Overwatch Characters for People Bad at Video Games: Part II
Hello! This is part two of a guide to characters in Overwatch for people bad at shooters. If you are good at Overwatch, well bully for you! There are many excellent guides out there that will tell you how to carry a team as Hanzo, what the best dive comp is and which characters are best optimized in the current meta.
This, um is not that. This is a guide for people like me, who played Dragon Age and Crusader Kings until well-meaning friends staged an intervention and wrestled me away from my solo RPG existence in a dark cave, dragging me kicking and screaming into a gaming world where there were A: Online people I needed to interact with and B: Guns. Both of these came as huge and unwelcome surprises.
Navigating this strange world has been treacherous and perilous, but Overwatch has been a fantastic gateway because it is a game that has so many characters that are “approachable,” or “mechanically simple,” or “can be played by morons who couldn’t hit water if they were in the Titanic.” So, if you’re bad at shooters, no need to fear! Overwatch is a welcoming battleground to have a ton of fun, despite your limited skillset.
Now, in Part I we covered #5 Reinhardt, #4 Reaper and #3 Roadhog. These are all fantastic characters to play, but you might notice that we’ve covered two tanks and one offense character. But, what do you do when the “no healer” button is flashing. This can happen sometimes (always), so who should you pick then?
Well, then you pick:
Lucio is straight up, no joke one of the best characters in the game. Of the characters in this guide, he is the only one who is legitimately almost always picked by elite/pro players in high-level competition. But then, you’re asking, why is he in the guide here? Because even better, Lucio is ridiculously easy to pick up!
Playing Lucio is pretty simple. He constantly radiates an aura of either speed or healing. Keep your teammates within that radius, and they will either move faster or heal. That makes your play as Lucio pretty straightforward — stick with your teammates! Lucio makes every single other character on your team better. With speed boost, Reinhardt becomes acceptably mobile and Tracer turns into the freakishly quick god of speed. With healing, D.Va is basically unkillable and Genji becomes less of a ridiculous paper tissue man.
Lucio also makes every single team strategy better. Want to attack the team super aggressively? Pick Lucio, get on a speed boost and slam into them the second they come out of the spawn room. Prefer to sit back and defend choke points with carefully laid defenses? Use Lucio to skate around behind the shields with his healing, keeping everyone topped off. This is exemplified by the versatility of sound barrier, which provides a huge boost of shields. Are you attacking a critical choke point and need an extra push? Drop a sound barrier and watch as your shielded teammates cut through the enemy like hot knives. Or, are you on the back foot and about to get completely destroyed by Genji’s Dragonblade ultimate? Drop a sound barrier and protect your team from getting wrecked.
While there are definitely better times to drop the sound barrier, there are very few outright bad times to do sound barrier. And that kind of emphasizes what makes Lucio so great — yes, you can definitely always play better with him (which this guide will not cover, because I am bad at this game), but it’s very hard to just out and out play badly with this guy.
Lucio is also super quick and can slide and bounce off walls. This, combined with the fact that he is always either going insanely fast or healing himself, makes him surprisingly hard to kill. Yes, if the enemy team focuses and gangs up on you, or if you get separated from the team, you’re probably SOL. But most of the time enemies will be focused on Reinhardt’s shield, or the McCree tearing them apart. This means you’re free to more or less skate around the room, covering as many teammates as possible with your aura and laughing hysterically as they thrash the poor sods trying to stop you.
You can also do a surprising amount of damage! For a healer, Lucio’s weapon packs a solid punch. That, combined with the fact that often teams won’t really focus on you, can lead to a solid number of kills. If an enemy Tracer tries to flank and pump your Reinhardt full of bullets, it doesn’t take much time to land some serious hits and take her out before she knows she’s in trouble. In addition, his secondary blast lets you knock people backwards, which is truly killer on any map with ledges — sending a Winston flying off the map is never not funny.
Lucio is an amazing pick. He is perhaps Peak Overwatch — a character that rewards good team play, makes everyone around him better and is easy to pick up. Lucio makes a bad team mediocre, a mediocre team good, a good team into a great team and a great team into a complete destroyer of worlds. Pick Lucio and your teammates will smile, knowing that you have absorbed the best lessons of Overwatch. A Lucio pick shows that even if you are bad, you are committed to making them better, which is really what this game is all about.
Strengths: Synergies, strategy, positivity, good vibes
Weaknesses: People not picking him for any reason whatsoever
So why is Lucio not number 1 on this list? Well, two reasons. First, Lucio requires a bare minimum of coordination between your teammates. Not as much as Reinhardt, but Lucio’s aura is as valuable as the number of teammates it covers. By himself, he’s much less valuable than he is with two teammates. It’s luckily uncommon, but sometimes you’ll be on a completely insane team where everyone runs in different directions. In that case, you’re generally better off picking someone who can do more damage than he can.
The second reason? Well, look — Lucio is a great, almost always ideal pick if you really want to win games, or at least play as competitively as your skillset/teammates allow.
But, well — sometimes you just want to watch the world burn. In which case, you pick:
Let’s pause for a second, dear reader, as I place myself in your shoes. You are, I assume, a good, hardworking soul. Therefore, upon buying Overwatch, you decided you were going to work really hard at getting good at Tracer, one of the most valuable and difficult characters in the game. Through long hours of practice you slowly got good at one of the best characters in the game.
Sadly, I am not you. I am the one who makes you scream “godDAMNIT!!!” and throw your controller across the room as you die to stupid, spammy garbage over and over again. Because I play Junkrat, and I am the devil.
Junkrat’s entire skill set is based around making life trap-filled, explosive hell. Garbagemouse has Grenades, which bounce everywhere in unpredictable patterns. He has a Concussion Mine that he can use to jump onto the roofs of buildings, where he can rain fiery death from above, as well as throw into people’s faces to blow them sky-high. He has a Trap that he can easily flip onto the floor, where it will do a huge amount of damage. When someone finally manages to kill Junkrat, he drops grenades dealing massive amounts of damage. All the damage from this ridiculous garbage quickly charges his ultimate, Riptire, which is insanely fast, almost impossible to avoid and will lead on average to at least two kills, even if you are bad at it.
A semi-competent Junkrat can quickly turn an otherwise straightforward battlefield into a complete deathtrap, with explosions and traps around every corner and on every square foot of wall and floor space. This rapidly transforms an organized, coordinated enemy team of competent gamers into a swirling, disjointed mass of idiots as everyone scrambles in circles to avoid Garbagemouse’s bombs. Then everyone dies anyways because Junkrat drops an exploding tire on their heads. It’s awesome.
In fact, Trashpanda’s skills seem explicitly designed to mess with some of the best and most technical characters in Overwatch. It’s as though hilarious, slapstick chaos itself was given a mascot, co-sponsored by The Looney Tunes and the Marx Brothers.
For instance, Genji is one of the most difficult Overwatch characters to master. One of his key skills is Deflect, which if properly timed will send ranged attacks back at the attacker. It takes incredible timing, but if done correctly, Deflect makes Genji capable of destroying any character in the game. Except for Junkrat, who can flip a concussion mine on the ground at Genji’s feet (where he can’t Deflect it) and detonate it — BOOM!
Tracer, the official mascot of Overwatch, is another character with a high skill ceiling. Supremely fast and able to teleport across the room, her maneuverability and high damage output can quickly cripple an entire team. Unless Junkrat tosses down a trap in her path, which then — BOOM!
Winston can generally 1v1 Junkrat pretty easily at close range, but then when Junkrat dies he drops a bunch of grenades and — BOOM!
McCree is pretty quick — BOOM!
D.Va — BOOM!
Zenya — BOOM!
Mer — BOOM!
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!
Now, you might be thinking at this point in the blog post that this is a lot of BOOM!s and this bit is getting old. And it is! But just think — there are people who have to deal with this bit in real life (in Overwatch)!!! And there, the bit never ends.
This may sound like spammy bullshit. But let me assure you — it absolutely is!!! I’m over here just blindly dropping grenades into corners, flipping mines into people’s faces and randomly placing traps, and I KEEP RACKING UP KILLS. It’s fantastic. I have not been playing the game that long, and so far I have achieved the following as Secondhandcapybara:
- Pinned the enemy team into the starting spawn room for the ENTIRE game by filling the air with grenades, traps and mines
- Infuriated the enemy so much that half the team abandoned the objective and spent almost a third of the game trying to hunt down and kill me
- Ended up completely behind the play because the enemy team sprinted past my carefully laid traps, only to end up sneaking behind them, where I immediately laid complete explosive waste to their entire team.
- Got into an extended and extremely stupid Junkrat duel/suicide pact with the enemy Junkrat, where every time one of us killed the other, the resulting collateral damage/bouncing grenades/leftover mines inevitably eliminated the other Junkrat.
- Caused a D.Va to lose her mind entirely and charge my balcony position, where I calmly flipped a mine into her face and blew her into space. She then did this again five seconds later, with the same result.
Did I win these games? Honestly, it’s about 50–50, my usual Overwatch win percentage.
Did my Garbagemouse play help or hurt my team? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Does it matter? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! BOOOOOOOM!!!!
There are, of course, situations that are bad for Junkrat. A competent Widowmaker, Pharah or Soldier will quickly eliminate Junkrat from long range. When that happens, the right, honorable thing to do is to quietly switch off Junkrat, and pick another character who’s a better counter (Reaper, Soldier).
But if you wanted to do the right, honorable thing you wouldn’t be playing Junkrat.
The true Trashpanda thing to do is continue playing as Junkrat, but flee the enemy Widowmaker using concussion mines and continue laying waste to the enemy team. That way you force the enemy Widowmaker to keep chasing you, all while you gleefully destroy everyone else on her team. You can do all this while your own team yells at you to quit screwing around and stop playing Junkrat. If done properly, you can drive BOTH teams completely insane — Peak Junkrat.
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THE FLOOR IS LAVA AND THE LAVA IS BOMBS!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! BOOOOOOOM!!!
Strengths: Explosions, bombs, fire, dynamite, chaos, entropy, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!, BOOOM!!!!!
Weaknesses: People who hate fun
So, if you play Overwatch, and you’re bad at this game — do what your heart is telling you. Are you a helpful, caring person with a competitive streak, who wants to win and help the team? Play Lucio.
But look into your soul. Deep, deep into your heart, into the darkest corner. I think you know what you see.
You see a garbage rodent ready to wreak havoc and lay waste to the very concept of order, coordination or logic. You know that the true purpose of life is fun, and explosions are fun. You know the only thing better than explosions is more explosions. You know what you are.
I think you know who to pick.
It’s a good day for some mayhem,