Overwatch is one of the most popular and biggest first person shooters, and also happens to be one of the best. The juggernaut series has been a staple for fans of team-based shooters for over 5 years, and while it’s slowed down some, it’s still a hugely popular game. With Overwatch 2 on the horizon, it seems like a great time to go over all the working parts of Overwatch and answer some questions.
Its sequel, Overwatch 2, is officially due October 4, 2022. Players who are anxious to get their claws into the hit game will be able to dive right into a beta that begins June 28th on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. If you haven’t played Overwatch before, now is as good of a time as any.
Thanks to new characters, maps, modes, and more, there is a ton of exciting new content coming for Overwatch in Overwatch 2. Whether you’re a new or returning player, Overwatch is one of the easiest series to jump right into, learn, and play.
What Is Overwatch?
Overwatch is a colorful, team-based, first-person action game that plays online. It features a diverse cast of characters divided up into one of three roles: tank, damage, and healer. In Overwatch, you’ll pick one of 32 heroes to play in a 6v6 battle against other players. Teams consist of two tanks, two healers, and two damage dealers. There are a variety of modes to play that include escorting or attacking a payload, capturing a point, and even a deathmatch mode.
You are also able to level up, which unlocks loot boxes. These loot boxes contain a variety of skins, voice lines, emotes, and sprays. None of these affect a player’s performance, though. They’re all purely cosmetic upgrades. The game also has several holiday events throughout the year that have special game modes and event-themed loot. Celebrate everything from Halloween to the Lunar New Year.
While Overwatch certainly didn’t create the genre, it did help popularize it. It’s not surprising that the game is getting a sequel. Overwatch 2 will feature many of the same modes as the original, but will release with new characters, new modes, and will go down to a 5v5 setup in battles.
In both games, there is also a competitive mode. Here, you’ll have to work together with your team to win. Overwatch is also huge in the esports world. Over the last several years, millions of dollars have been awarded in the Overwatch esports arena through the Overwatch League.
How to Play Overwatch?
In Overwatch, you’ll select a game mode and then choose a hero. Most games that are played in Overwatch have you working with your team against an opposing side. The most common game modes are Assault, where you capture points; Control, a mode where two teams fight to control points across a best of three; Escort, where you’re tasked with attacking or defending a payload; or Hybrid, a mode that combines Assault and Escort. If you’re curious about what the maps are like, be sure to take a peek at our ranking of the maps in Overwatch.
The main goal, of course, is to win. Depending on what hero you choose, your play style will vary. Lucky for you, we have a list of the best characters to play in Overwatch based on their class. Tank class characters must absorb damage and protect the rest of the team. Healers do exactly that and heal damage and offer up other useful utilities. Damage characters put out the most damage in terms of raw numbers.
Overwatch 2 will function very much the same but offers up a few new features including a game mode called Push. Think of that as a game of tug of war between two 5-man teams. There will also be hero reworks to give more balance to the game. Damage characters will get a speed boost and healers will self-heal over time. Tanks are getting a larger, more robust change across many of their abilities since the new 5v5 means each team will only have one tank.
When Did Overwatch Come Out?
Blizzard first unveiled Overwatch at BlizzCon 2014. In late 2015 through the beginning of the following year, a beta was available. Overwatch was first released on May 24, 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It made its way to Nintendo Switch in October 2019. It is now, of course, also available on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Overwatch 2 will release on October 4, 2022.
Is Overwatch Crossplay?
Overwatch didn’t start out as a crossplay functional game, but now it’s one of the best crossplay games around. It did, however, eventually become crossplay across all platforms in June 2021. There is one small caveat to that, though. It’s not crossplay in its competitive mode. This is most likely because PC players have an advantage when playing the game with a mouse and keyboard. Using these tools allows for more accurate aiming and would give an unfair advantage against those on consoles. Overwatch 2 will also feature crossplay.
Is Overwatch Free?
While there are a number of incredible free-to-play-games, Overwatch is not free. You must purchase the game. When Overwatch 2 releases on October 4, 2022, the game will go free-to-play, allowing for even more people to enjoy the team-based shooter. There are also plans for a number of PVE experiences in Overwatch 2 down the line.
At this time, it’s unclear if that will be put behind a paywall. Most free-to-play games do come with microtransactions to help aid in money-making for the developer and publisher. My bet is that you’ll be able to buy premium skins, at the very least.
How Much Is Overwatch?
Currently, Overwatch usually retails for $19.99 for its standard edition and $39.99 for the legendary edition. The game is often on sale, though, for as much as half off. If you don’t want to spend any money, you could always wait until Overwatch 2 releases as free-to-play this fall.
The standard edition includes the base game. If you’re a huge Blizzard fan, the Legendary edition gives you in-game loot for a variety of Blizzard games. This includes a selection of Epic and Legendary skins for Overwatch, a baby Winston pet for World of Warcraft, and Mercy’s wings in Diablo 3.
Is Overwatch Split Screen?
There is a certain nostalgia to split-screen games. Sitting on the floor with friends crowded around your Nintendo 64 and TV playing Goldeneye absolutely ruled back in the day. Overwatch would be a great time in split screen, but unfortunately it doesn’t allow for that.
Overwatch is a purely online game and because of that, split screen just does not make sense. The game is linked to one account, and having dual players on a screen wouldn’t work with achievement tracking, game performance, and game quality. You can play online with friends, though! As of now, there won’t be split screen in Overwatch 2 either.
Does Overwatch Have Voice Chat?
Overwatch and Overwatch 2 are team-based first person shooters. Because of this, communication is key through the game’s voice chat. Thankfully, voice chat in Overwatch is built in so there’s no need to connect with friends outside of the game on a service like Discord or Skype.
Like most online games, though, voice chat can be a toxic place. Thankfully, Blizzard makes reporting others easy. After a game ends, you’re also able to “endorse” a certain number of players. Endorsements reward players for good behavior and earn you 50 experience per endorsement.
Endorsements can be given to players for being a “Shot Caller,” “Good Teammate,” or for showing “Sportsmanship.” The latter can even be given to enemies and is meant for players who are a positive influence in the game. The endorsement system also grants you loot boxes as your endorsement level rises, which incentivizes playing fairly.
Who’s the Best Character in Overwatch?
Like most competitive games, there is a certain level of objectiveness when deciding what characters are the best in a game. Overwatch has several factors that can help point to who is best at any given time. For example, you have to consider who is pulling their weight in the current meta and who is fun to play.
Thankfully we have a handy guide to the best characters in Overwatch right now based on their roles. Currently, Moira and Lucio are great picks for healers. Both have good mobility and abilities that allow them to escape annoying heroes like Tracer or Genji. Both are also incredibly fun to play. In all honesty, there’s a certain viability to most healers right now as long as they’re paired with someone who compliments their abilities.
For tanks, it’s hard to go wrong with Reinhardt. Reinhardt’s shield is trusty and reliable. He can dish out damage with his giant hammer if needed. Wrecking Ball, the ultimate disrupter, is also a very solid pick in the game’s meta. Diving in, wreaking havoc, and rolling away is the name of the game for him.
There are so many DPS characters. Because of the sheer amount, there’s a huge gap between the best, the good, and those that just aren’t viable. Tracer, more-or-less the mascot of Overwatch, is still a great pick for her speed and ability to get in and out quickly. Cassidy (formerly Mcree) can do big damage from a distance if you have good aim.
When Overwatch 2 comes out, this could change a little bit with certain reworks. Expect full coverage on the best characters in Overwatch 2 when the beta comes out.
Does Overwatch Have Cross Progression?
Overwatch is a game with many unlocks. All of those unlocks, however, are purely cosmetic. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have cross progression between the different consoles and PC despite being able to link the same account to different platforms.
Overwatch 2, however, will have cross progression when it launches in October of this year. You could try holding onto your loot boxes between now and then for when that launches and then open them all. This would likely allow you to link all your precious loot and unlocks across your account no matter where you play Overwatch.
How Many People Play Overwatch?
Overwatch’s popularity is undisputed. According to Active Player, the hit team-based shooter has averaged anywhere from 3.8 to 7.3 million players a month across its lifetime. All of this year, it’s actually averaging around 7 million players a month. It also routinely ranks in the top 50 or so streamed games on Twitch. According to Player Counter, the game sees its most players from the United States (24.91%) and Russia (8.11%). Depending on how well received Overwatch 2 is, those trends could continue.
Can You Play Overwatch Offline?
Overwatch is completely online in every way. Unfortunately, it cannot be played offline. While Overwatch 2 will eventually see a PVE, story-focused mode released, there’s currently no word if it will be playable offline. Our bet is you’ll need an internet connection to enjoy it.
If you haven’t gotten into Overwatch yet, it’s easy to jump right in through its various modes, heroes with varying learning curves, and ability to play with friends.