The best games to play while you wait for Overwatch

Overwatch Genji

The Overwatch beta has been gone for a little while, but there are plenty of ways to prepare for the game’s return—or simply to pass the time while you wait for your invite. You can of course read up on heroes and abilities, watch videos or listen to podcasts, but if you’re like me you’d prefer to jump in right away. Overwatch is not a typical shooter, so get ready to practice your technique in a few different games.

Team Fortress 2

After having played Overwatch for a couple weeks, I can happily say that these are two very different games—but Team Fortress 2 is a close enough match for us to use as a learning tool. Playstyles are generally similar, and certain TF2 classes share close similarities with particular Overwatch heroes.

Picking up the Sniper with a bow is a decent way of getting used to the way Hanzo has to lead his targets, while using the basic sniper rifle is a good way to hone your Widowmaker skills. The Scout is a decent class for learning how to play as Tracer, but lacks Tracer’s ability to quickly retreat from a dangerous situation. Get used to flanking your opponents and escaping when they turn their focus on you.

The similarities between Junkrat and the TF2 Demoman are very clear: They both have grenade-like ammunition which requires a very specific set of skills to use correctly. Torbjörn is Overwatch’s answer to the TF2 Engineer. Getting used to carefully locking down an area while aggressively defending your turrets is valuable training.

Valve’s Medic uses the same style of healing as Blizzard’s Mercy: a healing streamforms between the healer and their target, forcing the two to stick together. The Medic will teach you how to dodge danger while maximising your usefulness.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Overwatch is to Counter-Strike what a Steelseries Rival is to an Apple Magic Mouse. They might technically fall into the same category, but are almost nothing alike when you get your hands on them. The one thing you can get from playing CS in a competitive setting is communication skills. A Counter-Strike match stands or falls with a team’s communication so try to focus on that while you use the new R8 Revolver, the gun that gets closest to making you feel like McCree. Aim is important in both games, which is the one skill that’s very easy to practice in CS:GO. Download training_aim_csgo2 and try to get a decent score with the M4. Make sure you keep a note of your in-game sensitivity if this is the way you’re going to be practising your aim, because you’ll want to transfer that over to Overwatch:

Arena shooters

Everyone who played FPS games in the 90s has played at least one game in the arena shooter genre. The Quake and Unreal series are legends and have inspired many games that look at lot like them. Among those games is Warsow, a personal favorite of mine. The game is fast as hell and has a lot of cool movement mechanics that will teach you how to quickly maneuver yourself through a map: a skill that will come in handy when playing heroes like Genji, Tracer and Lucio.

Warsow isn’t as popular as Quake so it’s harder to find servers with players, but try finding an instagib server with a couple friends and you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun while getting used to the insane pace of the game. Warsow is free and won’t take up much space on your PC so there’s no reason not to give it a try!

Where are my wizards?

Many people have suggested games like Dota or League of Legends as a way to learn cooldown management, but the cooldowns in Overwatch are so low that there’s really no point in trying to learn a much more complicated game just to take such a small part of it over to your professional Overwatch career. I do believe any class/role-based team game is a good tool for learning how to play in a team, but unless Overwatch is your first team game, you should already have a vague idea of how that works.

Overwatch relies on aim, teamplay and twitchy reflexes so any game that helps you improve those traits is a good way to spend your time while we wait for the beta to return—and hey, if you don’t care about improving at Overwatch, there’s always time for Agario.

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