With a total of 21 unique characters playable at launch, Overwatch can be pretty daunting for new players, especially those who haven’t played team oriented games where not every character is suitable for every situation. But overcoming that initial hurdle is imperative if you want to get into the game and start honing your skills as a player. And one of the best ways to flatten out the learning curve is by playing characters that are a little more familiar or easy to learn. That way you won’t have to worry so much about nailing down special mechanics or figuring out how to use complicated abilities, and can instead concentrate on perfecting the basics.
In this list we’ve selected eight characters that we feel are the best choices to help new players get acclimated to the game. These characters feature play-styles and mechanics that will likely feel more familiar and afford you a larger margin for error. However, one you get to know them, you’ll find that they still have a few surprises and can pack as much punch as some of the roster’s heaviest hitters.
8. Soldier 76
Soldier 76 may be the least imaginative character in Overwatch, but his derivative weapons and abilities are precisely what make him such a good characters for beginners. Anyone who has played a typical first-person shooter should feel right at home with Soldier 76’s gameplay. He’s your standard run and gun character equipped with a basic assault rifle and sprint ability, however, he’s also got a few tricks up his sleeve. If you or your teammates are running low on health, he’s got an area-of-effect heal that can be planted on the ground. His pulse rifle also has an alternate-fire rocket launcher that gives his kit an extra bit of burst damage. Best of all, Soldier 76’s ultimate ability eliminates the need to aim altogether. Once it’s engaged your bullets will automatically lock onto targets for guaranteed hits.
Soldier 76 is an starting character for transitioning players because he perfectly blends the basic shooter archetype with the depth of abilities and functions common to other more unique Overwatch characters. You certainly won’t feel overwhelmed by his mechanics, and you’ll can still be a powerful addition to almost any team composition.
If you like playing defense but aren’t quite ready to take on the role of a tank, Bastion is the perfect character for you. Bastion is a combat robot with a special skill that allows him to transform into a turret. While in the stationary turret mode, he has an insanely high rate of fire and remains fairly protected thanks to a deployable shield that automatically activates when he transforms. His ultimate also transforms him into a Tank that blasts high damage yielding cannonballs that can annihilate groups of enemies when used correctly.
Bastion especially makes for a solid first choice character because he somewhat forces you to learn the finer details of every map if you’re to utilize him most effectively. Learning where the choke points are located and how players typically get flanked on a given map is essential for Bastion players. If you can master your positioning and survival instincts, you’ll have an amazing tactical advantage with Bastion and that awareness will transfer to every other character you choose to play going forward.
In Overwatch, every tank character has something different to offer, but Reinhardt is likely the best match for a beginners, for a couple of obvious reasons. For starters, he’s got that massive shield which makes escorting your friends into the thick of battle a pretty straightforward affair. And though he might feel incredibly slow when compared to characters like Soldier 76, his Charge ability gives him a handy mobility boost to help keep him on the front lines.
Reinhardt is an especially great choice for aspiring tanks because, unlike some of his category contemporaries, his appearance as a huge armored beast carrying a massive shield makes his role immediately apparent to other players and helps to organically foster at least some form of cooperation.
Mercy actually has more complicated mechanics than most of the other characters on this list, but her place in the backline and the way she supports the team still makes her ideal for newbie players.
One of the trickiest parts about playing Mercy is balancing her multiple weapons and firing methods. Her primary gun fires two beams — one that heals, and another that increases an ally’s damage. To make the most of her, you’ll need to be able to switch between beams on the fly and have the awareness to know which is more valuable at any given time. Thankfully, both beams have an auto-targeting feature that makes aiming a piece of cake. Mercy also has a secondary handgun weapon that you can use to deal a bit of damage when necessary, but, as a support character, you should mainly be concerned with healing your teammates and buffing their damage.
As for Mercy’s other abilities, Guardian Angel allows her to quickly dash to allies when she’s out of position, and her ultimate can bring your team back from the brink of annihilation by resurrecting anyone in the area who has recently died.
She might require you to push a lot of buttons, but Mercy’s role as a basic support healer makes her a great choice for beginners. You’re not expected to be out there on the front lines getting kills and making the play of the game, you’re supposed to have your team’s back by keeping them alive and increasing their damage. It may not be the most glorious role, but it’s unquestionably essential.
Rocket launchers are usually the go-to weapon in classic arcade-style shooters, so the fact that Pharah is permanently equipped with one makes her a great choice for anyone who was previously into games like Quake or Unreal. It might have a slow rate of fire, but the rocket launcher makes up for it with impressive splash damage that can cripple the opposing team. Not to mention her ultimate ability which fires a salvo of missiles that are perfect for scoring multikills on tightly grouped enemies.
Pharah can also fly in short bursts, affording you the opportunity to get a nice overview of the battlefield and find favorable angles for your rockets. Additionally, the high vantage points will give you insights into strategic positions that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. So if you’re looking to learn all the maps quickly and gain a little tactical knowledge in the process, Pharah is a excellent starting character.
Reaper is a character who uses twin shotguns to blow away enemies at close range. His damage spread is useful for new players who might not have the best accuracy yet. Basically, as long as you can get up close to your target and continue firing, you should be able to secure the kill. Reaper also has a good deal of mobility, making him perfect for beginners who like fast gameplay and close quarters engagements. And should you find yourself in desperate need of an escape, Reaper also has his Wraith Form ability which makes him invulnerable and intangible for a short period of time, though he’s unable to fire while using it.
Further mobility comes in the form of Reaper’s Shadow Step, which essentially allows him to teleport to a target location — a handy ability for sneaking past enemy defences or quickly getting back into the fight after an untimely death.
But from a beginner’s standpoint, the best part of Reaper’s kit is definitely his ultimate ability. With the click of a button, Death Blossom empties both hellfire shotguns at breakneck speed, dealing massive damage to all nearby enemies without having to do any aiming. If you can use your Shadow Step to teleport to the center of a grouped enemy team, this is easily one of the most devastating abilities.
If you like surprising the enemy and being a jerk on the battlefield, then Roadhog is definitely the character for you. Using his Chain Hook you can pull enemies towards you, which stuns them for a brief period and affords you and your team the opportunity to blast them to oblivion.
Roadhog also has his own self-healing he can use if he’s taking a lot of damage, which is usually often, considering he’s such a juicy target.
McCree might be the most challenging character to learn on this list, but he should be one of the first characters you migrate to after you get a feel for the game and are ready employ some trickier tactics.
His best combo involves using his Flashbang grenade to stun a foe, then doing a Combat Roll to get in close so you can fan the Peacekeeper’s hammer to swiftly unload the six-shooter and drop them dead. It takes a bit of practice to perfect the technique, but once you pull it off you’ll feel like a true gunslinger.