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Overwatch guide: 9 tricks and tips you need to know

Ready to earn that Play of the Game? Once you’ve mastered the basics of Overwatch (such as “work as a team” and “you can’t all be Genji”) it’s time to step it up with some advanced tips, tricks and tactics that will soon have you feeding your opponents their own faces. Sautéed, with a nice cream sauce.

If you’re reading this, we assume you don’t need to be told to balance your team composition, play your role and work towards each mode’s objectives. If you’re only just starting, check out our beginner’s guide to Overwatch.

Use the kill feed

It doesn’t mean too much in casual play, but if you’re wanting to play seriously, it’s essential to know what’s happening out of your sight – especially if your teammates aren’t using their mics to let you know.

Knowing that a tank or support character is down makes all the difference to the timing of a rush, and seeing a flanker wink out of the picture means you’re safe break out of formation – at least for a little while. Don’t under-estimate this handy tool. Make sure it’s switched on, and keep flicking your eyes over it.

Switch on friendly health bars

Why do you need to know how much health your teammates have if you’re not a healer? Uhh, I don’t know, maybe so you can identify threats before you’re getting shot. Overwatch really favours communication and teamwork, but if you’re matching with strangers who don’t feel like chatting, situational awareness is your very best friend.

Seeing a health bar take a dip could mean a split second warning on an upcoming attack, and that in turn can make all the difference. You could save your buddies life – and your own – and put an enemy out of action.

Adjust settings for individual characters

All the characters in Overwatch play differently, and sometimes what works for one doesn’t work for another. Maybe you want the jump button somewhere more easily accessible while aiming for a highly mobile character. Maybe you want an ability in a different slot, because it just makes more sense.

The good news is, you can adjust most control and gameplay settings universally or for individual heroes, on both PC and console. Just look for the drop down menu in the upper right corner of the settings screen; it’s highlighted by default when you first enter this tab on consoles. Click to browse the full roster. Handy, yeah?

Try auto climb walls

Keen on mobility? By toggling this option the Genji, Hanzo and Junkrat fans among you will have access to an alternate control method for traversal across walls. Forget holding in the jump key; free up that finger for something else once you’re on the wall, and tap it again to exit when you’re ready.

Opinions will always be divided on whether toggle or hold is better for this kind of move, and it’s really worthwhile practicing with both before you make up your mind, as it can be tricky to nail your wall jumps.

Customise your reticles

Don’t like the default aiming graphic? Good news: there’s a wide variety of options to choose from if you dig into the menus.

While being able to customise the reticle to your liking is always nice, Overwatch is especially generous in that it allows you pick a custom graphic for every single character. For characters with really precise projectiles you’ll want something small and sharp, where something larger will give you a better idea of where exactly more spread attacks will land.

Or, you know: just the one that makes you feel coolest.

Abilities: hold or toggle?

There are several characters with twin abilities you’ll want to switch between on the fly – Mercy and Lucio are the most obvious examples. By rummaging around in the settings menu, you can choose between the default toggle system, or a hold-to-fire-alternate mode.

What this means is that you can be merrily firing away with your ability and then switch seamlessly over to the alternate-fire mode simply by pressing in another key simultaneously. Let go again to return to normal. This is an especially smooth way to play Mercy, buffing your chosen partner until they start to take a hit or two.

Fiddle with your scope settings

If you’re a Widowmaker fan, you’ll want to dig into this one: up your sniping game by customising your scoping experience.

Adjusting zoom sensitivity can make a huge difference depending on whether you like more precise control or the flexibility to rapidly switch between extremes of depth of field. You can also switch between a toggle or hold for zoom.

Pick off lightweight foes first

Shoot anybody who gets in your crosshairs, of course, but if you run around a corner smack bang into a tank and second class of character, you’re very unlikely to get the tank down unless you have an ultimate ready or someone else has already had a go. It’s better never to let this happen, but iff you must go for the kill in this uncomfortable situation, shoot the weakest character first so that you at least knock someone down.

Pick your targets. The tank is there specifically to soak up damage and protect the others; if you can safely ignore it for a moment, taking down the harder-hitting assault characetrs or nearby support will make dropping the tank much easier and possibly leave you with dominance of the map.

it This PSA brought to you by the three twits offed by Mercy in between bursts of her healing ray while they attempted to smash Roadhog. That’s just embarrassing.

Learn every character

Okay, yes, you’ll eventually want to have just a couple of heroes and practice with them until you’re really good – but you really need to know what every hero is capable of to succeed, and that means playing as everyone a few times until you can recognise their ultimate triggers and other audio and visual cues.

Next-level play anticipates the opposing team’s movements. Which paths will they use? What abilities are they likely to fling at you? Are they likely to have a nasty ultimate cued up at this stage in the map? You can’t make these kinds of judgment calls without a solid knowledge of each hero. Put the time in. Study up.


Game of Thrones stars talk Japanese toilets and destroy an impressive prop, because Overwatch.

Overwatch secured a terrifically timed slot on Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer segment last night.

While Overwatch is the biggest thing in games right now, out in the world of people who don’t consider a control pad an essential life accessory, Game of Thrones is the cultural phenomenon of the moment. So – naturally – Team Coco is joined by Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), neither of whom seem any more clued-in than O’Brien to this particular style of game.

(As an aside, both have worked around games; Dinklage infamously provided the original voice of Destiny’s Ghost, and Headey has been in a couple of games: Risen, Dishonored and of course Telltale’s Game of Thrones. She also plays Luna Freya in the upcoming Final Fantasy 15: Kingsglaive movie.)

I’m not sure the segment does much to show off Overwatch’s strengths and attractions, but it certainly puts it in front of a lot of eyes. That’s probably all it needs to do.

Just getting started? See our Overwatch guide for best starting heroes, beginner’s tips. When your fingertips start to bleed, come argue over our Overwatch characters tier list.

As part of EA's "Road To Battlefield 1" campaign, the company is giving away DLC for its newest Battlefield games, and now, it looks like the next offering has been revealed. Reddit user Trentandmike spotted a listing that showsBattlefield 4's Final Stand expansion will be free starting on Wednesday, May 18 (via DualShockers).

The listing was for Xbox One, but EA said when announcing the free DLC campaign that content would be offered across Xbox One, PlayStation 4,Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Final Stand includes four maps (Operation Whiteout, Hammerhead, Hangar 21, and Giants of Karelia), all of which take place in wintry environments. There are also near-future weapons and gadgets such as a DS-3 DECOY gun attachment that emits false blips on enemies' mini-maps and the XD-1 Accipiter, a remote-controlled, LMG-equipped drone.

The content, which came out at the end of 2014, normally sells for $15 on its own. It's also included in the $50 Battlefield 4 Premium pass.

Battlefield 4's Dragon's Teeth expansion was free May 3-10, while Battlefield Hardline's Robbery expansion was also free during that week. We'll bring you more details on the forthcoming Final Stand freebie offer, and whatever else gets announced, as new information becomes available.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima says the NX is a “new way of playing games.”


The Nintendo NX is launching in March 2017 with assurances of a solid software launch line-up, and rumours that the company is abandoning optical discs for cartridges.

The mystery of exactly what we can expect from the new console has deepened even more with the translation of an interview with Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, translated by NeoGAF user GSR, during which the possibility of another foray into film was discussed, Kimishima answered a number of questions about the upcoming NX.

“It’s something very new. The hardware, the software lineup, all of it is something I’d like to play for the first time myself,” he began.

When asked about the impact the new console would have on Wii U sales, Kimishima replied, “When the NX is released, the Wii U business will slow…However, the NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS.

“It’s a new way of playing games, which I think will have a larger impact that the Wii U, but I don’t feel it’s a pure replacement for the Wii U.”

This echoes the late Satoru Iwata who stressed that at Nintendo “we’re always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person’s video gaming life.”

“In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a gaming platform gradually changed,” he said. “If you only expand upon existing hardware, it’s dull.”

What could Nintendo have in store? Just how revolutionary will this new console be? I guess we’ll find out in 10 months.

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Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly has two new projects in the works, but it will be a while before the studio is ready to discuss either.


Speaking in an interview with GamePressure (thanks, Blue), CEO Sebastian Wojciechowski said one is a triple-A shooter and the other is a smaller project which will be revealed later this year.

“We’ve been working on [the shooter] since the beginning of the year. Before that, we were polishing the concept,” he said, adding that we won’t hear anything about the title until sometime in 2017.

Despite being in the early stages, Wojciechowski said the game already has a publisher which is “a testament” to the studio’s “vast experience.” He wouldn’t divulge which company will publish the title or release platforms.

Wojciechowski also wouldn’t talk details on the smaller title in the works, or when in 2016 the game will be revealed.

So, while there is vitally zero information either game in the works, the fact that People Can Fly has something in store for fans is hopefully enough for now.

People Can Fly was at one time known as Epic Games Poland when the Gear of War developer acquired the studio in 2012. In 2015 the studio once again became an independent game developer.

The team said at the time it had Unreal Engine-powered projects underway and would continue development support on Epic Games’ Fortnite.

Other than Bulletstorm, previous games from the company include Gears of War: Judgement, the Painkiller titles and the PC port for Gears of War.

Blizzard’s noob friendly, esports-hungry shooter is a masterclass in the manufacture of pure joy.


“The compulsion to keep on playing owes so much to a constant feedback loop that rewards every XP milestone, celebrates performance through dramatic kill-cams and showcases the best plays in the game.”

To stand tall in 2016 is one thing, but to tower above the competition, that’s phenomenal. The Overwatch public beta recently pulled in 9.7 million players, more than double that of Destiny, a third healthier than The Division and nosing ahead of Star Wars Battlefront. It’s like somebody flipped a switch; suddenly everybody loves Overwatch. How’d this happen?

A strategy FPS from the makers of World of Warcraft and Hearthstone was always going to turn heads, and the marketing reach within those colossal and thriving communities will be huge – a major plus in the Overwatch arsenal. And, hey, 9.7 million people played the Beta, but those 9.7 million people now get to decide whether they love it, hate it or wait and see.


Cutting to the chase, based on conversations we’re having among friends and colleagues, Overwatch just feels like the Next Big Thing. “Because Blizzard” maybe, but our time spent with the game so far deserves more of an explanation than just that. And so here, in our opinion, is where Overwatch is succeeding where others (yes, Battleborn) not so much.

First of all, the user experience (UX) of Overwatch is like walking on rose petals, the journey from menu to game is so slick. No doubt it will be further refined before launch, but even in the beta there was no hanging around, it was easy to browse, inspect and select characters, and matches fired up fast. Game mode selection will surely alter navigation in the full game, but as an indication of how we’ll scoot around menus the beta was extremely promising. It meant that everybody could get straight to the business of experimenting on the battlefield.

With 21 heroes divided between Offense, Defence, Tank and Support classes the choice may be overwhelming. To overcome this psychological obstacle, which yells ‘too much, too soon’ at normal people, Overwatch allows you to swap characters at every respawn. Since you’re dying quick and often during early games, freedom to yank another guy from the roster and see how they go points to the considerate – make that common sense – design of Overwatch.


You might wonder why we didn’t start on character design, visual effects and so on, but the user experience aspect of so many games is too often overlooked. Blizzard knows that this concept is completely new to millions of players, meaning that every second of on-screen time must make it easy to grasp. Heck, the beta even had a game mode that randomised character selection so that everybody was thinking fast on their feet. The only thing we were locked into were the game modes: Assault, Escort and Control – familiar, objective based encounters in which success was built on team balance and combined effort.

“Overwatch harkens back to the days of the Dreamcast, when it was important to grab and hold the attention, not only with colour and noise but a clear-cut gameplay message that was hard to resist.”

Now we can talk about character design. The roster is very clearly divided among the four classes, making it easy off the bat to understand ballpark where you’re headed. Another UX consideration here is that on-screen prompts advise you if the current team set up is weak in certain areas, although it doesn’t force/prevent character selection in any way. If you like, you can go ahead and try to win using only Tanks, or specialise in snipers. We don’t need to sit through a tutorial, we’re learning it all on the fly, which works out happier for everyone. But… character design! They’re so damned colourful, cool and cute so the likelihood is that you’ll choose mainly by appearance to begin with, adapting to class attributes while playing. These attributes are clearly communicated by movement style and special-moves available, Overwatch feels similar to Street Fighter in this regard in that basic understanding is gained so fast, appealing to your taste or not. After settling on a handful that feel right, only a small investment of time is needed to realise how rock-paper-scissor attributes benefit your team.


While there are spooky characters among the cast, such as Reaper and Widowmaker, the general mood in Overwatch is bright and go-getting across the board. Tracer is the epitome of this, but it’s evident in the cockiness of D.Va and the practiced hardiness of Torbjorn. For folks who are too young to remember, this harkens back to the days of Dreamcast with such glorious experiences as Namco’s Soulcalibur and Capcom’s Power Stone. Their origins were the arcades/game centres in which it was important to grab and hold the attention, not only with colour and noise but a clear-cut gameplay message that was hard to resist. Even while spectating Overwatch, we can appreciate the purpose and effectiveness of each character: Roadhog’s chain, that pulls opponents towards him; Mercy’s healing and support powers, and Genji’s ninja style swiftness building toward all out katana carnage. Yes, we’ll take that.

Locations, presented as brightly-lit theatrical stage sets, are characterful too and distinct from one another so that they are soon committed to memory. They pander to the heroes’ capabilities, in particular those whose agility, allowing them to traverse maps in exciting ways – whether Pharah’s aerial assault, Hanzo’s clambering or Widowmaker’s grappling hook. Simply observing is entertaining and educational, making Overwatch ideal for esports too.


For players, the compulsion to keep on playing owes so much to a constant feedback loop that rewards every XP milestone with dazzling loot. It also celebrates performance through dramatic kill-cams and end-game stats that showcase the best plays in the game, plus an opportunity to vote on star players’ tours of duty. When your name is up there in lights it’s intoxicating; you feel duty bound to keep on playing in the hope of keeping the spotlight. As for those left out, again you’re watching and learning, admiring the show.

Every game wants to be what Overwatch has apparently achieved in a short space of time: easy to pick up, hard to put down; simple to learn, much harder to master. This is why the thirst for Overwatch is real. How compelling Overwatch remains over time; how much scope there is for teams to push its potential to support legit League of Legends and Hearthstone-like tournaments for years to come, of course we cannot tell. But as debuts go, holy heck.

Friday, 13 May 2016 09:15 GMT By Sherif Saed

Facebook Live broadcasts is one of the ways Activision is bringing eSports to the masses.


Activision Blizzard’s eSports division has announced some of the new content and distribution partnerships the network has entered into.

Next month’s MLG Anaheim Open will be the start of a “deeper collaboration” with Facebook, which means MLG.tv broadcasts will be streamed live through Facebook. A two-day Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 tournament will kick things off on June 10.

Activision also debuted MLG’s Enhanced Viewing Experience at the 2016 IAB Digital Content NewFronts. This service provides HD streams with built-in match sats and updated leaderboards.

This is all part of Activision’s plans to bring eSports to more people, as evident by its MLG purchase earlier this year.

World of Warcraft and StarCraft can’t compete with Blizzard’s shiny new shooter.


The Overwatch beta attracted 9.7 million participants across PC, PS4 and Xbox One, Activision Blizzard has announced.

That’s a huge number; compare it with Destiny’s 4.6 million (PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One) and The Division’s 6.4 million (PC, PS4 and Xbox One), both of which were record-setters of their time. It’s not a totally fair comparison as each of the three tests ran for different durations across their platforms, but still.

As you may expect, this multi-platform test has smashed Blizzard’s internal records, too. With huge properties under its belt, the publisher must be pretty chuffed to have out-performed itself.

Testers managed to put in over 4.9 billion minutes over the course of 37 million matches. That’s a whopping 3.3 million days, or over 9,000 years. On average, each player spent about 8.4 hours with the beta – which is about the same value as some people get from a full release. Bloody hell.

“We’re thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the Open Beta,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said.

“Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch – the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast.”

Overwatch launches May 24 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.