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Blizzard’s new game ‘Overwatch’ has already racked up over 7 million players. (Blizzard)

Blizzard’s highly anticipated new shooter Overwatch launched a few weeks ago, and it is already one of the most popular games of 2016. In fact, it was recently announced that in just one week after the release, the game already had over 7-million people playing it.

Those players are beginning to realize just how complex Overwatch is. Call of Duty or Halo this is not; with 21 characters to choose from, each with their own unique abilities, it’s quite a bit to wrap the head around when you first pick it up.

Plus, the game is full of little tricks and features that are not made completely obvious, with a few settings hidden in the menus that can dramatically improve gameplay. Here are 10 quick tips and tricks to help you in your next match of Overwatch.

1. Pay Attention to the Audio

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You might be used to playing online shooters while listening to music, chatting with friends, or otherwise ignoring the audio, but paying close attention to Overwatch‘s sound can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing a match.

Blizzard put a tremendous amount of work into the sound design of this game, and every character has his or her own unique-sounding footsteps. The footsteps of those on the enemy team are also a good deal louder than those on your side, so if you’ve got the audio turned up and know what to listen for, you can always know exactly who is nearby at any given moment.

The sound design is helpful in more ways than just the footsteps, though. The line a hero utters after releasing their ultimate is different depending on what team they’re on. So you may be tuning out what the characters are shouting as mere background noise, but if you get to know all the pieces of dialogue, you can react to what’s happening around you considerably faster.

2. Turn The Kill Feed On

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Overwatch is full of incredibly useful settings that might help you out in matches but that are for whatever reason disabled by default. One example is the kill feed, that little feature in most first person shooters that notifies you whenever anyone is killed. This is probably turned off in hopes of encouraging players not to focus on the game as a mere deathmatch; after all, too many newcomers harp on simply running around aimlessly and killing without caring much for the objective at hand. The kill feed might arguably make it appear that scoring deaths is the most important part of the game.

That being said, it still helps to have it on in that it gives you crucial information about the current state of the match and when you might want to rush in or hold back. This is especially useful if you have a team that does not communicate very well. The fact that the latest kill is displayed at the top of the feed rather than at the bottom is a bit distracting, though, so be prepared for that.

3. Adjust the Settings for Individual Characters

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The kill feed being off is not the only example of Blizzard hiding useful features in the menus and making them opt-in. You can customize the way every character behaves by playing around with their settings, so especially for heroes that you find yourself using often, it’s worth messing about in the menus and changing things up. Simply go to Options Controls, pick a hero, and check out all the different choices in front of you.

The embedded video from YouTuber Ms 5000 Watts outlines some good ones. For instance, for both Genji and Hanzo, a setting can be enabled so that you automatically climb walls without having to press any extra buttons. In the controls menu, all you have to do is turn on “automatically climb walls.” Reinhardt also has a nifty feature so that you can simply press once to enable the shield and press again to lower it. For that setting, all you’ve got to do is turn on “toggle barrier.”

4. Get to Know Your Counters

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If you hope to succeed in ‘Overwatch,’ it’s vital you get to know your counters. (Blizzard)

One of the most important skills you’ll want to get down right away is the ability to know what heroes to counter with. If you’re struggling against someone like Bastion, for instance, who’s mowing down your whole team while in sentry mode, switch to a counter like Genji or Junkrat. Get to know your counters and you’ll be good to go once you start getting overwhelmed during your next match. PC Gamer put together an helpful list of them, which we’ve assembled into a table below:

Winston, Mei
Widowmaker, Hanzo
Soldier: 76, Widowmaker
Pharah, McCree
Soldier: 76
Roadhog, Reinhardt
McCree, Roadhog
Genji, Junkrat
Widowmaker, Tracer
Winston, Pharah
Tracer, Pharah
Widowmaker, D.Va
D. Va, Genji
D. Va
Mei, Zenyatta
Symmetra, Genji
Mei, Reaper
Reaper, Bastion
Junkrat, Pharah
Mei, McCree
Soldier: 76, Genji
Roadhog, Pharah
Widowmaker, Genji

5. Change Heroes Often

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Make sure you do not stick to only one character while playing ‘Overwatch.’ (Blizzard)

Going off of the point about counters, you’ll want to be comfortable switching heroes all throughout a match. You can do so any time you’re in the spawn room, so get in the habit of constantly changing things up when things aren’t going well.

Far too often will players complain about the current state of the game without seeming to realize switching to another character is all they need. Struggling against a Widowmaker? Switch to a Genji to counter. Does your team need a healer? Become a healer yourself! Does your team consist of six of the same character? It’s probably a good idea to switch that up.

Remember: the only downside of switching heroes is that you lose whatever ultimate you had built up. Otherwise, there’s no reason not to.

Head to the 2nd page to get the rest of these essential Overwatch tips.

Brendan Morrow is a Heavy contributor who focuses on entertainment and politics. He has previously written about film for Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, What Culture, and The Celebrity Cafe. Follow him on twitter @brendanmorrow.
June 8, 2016 5:57 pm

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