Different roles in Overwatch - What do they mean?

An overview of the different overwatch roles

It doesn’t matter if you are one of the lucky ones to play Overwatch in the closed beta or if you only saw the game on live streams and videos, either way you probably noticed that there are a few different roles in Overwatch. At the moment (and it will probably stay the same) there are 4 different roles in the game which include Support, Offense, Defense and Tank. Each group of characters are very different from the characters from other group and if you want to win games you want to have a good balance of different roles.
 

The Offense Role – I’ll start off by talking about the offense role, which currently has 6 different heroes to choose from. Most of these heroes have a small health pool and no defense mechanics, but deal insane amounts of damage. Tracer, Reaper and Genji are assassin type heroes and they focus on running around the map very quickly, scouting the area for enemy healers/teleporters/snipers and eliminating them. They’re also excellent duelists and have great burst damage. Tracer uses SMGs that work great close and long range, but deal very little damage so she needs to use melee attacks to finish off enemies. Reaper uses 2 shotguns that work extremely well short range. Genji uses shurikens and a katana so he is extremely powerful both – close and long range. McCree and Solder: 76 are less mobile heroes and they don’t have such a huge burst, instead, they have sustained damage and additional gadgets. McCree can stun enemies that come close and 76 can place a biotic emitter on the ground which will heal him and his allies within its field. The last Offense hero, Pharah, uses her rocket launcher to deal massive area damage. Because of her explosive rockets and flying capability she can harass enemy back line (healers/tanks/turrets) very easily and she is hard to hit. TL;DR all offense heroes deal a lot of damage and their main role is to kill squishy enemies, scout the map and make chaos.
 

The Defense Role – at the moment of writing this article the game, just like the offense role, it has 6 different heroes. Widowmaker and Hanzo are snipers of the game – one of these can be seen in every single match of Overwatch. Widowmaker uses a gun that is an SMG normally, but becomes a sniper when she zooms in, while Hanzo relies on his bow to do the job. Both of these heroes can easily get to higher grounds by climbing walls or using a hook and that’s what they pretty much do all game – stay as high as possible and try to hit those one hit headshots. Bastion is a weird robot guy who has the highest damage in game, but is super squishy and has no mobility. He has 2 stances and can switch between them, one that lets him walk and the other one that makes him a turret. Basically he can kill anyone he sees, but if you get close to him – he’s dead. Torbjörn (not like you will ever learn his name, so just call him the dwarf guy) can place turrets and… that‘s pretty much it. He has a weapon, that is very weird to use and deals little damage and he can also drop shield boosts for his team, but they cost material called scrap and he needs that to upgrade the turrets, so… Ye, he pretty much deploys turrets and that‘s it. Junkrat uses a grenade launcher to deal damage from long and close range. He literally just shoots everything that comes at him and he can also lay traps that: 1) locks enemies in place or 2) blows them the fuck away. Mei, the last defense hero, uses her freeze gun to freeze enemies from close range or shoot average range frost bolts. She doesn‘t deal a lot of damage, but instead focuses on keeping them at place with that annoying little freeze gun. She can also summon a wall of ice which will block incoming damage and won‘t let anyone pass it. TL;DR defense heroes guard locations and create a lot of pressure by creating turrets or staying at long range where no one can reach them and dealing tons of damage.
 

The Tank Role – There are 5 different tanks at the moment and every single of them are very unique. Because of the fact that they are all very different from each other, they are needed for different kind of team compositions. All of them have one common thing – they have tons of health and can absorb tons of damage. Reinhardt, for example, is great at pushing payloads. He is a melee knight with metal armor and a huge hammer. His most used skill is his shield – he can create a shield in front of him which can block tons of damage. This makes him great at pushing payloads, because all of his teammates can hide behind him and he absorbs all of the damage while the payload is being moved. He can’t attack or do anything else while his shield is up so this makes him vulnerable if he is alone. He deals a lot of damage with his hammer and skills though, so if someone tries to 1v1 him he will most likely be able to kill them. Winston is one of my favorite characters at the moment – he doesn’t deal a lot of damage nor he can absorb a lot of damage, but instead he focuses on disrupting enemies. He has a leap ability which lets him move around the map very quickly and a short range chain-lightning gun which can penetrate shields. Playing him is very fun, because you literally jump around and make chaos in the enemy team. Basically he jumps around, pushing enemy turrets and snipers around, making their life harder. D. Va is a tiny girl that uses a huge robot to fly/run around the map and hopefully absorb as much damage as possible. She has infinite bullets in her robot guns therefore she never needs to reload. That might seem over powered, but it really isn’t, because it deals around 1 damage long-range and is only affective at very close range. Zarya and Roadhog are more solo-kind of heroes, because even though they are tanky, deal a lot of damage, but they can’t provide massive shields. Roadhog uses his hook to grab enemies and pull them close to him and then a shotgun to deal massive amounts of damage. He can also heal himself, but this makes him vulnerable for a few seconds, because while healing he can’t do anything else. Zarya uses a plasma cannon to shoot mid-range lasers and long-range explosive charges to deal area damage. She can also shield herself and a single ally and the more damage she absorbs with shields, the more damage she can deal with her weapon. In my opinion these 2 last tanks are more solo focused heroes and not team-focused heroes, because they can’t survive as long as the other 3 tanks which is the most important thing in this role. TL;DR they do what tanks do best – absorb as much damage as possible.
 

The Support Role – Support is the last, but not the least role in Overwatch which currently contains the smallest amount of heroes – 4. Each of them have their own place in this game because of how unique they are. Lúcio can play 2 different songs – the first one heals his teammates and the second one gives the movement speed. The trick is: they have to be close to him for his buffs to work, so he has to be in the middle of the fight to have the biggest impact. He can also shoot his gun in 4 projectile bursts that fly a long range, but don’t deal that much damage and he can also use his gun to knock back enemies that are close to him. Mercy has the highest single target heal in-game, but she basically doesn’t deal any damage, because she would need to switch weapon for that. Therefore she is kind of like a guardian angel – healing and boosting other heroes’ damage output, but is killed very easily if someone gets to her. Symmetra is great at nearly every defense map, because of her teleporter and turrets. She can’t heal at all, but, instead, her ultimate ability is a teleporter that lets her allies’ teleport from the spawn point to wherever Symmetra wants. She can also place 6 small turrets which shoot lasers at enemies that come close and this makes her great at defending. Zenyatta is the last hero you are going to read about on this article and he is the most squishy of the healers. He is a robot monk that levitates around the map, shooting energy orbs. He can also send one of his orbs to heal an ally from a very long distance and send an orb of discord to attach on an opponent and amplify the damage he receives. TL;DR just like support classes in other games they heal, provide buffs to teammates and don’t deal very much damage.
 

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