Feature Article

Overwatch Character Guide: Tips For Reinhardt, Widowmaker, Pharah, And All Heroes

Below you can find videos for each hero and tips on how to play them.

Since its release, Overwatch's Hero roster continues to grow. While each character is easy to pick up and play, there are several important tactics you need to understand. To help you better master the game, we've created in-depth guide videos for all of its characters. With so many videos to watch and learn from, we've compiled them all in one place. Below you'll find our detailed series of videos offering tips and strategies on how to best play each hero.

We recently updated this feature with a guide on Moira--Overwatch's fifth post-launch DLC character. Be sure to check back often as we update this page with guides on future DLC characters.

Moira

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Moira is mainly a healer. Her principal attack is called Biotic Grasp; it sprays a "cone of energy" that heals teammates in range. Her alternate fire is a beam that attaches to the nearest enemy, taking their health and dealing damage. For more on how to use her, watch the in-depth video above.

Reinhardt

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Reinhardt is an easy-to-use tank who primarily acts as a team's frontman. With his handy shield and giant hammer, he can be used for a variety of effective offensive strategies. For a detailed breakdown on how to utilize his abilities, watch the in-depth video above.

Widowmaker

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Widowmaker is a formidable sniper with a plethora of abilities that support her long-range capabilities. With the ability to see through walls, plant mines, or grapple-hook her way on to a roof, she's not a character that opposing players should take lightly. For a detailed breakdown on how to best use her, watch the in-depth video above.

Ana

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Ana is a fascinating new character that uses a special sniper rifle capable of shooting bullets that heals her allies but damages her opponents. Unlike Widowmaker--whose primary role is to slay opponents--Ana is out there to provide support to her allies either by buffing them or putting members from the opposing team to sleep with her handy sleep dart. For more on how to use her, watch our Ana Hero Guide video.

Bastion

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Bastion is a formidable tank with an arsenal of heavy weapons. Its firepower easily makes it a priority target for the opposing team; that's why it's important to know how to utilize Bastion's weapons and abilities. For more on this lethal robot, watch our Bastion Hero Guide video.

D.Va

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D.Va is a powerful tank that can easily lay down the pressure against opponents. Her mech suit comes equipped with twin short-range cannons capable of continuous, high-damage fire without the need to reload. She also has a variety of useful offensive abilities that further her impact on the battlefield. For a closer look at how to use her, watch our D.Va Hero Guide video.

Doomfist

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Doomfist is one of the most diverse damage dealers in the game. His assortment of melee abilities allows you to get creative with how to deal with enemy Heroes. His Rocket Punch does a fair amount of damage, as well as stun enemies who happen to survive the might of its devastating power. Combine that alongside his uppercut and ground smash abilities for a variety of different offensive and defensive maneuvers. For more on how to use him, watch our Doomfist Guide video.

Genji

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Genji is a powerful offensive character whose hit-and-run tactics demand patience and precision. While he's difficult to master, he should please any player willing to understand the subtle nuances of his attacks and abilities. For more on this cyborg ninja, watch our Genji Hero Guide video.

Junkrat

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If you like being a pest to your opponents, then Junkrat is the character for you. His wide-range of explosive weapons and abilities make him a great damage dealer for any team. For a closer look at how to use him, watch our Junkrat Hero Guide video.

Hanzo

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Hanzo is a sniper that requires precision and quick thinking. Players often underrate his abilities, but when they're used properly, Hanzo can be incredibly versatile. For more on how to use this wandering archer, watch our Hanzo Hero Guide video.

Lucio

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Lucio is one of the most effective support characters in the game, providing first-aid and ability buff support to teammates. He's highly adaptable and is a great fit for any team. For the specifics on how to use him, watch our Lucio Hero Guide video.

McCree

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McCree is a powerful offense hero who's best used against opponents at close-range. With his trusty magnum and its multitude of accompanying abilities that can instantly kill enemies, McCree is a force to be reckoned with. For a detailed look at how to use this gun slinging hero, watch our McCree Hero Guide video.

Mei

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Mei is a well-rounded and self-sufficient defense character capable of being a great nuisance to the opposing team. Her Endothermic Blaster can freeze enemies in their tracks, denying them their mobility while damaging slowly them. For more on her various ice-based abilities, check out our Mei Hero Guide video.

Mercy

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Mercy is a valuable support character who's capable of using her first-aid and ability buffs to maximize the effectiveness of both tank and offensive characters. In addition, her ultimate--the ability to revive downed teammates--can quickly turn the tide of any battle. For more on Mercy’s abilities and how to play her, watch our Mercy Hero Guide video.

Orisa

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Orisa is an anchor tank capable of effectively fending off enemies and detouring their attacks. Aside from her long-range rapid-fire machine gun, she has a variety of other useful tools, such as a projectile that sets up a barrier and an energy weapon that creates an effect similar to Zarya's Graviton Surge. Orisa is a useful tank class with offensive and defensive abilities that can compliment any team. For more on how to use her, watch our Orisa Hero Guide video.

Pharah

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Pharah is a great offensive character to play if you want to hassle the opponent while dealing considerable damage. When used properly, her rockets and jetpack make her highly effective at hit-and-run tactics. For a full breakdown, watch our Pharah Hero Guide video.

Reaper

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Reaper is a deadly offensive character that specializes in close-ranged damage. With this wraith abilities, he can easily flank opponents and assault them with his dual shotguns. For more on how to use him effectively, watch our Reaper Hero Guide video.

Roadhog

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Roadhog is a hefty tank that can quickly lay down the offensive against the opposing team. As a tank, he's great for hassling enemies, bringing them towards him with his chain hook and bombarding them with his scrap gun. For more on how to play him, watch our Roadhog Hero Guide video.

Soldier: 76

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If you're new to Overwatch or shooters in general, Soldier: 76 is one of the best offensive characters to start with. He sports a well-rounded set of abilities and can handle a variety of situations. For more on how to use this masked commando, watch our Soldier: 76 Hero Guide video.

Sombra

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Sombra is a distinctive offensive character capable of rendering foes helpless and dealing a decent amount of damage along the way. With her hacking abilities, she's capable of variety of tricks, such as disabling an enemy's abilities, making a health pack regenerate fast, or seeing enemies through walls. In addition, her Translocator ability offers her the ability to freely enter and exit the frontline with ease. Sombra is well suited for those looking to sneak around and deliver grief to the opposing team. For more on how to use her, watch our Sombra Hero Guide video.

Symmetra

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Symmetra can be an incredibly useful support character if played properly. With her handy teleporter and arsenal of turrets, she's capable of easily tipping the odds in your team's their favor. For more on how to use her abilities, watch our Symmetra Hero Guide video.

Torbjorn

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Torbjorn is an engineer class hero capable of all sorts of useful strategies with his stationary turret. Whether you want to play him defensively or offensively, Torbjorn can be an effective addition to any team. For a detailed look on how to best utilize his skills, watch our Torbjorn Hero Guide video.

Tracer

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Tracer's strength as an offensive character lies not in her damage output, but in her ability to distract and annoy enemies. For more on how to use her, watch our Tracer Hero Guide video.

Winston

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Compared to other tank class characters, Winston is less of a brute and more focused on disruption tactics. His mobility allows him the ability to get the jump on his opponents when they least expect it. For more details on how to use this guerrilla scientist's abilities and tactics, watch our Winston Hero Guide video.

Zarya

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Zarya is one of the most difficult tanks to play, utilizing an assortment of complex offensive and defensive abilities. While she may not be the robust tank to use at first, her abilities carry a wealth of nuance that's fulfilling to master. For more on how to use her, watch our Zarya Hero Guide video.

Zenyatta

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Zenyatta sports a wide range of support abilities that can aid in his team’s efforts to turn the tide of battle. But unlike most other support characters, he’s a great damage dealer, capable of throwing out high amounts of DPS at a time. For more on this Omnic monk, watch our Zenyatta Hero Guide video.

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Matt Espineli

Matt Espineli is an Editor at GameSpot. He loves MGS, film noir, and westerns, but he very much loves YOU too.
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Pyrosa

If you're still on the fence regarding OW, here's a super-simple review:

1. It's "easy mode" for MP gaming. Super slow-paced combat, large HP bars, and a massive variety of weapon and traversal types to suit your preferences. If you even have the slightest bit of skill with Battlefied games, you will wreck asses in OW starting with your first match, pretty much indefinitely.

2. It's VERY polished, with great support on the stable back-end. The whole thing is gorgeous and varied.

3. It's absolutely worth $30, which I've seen on the Holiday 2017 sales ads. It's absolutely not worth the $60 I originally paid, since the character variety in no way makes up for the lack of gameplay variety. You will likely find yourself warming up with OW, then moving on to a faster-paced and more strategic shooter in the same night.

4. If you have friends who are intimidated because MP seems too hard, have them start with Overwatch.

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PETERAKO

HERES A TANK GUIDE OF THE CHI-NU-KAI

If you told me you hate the Chi-Nu-Kai I would believe you. I used to hate it too. Its a medium tank the size of a heavy with mobility to match and armor that can bounce the occasional shot, but its still failry easy to penetrate.

Here's the kicker though, if you are on the frontline getting shot along your comrades, you're doing it wrong. You see the Chi-Nu-Kai is a sniper tank, which basically means that you dont go down and dirty in close querter brawls, but must find a vantage point far away from the frontline and engage your enemies at the edge of your view range or even the edge of the rendering range.

The gun though not powerfull or fast, offers excelent aiming time and good accuracy for such long ranges. Its strongly advised to have a crew trained at 100%. The "brother in arms" as well as having a ventilation shaft equiped are highly advised to further improve the performance of the gun. You can also equip a gun rammer and a vertical stabiliser for reload and aiming speed respectively. If I had to choose between them I would go for the rammer since the aiming speed is quite good already.

Though the Chi-Nu-Kai is sluggish, its far from the slowest tank in the game, and its fast enough in case you need to relocate to another vantage point.

Thing is you will stay stationary for most of the time, wich means you can equip a binocular telescope which makes this tank's view range fairly decent to the point where you can engage in passive scouting, though in a somewhat limited fassion

Lastly, it pays to be familiar with the maps and knowing how to utilise them to snipe. Its also good to anticipate enemy behaviour, which is easier if you're paired with a good scout.

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LiveDreamPlay

@thusliroch: Do people still believe in these schemes?

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kaluaj

I am finding the more I play the more I notice an interesting psychological aspect of the game. People get caught up on the structure of the team more than the skills of the players. Most people bitch about a team not having this or that because they need those characters to fit there playing style or simple because it says so in the character select screen. Listen, if you don't understand the principle of tanking or you suck at it don't be a tank, it's the same for healing,support or offense. In many cases there are multiple ways to complete a challenge and at the end of the day it's skill vs skill. In most cases having everyone pick a character that best suits there playing style and playing/communicating as a team will override the team trying choose characters for structure regardless of people's skill with those characters.

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LiveDreamPlay

@kaluaj: That's true, at lower levels the structure of the team doesn't matter that much. But it gets to a point where both teams know how to play well and the team that both masters every character AND has all the roles filled properly will destroy the team that chooses characters randomly based on their skills with said character.

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LiveDreamPlay

@7tizz: Even with the few game modes, I find it very addictive. Whenever I have 30 minutes to spare I jump to Overwatch and play a match...

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perphektxero

Bastion and Reaper do not need character guides. Reaper is for beginners who want to get into and learn the game. Bastion is for lazy people who don't want to get into the game and just want to kill other players.

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LiveDreamPlay

@perphektxero: That's true at the beginning when both teams are filled with beginners...

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Gravity_Slave

@perphektxero: can't argue with that. I don't think I've ever seen a Reaper get PotG with his Death Blossom.

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Cure_4_Humanity

@perphektxero: Reaper might be for beginners. But a Good Reaper can be so integral for distractions and for blocking a pushing team. I have an enormously satisfying time porting into areas behind the opposing team and wrecking havoc. A beginner will die, someone good will rinse and repeat and prevent the enemy from getting anywhere. But yes, it's essentially close range pew pew to the face.

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perphektxero

@cure_4_humanity: I don't think a beginner will die. I have seen beginners tear it up with Reaper. One instance, my friend and I played our first matches together, and he got play of the game with Reaper. But yes, there are benefits to having an experienced Reaper on the team.

However, Bastion needs a nerf big time in the form of no "play of the game" or accolade voting opportunity.

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djwood84

@perphektxero: Those who can, do. Those who can't, take to the forums and cry IMBA.

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dariomeznari

@perphektxero: Bastion is the easiest champion to counter and most people who have played the game for a certain amount of time make him a useless piece of metal. Basically at this point it's 6 vs 5 unless he switches.

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I would have to say my current favorite characters are Widowmaker in defense and Lucio for support, though I would like to find an attacking character and tank character that work well for me too as I like to help build a balanced team based on who everyone else has chosen. Thinking about giving McCree a try in attack but who is a good tank character for intermediate players?

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fig56

@plastiqueworld: Give Winston a try. Even though he lacks firepower he makes it up with his agility and shield power. His ultra can also clear an objective if used at the right moment.

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perphektxero

@fig56: His super is great for knocking people off ledges. Nepal's indoor temple single point capture map comes to mind right away.

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jshah500

@plastiqueworld: I've noticed if my team doesn't have a reinhardt we usually lose. Just an observation.

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dmblum1799

I teach at a university in South Korea. Koreans latch on to a very few games - Starcraft, League of Legends - and play them into the ground. This month I've noticed by talking to them they're going all in on Overwatch.

They will play it to death in PC bangs, and they will beat you (most of you).

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Gravity_Slave

@dmblum1799: if you say so

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Zyconnic

@dmblum1799: okay ?

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BrightSunbeam

Was this article written by an 8th grader?

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CorruptedLulz

@brightsunbeam: That's what I immediately though. Either that or someone who doesn't have a firm grasp on english.

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greaseman1985

The only thing I dislike about this game is quite often people are morons and will not care about having a balanced team. They think this is Call of Duty and 3 people will pick Soldier 76, of course leading to a loss. This game requires teamwork, and I wish Blizzard would consider incorporating a forced team balancing.

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LiveDreamPlay

@greaseman1985: That's the problem with all multiplayer games. You either get a team that you can communicate with, or you face people that don't care about the win as long as they play their favorite character. And I can guarantee you this is not going to change.

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Gravity_Slave

@greaseman1985: which is why I'll be playing competitive mode once they fix the hero stacking.

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perphektxero

@greaseman1985: I somewhat agree. The use of the word moron to describe other players I think is too harsh and inaccurate. There is an issue with team work, especially when groups will avoid going for the check points. I see it more often where teams will hang out at the choke point and kill each other without trying to get to the goal. I capitalized on this once. Playing the Egypt map, both teams were stuck at the choke point. I switched to Trace, and teleported to the first checkpoint and captured it without any resistance. Once captured, I moved fast to the second checkpoint where I also met zero resistance and we won in very little time. This was all because everyone was at the front. Other times I have not been so lucky since other teams have been vigilant in protecting their own CPs while keeping my team busy at the front. There is a team work issue in this game, but it is not in character selection, it is in basic strategy.

When it comes to character selection, I have noticed the team balancing suggestions are not always necessary or helpful. I have been on teams where almost the whole team was defense characters with a few offense, and we still made short work of the other team. I have also been on the other side of that as well getting wrecked by a team full of Soldier 76s. Many matches have been won with teams that were "imbalanced."

I think hoping for forced team balancing is wishful thinking, because games have been trying to force team work for so long and if we should have learned anything, it is that you cannot. Look at Destiny, Battleborn, The Division, and any other team based games you can think of. Not going to happen. I also do not believe forcing team play is the right choice either.

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Cure_4_Humanity

@greaseman1985: Actually, we did a payload match where our whole team went Soldier 76 and we slaughtered the other team. It was quite a bit of fun actually.

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perphektxero

@cure_4_humanity: I was on the PS4 playing yesterday and came across a team like that on the Hollywood map. We held them off at first, but when my turret was destroyed they overwhelmed us quickly and lost shortly after that.

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greaseman1985

@cure_4_humanity: It can work, especially against a bunch of new players who don't know what they're doing.

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Glad this is here, now I've mastered all of the characters with these videos and I don't even have to buy the game.

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LiveDreamPlay

@GreySeven: Correct, actually playing the game is for noobs, the learners are the real winners... who needs to have fun when they can read articles or watch videos...

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PNOVA

This game isn't that good, but at least they didn't give it a 10 like game informer. This game isn't better than Destiny.

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LiveDreamPlay

@pnova: Comparing it to Destiny destroyed your whole comment. A moment of silence.

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Gravity_Slave

@pnova: you lost all credibility once you mentioned Destiny as a viable comparison.

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perphektxero

@pnova: It is hard to compare these two since they are so different. But, even though Overwatch is probably 20% of a full game, I still enjoy it better then Destiny.

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rahl247

@pnova: this game is not even comparable to destiny so 1 cant be better then the other. compare this game to a comparable one then you may have a point. i did not like destiny myself i like division loads better,

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viceanterra3

@pnova: This game is, by a few light years, way better than destiny.

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solidsolo

@pnova: not even the same genre.... some gamer you are

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greaseman1985

@pnova: To me it is far better than Destiny.

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JoeBobaHEAD

The only thing really "wrong" with Overwatch is the lack of depth. When you pay $60 for a game you want more than a couple modes and a couple maps. You play on these decent size maps that you are in no way inclined to explore, because there is a clear objective to get to. Adding straight up death match and/or point scoring modes like capture the flag, would benefit this problem greatly. Hopefully Blizzard expands the game, and not in the form of DLC that you must buy.

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LiveDreamPlay

@joebobahead: I think they already confirmed more game modes, characters and maps.

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Gravity_Slave

@joebobahead: where are you people when FPS games only come out with a short Single Player Campaign?? I bet you're the type that buys the slightly updated Madden or FIFA every year with a straight face but still b*tches about MP only games.

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perphektxero

@joebobahead: I think this game would benefit from a story mode like Battleborn to enrich the "story" it currently has, but this game I think is worth the 60$. It took a lot of convincing for me to give $60 to a game that probably only has $30 worth of content, but I look to Diablo 3 on PS4 and all the free crap Blizzard still pushes out.

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TruthSerum808

@joebobahead:

If you want straight up death match there is always CoD and BF.

The single greatest thing about Overwatch is that it is objective based, making every member of the team important no matter their K/D ratio.

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BoxOfPocky

@joebobahead: While I agree paying for the game is a deterrent (technically it's only $40) and a few more modes would add variety. However, I will disagree with you about map explorations and objectives. Having that one objective means you have to cooperate with your team to take it, rather than one-man army carry your team. Secondly, exploration is key to getting a good flank in. Over the last week, I've seen people do videos on using various terrains or going around obstacles I didn't even know you could go around to get those flanks in. Not saying it's a flawless game because I don't like the RNG microtransaction boxes and inability to choose which character to unlock stuff for. But it is still a very solid and fun game.

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perphektxero

@BoxOfPocky: It is $60 on consoles.

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RadPro

@joebobahead: Blizzard already stated that all future content will be free and knowing Blizzards background, they'll be supporting this game for a VERY long time.