Overwatch can be an intimidating game. Blizzard’s incredibly popular online multiplayer shooter is a strange mix of rapid FPS action and team-based MOBA strategies. It’s a game that not only requires you to master your chosen hero but figure out how to execute perfect team strategies with a group of randomly matched teammates just trying to find the emote button. It’s enough to make you want to stay away from the game entirely.
But don’t worry! There are several Overwatch characters that are designed to cater to new players. Better yet, a few of these characters are good enough to stick with once you really begin to learn how the game works.
We’d be lying if we told you that you’re going to master the complicated world of Overwatch right away, but there’s no reason that you can’t start your journey right by choosing one of these beginner-friendly heroes.
Have you ever played a first-person shooter? Any will do. You have? Good. Then you pretty much already know how to play Soldier 76.
Soldier 76 is designed to function largely like your average hero in a first-person shooter. He has a machine gun with a decent amount of ammo, access to a handy little rocket launcher, and the ability to heal himself by resting in a deployable circle of healing. He’s also able to sprint at will.
While Soldier 76 will feel familiar to anyone who has ever played a shooter, those who take the time to learn the subtleties of his skill set will actually discover he’s one of the most versatile attack heroes in the game. From rocket jumps to the general reach of his weapon, Soldier 76 is like the Swiss army knife of Overwatch heroes.
Granted, you will need to be able to aim reasonably well when playing Soldier 76, but he’s still a very easy character to understand and perform well with.
To be entirely honest, you’re probably better off taking the time to learn a slightly more complicated character than spending your time locking in that Torbjorn pick. However, there’s no denying that he’s one of the easiest characters to learn in Overwatch.
Torb’s main job in Overwatch is to build and maintain a turret. You just hit the build turret button, find a good spot for it, hit the turret with your wrench to repair and upgrade it, and then upgrade it further by triggering your ultimate ability when the time comes.
A good Torb will also do things like look for headshots with his surprisingly effective main weapon, keep his allies well-armored, and find that perfect turret position that forces the enemy to devote way too many resources to destroying it. However, Torb is primarily the “build a turret” character.
You probably won’t make it too far into Overwatch with Torb’s limited skillset, but if you just want to hop in, have some fun, and contribute something useful to your team, then he’s a pretty good pick.
Bastion has the Torb problem in that he is incredibly easy to learn, but doesn’t leave you much room to really master him. The good news is that even an amateur Bastion player can be devastating.
Bastion is just a turret that can get up and walk around, but really only has to do so to escape or move to a better position. Otherwise, you just need to stay in place and rain down bullets on those who would dare enter your general vicinity.
What makes Bastion so good is bad opponents. A good team can coordinate and ensure that Bastion never gets going. A bad team will get frustrated that Bastion is destroying them and blame each other for all the deaths.
Given that you’ll probably encounter much more of the latter when you first start playing Overwatch, it’s entirely possible to carry a team to victory by playing Bastion. That’s especially true if you can convince a tank to cover you with his/her shield and minimize the potential damage you might take.
For the longest time, Junkrat was a niche hero who never really found a home in competitive Overwatch. Now, Junkrat is considered to be one of the most effective damage dealers in the game.
The good news for new Overwatch players is that he’s also one of the easiest damage dealing characters to learn. Junkrat’s effectiveness starts with the power of his grenade launcher. Even if you can’t aim in first-person shooters to save your digital life, you’ll probably be able to sneak in a couple of kills just by tossing grenades at a grouped-up team of opponents.
That’s not to say that Junkrat is a brain-dead character. There’s a big difference between a great Junkrat player and a bad one. It’s just that Junkrat’s grenade launcher is a very effective form of crowd control that just rains down damage on teams. That makes it much easier to sneak in the occasional “accidental” kill.
Add to that Junkrat’s dual concussion mines – useful for getting airborne and for dislodging enemies from the high ground – and Junkrat’s incredibly easy to use Rip Tire ultimate, and you’ve got a character that is fun to play, easy to play, and genuinely effective.
For the longest time, Reinhardt was Overwatch’s best tank option for new players. While that might still technically be true for those looking for a big body with a lot of health and a simple skill set, it’s worth the extra time to learn Orisa.
Much like Reinhardt, Orisa’s main skill is her ability to lay down a shield. Unlike Reinhardt, Orisa’s shield is a projectile that can be deployed anywhere. The trade-off is that her shield isn’t as strong as Reinhardt’s, but it recharges so fast that there’s effectively little difference.
Orisa is also able to deal damage from a distance – unlike Reinhardt – and can use her “Halt!” ability to knock enemies out of position. Her supercharger ultimate is also an effective way to drastically increase your team’s damage output without having to do much more than press a button.
Mastering the use of Orisa’s shield takes time, but her pretty low skill floor ensures that you’ll always feel like you’re contributing.
Not long ago, Mercy was the scourge of Overwatch’s competitive scene. Her ability to quickly resurrect multiple heroes made her an invaluable asset. After all, what’s more useful than a character that can undo death itself?
Since then, Mercy has suffered a series of nerfs that drastically impact her effectiveness. Mercy’s resurrection ability is now slower, more dangerous to use, and generally less useful than it’s ever been. Combine that with the fact that Mercy’s skillset is almost entirely different than it was when Overwatch launched and…well, the point is that Mercy isn’t quite as new player friendly as she once was.
However, she’s still probably the go-to character for those looking to quickly learn an Overwatch hero. Mercy’s primary fire – a healing beam of light – is still the most effective single target healing ability in the game, which means you can get a lot of mileage out of Mercy just by staying close to a tank and keeping them alive through almost anything.
Even Mercy’s most complicated abilities aren’t really that hard to master. Once you learn to bounce between targets with Mercy’s Guardian Angel ability – which lets you fly to friendly characters with the press of a button – and occasionally throw in some damage boosting beams, you’ll be well on your way to being the most effective healer on your team.
Not long ago, recommending a good healer to new players was as simple as saying “Mercy.” That’s before Moira entered the game.
Moira is a tad tougher to play than Mercy due to the slight complication of managing her array of skills. That’s especially true of figuring out when to throw out her healing orbs vs. her damage orbs. It will take you a little time to get the hang of choosing which you want to use without staring at the screen.
Get past that hurdle, though, and the battlefield is yours. Moira’s ability to burst heal a hero is second only to Mercy, and she’s able to heal multiple heroes at once as long as they are within range of her healing spray.
What really makes Moira special, though, is her damage dealing capabilities. Her primary attack is a beam of energy that doesn’t require you to really aim at your target, while her damage orbs are dead useful for forcing attackers to get out of position. She’s also able to “fade” out of existence, which is dead useful if an opponent decides to try to take you down.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.