Overwatch Tip: Why Team Composition Matters
Overwatch is a game that demands coordination in at least the most basic level in order to be successful. Its 6v6, class-based structure provides an intimacy between teammates that makes it perfectly possible to persevere through team work and coordination with just a little room for buffoonery if matched up with someone who refuses to perform or cooperate. This is what separates Overwatch from games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Titanfall and first-person shooters. Teamwork is the name of the game in Overwatch. Whether you’re playing with friends or strangers, teamwork can still happen as the most basic level. This most basic level is team composition.
Team composition is an aspect of Overwatch that many of us are familiar with. I’d go as far as to say that most people who play Overwatch are familiar with team composition. That is because the game goes extra lengths in order to make it clear when a team is not well composed. On the character select screen, if 3 or more people pick the same hero, a red text box will pop up that says “too many of one hero”. If there are too many defense heroes chosen, the game will let you know. If there are too many snipers or too many builders, the game will let you know. The game makes these things clear because diversity is the sure way to have the advantage in Overwatch and if the same type of character is being used on a team, that particular role is being repeated which means that there is another role that may be neglected.
There are plenty of exceptions to this and situations where multiple of one hero might not be a problem, but from observation and experience, I have seen that more diversity has led to more victory.
This is because of a principle that I call the “I just don’t know what to do” principle. Have you ever been in an Overwatch match and your team seems to start off doing alright but then all of a sudden everything seems to go wrong? You can’t move the payload to save your life. There’s a turret in an annoying spot and you take it out but just as soon as you do, there is a sniper that takes you out. Then you make your way back out to the objective and you get great positioning and use your ultimate and take out 3 characters but then they get revived by Mercy the next second and you’re immediately eliminated by their Soldier 76. You switch to Hanzo and get eliminated by a Roadhog. You realize your team doesn’t have a healer and so you change to Mercy but your team is dying so fast that you’re having almost no effect. You finally get to the point where you “just don’t know what to do.”
In this scenario, the opposite team has a diverse squad of characters. They have a healer in Mercy. They have an attack hero/healer in Soldier 76. They have a heavy in Roadhog. They have a builder/defense hero in Torbjorn presumably. They have a sniper/defense hero in Widowmaker. They also have an unspecified 6th hero, ideally a Tracer, Winston, Reaper or even a Symmetra depending on the objective. Ideally, the sixth character is somebody who can fit a different role.
The reason why I believe that a more diverse team of players leads to success, is because it keeps the opposite team busy and doesn’t allow them to focus on just one source of opposition. If there are three Torbjorns and they are all using turrets then the opposite team, if competent, will be able to catch on to this and utilize snipers or heavy characters to counter this. But instead of 3 Torbjorns, if there was one Torbjorn, a Reinhardt, and a Tracer, that would then create a situation where a team would have to account for these three different kinds of threats rather than three turrets. You can have a Torbjorn with a turret set up behind Reinhardt’s shield while Torbjorn is also providing gunfire behind the shield and at the same time, giving teammates armor. All while this is happening, your Tracer can be amongst the opposing team, causing havoc, eliminating enemies, and being a distraction while Torbjorn is picking off characters from outside. This kind of dynamic cannot take place with a team that is not well put together. There are exceptions. I have yet to lose while playing with a team utilizing six Torbjorns, but I have demolished teams using 4 Mercies and 2 Bastions. These things happen and they work sometimes but if you and your team know what you are doing, then 6 of the same character shouldn’t be a problem.
All in all, good team composition is necessary in Overwatch if you want to have a good time. A Roadhog using Symmetra’s portal to reach the point quicker to do some damage is a better scenario than two Roadhogs holding hands on their way to the point which is 30 seconds away in order to do the same thing. The magic word is synergy, the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements. And there are very few ways to have this synergy with two of the same hero. Team composition is a way to show team unity and cooperation at the most basic level and can be the difference between victory and defeat.
This piece was written by Blessing Adeoye. You can find Blessing on the internet either getting into dance battles or analyzing game culture for the purpose of making the world a better place at @blessingjr on the Twittersphere.