Blizzard's “Overwatch” Gameplay Analyzed, Fully Detailed

By Published November 08, 2014 at 9:00 am
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Having spent some time observing all of Blizzard's emergent “Overwatch” footage, we pieced together a video analysis of all existing recordings to discuss the game's merits. Overwatch is an upcoming FPS from Blizzard Entertainment and, believe it or not, is the company's first original title in seventeen years. Having survived on Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft for almost two decades now, Blizzard is trying its hand at the FPS genre.

Overwatch looks to be a sort-of combination of MOBA and FPS mechanics, featuring 6v6 combat in Team Fortress 2-like environs and gameplay; the MOBA element comes in with a heavy focus on each of the six players controlling a single class throughout the fight. We're yet unsure if class overlap within a team will be permitted (as in TF2, which has much larger servers), but if it's just one player per class, it'd be fair to say that there's some MOBA influence. Regardless, here's a look at the gameplay and our class-by-class break-down:

Overwatch Trailers Analyzed, Gameplay, & Class Mechanics

Each character can execute a few core abilities by using shift, E, space (always movement-related), LMB/RMB, and Q. The “Q” ability triggers a kill-based finisher that can only be used every X kills. In observing the video, it appears that the finisher charges about 20-25% per kill, so you'd get to use it every 4 (or so) kills. Other abilities are cool-down based or limited by item count (maximum sentries deployable).

The video contains everything, but for those who'd prefer text, here's a very quickly recapped version:

Tracer:

Quick, high DPS character. Very riftstalker or rogue-like in her movements. Resembles a “scout,” of sorts.

  • Blink - Shifts forward in time; limited amount of shifts forward (3).
  • Recall - Dashes backward in time by retracing steps. Long cooldown (12s).
  • Pulse pistols - high firerate pistols that produce high DPS, but empty quickly with only 40 bullets.
  • Pulse bomb – sticky grenade with timed detonation. Can be combined with blink & recall to stick an enemy and retreat.
  • 250 HP base, from what we can tell. Seems to have 150 max HP in some gameplay footage.

Winston:

Effectively Beast from X-Men. Winston is an armored, tank-like gorilla who specializes in deadly melee and Tesla cannons for close-ranged death-dealing.

  • Tesla cannon – charges with left click, acts as a teslacoil.
  • Jump pack – Large and far hops. Useful for closing space in combat or leaping atop ledges.
  • Shield Projector – projects a shield centrally from the drop point. Projectiles cannot enter the shield, but enemies can. Unclear if time-based or damage-based.
  • Primal Rage - Lasts 9 seconds. High damage, high moving speed, double HP.
  • 500 HP base, 1000 in rage mode.

Symmetra:

Symmetra's “welcome to my reality” quote implies that she's some sort of extra-dimensional creature with the ability to warp space and time, which is backed-up by her teleporting abilities. Symmetra has a shield deployment, unlike others.

  • Photon Projector – link cannon from Unreal Tournament. Hold left click and it saps their HP, constantly pinging until out of range. Holding will charge a large blast, similar to UT (again). Uses 33 of the 100 rounds of ammo, but does massive damage. Penetrates shields.
  • Sentry turret – She gets 3 of them and they work together; sentries will rapidly kill a foe if all coordinated. Only 3. Short-range, high-damage turrets.
  • Shield – Shields a friendly unit. The shield eats damage before HP.
  • Teleporter – One teleporter at a time, special ability. Looks like allies can just spawn on it when respawning.
  • 200HP.

Bastion:

A giant robot. Bastion is sort of like a gentle-robot-meets-transformer. It can turn into giant cannons, drop mines, and more.

  • High-powered assault configuration equips a gun that has 20 bullets, high damage, mid firerate.
  • Reconfigure into Siege (Shift) – Gatling gun with 200 clip. High firerate, high damage. Deploys shield in front of player character. Player can pivot about axis, but cannot move.
  • Self-repair – Player can immobilize and self-heal.
  • Remote Mine – Player drives an RC mine car and can plant it in the ground, similar to a Vulture in StarCraft. Mine shoots up like a bouncing betty with rapid fire shrapnel. Activated on proximity.
  • 250HP.

Reaper:

A grim reaper who walks in the shadows. Reapers can teleport, turn into wraiths, and deal death from dual shotguns. Core abilities include:

  • Hellfire Shotguns – 7 bullet clip.
  • Wraith Form – Makes him incorporeal and invulnerable to damage for a short time. Easier to close distance and use shotguns.
  • Shadow Step – teleport. Long landing time may expose him to attacks from aware players. It is unclear if he can be damaged while the teleport is landing.
  • Death Blossom – High damage kata flourish. Spins and does damage in a 360 degree surrounding.
  • 250 HP.

Torbjorn:

Torbjorn is a bearded dwarf suited up with armor reminiscent of Warhammer 40K. Torbjorn uses a giant hammer, a riveting gun, a wrench, and stationary turrets to dish-out damage. He can be thought of as an engineer from TF2.

  • Rivet gun – 20 bullets, slow firerate, high damage, high accuracy. Very cannon-like in use. Right-click is slower and uses more ammo at once, creating a burst fire.
  • Forge hammer – Melee weapon not shown in combat.
  • Turret – Builds a turret using scrap, like TF2. Turret can be improved with more scrap. Improves up to level 3.
  • Armor Pack – Heals ally or self.
  • Molten Core – Boosts to 500HP (2x), crazy fast build time on turrets. Unclear if damage dealt is higher.

Widowmaker:

An assassin equipped with mines, a grappling hook, and a sniper rifle.

  • Widow's Kiss – High-firerate rifle with 30 bullets. Right-click is a sniper rifle, one-hit kill to the head.
  • Grappling hook – cool-down use. Grapples to an object or ledge and pulls her atop it.
  • Venom Mine – Cool-down. Unclear how long they stay if unused. Shoots out toxin that kills enemies quickly (DoT), but not instantly.
  • Infra-Sight – See through walls for a brief period.

Hanzo:

Hanzo uses a bow with barbed arrows instead of guns. In Mulan-esque garb, Hanzo can perform parkour with Assassin's Creed like movements and shoot from above.

  • Storm Bow – Slow firerate, infinite ammo. Can be pulled back for more damage.
  • Sonic Arrow – Reveals enemy locations through walls and objects. Very long cool down.
  • Wall Climb – Parkour up walls. No cool down or ability, just hit space.
  • Scatter arrow – Arc lightning with 10-second cool down. Hits multiple targets
  • Dragon Strike – Goes through walls, very wide spread, insta kills. Combine with sonic arrow for maximum impact.
  • 200 HP.

Zenyatta:

A monk who uses orbs as a combat element. Support / healer class.

  • Orb of Destruction – Medium firerate orbs with 20 rounds. Basically snowballs. Right-click charges them up and fires several all at once, minigun style. All his abilities use the ammo from the main clip.
  • Orb of Harmony – Heals an ally over time.
  • Orb of Discord – High damage orbs. Unclear of what the effects are.
  • Transcendence – Heal all nearby allies over time.
  • 150 HP.

Reinhardt:

Uses a giant hammer and a shield that gets destroyed regularly throughout all the class videos – you almost feel bad for the guy being a test dummy for abilities.

  • Rocket hammer – Giant hammer with medium attack rate.
  • Shield – Forward-facing shield. Slows down his movement, but stops incoming damage. Turns red when low.
  • Charge – Charges enemies, can be used to pin them to surfaces and kill them. Cool-down based.
  • Fire Strike – Throws hammer on fire. High velocity, high damage, ranged.
  • Earthshatter – Knocks back and down all enemies in a forward cone.
  • 600 HP.

Pharah:

Pharah is a rocket trooper who can jetpack into the air and rain hellfire missiles down upon enemies. Specializes in concussion, like a Marauder would do. Paladin-like in appearance.

  • Rocket launcher – 6 rounds. Slow fire-rate. High damage, some collateral damage.
  • Jump jet – Boosts to a location, like Winston.
  • Hover Jets – Get into the air by jumping normally, then use hover jets to slowly feather across to another surface.
  • Concussive blast – Knocks enemies around.
  • Barrage – Jumps into the air, immobile, and rains missiles down upon a target area for a brief time.

Mercy:

An Angel of Mercy if I ever saw one. Mercy is a mix of a medic and support unit.

  • Caduceus staff – Can heal with infinite ammo in a link, similar to the medic in TF2. Can also boost damage of target allies in a link.
  • Caduceus Blaster – Medium firerate pistol with 20 rounds.
  • Guardian Angel – Boost (flight) to targeted ally.
  • Angelic descent – Glide with wings. Time-based descent.
  • Resurrect – Bring all allies in a target radius back to life.
  • 200 HP.

Let us know if you spotted anything we missed! Leave a comment below so others can join in the discussion.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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