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Overwatch 2 beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

Blizzard’s new free-to-play shooter might seem like an update, but it takes some getting used to

Junker Queen, a large woman in a crop top, mugs for the camera in front of a sign that says “Junkertown” Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Overwatch 2 is finally here. While it’s extremely similar to the original game, the fact that it’s free-to-play will surely attract many who sat out the first time around. Before you jump into the sequel, we’ve listed out a few helpful pointers that the tutorial won’t teach you.

Whether you’re brand new to Overwatch or you just haven’t played in years, here are six tips and tricks that’ll help you get up to speed in no time.

Decide on the battle pass early

The premium rewards for the Overwatch 2 battle pass are shown in the middle of the screen, flanked by Junker Queen, Kiriko, Genji, Sojourn, and D.Va, all in new skin variants Image: Blizzard Entertainment

The battle pass is brand new in Overwatch 2, and it comes with both a free and premium track. The premium track includes some cosmetics you can’t get if you play for free, but you can unlock Kiriko — the new support character — from the battle pass no matter which path you take. However, paid players will unlock Kiriko immediately. (Free players will need to get the battle pass to level 55.)

In our experience, the battle pass moves very slowly (even with the 20% increased XP you get from the premium track), so it’s best to decide early on in whether you want to invest the $10 in the season or be a free-to-play player. You can always decide later, but that’s potentially a lot of time wasted without the 20% XP buff — and without access to the new hero.

Use the practice range to check out characters

Whether you should buy the battle pass probably hinges on two questions: Do you play support? And do you think Kiriko is actually any fun? Luckily, you can see how she plays in the Practice Range for as long as you want, even if you haven’t unlocked her yet.

This is true for all the heroes as well, which will be especially useful for new players who are locked out of some of the new characters from the jump.

Focus on your challenges

Because the battle pass is such a big part of the game, you’ll need to focus on completing daily and weekly challenges if you want to skyrocket to the upper ranks and unlock Kiriko or the new Mythic Genji skin. Make sure to check in with your daily and weekly challenges every day so you can focus on them during your play session. For more tips, here’s how to quickly level up your battle pass.

Try out different roles and heroes

Doomfist, a large man with a giant mechanical hand, projects a shield in front of his body Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Moving away from the battle pass and into the game itself, it’s important to focus on trying new things — even if it means failing. Overwatch 2 is different from your typical shooter or RPG, so just because you normally like to play a support or tank role in some games — or just prefer to focus on raw shooting — doesn’t mean you should do the same thing in Overwatch 2.

When you’re just starting out (or getting back into the series) trying queuing for a different role every match, and start out with a hero you’re unfamiliar with. You can always swap if you’re not having fun, which leads us to...

Don’t be afraid to switch characters mid-match

Something that separates Overwatch 2 from other hero-based games — like Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, or even League of Legends — is the ability to change characters mid-match. If you’re playing as Reaper and the enemy team is countering you, try swapping to a character like Pharah who can approach the fight from a new angle.

Even if you’re playing well, you may find that certain areas of the map suit different heroes. Reaper, for example, is great in enclosed areas where you have plenty of nooks and crannies to escape to. However, he doesn’t perform as well in more open areas.

Try not to dig your heels in, and remain as flexible as possible.

Play the objective

Overwatch 2 is not a deathmatch-style shooter, and kills are not the ultimate goal. Instead, killing enemy players is useful because it takes them off the board and moves them away from the actual objective, letting your team move in.

If you’re playing a tank or healer, focus on doing your role first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if you win a duel against Sombra as Zenyatta if you failed to use your ultimate and inadvertently cost your team their lives. Even damage dealers need to focus on the Payload more than the mere act of taking enemy pieces off the board.

Play strategically, and around the objective, and you’ll be able to claim victory a lot easier than if you treat every match like it’s Team Deathmatch.