Overwatch

A stylish sci-fi, team-based, first-person shooter from Blizzard in which players can choose from a wide range of Heroes with unique weapons and abilities.

Overview

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Overwatch is a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter developed and published by Blizzard for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on May 23, 2016. It is their first original franchise since StarCraft and entered numerous periods of both closed and open betas since October 27, 2015.

The game is known for its stylized sci-fi atmosphere and relatively simple gameplay, which combines elements from class-based teamplay shooters (such as Team Fortress 2) with hero-based MOBAs (such as Heroes of the Storm).

Set in a futuristic Earth, after the fall of an international task force eponymously known as Overwatch, the game primarily involves 6v6 objective-based skirmishes wherein each player can choose from one of over twenty uniquely designed "Heroes." Each hero has their own set of abilities, which make them suited for specific team roles, and the objectives each team must complete changes depending on the map.

Heroes

[see Guide for more detailed information]

The game's playable Heroes are split up into four categories: Offense (direct damage dealers), Defense (choke point maintainers), Tank (damage soakers), and Support (healers and utility providers). The game's initial release included a roster of 21 Heroes. As of the release of Brigitte, this total was increased to 27 Heroes.

Offense

  • Sombra - Added on November 15, 2016.

Defense

Tank

  • Orisa - Added on March 21, 2017.

Support

  • Ana - Added on July 19, 2016.
  • Moira - Added on November 16, 2017.

Game Modes & Maps

Assault

The attacking team must capture two control points consecutively by being the only team to stand on it for a certain amount of time, while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.

  • Hanamura (uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
  • Temple of Anubis
  • Volskaya Industries
  • Horizon Lunary Colony (added on June 20, 2017)

Escort

The attacking team must escort a payload on a fixed track to its destination by being the only team to stand near it, while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.

  • Dorado
  • Route 66
  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar
  • Junkertown (added on September 19, 2017)
  • Rialto (added on May 3, 2018)

Hybrid

A combination of the above game modes, the attacking team must capture the payload (similar to Assault) before escorting it on a fixed track to its destination (similar to Escort), while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.

  • Hollywood (uses a different theme for the Halloween Terror event)
  • King's Row (uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
  • Numbani
  • Eichenwalde (added on September 1, 2016, uses a different theme for the Halloween Terror event)
  • Blizzard World (added on January 23, 2018)

Control

A king-of-the-hill game mode where both teams must capture a single control point at the center of the battlefield and maintain it for a certain amount of time. Each match is best of three rounds, with each round as a random battlefield in the map.

  • Ilios
  • Lijiang Tower (uses a different theme for the Lunar New Year event)
  • Nepal
  • Oasis (added on January 3, 2017)

Elimination

(Only available in Arcade Mode and Custom Games)

Added on November 15, 2016, Elimination is a last team standing game mode where each player only has one life per round, cannot switch heroes after the round starts, and must eliminate all members of the opposing team to win each round. For 1v1 duels, each match is best of nine rounds. For 3v3 and 6v6 skirmishes, each match is best of five rounds.

Standard variants of this mode include "Mystery Duel" (a 1v1 version where both players are given the same random character selection each round) and "Lockout Elimination" (a 3v3/6v6 version where the winning team in each round cannot choose any of the characters in that lineup for the rest of the match).

  • Ecopoint: Antarctica (uses a different them for the Winter Wonderland event)
  • Black Forest (added on May 23, 2017, uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
  • Castillo (added on May 23, 2017)
  • Necropolis (added on May 23, 2017)
  • Ayutthaya (added on February 8, 2018)

Custom Game Only

  • Ilios (Lighthouse, Ruins, or Well)
  • Lijiang Tower (Control Center, Garden, or Night Market)
  • Nepal (Sanctum, Shrine, or Village)
  • Oasis (City Center, Gardens, or University)

Capture the Flag

(Only available in Arcade Mode and Custom Games)

Originally a seasonal event (Capture the Rooster) on January 24, 2017 (and made permanent in Arcade Mode on February 28, 2017), Capture the Flag is a team-based objective mode where players aim to steal their opponent's flag (while defending their own) and bring it to their flag pedestal (with their own flag intact).

On February 8, 2018, the base mode received numerous updates. This includes a faster pickup/return time for the flag (with the flag return no longer stopped when taking damage), a wait time on when the flag can be picked up after being dropped, post-score flag respawn time, restricted use on abilities while holding the flag (where numerous abilities cause the carrier to drop the flag), and a new Sudden Death mechanic.

  • Ilios (Lighthouse, Ruins, or Well)
  • Lijiang Tower (Control Center, Garden, or Night Market)
  • Nepal (Sanctum, Shrine, or Village)
  • Oasis (City Center, Gardens, or University)
  • Ayutthaya (added on February 8, 2018)

Deathmatch / Team Deathmatch

(Only available in Arcade Mode and Custom Games)

Added on August 29, 2017. Basic deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, where players earn points for landing the final blow on opponents and lose points for self-inflicted/environmental death. First player/team to reach the point threshold (or the highest scoring player/team after the timer expires) wins the match.

  • Black Forest
  • Castillo
  • Dorado
  • Ecopoint: Antarctica
  • Eichenwalde
  • Hanamura
  • Hollywood
  • Horizon Lunar Colony
  • Ilios (Lighthouse, Ruins, or Well)
  • King's Row
  • Lijiang Tower (Control Center, Garden, or Night Market)
  • Necropolis
  • Nepal (Sanctum, Shrine, or Village)
  • Oasis (City Center, Gardens, or University)
  • Temple of Anubis
  • Volkskaya Industries
  • Château Guillard (added on August 29, 2017)
  • Petra (added on May 22, 2018)

Arcade Mode

As an alternative to the standard game modes used in both Quick Play and Competitive modes, Arcade Mode is a set of rotating matchmaking playlists for special game modes with special rulesets (also known as "Brawls"). Playlists are either rotated weekly, daily, or seasonal (in the case of ranked competitive variants). Players can earn loot boxes by winning nine games in a weekly period (earning a loot box every three games won), with some playlists earning a free loot box on the first game won.

Prior to November 15, 2016, the mode was named "Weekly Brawl" and focused on a single playlist that rotates weekly (similar to Tavern Brawls in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and weekly Mutations in Left 4 Dead 2).

Playlists

Five playlists are enabled at one time, one of them being featured (giving them a larger presence on the Arcade Mode screen. During seasonal events, one or more playlists are reserved for Event Playlists (see "Event Playlists").

  • All Brawls! (6v6) - Cycles through a different Brawl (see "Brawls") on each map change. No longer used.
  • Elimination (3v3) - No longer used.
  • Capture the Flag (6v6)
  • Deathmatch (8-player FFA)
  • Limited Duel (1v1) - Elimination where both players start each round with a choice of three random heroes. Some heroes are unavailable.
  • Lockout Elimination (3v3, 6v6) - Elimination where the winning team in each round cannot choose any of the characters in that lineup for the rest of the match. This was later made standard for all Elimination playlists.
  • Low Gravity (6v6) - Assault/Escort/Hybrid with 25% gravity.
  • Mystery Duel (1v1) - Elimination where both players start each round with the same random hero. Some heroes are unavailable.
  • Mystery Heroes (6v6) - Players start each spawn with a new random hero, and cannot change heroes on their own.
  • No Limits (6v6) - Assault/Escort/Hybrid with no restriction on hero selection.
  • Team Deathmatch (4v4)
  • Total Mayhem - Escort/Hybrid with double health, very fast cooldowns on abilities, and faster gain rate on Ultimates.

In addition, the Capture the Flag, 6v6 Lockout Elimination, and Deathmatch playlists have had Competitive seasons, where players are ranked in a similar format to regular Competitive mode.

Seasonal Playlists

During seasonal events, one or more playlists are reserved for special Seasonal Brawls that last through the entire event. The events that use these Brawls include:

  • Lunar New Year (January/February)
  • Archives (April)
  • Summer Games (August)
  • Halloween Terror (October)
  • Winter Wonderland (December)

Beginning in 2018, the Overwatch Anniversary event (mid-May to mid-June) includes a single playlist that rotates between all Seasonal Brawls daily. These Brawls cannot be accessed at any other time and cannot be reproduced in Custom Games.

PVP

  • Lúcioball (3v3, Summer Games) - Added in the 2016 event, Lúcioball has teams of Lúcio players fighting to push a large soccer ball through their goal (in similar vein to Rocket League). Most of Lúcio's abilities are changed and only affect himself. His primary fire is replaced with his melee attack (used for short-distance pushes), his Soundwave does not affect enemies (and is used for longer-distance pushes), his Crossfade is disabled, and his Ultimate Ability is replaced with "Turbo Boost" (which boosts his movement and Soundwave recharge). He can also use numerous trampolines in the arena to high jump, and wall-ride certain walls faster. The team that scores the most goals in the time limit wins the match. The mode was originally released with one map: Estádio das Rãs. The 2017 edition added an additional map (Sydney Harbour Arena), added a Competitive playlist, and changed some of Lúcio's abilities (for example, Soundwave used to push enemies and his Ultimate used to pull the ball towards him).
  • Mei's Snowball Offensive (6v6, Winter Wonderland) - Added in the 2016 event, Mei's Snowball Offensive is a special variation of Elimination that has teams of Mei players fighting with modified Endothermic Blasters that can only fire instant-kill snowballs. Melee is disabled and players can only carry one snowball at a time (in which they must reload at randomly-placed piles of snow). Her Ultimate Ability is replaced by "Flurry", which gives her unlimited ammo for six seconds. The mode was originally released with one map (Ecopoint: Antarctica) with a seasonal theme, with the 2017 edition adding another one (Black Forest).
  • Capture the Rooster (6v6, Lunar New Year) - Used solely for the 2017 event, Capture the Rooster is a themed variation of Capture the Flag taking place on a themed version of Lijiang Tower.
  • Yeti Hunter (5v1, Winter Wonderland) - Added in the 2017 event, Yeti Hunter pits a team of five Meis (the Hunters) against a single Winston (the Yeti) in a single Elimination round taking place in a themed version of Nepal Village. Winston's starting health is increased to 5000 and his Ultimate Ability (which now increases his damage and duration, but no longer restores health) can only be replenished by picking up Meat pickups scattered throughout the map. Mei's abilities have a shorter duration and her Ultimate Ability is replaced with Junkrat's "Steel Trap" ability. Health pickups are disabled. Players have the option to prefer being Hunter or Yeti prior to starting matchmaking (with experienced Hunter players having a better chance of being the Yeti).

Co-op

During special co-op brawls, players choose between two modes: Default (in which only four Heroes are available) and All Heroes (in which the entire roster is available). Players can only choose one of each Hero and can not switch Heroes at any time.

Players complete mission objectives throughout the match while fighting hordes of themed AI-controlled enemies. The game includes four difficulties (Normal, Hard, Expert, and Legendary), and Heroes who die are instead incapacitated. If a fallen Hero is not revived within 45 seconds (either through Mercy's Resurrect ability or by standing near that Hero for a short amount of time), the game ends with a loss. In addition, failed objectives ends the game with a loss.

  • Junkenstein's Revenge (Halloween Terror) - Added in the 2016 event,, Junkenstein's Revenge is a horror-themed mission that takes place in a sectioned-off part of Eichenwalde (renamed Adlersbrunn). Players pick either Ana the Alchemist, Hanzo the Archer, McCree the Gunslinger or Soldier: 76 the Soldier, as they fight waves of "Zomnics" (zombie omnics) to protect the castle door within an amount of time. Throughout the match, they must face Dr. Junkenstein and his monster, as well as The Reaper. At the end of the match, they must face all three bosses at once, along with The Witch, to win the match. The 2017 edition adds an additional boss: The Summoner.
  • Uprising (Archives) - Added in the 2017 event, Uprising is a historical mission that takes place in King's Row. Players pick either Tracer, Torbjörn, Reinhardt, or Mercy, as they fight omnic forces of Null Sector in order to liberate King's Row. Throughout the mission, they encounter various standard units (Nulltrooper, Eradicator, Slicer, and Detonator) and two special units (B73-NS, which behave like Bastion and can start in Tank form, and OR14-NS, which behave like Orisa).
  • Retribution (Archives) - Added in the 2018 event, Retribution is a historical mission that takes place in Rialto. Players pick either Genji, McCree, Reyes, or Moira as they fight the human forces of Talon in order to escape a botched Blackwatch operation (leading to the dissolution of both Blackwatch and Overwatch). Through the mission, they encounter two types of standard units (the machine gun Trooper and shotgun Enforcer) and three special unique units: the Sniper, the Assassin, and the Heavy Assault.

Weekly Brawls

Prior to the inclusion of Arcade Mode, the game used a rotating "Brawl" playlist that switches every week. Afterwards, the game included a temporary "All Brawls!" playlist that switches between each of the following Brawls:

  • Total Mayhem - Formerly "Arcade". Same as the version used in normal Playlists.
  • MOBAwatch - Cannot switch heroes during the match. Prior to the Hero restriction rule, it was the only playlist to not allow duplicate heroes per team.
  • Highly Offensive - Offense heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
  • Overly Defensive - Defense heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
  • Tanks A Lot - Tank heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
  • Show Your Support - Support heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
  • We're All Soldiers Now - Soldier: 76 only. Half health. Slow cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Control maps only.
  • This is Ilios - Lucio and Roadhog only. Limited to 1 Lúcio per team. Single map only: Ilios Well.
  • High Noon - McCree only.
  • Justice Rains From Above - Mercy and Pharah only. Very fast cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Assault maps only.
  • Super Shimada Bros - Genji and Hanzo only. Very fast cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Single map only: Hanamura.
  • Charge! - Lúcio and Reinhardt only. Limited to 1 Lúcio per team.
  • One Shot, One Kill - Ana, Hanzo, and Widowmaker only.

All changes (unless otherwise specified) can be reproduced in the Custom Game mode. In addition, some Weekly Brawls were not used in the "All Brawls!" playlist:

  • Ana Knows Best - Used in tandem with the Ana release. Ana, Tank heroes only.
  • Girl Power - Female heroes only.
  • Have Fun Storming The Castle - Single map only (Eichenwalde). No duplicate heroes per team.
  • Mystery Heroes - Same as the version used in normal Playlists.
  • The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - McCree, Reaper and Roadhog only.

Plot

Many years prior to the events of the game, the Omnica Corporation, a leading robotics manufacturer and AI developer, found that its Omnic robots became somewhat sentient. The Omnics organized themselves and started attacking their human masters in a global war that became known as the Omnic Crisis. To counter this threat, an international task force called Overwatch was formed under the United Nations to combine those with special powers, technology, and other abilities into a fighting force capable of countering the Omnics. Eventually, Overwatch managed to fight off the Omnics enough to end the war, and reach a peace accord with the remaining synthetic beings.

After the war, Overwatch remained active as an international peacekeeping force, but after multiple instances of criminal and terrorist actions occurring across the globe, Overwatch found itself embroiled in controversy. Branded as being corrupt and evil, like those they were fighting, public opinion slowly turned against the organization, culminating in an explosion at Overwatch headquarters that supposedly took the life of its leader and his second-in-command.

Afterwards, the task force was officially disbanded by the United Nations, and the members of Overwatch drifted away. However, after new attacks by the mysterious Talon group start happening around the globe, and rumors of a second Omnic Crisis awakening in Russia, the surviving members of Overwatch decided to reunite to once again protect the world from evil.