Roles

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Each hero fills a different role in Overwatch.

Roles in Overwatch are loosely defined, and heroes can fulfill a role not designated for them. Roles, as they exist, are designed to help players identify which hero best suits their playstyle.[1]

Offense[edit | edit source]

OffenseIcon.png

Offense heroes possess high mobility and are great damage dealers. They are good at scouting and pressing objectives. Movement abilities are often associated with offense heroes.[1] Offense heroes' other objectives are to eliminate Supports and pressure Tanks. While Offense heroes excel in damage, they lack in durability and supporting roles, making it more difficult for them to defend an objective.

Doomfist portrait.png Genji portrait.png McCree portrait.png Pharah portrait.png Reaper portrait.png Soldier76 portrait.png Sombra portrait.png Tracer portrait.png
Doomfist Genji McCree Pharah Reaper Soldier: 76 Sombra Tracer

Exceptions[edit | edit source]

McCree and Reaper have very low mobility in exchange for higher damage output, and as such are often treated more like slightly-more-mobile defensive heroes.

Sombra deals less damage and requires good tracking. She substitutes the burst damage of her fellow Offense heroes in exchange for incapacitating key targets with Hack for her opponents to swarm. She's far less self-sufficient than other Offense heroes, relying on team coordination and communication to operate at her strongest.

Defense[edit | edit source]

DefenseIcon.png

Defense heroes excel at guarding locations, creating choke points, and preventing objectives from being taken.[1] They are skilled at area denial and generally form the back line of their team. However, Defense heroes lack mobility and aren't as effective on Attack.

Bastion portrait.png Hanzo portrait.png Junkrat portrait.png Mei portrait.png Torbjörn portrait.png Widowmaker portrait.png
Bastion Hanzo Junkrat Mei Torbjörn Widowmaker

Exceptions[edit | edit source]

Due to her self-sustain and utility abilities, as well as her relatively low damage output, Mei is often considered a Tank/Defense hybrid, focusing less on damaging incoming enemies and more on guarding choke points rather. She is effective at contesting an objective, rendering many opponents' ultimate abilities useless and can excel at setting up enemies for easy pickings by her team's damage dealers.

Hanzo, Junkrat and Widowmaker are the only heroes in this category that have some form of mobility tool. Hanzo can use Wall Climb to ascend great heights and Lunge to leap short distances, Junkrat can travel distances using his Concussive Mines, and Widowmaker can use her Grappling Hook.

Tank[edit | edit source]

TankIcon.png

Tank heroes have high endurance and excel at protecting allies and disrupting enemies.[1] They can also be seen as the "boss monsters" on the enemy team. The primary role of the tank is to absorb incoming enemy fire through active abilities and a generally high health pool. Secondary to this, soaking the right amount of sustainable damage can help team supports farm ultimate charge before an engagement. A third objective is to disrupt the enemy and pressure weak enemies.

D.Va portrait.png Orisa portrait.png Reinhardt portrait.png Roadhog portrait.png Winston portrait.png Zarya portrait.png
D.Va Orisa Reinhardt Roadhog Winston Zarya

Exceptions[edit | edit source]

While Roadhog lacks a barrier to absorb enemy attacks, his Take a Breather ability reduces incoming damage by 50% while healing back half of his health, allowing him to survive soaking up large amounts of damage. This leaves the door open for his teammates to pick off distracted enemies and for Roadhog himself to single out enemies with his Chain Hook. While he excels at staying alive, his lack of ability to actively protect his teammates tends to cast Roadhog as a secondary tank, preferably while his team is attacking an objective rather than defending.

Zarya has a smaller health pool than the other tanks, no armor, and is incapable of protecting multiple members of her team. However, her ability to project barriers onto one ally at a time can help her and her teammate survive large bursts of damage while dramatically improving her firepower. Because of the lack of defense she offers to the team, especially in comparison to Reinhardt or Winston's barriers, she is often picked as a secondary tank, mostly to provide some additional close-range, sustained damage. She is most effective when used in and around cover, taking limited bursts of damage at a time and relying on her shield to regenerate between exposures. Zarya is a unique tank because of her regenerating hitpoints, which allows her to work effectively by herself as a proxy-positioned (offside) harassment, not requiring constant healing and only needing line of sight to her team to be able to provide barriers when needed.

Support[edit | edit source]

SupportIcon.png

Support heroes can heal allies, enhance their team's abilities, and debuff enemies.[1] They perform best with their team around them, often having strong escape options or reasonable self-defense, but rarely both. That being said, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Ana portrait.png Brigitte portrait.png Lúcio portrait.png Mercy portrait.png Moira portrait.png Symmetra portrait.png Zenyatta portrait.png
Ana Brigitte Lúcio Mercy Moira Symmetra Zenyatta

Exceptions[edit | edit source]

Brigitte's healing is limited, as Repair Pack can only heal one ally at a time and has a lengthy cooldown while her Rocket Flail's healing requires nearby enemies to strike. She compensates for this with her small barrier, which can protect her and nearby teammates from minor enemy fire, as well as her strong offensive ability to quickly incapacitate flankers via Shield Bash. As such, it's generally best to pair her with a more dedicated Support such as Mercy or Moira so she can fill in healing gaps without being overly pressured to keep her whole team alive on her own.

Symmetra does not heal allies or significantly enhance her team's abilities outside of her Ultimates; rather, she excels at killing nearby enemies, guarding locations, creating choke points, and preventing objectives from being taken. She is primarily useful when defending an objective, while her Teleporter and Shield Generator help keep her team in the fight.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2014-11-24, BlizzCon 2014 – Overwatch Unveiled Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-03-10
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