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How To Watch and Understand Overwatch

The Los Angeles Valiant and Vancouver Titans play in the Overwatch League
Blizzard Entertainment

Competitive Overwatch features two teams of six competing against each other to complete a specific objective. Each competing player will select one of 30 playable characters known as “heroes” to use.

Each of these heroes has their own unique abilities and play styles, which greatly influence how a team plays together. These heroes fall into one of three character classes – Support, Tank and DPS (Damage Per Second). Each team will have two Support, two Tank and two DPS players in-game at one time.

Scoring in Overwatch

A match in the Overwatch League, which can be found live on YouTube, consists of two teams playing a best-of-five series. The first team to win three maps wins the series.

The win condition can differ between each of the four game types of Overwatch. Those four game types are:

 Assault: A game mode that sees the opposing teams separated into attack and defense. The attacking team must capture two points on the map in a certain amount of time while the defending team tries to stop them. If the attacking team captures the first point, more time is added to their time bank to take the second. After one round, the two teams will switch sides. This mode is often also called 2CP, since you need to capture two points.

Control: This is Overwatch’s version of the classic King of the Hill mode. Both teams will fight over a single objective point on the map in order to secure their control. The point can be flipped back and forth throughout the map, with the winning team being the first to reach 100%. A control series consists of three maps, with the winning team being the first to win two maps.

Escort: In this game mode, one team attempts to push an objective, referred to as a payload, to a specific destination. The defending team will attempt to stop the payload from moving forward. The payload will move when attackers are nearby but will cease moving when either no attackers are near it or a defender is also in the area. Both teams will get a chance to attack and defend. The two teams will switch sides after the attackers reach the destination or they are halted with no time remaining.

Hybrid: Hybrid is a mix of Assault and Escort. Attackers must first capture a point while the defenders try to stop them. If the attackers capture the point, they must then escort a payload throughout the map. Teams switch sides after the attackers either reach the end or can no longer push the payload forward and run out of time.

Screen Breakdown

  1. Away Team: The away team will always be in the white, with their primary colors as accents. Here, you can see the away team’s name, record, overall map score for the current series and their team composition. The away team for this match is the Los Angeles Gladiators.
  2. Home Team: The home team will be in their full team colors. This will display the same information as the away team but for the home team. The home team for the above match is the Vancouver Titans.
  3. Game Score: The uppermost bar in the middle of the screen shows the score of the series overall and which map is currently being played. The information below is the score for the current map being played. Here, the Los Angeles Gladiators have claimed two points when on offense while the Vancouver Titans have claimed one, so far.
  4. Player Status: This box shows information for each player in the game. Each box contains:
    1. Gamertag aka a player’s in-game name
    2. The hero a player is using
    3. Ultimate charge aka ult charge (the percentage)
    4. Health bar
  5. Player Information: The information of the player whose screen you are currently seeing. You can see their Gamertag, hero, health and which team they are on.
  6. Ultimate Ability: This is the tracker for the current player’s ultimate ability. Each hero has a powerful and unique ultimate ability that can single-handedly turn the tide of an entire series. These ultimates charge over time as players deal damage, eliminating enemy players, healing teammates and other actions in-game. On this screen, Birdring has his ult fully charged. This will show a percentage while the ult is building up during the course of play.
  7. Abilities: Here are the specific abilities for the hero being played on screen. Each of these abilities is unique to each hero. Abilities can only be used every so often by each hero. When they are unable to be used, otherwise known as being on cooldown, the image will be greyed out with a timer showing how long until it will be available to be used again. Also displayed is the gun, the amount of ammo left and the max ammo in the gun.

Now What?

You now understand the basics so that you can watch a competitive game of Overwatch and keep up. There are still plenty of nuances and intricacies to learn, but you have taken your first step toward being a fan.

Armed with your new knowledge, maybe you feel excited to bet on the Overwatch League. Odds Shark has you covered with in-depth esports-specific sportsbook reviews to help you choose the right book to make your first Overwatch League wager.