Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Finally Started Playing Overwatch! SEND HELP.

I blame all the cosplay, really.

This past year almost every time I didn't recognize an amazing costume, it was from this game "Overwatch." I was intrigued, but once I heard you had to play online - you know, with real live human strangers, I was like, NOPE.

Then some of my friends started playing, and I kept reading more and more about it online, and my favorite artists were posting gorgeous fan art, and THEN I heard about a 2-week free trial on Xbox Live... and the time had come.

 (You can also play on PS4 and PC, if you don't have an Xbox One. You need an internet connection for all of them, though.)

So John and I rented Overwatch from Redbox (Fun Fact: you can rent games from Redbox!) and fired 'er up several weekends back.

About a month later, and I'm helplessly hooked. (HEYO ROADHOG PUN!) It was a bumpy ride at first, though; after the first few days I told John I didn't want to play again EVER, and it took some adjustments before I could really start to have fun with it. So I thought I might throw this review out there, in case any of you are thinking about taking the plunge.

The first thing you should know about Overwatch is it's hella confusing at first. There's a laughably simple "tutorial," then you're on your own in a maze of character and play options. Like most games nowadays, you just have to muddle through and learn as you go. Fortunately it doesn't take long to get up to speed, though.

In a nutshell, Overwatch is a tournament fighting game. You're placed on one of two teams, then instructed to either attack or defend an objective during a timed match. There's no story to follow, no mystery to unravel; you just fight. Obviously this requires FPS (first person shooter) skills, but if you're not great, there are ways to practice outside of the "real" games. More on that in a sec.

The second thing you should know about Overwatch is that you die. A lot. Sometimes over and over and over, in fact. That's not just my lousy hand-eye-coordination talking; everyone dies a lot. It's part of the game. You immediately respawn, though, so dying just means the inconvenience of running all the way back to the fight. Well, that and the frustration of being soundly trounced for the eighth time in a row. :D

Which brings me to the third thing you should know: if you can get past the frustration and rage-quitting stage, Overwatch is insanely fun - and even more addictive.

The secret is in the enormous cast of characters, or Heroes, you can play. You can fight with everything from a bow and arrow to ray guns. You can fly, leap tall buildings, turn invisible, turn back time, or clomp around in an enormous robot mecha. The variety feels endless, and every character has unique abilities to discover, which adds to the fun.

Most players settle on a few favorites and stick with them, but since I'm new I've been switching up my character a lot, just to try them all out. I've been surprised how often I end up really loving a character I wouldn't have picked otherwise, and hating others that are really popular.

The game locations have a lot of variety, too; you could be in a space-age industrial factory, a quaint Mexican plaza, or pretty stone ruins in a German forest. It's all beautiful to look at and incredibly detailed:

As a reward for the battles you gain medals and experience points, plus "Loot Boxes" filled with customizations for the characters. Each character has maybe 20 different "skins," along with different things they can say or do, so collecting all the goodies is a real incentive.
In fact, here's the Bastion skin John's saving up for:

(Meanwhile, I want the Road Hog Christmas outfit. :D)

The most challenging part of Overwatch is that its built around teamwork, and unless you have 5 friends online playing with you, it's going to be a mixed bag of who ends up on your team (and who you're playing against!) That keeps it interesting and unpredictable, though, and if you're the outgoing type you can even plug in a microphone and chat. (I don't, but it was fun listening in a few times.)

On a more personal level, the hardest thing about Overwatch is that you have to, in the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts, "Get used to disappointment." It can take a few minutes to get plaaced in a game, and you can be suddenly yanked out at any time if other players leave before its over. You're then placed in a "skirmish" to wait for a new match, but as soon as THAT gets interesting, you're yanked out again. Then there's the fact that - at least at first - everyone plays better than you. Heh.

So the first few days playing Overwatch I found myself more angry than happy, not so much from the waiting, but because I hate to lose - and when you get blown up by "SpankyFace0139" for the fifth time in a row, it can get suuuper frustrating. (That's around the time I told John to take the game back to Redbox.)

Then I discovered you can play against the AI with your team, instead of against other people. I play on Medium, which is challenging but MUCH easier, and I never have to worry about SpankyFace hunting me down every time I respawn, since the AI doesn't hold a grudge. :D This way I can play without all the frustration, and practice new characters without getting exploded every few seconds. (I still die, of course, but it doesn't feel as personal, you know?)

I also play "real" games against other people if I'm up for the challenge and OK with getting trounced, but for pure confidence-building happy fun times, I stick with the AI. Most times I do a combination of the two, depending on how I'm feeling. Now that it's been a few weeks I can actually hold my own in the real games sometimes, so eventually I may spend more/most of my time there.

John, on the other hand, will only play against real people, and I can tell you from the anguished shouts coming through the door it is NOT good for his blood pressure. ("Nooooo!")

Oh! Which reminds me: there's no 2 player option, so John and I can't play together. Booo. We do have separate profiles, though (HuffleHug and Lil Stay Puft - guess who's who), so we just take turns playing and yelling at the screen. "On your left! Shoot her! SHOOT HERRRR!"

Now let's get to the most important part: our favorite characters!

John is pretty settled on Soldier 76, or sometimes Bastion:

Because he's boring. 
(Although Bastion is actually pretty awesome.)

Like I said, I'm still skipping around, but at the moment I'm really liking Sombra:

Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a soft spot for Road Hog:

He cracks me up, and it's just so satisfying hooking people and shooting them in the face. 

Er, within the confines of the game, of course. 

Besides, seeing a Road Hog named "Lil Stay Puft" running around the screen is ridiculous in all the best ways.

That and Reaper:  "DEATH WALKS AMONG YOU... AND HIS NAME... IS 'LIL STAY PUFT.'" Bahaha! It's the little things.

Ok, players, chime in: who do you play? Any tips for newbs? And just for my own peace of mind: how often do YOU die in each match?


  1. I've heard that Matthew Mercer, the voice actor for McCree, will troll players by saying "IT'S HIGH NOON" in voice chat. I think the only reason I would ever do online play would be in the hope that he would be in my group.

  2. Do you guys mind if I add you? I usually play healer so I can keep you guys alive. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you can't get the Christmas roadhog skin outside of the Christmas event but it should come back around during the holiday season and the event skins cost 3000 coins instead of the usual 1000 for non-event legendaries. The next event should be the summer games, which has fun olympics inspired loot.

    1. Feel free, though I have no idea how any of this works yet, ha. And hey, CHRISTMAS GOALS! ;)

  3. I primarily play on Medium vs AI because I'm like you and don't like getting killed by the same person ten times. I mooooostly play support; Mercy or Lucio (depending on comp and map) or sometimes Symmetra. If I feel like shooting things I tend to go 76, Pharah, Torbjorn or Bastion, but I've been playing the random character arcade mode so I'm getting better with most of them. Except Widowmaker, I'm so bad at sniping. If we need a tank I tend to go D.Va.

    But I'm on PC so I will never get to play with you ever *gross sobbing into the distance*

  4. To answer your final question: constantly. And I've been playing on and off pretty much since launch. My husband has been playing religiously since launch and I can sit and watch him die about 10 times as I'm drifting off to sleep and he's still playing. I'm glad you guys have drunk the KoolAid, though! There's something so satisfying and liberating about the way the characters move and fight! I personally prefer Anna, Symmetra, and Genji, in no particular order. I don't think I'm very good at any of them but I also don't really mind loosing so what the heck.

  5. @tiassa that sounds like something he'd do, but he seems so nice, I can't imagine him actually playing an offense hero.
    Took me awhile to stop dying all the time, still have plenty of matches where I do. Playing against AI is a good way to learn, but is no substitute for real players. If you do end up playing with people you like, don't be afraid to throw out a friend request: I never use chat, but it's nice to have people you're more likely to play with who won't mess things up for you. And I dunno if this is true or possible on console, but on PC, try switching to regions (from Americas to Europe, for instance). The games tend to have a very different feel in terms of strategy. Orissa, Mercy, Bastion, Torbjon or Pharah, although pretty flexible on who I play
    Will be brave and throw out my user name for PC, would love some more FOE on the list to play with- CKoiAT # 1204

  6. Okay well I'm Officially Bummed that you're not on PC. :P

    I mostly end up playing healers which is true in almost any game I've ever freaking played that had the option to play a healer. I started playing Mercy because people said she was crap (this was before they tweaked her a bit, she doesn't get as much hate now) and I was determined to get good at the crappy one! (I..don't know either.) Ended up loving her mobility and play her a lot now.

    For shootin' people I like Soldier's abilities but his character design is so snooze worthy I get sick of him quickly. Sombra is awesome, I love Tracer's concept but am absolutely horrible at her. Same goes for many heroes really. My husband is addicted to "Mystery Heroes" in the Arcade, which...man. Sometimes I think it's fun but all too often I am like, "STOP GIVING ME EVERY CHARACTER I AM TERRIBLE AT, GAME."
    Or "stop giving the enemy defense three Bastions and two healers." :P

    Oh Mei is a ton of fun too! People will basically call you the spawn of Satan if you play her (or Symmetra) too much but screw 'em. Freezing people is satisfying and Mei has great survivability.

    How many times I die is generally linked to how well my team is doing so sometimes I make it an entire match without a death and sometimes I die so many times I have to fight the urge to throw my PC out my window and never play again.

    Playing against the AI is definitely a great way to learn how the characters work, it's how I started. I refused to play until there was a free weekend and I found out you could play vs AI. I was such a coward I actually set up custom games so I was playing against and WITH AI on my team. So it was a solo game. XD Buuuut that got waaaay too easy after a while and I tried playing against people. It's frustratingly toxic sometimes but the challenge makes it more fun for me anyway. Plus the Arcade offers a bunch of different game modes which can help switch things up when the same ol' same ol' starts to get boring.

    ...I think I have yammered long enough now, sheesh. Have fun and may you win all your matches!

    1. Bahaha - so true about Mei! We hate her! :D Which of course means I have to play her more often. That little freezer gun is surprisingly effective.

  7. The Hubby plays with friends and I swear I go to sleep hearing "Justice Reigns from Above" and "I am a one man Apocalypse". Got to love Roadhog. There is some serious hate for Mae on the hubby's end though.

  8. Don't you mean it's the lil things? ;)

  9. My hubby hasn't made it out of level 11 yet. He got super-frustrated with it. Meanwhile, I'm coming up on level 200 (I'm on ps4). I've found quick play incredibly frustrating lately so I've been haunting the Arcade mode. I mostly play Mystery Heroes these days (which is a great way to expose yourself to a variety of heroes, btw).

    My advice is to find a couple characters you like and are comfortable with and play the heck outta of them. And don't let anyone tell you who to play, if you want to be Torb, you be Torb.

  10. I just got into it during the anniversary event, too! I actually didn't start liking it at all, during previous free events, until we got a second xbone. Now that my husband and I can play together (we have one set up in the family room and one in the living room, basically kitty corner from each other), it' so much more fun! We figured out that if the same account is "lead" on both xboxes, you can share digital downlaods across the xbox, so only need one copy of the game.

    We basically only play on teams against the AI, too, because I also hate dying. Mercy is my main, and in real matches she's got a big ol fat target on her back. I get it, kill the character that can ressurect the team/prevent them from dying. Doesn't make it any more cool to be killed 5 times before you even make it back to the fray.

    I also love Mei and Orisa. Mei is terrible when she's NOT on your team, but i've become pretty good at strategic wall-making. I use them to either control enemy flow into the objective, or to allow teammates to basically pin against a wall and pummel. Orisa's also a lot of fun, being a giant robot centaur and having gatling gun arm. I admit i haven't played everyone yet. I often die when breaking out of my comfort zone so it's taking me a while to expand.

    I was so happy during anniversary event to also get Symmetra and Mei's anniversary skins. Mei becomes a beekeeper, it's the cutest thing ever! And Symmetera's just beautiful. I also got Mercy's hustle dance emote and Widowmaker's ballet emote. :D

    Hope you don't mind if I add you guys?

    1. I'm really loving Orisa lately, too! I like her suction grenade thingy, and I'm getting pretty good at riding on top of payloads with her shield in front. :D

      Add away!

    2. I was so happy when i realized her shield stuck to the payload, haha! And the one and only time I got player of the game was with her :D (I still stand by that i should be eligible for player of the game for resurrecting half the team at once as mercy, or doing the most healing in a match)

    3. Sheri - I agree on Mercy POTGs. I lost MY WHOLE TEAM to D.Va's ult. Rezzed them all. I didn't even get a single hit on my card!! I was livid.

    4. Jamie,

      Yeah! Usually I get a nod on the cards for defensive. I'm semi-aggressive as a mercy, I'll whip the gun out if I see bad dudes as long as no one's got a plus on them. So usually I get on the final cards for 'defensive assists', and usually get a few likes for people acknowledging I saved their butts or brought them back. Also have gotten call outs for "taking 40% (or more) of team damage". But it'd be nice to get POTG when I dished out 6000+ in healing that match with 5 rez or something like that.

  11. Im echoing the BOO - not on PC hahahaha
    But yeah, honestly it just takes practice to get good. I usually main Mercy, D.Va or Zarya - depending on the game/objective.
    They keep adding new stuff though which i love - im glad youre having fun!

  12. Oh god I loooooove Overwatch--I even have it for all three systems (PC being my main because aiming is a hell of a lot easier and more accurate). I main Bastion and D.VA, but I also play Soldier if we need a DPS. The one class I can't seem to get a handle on is support--I'm a *terrible* healer. I also die a lot, but I don't mind because I don't play in competitive. On console, I'm 'cheerbearsmiles'; on PC I'm 'SassyAmy. I'm always up for making new friends!!

  13. I'm Guenever on PC and I primarily play Bastion and D.Va. plus some Widow. I really enjoy the total mayhem mode on arcade where your health is double and ultimates charge twice as fast.

  14. No story?!?!? I love Overwatch's story...you just don't have play the game to follow the story. There are online comics and videos that can give you all the background. I was an Overwatch fan months before I actually played the game, I was really into the story/characters but generally hate for.

    Also, if you want play just you and John want to play just the two of you, you can create a custom game to that.

  15. Nooooo I wanted you to be on PC so I could play with you! ;)
    My husband is really the Overwatch player in our house, but I do enjoy the game and will join in sometimes. My favorite is D.Va (flying asplodey mech FTW!), followed by Lucio (healing - check, speediness - check, booping people off edges - check!), but I do not like Sombra, I feel like I never know what I'm doing when I play her, haha.
    Husband has been playing a lot of competitive, but I mostly stick with Quick Play, and the occasional venture into Mystery Heroes to get myself out of my comfort zone. That's sad that you can't do 2 players, we each play on our own PC and it is really fun to play together.

  16. I play on PC but I haven't played in the longest time. Online games stress me out and people on Overwatch can be really rude. I did love being DIVA though, followed by Reaper.

  17. My husband loves Overwatch. He loves Mercy, but he also plays Sombra and Road Hog. Our youngest cat loves Road Hog and gets all chatty when he hears Road Hog's voice. I haven't played since I learned after playing a few PvP games that it just isn't my thing. But seriously, hubby has gotten player of the game with all the votes... as Mercy. He's also had a higher kill count as Mercy. lol.

  18. I've just gotten into Overwatch too - that two week free trial got me! I'm on xbox one and will add you - EllipticPlanet is my (spouse's) gamertag. I LOVE Orisa because shooty mcshooter all the things but will often play Mercy because we need a healer. I'm pretty terrible and die a lot but it is so much fun to explore the different worlds and interact with the players. I like that the emphasis isn't on getting the best gear and guns like other games (Destiny I'm looking at you); that way you can be in a game with players of higher skill/point level but the playable characters are all basically the same level and you don't have to grind over and over for some legendary loot.

  19. I'm so excited you guys have gotten into it! I'll be looking out for you in my matches! ;)

  20. YAY!!! I love Overwatch (I'm on PC though). I also died ALL the time the first couple months (I even walked right off cliffs...). As my understanding of the game grows and I practice my aim I'm much better and have ventured into competitive. It's one of those games that's easy to pick up but has a huge amount of depth.

    I think an important thing to learn, which takes time, is which characters have abilities that are counter to your chosen character- and if you're getting mowed down by one character repeatedly, learning to adapt your tactics or switch your character to one that would be more effective in that situation. For example, as Pharah I have to watch out for D.Va blocking my attacks and flying up in my face, as well as characters that have long-range hitscan (e.g. instant hit, no travel delay) attacks like Soldier and Widowmaker who can kill Pharah relatively easily. On the other end, low-mobility characters like Symmetra have to worry about me (unless I make a mistake and get too close). Similarly, knowing which characters synergize with yours is important. It's very much a team game so a general understanding of all the characters is key.

    I played a lot of Lucio and Ana at first, which gave me appreciation for how to heal and how to work well with a healer (can't get heals if you're out of line of sight!). Now I'm primarily playing Pharah and Soldier. I like that Pharah can fly pretty much anywhere, can see most everything happening and bop people around. She's the rocket queen. :D

  21. "Oh, oh, oh, time to accelerate!"

    Lucio is my main most of the time. I love support and trying to kill as many people as possible via the environment. If anyone is on PS4, feel free to add me (jayscout).

  22. One thing that's helped me a lot is creating a game where the the other team us AI with head shots only enabled tod help with my aim. It also gives me a chance to learn the Matos and where the health packs are.

  23. I just started playing last weekend! My son is an old hand at, and he'll tell me "hit e" "hit q". I even got play of the game once! I'm on PC as SneakyTurtle and would love to play with some Epbot peeps!

  24. I'm also still really new; I started during the recent free weekend on PC. I mostly main Lucio because I have terrible aim.


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>