Overwatch Basics – Common Newbie Mistakes

Overwatch is one of the most popular first-person shooters available today. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re planning to play it or you have already put some time in quick play (or even competitive mode)! The game is easy to pick up and learn, but there are things that could keep you from transitioning to newbie to a skilled player. Today, we’re taking a look at the most common mistakes that newbies tend to make when playing.

Avoiding Aim Practice

This may seem like an obvious thing for a first-person shooter game, but you will still see a ton of players who don’t bother working on their aiming skills. The problem lies in the belief that some heroes (like Winston) do not require aiming.

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Winston’s weapon doesn’t require precision, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to aim.

Make no mistake: every hero requires good aim, even those with easy-to-hit weapons. It’s not just about getting those shots in; it’s also about proper crosshair placement for more accurate leaps, jumps, or dashes, timely heals or buffs, and even effective ultimate usage. Spend some time in the practice range or in custom-made aim maps.

Do you feel like you’re not aiming well enough despite getting plenty of practice? It’s probably because of how your controls are setup. Too much sensitivity will cause you to overshoot your aim, while too little will make it more difficult to track enemies or turn fast enough. The right sensitivity differs from person to person, so this will take a lot of trial and effort.

Picking the Wrong Champs

There’s nothing stopping you from picking any hero right off the bat. However, don’t expect to be a good support Ana or a master Genji player if you have barely grasped the fundamentals of the game. A lot of newbies lose games because part of the battle includes the learning curve for certain heroes.

You can transition to high skill-curve players later on, but it’s better to start out with “easier”, well-rounded heroes like Lucio, Reinhardt, and Soldier 76. This way, you can get used to the game’s dynamics (ult timings, how to properly approach objectives, team fights, etc) which are more important when you finally decide to make the switch.

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A jack-of-all trades with a simple ability kit, Soldier 76 is widely considered one of the best beginner heroes.

When you have a better grasp of the game, you will eventually figure out that even heroes under the same role have different play styles. For example, McCree is great at picking softer targets at medium range, while Reaper excels as a flanker or tank buster. Switching their play style will significantly affect their performance and your chances of being effective with either hero.

Ignoring the Objectives

The most important thing that you have to remember when playing Overwatch is that it is an objective-based game. Kills are great and satisfying but at the end of the day, it’s that payload or capture point that decides whether you win or lose. In fact, there are instances where getting more kills could make you lose the game.

Picture this: You’re playing Winston defense in Route 66 and the payload is only a few meters away from its destination. Your team just got wiped but some enemies are low on health and you have Primal Rage ready. You use your ultimate and jump towards the enemy group, but one of them gets past you and push the payload while you’re busy trying to kill one of them.

In this video, an entire enemy team gets too greedy for kills, allowing the player to cover a lot of ground with the payload.

One thing about having an objective-based mindset is that it’s not restricted to just sitting on a point. For example, if you’re playing Widowmaker, picking high value targets such as healers or other snipers will let you win an extended fight over an objective. If you’re playing Lucio, using Sound Barrier to stall for overtime instead of using it too soon also counts as playing for the objective… which brings us to the next common mistake

Holding Ultimates for Too Long

This one is a common mistake that even slightly more experienced players tend to make on a regular basis. Every ultimate ability has the ability to turn the tide of the battle, with many of them having the potential to wipe out an entire team in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, most players have a natural tendency to hold on to their fully-charged ultimates because they’re waiting for that picture-perfect moment. We’re talking 6-man Graviton Surges, Deadeyes, and Rocket Barrages. A perfect ult can be the Play of the Game, but those moments don’t happen as often as people think, especially if you’re playing with other newbies.

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Using an ult to kill two enemies near the objective is worth way more than letting it sit all match for that one perfect team kill.

An ultimate ability’s true value is defined by how relevant it is throughout the entire match. Don’t hesitate to use it on a single enemy (or just a chokepoint) if it means preventing a point cap. Being able to use four or five ultimates over the course of a game is much more efficient than letting it sit at 100% hoping the enemy would clump up.

Not Waiting for Teammates after Respawning

Waiting to respawn can be very irritating. This is why it’s not surprising that new players try to make up for the downtime by trying to get back to the fight. In fact, some will even think that it’s the right thing to do, especially when you still have an ally or two trying to fend off the enemy team.

To understand why rushing back after respawning is wrong, try to see things from the enemy team’s perspective. Fighting one or two freshly-spawned enemies at a time is pretty easy. If everyone just keeps running to the objective the moment they’re up again, they’ll leave behind teammates that have yet to respawn, putting themselves at a numbers disadvantage which will most likely get them killed in no time.

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Instead of going one by one, wait for two or more teammates to mount a better offense.

Instead of letting your team trickle down one at a time, learn to wait for two or more teammates before returning to the fight. Attacking in batches of three or more allows you to fight on even terms and increases your chances of reclaiming objectives. This is especially true for players using support heroes which can easily get isolated and picked off while en route to where the action is.

Not Playing for the Team

Overwatch is a team game, but you would be surprised at how many new players care little about their team. This usually applies to players who prefer damage heroes, but even tank and support players are prone to “going Rambo”. This also usually ends up doing more harm than good because it negates most good plays due to lack of team coordination.

One of the best way to avoid this mistake is to pay attention to where your teammates are. If you’re playing Reinhardt, you should always be close to your squishier teammates. If you’re Hanzo, take out targets currently engaged with the bulk of your team. If you’re Zenyatta, get used to moving your orbs every few seconds depending on who is hurt and which targets are being focused instead of keeping the ball on a single target.

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Supports should always stay close to teammates who can protect them.

Playing for the team also includes making and responding to callouts. Is your team’s Mei ready to use Blizzard? You might want to pay attention to her so you can follow up on her ultimate. Did you get flanked by an enemy? Let your teammates know that someone got behind your team to deny the enemy extra free kills.

“Backseat Driving”

In Overwatch, you have to play for the team. However, many players want the team to play for them instead. You probably have your share of teammates saying stuff like “You should have picked Mercy”, “We lost because your ult was late”, “Give me that character I’m good with it”. Telling people what they should do will rarely, if ever, work the way you want it to. In fact, that’s just asking to get into an argument.

If you’re new to the game, don’t expect to play with good players right off the bat. Barring the occasional smurf, most of your teammates will be around your skill level, perhaps even worse. Don’t bother spending time and effort to call them out for their mistakes; you’re better off focusing on your own performance.

In case you really need to point out what your teammate needs to do, say it in a less confrontational tone. If you need extra healers on your team, kindly ask your teammates if anyone is willing to switch. If worse comes to worst, you can always switch to a healer yourself. Ignore your teammate’s mistakes, but give props to teammates when they do smart plays. The less toxic you are towards each other, the easier it is to coordinate as a team.

Sometimes, you just have to be more patient with your teammates, like this (red) player towards a newbie. After all, we were all (and perhaps still are) newbies, too.

Common Newbie Mistakes – Conclusion

That wraps up our discussion on the most common mistakes made by Overwatch newbies. We hope this will help you win more matches to get a good start in the game. Care to share your experience when you were new to Overwatch? Feel free to leave a comment below!