Overwatch (OW) is a team-based first-person shooter designed around a multiplayer mode that puts 2 teams of 6 players against one another. The game follows a globe struck with crisis, the result of which was the Overwatch organization, a task force assembled to fight growing conflict. Players control unique characters known as “heroes,” each with their own unique abilities.
With a total of 32 heroes spread across three roles, there is a lot to learn about Overwatch’s playable characters. Each Overwatch hero has their own specific playstyle, a great example of why Blizzard created three roles. This article provides a general overview, as well as individual uses for each of the three roles: Tank, Damage, and Support. We’ll discuss the unique aspects of each role, the heroes included, and why certain Overwatch hero roles may have different uses in different positions.
The Tank role holds the best class for soaking damage and defending teammates. This class, built around heavy-duty heroes, was designed to create team space and break fortifications. Leading attacks, Tanks’ primary playstyle involves assisting lower-health Damage heroes, balancing their own lower damage output with high health and supportive abilities. The eight Tanks are D.va, Orisa, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Sigma, Winston, Wrecking Ball, and Zarya, each with their own unique abilities and play styles.
Tanks are built around defense. A good player can use the high health and support value of Tanks to push into the enemy team, building a space for Damage heroes to attack the team. These heroes aren’t just defense though. Using the Tank class correctly can allow a player to not only defend their team but also supply supporting fire, adding, even more, use to the already incredibly useful role.
There are two unofficial types of Tank heroes, thanks to the Overwatch community: main tank and offtank. Main tank heroes, such as Reinhardt or Winston, typically have large amounts of health and/or a shield to block damage. These heroes are stronger in defense positions, as they’re not as damage optimized as offtank heroes. Offtanks, such as Zarya or D.va, are usually played by Tank players with a more aggressive playstyle. These heroes are either higher damage or more utility-heavy than main tanks, focusing a little less on strictly defensive play styles. Remember that these are community-given types, so heroes are not strictly assigned to these concepts.
The Damage role is, well, built for damage. These OW heroes are responsible for taking on the enemy team with aggressive playstyles and high damage. With 17 playable heroes, the Damage class is the largest of the three roles, understandable when considering how many players focus on aggressive, damage-heavy gameplay. These 17 Damage heroes are Ashe, Bastion, Doomfist, Echo, Genji, Hanzo, Junkrat, McCree, Mei, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier: 76, Sombra, Symmetra, Torbjörn, Tracer, and Widowmaker.
This Overwatch hero role uses utility from Support and Tank roles to obliterate enemy teams. While Damage heroes aren’t known for their health or assistive abilities, they’re great at damaging, a factor which easily offsets their lack of team support. Aggressive players work at their best with the Damage role, especially when paired with supporting heroes and a leading Tank.
There are two types of Damage heroes: hitscan and projectile. Hitscan characters are designed around instant damage, thanks to the lack of bullet travel time on their primary weapons. These would be heroes like Widowmaker, Soldier: 76, or Ashe, each with weapons that have no bullet travel times. Projectile characters on the other hand, rely on weapons that fire projectiles with a set movement speed, hence the name. These would include Genji, Junkrat, and Echo, with their shurikens, grenades, and tri-shot, respectively.
Support heroes, designed to support teammate allies, can heal, increasing team damage, or act as a utility. The Support class, built from heroes with utility-heavy abilities, can lay down support with sleeping shots to team-healing orbs. While Support is commonly the least wanted role of the three OW heroes’ roles available, it’s one of the most important thanks to the potential power of boosting Damage and Tank allies. These seven heroes, Ana, Baptiste, Brigitte, Lúcio, Mercy, Moira, and Zenyatta, make up the smallest role.
These characters are the most team-heavy, with their focus built around supporting Damage or Tank characters. As mentioned earlier, Damage heroes are incredibly high damage, low health, heroes, a characteristic that is balanced with Support. Every hero in this Overwatch hero role can heal, making them an extraordinarily useful group when it comes to supporting pushes on the enemy team. While the Support group isn’t exclusively healing, it’s a very large factor of each hero’s identity, something that helps give this role a consistent feel.
As with Tank and Damage roles, Support has two unique types of heroes, main support, and flex support. Main support, as can be inferred, is the standard Support healer. These characters are usually great at supporting with cooldown-less or passive abilities, the most consistent and useful when relying on a constant flow of utility. Whether it’s speed or damage, main support keeps a continual flow of boosts, something that’s often shown with a top healing award. Think of heroes such as Mercy, Lucio, or Baptiste. Flex support on the other hand, is designed around a more fluid playstyle, with much more mechanical work added into the characters. These heroes, such as Zenyatta or Ana, focus on damaging and cooldown-heavy abilities, often working as damage heroes with support abilities included.
Balancing the Playfield
The most important thing to remember about these three Overwatch hero roles, is that they’re all dependent on one another, with their own unique uses. Tank heroes are great for soaking up damage and controlling enemy territory, although you need a Damage hero to efficiently attack the enemies. Damage heroes are best for attacking the enemy team, sacrificing health and utility for raw damage. Support heroes act as support for Tank and Damage heroes, whether it may be healing low-health heroes, or boosting attacks of Damage heroes. You may have to become a Support player if there’s too many high damage heroes, or become a Tank to keep an objective.
It can be hard too, one reason why we recommend Boosting Ground. Remembering which heroes work well together, where certain roles may be more useful, or more can be difficult. Their Overwatch boosting servicesare great for learning the tough aspects of the game, whether it may be choosing the right hero to balance a team, or just grinding levels. Boosting Ground offers professional help for boosting ranks, placing in higher ranks, winning competitive matches, and more. It might seem tough to ask for help with a game, but there’s no reason to be afraid of getting help growing your skills.
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