenges every day out of a pool of several on offer, so when you log in, pick the three you want to focus on and make sure you complete them. That’ll give you a total of 9,000 XP.
Weekly challenges are another great way of earning sizeable chunks of XP, and earning Coins to spend on cosmetics. These are longer term challenges, of which you can complete a total of 11 each week, with each netting you 5,000 XP. With weekly challenges, it’s best to stay focused on the ones where you’ve made progress rather than spreading out the progress and risking missing out on completion slots for the week- which means it’s best that you tailor your gameplay around getting those objectives finished (as long as it doesn’t clash with a match’s objective, at least). Meanwhile, completing a certain number of weekly challenges also rewards Coins, as previously mentioned, for a total of 60 for completing all 11, which is another incentive to keep working towards these.
SEASONAL AND LIFETIME CHALLENGES
Seasonal and Lifetime challenges are smaller in scale than their daily and weekly counterparts, and as such, they also offer smaller rewards. Seasonal challenges can be completed once every season, while lifetime challenges can only be completed just a single time, period. Rewards for the former can vary in value, even going as high as 5,000 XP, but more often than not, seasonal challenges will give you between 500 and 1,000 XP. Meanwhile, lifetime challenges give you around 500 XP each. These are, of course, smaller gains, but if you’ve completed all of your daily and weekly challenges, turning to options in the seasonal and lifetime categories isn’t a bad idea.
EXPERIMENT WITH CHARACTERS
Overwatch’s reputation and identity are built around the idea of having a vast cast of playable characters that are wildly different from each other in more ways than one, from appearance to backstory to, of course, gameplay. As such, experimenting with the characters and getting a feel for how they play and what they bring to yourself is very much encourages in Blizzard’s hero shooter. Especially when you’re starting out, it’s best to try out as many as possible- though as you make progress, you’ll probably want to narrow down your pool to 2-4 characters that you’ve become better at using. Also keep in mind that you can swap out characters mid-match as well, and often, that’s a smart thing to do if you’re looking for new ways to counter different threats.
USE THE PRACTICE RANGE
Overwatch 2’s Practice Range is an excellent tool for all players, especially newcomers, just as practice ranges are useful in pretty much every multiplayer shooter. This one is particularly useful, however, because it even lets you play as the characters you haven’t unlocked yet. Overwatch 2 requires a significant time investment if you’re looking to unlock its roster fully, with character unlocks being tied to battle pass progression, but though you might have to wait to get your hands on a particular hero to use in competitive matches, you can, at the very least, always head to the Practice Range and play as whoever you want to play as.
PLAY TO YOUR CHARACTER’S STRENGTHS
“Play the objective” is advice that can be given to pretty much anyone playing a multiplayer shooter in objective-based modes, but it always bears repeating given how often people play even objective-driven games like they’re playing a free-for-all mode. In Overwatch 2, earning XP, performing well, winning matches- all of it hinges on playing the objective, which means it’s a good idea for you to play to your character’s strengths rather than deciding you want to play a particular way that doesn’t necessarily suit the character you’re playing as. What exactly does that mean? If you’re playing as a support character, don’t stray too far from the teammates that you’re there to support. If you’re a damage-dealing specialist, don’t be afraid to step to the frontlines. If you’re a tank with a sizeable pool of health, it’s your job to keep the enemies focused on you and not your squadmates.
DON’T GO IT ALONE
This sort of ties in with our previous point. Overwatch 2, like its predecessor, is built around squad play. Completing objectives is key, as we’ve talked about, which means working with your squadmates and making sure that you’re properly performing your roles in conjunction is crucial if you want victories. While rushing out to get the kill might be tempting, it’s never a good idea to leave your squad too far behind. Similarly, communicating with your squadmates is also important, whether that’s through voice chat or using the ping system. The latter is quite versatile for those who prefer not to use voice chat, and presents players with a wheel of various context-sensitive commands.
EXPLORE MAPS IN CUSTOM GAMES
Learning the layouts of maps can be important in Overwatch 2, as is often the case in most competitive shooters, but given how many maps there are available in the game, doing so might be easier said than done, especially for newcomers. Thankfully, there’s a way to explore whichever map you want, and to do so at your leisure. Players can always head to Custom Games and jump into any map without having to worry about enemies, timers, or what have you.
LEARN THE PLACEMENTS OF HEALTH PACKS
Once again, this ties into what we just talked about. Health packs are obviously a precious commodity in Overwatch 2, which means you’re at an obvious advantage if you know exactly where to head to find mini and large health packs. Learning the placements of packs in different maps can be a handy boost, so make sure you make a mental note of where you find them when you’re playing a new map, so that next time you’ll know where to go if you’re in need of health.
USE YOUR ULTIMATES SMARTLY
Every hero’s Ultimate serves a specific purpose in Overwatch 2, and of course, that’s something you need to keep in mind based on what role you’re playing as. Knowing when to use your Ultimate based on what character you’re playing can turn the tide of a match- which, in turn, means that communicating with your squadmates before using your Ultimate is important. A simple way to do that is to check your squadmates’ Ultimate Status on the scoreboard (though of course, sometimes that might not be enough info, based on the situation you might find yourself in).