Playing support: Overwatch addition

Overwatch has quickly over taken Team Fortress 2 as my new class based shoot and with a large roster of interesting and colourful character it can seem a bit daunting entering a new game. Luckily the learning curve for Overwatch is low and the characters are quick to pick up.

Your chance of winning in Overwatch greatly increase if you have at least one support character, and what better way to learn the game than by helping your fellow team.

Overwatch comes with 4 support hero’s Lúcio, Mercy, Symmetra, Zenyatta each one providing various perks to your team which will help boost their efficiency and hopefully lead to a win. As stated in the previous intro to playing support one of these classes can significantly turn around a team chances if your suffering (unless you play Symmetra). I have seen mediocre teams pull out two Mercy’s and steam-role the game.

FPS healing is very different to MMO healing. Although in Overwatch you have a tank they are mainly their to provide cover or disrupt the enemy. Its important not to strictly stick to healing the tank, in the case of Mercy and Zenyatta  who can only heal one team member at a time you should keep your eyes open for low health players walking around with 10 hp. Its also important to avoid following DPS as they charge head first into the enemy. You want to stay around people as much as possible. Also never be afraid to save yourself, its better you live and heal someone else than everyone dies because you couldn’t avoid damage.

Mercy provides your standard “Cookie cutter” healing class. She is very efficient at healing one player at a time. She heals 50 points per seconds and also has “Guardian Angel”  which allows her to keep up with even the most dexterous of players; by gliding over to their position. Left on her own she will die – having only a standard pistol for defence. Her ultimate move is mass resurrection which you should try and use when more than one of your team mates is dead around you; this will allow for its maximum usage. Common sense is also a big factor when using resurrection.

Overwatch has no over-healing functionality so it important that when you have healed a player to its fullest, and you have no one left to heal that you use the main weapons secondary ability which boosts the player your targeting’s damage output. Mercy excels at most game types, but in my opinion she shines at pushing the payload. Your whole team generally sticks together near one location allowing her to keep track of everyone’s health easily. Overall Mercy is a simple, yet efficient healer who anyone new to the game will be able to pick up quickly.

Lúcio has been highlighted a few times as a “must have” hero when it comes to taking control points or holding a king of the hill match. His ability to AOE heal along with his speed boost makes him highly efficient at both securing points and holding them. If the other team has no Lucio they will likely reach the point last – giving you the advantage.

The secondary ability on his main weapon is a push back mechanic which helps keep the enemy off the point. His ultimate ability is an AOE boost to your teammates shield which comes in very useful when your struggling to keep a point. Lucio “Amp It Up” ability boosts the active buff you have running at the time, this increases the speed from 30% to 110% and healing from 25 points per 2 seconds – to 120 hp per 3 seconds. Lucio may not give the direct healing punch you get from Mercy but if your team is tightly grouped and reasonably competent he can provide some extra damage and speed Mercy is unable to provide.

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Zenyatta comes under the “no nubs” category of play. Having the lowest health in the game mean he dies if you look at him. He makes up for this trait by having “Orb of Discord” which once attached to an opponent increases the damage they take. His main attack also hits reasonably hard (35 damage per hit) and from a distance – meaning he can take out an enemy with hast. His healing ability “Orb of Harmony” will heal a character at 30hp per second, he only has to maintain line of sight with the player he is healing for the orb to stay active and the same applies to “Orb of Discord”.

All this line-of-sight mechanic means that Zenyatta is a player who stay at the back. Hovering around the edges of a battle throwing buffs and de-buffs up where needed. Zenyatta is a hero very much built for defensive play, he hangs back and heals from the outside. Despite this his ultimate is very much the opposite. ” Transcendence” makes him immune to damage and does an AOE heal of 100hp per second. Essentially healing everyone back to full health, very useful on the last point where its all or nothing.

If the team needs to group up or push a payload, where staying together is an essential play its probably more preferable to play Lúcio or Mercy. Defensively Zenyatta can provide a decent amount of DPS whilst also providing healing to your tank from a distance.

Symmetra is very unique in this line-up. She has no direct healing mechanic. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a bad support character it just means that your likely going to want a healer with you. Unless on the one rare occasion where you have a good team able to manage their own health. Symmetra aim is to support her team just in the none healing way. One of her main abilities is “Photon Shield” which she can cast of a friendly hero to give them a +25 shield which persists whilst the player stays alive.

She also has the ability put up very annoying turret on pretty much any surface. She can place 3 turret initially, then she generates more as time goes by. These turret can be placed in chokepoint and other niche location to force the enemy to bottleneck the main trail. Although the damage is minimal per turret you can bunch them together to do more damage. They also come with the added ability of slowing the enemy. Fun.

Her main ability is the “Photon Projector”. The primary function of this weapon is a beam which latches on to an enemy player and increases in damage over time. I personally prefer her main weapons secondary ability which is a charged up heavy hitting orb. It moves slowly but that isn’t a bad thing and on a bottle neck can do some pretty devastating damage.

Symmetra is fun to play and I suggest using her in a defensive situation where her turrets can be used to close down back routes and side ally. Unfortunately i don’t believe she makes a great support character and with a lack of any real healing she’s not going to help a weak team. So use her with one of the other support characters.

Overwatch is a team based game which requires all character types to create a successful team remember this next time you have 3 McCree.

Good luck.

 

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Heroes of the Storm – A fleeting tempest?

Blizzard’s recent-ish attempt at a MOBA (Multi-player Online Battle Arena) has become the newest craze and has given the likes of its biggest competitors, DOTA 2 and League of Legends, a run for their money.

I have put some 200 hours in DOTA 2 but never really got on with the competitive element; mostly because you tend to get matched up with Russians and they’re all dicks. Sadly, there was no room for error in DOTA 2. One mistake got you flamed in chat from both teams and reported for ‘feeding’ (the act of bolstering enemy EXP and gold by purposefully getting yourself killed), and I really truly disliked that. The alternative was playing with bots, who would wander around the map as a death-ball and murder you and your colleagues with pin-point precision; but at least they didn’t call your mother a whore.

Blizzard has taken team play and morale very seriously with this little gem with numerous details. First and foremost is that only allied team chat exists. There is absolutely no communication with the other team as, more often than not, this leads to sledging. The problem with your own team still persists though. These will likely be the people to cut you down for not taking every opportunity with perfection. Well don’t you worry your pretty little head, casual scum, Blizzard have got your back on that too. You can just turn off allied chat and play in a blissful, non-communicado environment where the only form of strategy is pinging the map with various suggestions. God bless you Blizzard. Thank you for making it so I can play online with people and pretend they’re not there.

The gameplay is fast paced and interesting where every map has the same overall object, destroy the enemy team’s base, but offers different ways to get there. This could be collecting a certain number of coins on the map to have a pirate captain bombard the enemy structures for you or collecting tributes for a phantom crow that will curse the enemy team, causing the creeps to have 1 HP and the towers to have no ammo. There is always something to do! This gives the game a lot of life and always wants to make you play again, seeing what weird ways you can backhand the enemy team. I have been playing as Zeratul, a permanently cloaked assassin class (read damage dealer) with an excellent 1-2-3 combo in the early game to shag your opponents in their lanes and later on during team fights the ability to slip in the back and rape the squishier, ranged classes on your own. Glorious.

Rape the squishier, ranged classes

I have to say that I’m disappointed in their business model for the game though. Playable characters are bought from the in game store with either gold, which is earnt in drips and drabs through playing the game, or real money. Each week there is a rotation of 5+ heroes that are free to play as a trial period. I suppose that’s a fairly decent way to do it but why not just let people play what they want and Blizzard earn purely from aesthetic upgrades. It’s bollocks in my opinion. It gives the impression that the starting characters are bad in comparison to the ones you can buy. Mr horse said it best.

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Still love the game though…

.Thunder

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