Overwatch was a multiplayer first-person hero-shooter developed and published by Blizzard for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on May 23, 2016. It was later released for the Nintendo Switch on October 15, 2019 and was discontinued on all platforms on October 3, 2022 (with all servers shut down in preparation for the free-to-play sequel).
Blizzard's first original IP since the 1998 game StarCraft, Overwatch combines elements from class-based teamplay shooters (such as Team Fortress 2) with hero-based MOBAs (such as Heroes of the Storm). It is set in a futuristic Earth, after the fall of an international task force eponymously known as "Overwatch".
The game primarily involves 6v6 objective-based skirmishes wherein each player can choose from one of over twenty uniquely designed "Heroes." Each Hero has their own set of unique abilities, making them suited for specific team roles (such as damage-dealers and shielders). Additional game modes, such as traditional deathmatch modes and limited-time PVE modes, were added post-release along with a fully-featured scripting system for custom game modes.
Since its original release, the game received numerous updates and special events, adding a variety of cosmetics (which make use of a loot box and premium currency system earned through both gameplay and microtransactions), new Heroes, and new maps. It also received numerous quality-of-life updates, including revamped role-based matchmaking, seasonal competitive ranking, and cross-platform multiplayer support.
It later received a free-to-play sequel on October 4, 2022, bringing most of the content over while adding new Heroes, locales, and game modes (including PVE missions with persistent elements). Multiplayer is revamped for 5v5 play, cross-platform progression is added, Heroes are now unlockable, and the loot box system is replaced with a seasonal pass system. The servers for the original game were shut down a day prior to the sequel's release, making it impossible to play.
It entered numerous periods of both closed and open betas since October 27, 2015.
[see Guide for more detailed information]
The game's playable Heroes are split up into three roles: Damage, Tank, and Support. Originally, the Damage role was split up into two separate ones (Offense and Defense, based on their direct damage and choke-point maintenance).
The game's initial release included a roster of 21 Heroes. As of the release of Echo, this total was increased to 32.
- Ashe - Wields a semi-automatic lever-action rifle (The Viper), and can aim down the sight to increase her damage and accuracy with slower-firing shots. She also has access to throwable Dynamite to light enemies on fire, and can use a Coach Gun blast to either knock enemies away or propel herself. Her Ultimate Ability summons her trusted omnic sidekick B.O.B., who charges forward followed by a barrage of arm cannon fire at nearby enemies. Added on November 13, 2018.
- Bastion - Can toggle between two modes with his Reconfigure ability: a mobile Configuration: Recon mode (which grants him a medium-ranged arm-mounted submachine gun) and a stationary Configuration: Sentry mode (which makes him a durable turret with a powerful gatling gun). He can slowly restore his health with his Self-Repair ability. His Ultimate Ability transforms him into his Configuation: Tank mode, making him a mobile tank with a powerful long-range cannon.
- Cassidy - Wields an accurate revolver (Peacekeeper), and can fan-the-hammer to discharge his remaining shots for a quick and inaccurate burst-fire. Can perform a leaping reload maneuver (Combat Roll) and can stun enemies with his Flashbang ability. Originally named "McCree" prior to October 26, 2021.
- Doomfist - Fires short-ranged blasts from his automatically-reloading cybernetic fist (Hand Cannon). His abilities involve melee combat with his fist, including a leaping slam (Seismic Slam), an uppercut (Rising Uppercut), and a charged punch (Rocket Punch). Dealing damage with his abilities temporarily shields him. Added on July 27, 2017.
- Echo - Can fire energy blasts from her hand (Tri-Shot), as well as a volley of timed Sticky Bombs and a continuous Focusing Beam that deals higher damage to wounded opponents. Can use her Flight ability to perform a quick free-fly and can freely glide in the air. Added on April 14, 2020.
- Genji - Throws barrages of three Shurikens, either in quick succession or all at once (in a wider arc). Can perform a quick dash attack (Swift Strike) and toggle a temporary stance that deflects incoming attacks (Deflect). Can jump while in mid-air and climb up walls.
- Hanzo - Launches arrows from his Storm Bow, which travel farther the longer he charges the shot. Can launch a quick volley of arrows (Storm Arrows) or an arrow that reveals nearby enemies through walls (Sonic Arrow). Can use his Lunge ability to perform a simple dash, even while in mid-air. Can climb up walls.
- Junkrat - Launches bouncing fragmentation grenades from his Frag Launcher. Can launch a remotely-detonated Concussive Mine to knock enemies away (or propel himself upward) and can deploy a hidden Steel Trap to immobilize an enemy. Immune to his own explosives. Drops a cluster of explosives on his death.
- Mei - Wields a versatile Endothermic Blaster that can either spray short-ranged streams of frost (which can freeze enemies and leave them vulnerable) or launch long-ranged icicles. She can freeze herself to both heal and become temporarily invulnerable (Cryo-Freeze) and can generate a large wall of ice to block off areas (Ice Wall).
- Pharah - Wields an explosive Rocket Launcher. Can launch herself upward with her Jump Jet ability, and can hover in the air with her limited-use hover jets. She can also launch a Concussive Blast to knock enemies away.
- Reaper - Dual-wields close-ranged Hellfire Shotguns. Can use his Shadow Step ability to teleport to a nearby location and his Wraith Form ability to become temporarily invulnerable. Dealing damage heals him.
- Soldier: 76 - Wields a fully-automatic Heavy Pulse Rifle, which can also fire volleys of small explosives (Helix Rockets). Can use his Sprint ability to run forward faster and can deploy a Biotic Field for short-ranged team healing.
- Sombra - Wields a short-ranged fully-automatic Machine Pistol. Can use her Translocator ability as a personal teleportation device, her Stealth ability to become invisible and fast, and her Hack ability to disable a targeted enemy's abilities (or prevent enemy access to a targeted health pack). Can detect critically-injured enemies through walls. Added on November 15, 2016.
- Symmetra - Wields a short-ranged beam weapon (Photon Projector) optimal against Barriers, which can also be used to charge-up explosive orb shots. Can deploy short-ranged beam turrets (Sentry Turret) and short-ranged teleporters (Teleporter).
- Torbjörn - Wields a Rivet Gun that fires both long-ranged and short-ranged shots. Can deploy a stationary automatic turret (Deploy Turret) that fires at enemies in range and can give himself a temporary buff (Overload). Has a secondary melee weapon, the Forge Hammer, that can be used to repair his turret.
- Tracer - Dual-wields close-ranged fully-automatic Pulse Pistols. Can perform a quick teleport in the direction she is moving (Blink) and can "travel back in time" to her previous location and health (Recall).
- D.Va - Pilots a nimble mech with twin short-ranged fully-automatic Fusion Cannons. She can fly forward for a short time (Boosters), negate projectiles in front of her (Defense Matrix), and launch volleys of small rockets (Micro Missiles). When her mech is destroyed, she ejects from it and runs around on-foot with a weaker Light Gun handgun until she can call-up another one (Call Mech). Her Ultimate Ability, Self-Destruct, allows her to eject prematurely and launch her mech as one gigantic explosive.
- Orisa - Wields a fully-automatic arm cannon (Fusion Driver). Can launch a graivton charge (Halt!) and detonate it mid-air to slow and pull-in nearby enemies. She can also deploy a Protective Barrier to block projectiles and can Fortify herself to reduce damage taken. Added on March 21, 2017.
- Reinhardt - Wields his devastating melee weapon Rocket Hammer, which can also be used to both launch a longer-ranged fiery slash projectile (Fire Strike) and make a lengthy rocket charge (Charge) that catches enemies. He can also wield a large front-facing energy barrier (Barrier Field). He is resistant to knock-back effects.
- Roadhog - Wields a Scrap Gun that launches shrapnel in both shorter-ranged and longer-ranged spreads. He can chain an enemy to pull them towards him (Chain Hook) and can heal himself in bursts (Take A Breather).
- Sigma - Launches two Hyperspheres which implode after a short duration for area-of-effect damage. He can absorb enemy projectiles to boost shields (Kinetic Grasp), throw a mound of debris to knockdown enemies (Accretion), and propel a floating energy barrier in front of him (Experimental Barrier). Added on August 13, 2019.
- Winston - Wields a Tesla Cannon for continuous short-ranged electric blasts. He can leap long distances in the air and slam down on top of enemies (Jump Pack) and can deploy a large protective dome (Barrier Projector).
- Wrecking Ball - Pilots a mech with fully-automatic Quad Cannons that can deploy into a fast-moving rolling ball form (Roll). He can use his Grappling Claw to swing around and propel himself at enemies and use his Piledriver ability to slam down at enemies. He can also form temporary shields based on enemy proximity (Adaptive Shield). Added on July 24, 2018.
- Zarya - Wields a versatile Particle Cannon, which fires both short-ranged continuous beams and larger energy grenades. She can form a protective damage barrier around herself (Particle Barrier) and a targeted ally (Projected Barrier). Receiving damage to either barrier increases damage for her Particle Cannon.
- Ana - Wields a long-ranged slow-firing Biotic Rifle, which she can aim down the sight. Her rifle shots, as well as her throwable Biotic Grenade, can both damage enemies and heal allies. She can also fire a Sleep Dart to disable an enemy. Her Ultimate Ability, Nano Boost, buffs a targeted ally in both their damage infliction and resistance. Added on July 19, 2016.
- Baptiste - Wields a Biotic Launcher with a three-round burst and an under-barreled healing grenade launcher. He can also release an area-of-effect burst of healing (Regenerative Burst) and can deploy a device that prevents his team from dying (Immortality Field). He can also make higher leaps by crouching for a short time. Added on March 19, 2019.
- Brigitte - Wields a Rocket Flail extended-range melee weapon and a small front-facing energy barrier (Barrier Shield). Her weapon strikes can heal nearby allies and can be launched forward to knock away enemies (Whip Shot), while her barrier can be used to stun enemies (Shield Bash). She can also heal allies with her Repair Pack ability. Added on March 20, 2018.
- Lúcio - Wields a burst-fire Sonic Amplifier projectile launcher, which can also be used to knock enemies back (Soundwave). Buffs nearby allies with either healing or movement speed, which can be switched at-will (Crossfade) and temporarily improved (Amp It Up). Can jump at walls at an angle to ride along it.
- Mercy - Wields a staff (Caduceus Staff) that can either heal a targeted ally or buff their damage infliction. She can propel herself towards her targeted ally (Guardian Angel) and can glide in the air. She can also revive a dead teammate (Resurrect) and has a secondary weapon as a back-up handgun (Caduceus Blaster). She has automatic health regeneration.
- Moira - Can use her biotic hands (Biotic Grasp) to either heal allies in front of her (costing biotic energy) or damage a targeted enemy (syphoning biotic energy). She can also launch a bouncing sphere (Biotic Orb) that can either heal allies or damage enemies, and can perform a disappearing dash (Fade). Added on November 16, 2017.
- Zenyatta - Launches energy projectiles from his surrounding orbs (Orb of Destruction), which can be charged for a quick burst of projectiles. He can also launch one of his orbs to heal an ally (Orb of Harmony) and one of his orbs to weaken their damage resistance (Orb of Discord).
Game Modes & Maps
The attacking team must capture two control points consecutively by being the only team to stand on it for a certain amount of time, while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.
- Hanamura (uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
- Temple of Anubis
- Volskaya Industries
- Horizon Lunary Colony (added on June 20, 2017)
- Paris (added on February 19, 2019)
The attacking team must escort a payload on a fixed track to its destination by being the only team to stand near it, while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.
- Route 66
- Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Junkertown (added on September 19, 2017)
- Rialto (added on May 3, 2018)
- Havana (added on May 7, 2019)
A combination of the above game modes, the attacking team must capture the payload (similar to Assault) before escorting it on a fixed track to its destination (similar to Escort), while the defending team must stop them before the round timer expires. Each match has two rounds, with the teams switched between rounds.
- Hollywood (uses a different theme for the Halloween Terror event)
- King's Row (uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
- Eichenwalde (added on September 1, 2016, uses a different theme for the Halloween Terror event)
- Blizzard World (added on January 23, 2018, uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
A king-of-the-hill game mode where both teams must capture a single control point at the center of the arena and maintain it for a certain amount of time. Each match is best of three rounds, with each round as a random arena in the map.
Unlike maps for other modes, maps for Control are sectioned off into three distinct "arenas". When playing with Arcade Modes, only one of these arenas are used.
- Ilios - Lighthouse / Ruins / Well
- Lijiang Tower (uses a different theme for the Lunar New Year event) - Night Market / Garden / Control Center
- Nepal - Village / Shrine / Sanctum
- Oasis (added on January 3, 2017) - City Center / Gardens / University
- Busan (added on September 11, 2018) - Downtown / Sanctuary / MEKA Base
(Only available in Arcade Mode and Custom Games)
Added on November 15, 2016, Elimination is a last team standing game mode where each player only has one life per round, cannot switch heroes after the round starts, and must eliminate all members of the opposing team to win each round. For 1v1 duels, each match is best of nine rounds. For 3v3 and 6v6 skirmishes, each match is best of five rounds.
Standard variants of this mode include "Mystery Duel" (a 1v1 version where both players are given the same random character selection each round) and "Lockout Elimination" (a 3v3/6v6 version where the winning team in each round cannot choose any of the characters in that lineup for the rest of the match).
Along with the Control and Capture the Flag maps, Elimination mode uses the following maps:
- Ecopoint: Antarctica (uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
- Black Forest (added on May 23, 2017, uses a different theme for the Winter Wonderland event)
- Castillo (added on May 23, 2017)
- Necropolis (added on May 23, 2017)
Capture the Flag
Originally a seasonal event (Capture the Rooster) on January 24, 2017 (and made permanent in Arcade Mode on February 28, 2017), Capture the Flag is a team-based objective mode where players aim to steal their opponent's flag (while defending their own) and bring it to their flag pedestal (with their own flag intact).
On February 8, 2018, the base mode received numerous updates. This includes a faster pickup/return time for the flag (with the flag return no longer stopped when taking damage), a wait time on when the flag can be picked up after being dropped, post-score flag respawn time, restricted use on abilities while holding the flag (where numerous abilities cause the carrier to drop the flag), and a new Sudden Death mechanic.
Along with the Control maps, Capture the Flag mode uses the following maps:
- Ayutthaya (added on February 8, 2018)
Deathmatch / Team Deathmatch
Added on August 29, 2017. Basic deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, where players earn points for landing the final blow on opponents and lose points for self-inflicted/environmental death. First player/team to reach the point threshold (or the highest scoring player/team after the timer expires) wins the match.
Along with other Standard and Arcade maps, both Deathmatch modes use the following exclusive maps (which are unique in that they contain no spawn rooms):
- Château Guillard (added on August 29, 2017, uses a different theme for the Halloween Terror event)
- Petra (added on May 22, 2018)
- Kanezaka (added on January 12, 2021)
- Malevento (added on September 28, 2021)
As an alternative to the standard game modes used in both Quick Play and Competitive modes, Arcade Mode is a set of rotating matchmaking playlists for special game modes with special rulesets (also known as "Brawls"). Playlists are either rotated weekly, daily, or seasonal (in the case of ranked competitive variants), with only one standard playlist (Mystery Heroes). Players can earn loot boxes by winning nine games in a weekly period (earning a loot box every three games won), with some playlists earning a free loot box on the first game won.
Prior to November 15, 2016, the mode was named "Weekly Brawl" and focused on a single playlist that rotates weekly (similar to Tavern Brawls in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and weekly Mutations in Left 4 Dead 2).
Five playlists are enabled at one time, one of them being featured (giving them a larger presence on the Arcade Mode screen) and one of them being Mystery Heroes. During seasonal events, one or more playlists are reserved for Event Playlists (see "Event Playlists").
- All Brawls! (6v6) - Cycles through a different Brawl (see "Brawls") on each map change. No longer used.
- Elimination (3v3, 6v6) - No longer used.
- Capture the Flag (6v6)
- Deathmatch (8-player FFA)
- Limited Duel (1v1) - Elimination where both players start each round with a choice of three random heroes. Some heroes are unavailable.
- Lockout Elimination (3v3, 6v6) - Elimination where the winning team in each round cannot choose any of the characters in that lineup for the rest of the match. Later made standard for all Elimination playlists.
- Low Gravity (6v6) - Assault/Escort/Hybrid with 25% gravity.
- Mystery Deathmatch (8-player FFA) - Players start each spawn with a new random hero, and cannot change heroes on their own.
- Mystery Duel (1v1) - Elimination where both players start each round with the same random hero. Some heroes are unavailable.
- Mystery Heroes (6v6) - Players start each spawn with a new random hero, and cannot change heroes on their own.
- No Limits (6v6) - Assault/Escort/Hybrid with no restriction on hero selection.
- Team Deathmatch (4v4)
- Total Mayhem - Escort/Hybrid with double health, very fast cooldowns on abilities, and faster gain rate on Ultimates.
In addition, the Capture the Flag, 6v6 Lockout Elimination, and Deathmatch playlists have had Competitive seasons, where players are ranked in a similar format to regular Competitive mode.
During seasonal events, one or more playlists are reserved for special Seasonal Brawls that last through the entire event. The events that use these Brawls include:
- Lunar New Year (January/February)
- Archives (April)
- Summer Games (August)
- Halloween Terror (October)
- Winter Wonderland (December)
Beginning in 2018, the Overwatch Anniversary event (mid-May to mid-June) includes a single playlist that rotates between all Seasonal Brawls daily. These Brawls cannot be accessed at any other time and cannot be reproduced in Custom Games.
- Lúcioball (3v3, Summer Games) - Added in the 2016 event, Lúcioball has teams of Lúcio players fighting to push a large soccer ball through their goal (in similar vein to Rocket League). Most of Lúcio's abilities are changed and only affect himself. His primary fire is replaced with his melee attack (used for short-distance pushes), his Soundwave does not affect enemies (and is used for longer-distance pushes), his Crossfade is disabled, and his Ultimate Ability is replaced with "Turbo Boost" (which boosts his movement and Soundwave recharge). He can also use numerous trampolines in the arena to high jump, and wall-ride certain walls faster. The team that scores the most goals in the time limit wins the match. The mode was originally released with one map: Estádio das Rãs. The 2017 edition added an additional map (Sydney Harbour Arena), added a Competitive playlist, and changed some of Lúcio's abilities (for example, Soundwave used to push enemies and his Ultimate used to pull the ball towards him). The 2018 edition added an additional map (Busan Stadium).
- Mei's Snowball Offensive (6v6, Winter Wonderland) - Added in the 2016 event, Mei's Snowball Offensive is a special variation of Elimination that has teams of Mei players fighting with modified Endothermic Blasters that can only fire instant-kill snowballs. Melee is disabled and players can only carry one snowball at a time (in which they must reload at randomly-placed piles of snow). Her Ultimate Ability is replaced by "Flurry", which gives her unlimited ammo for six seconds. The mode was originally released with one map (Ecopoint: Antarctica) with a seasonal theme, with the 2017 edition adding another one (Black Forest).
- Yeti Hunter (5v1, Winter Wonderland) - Added in the 2017 event, Yeti Hunter pits a team of five Meis (the Hunters) against a single Winston (the Yeti) in a single Elimination round taking place in a themed version of Nepal Village. Winston's starting health is increased to 5000 and his Ultimate Ability (which now increases his damage and duration, but no longer restores health) can only be replenished by picking up Meat pickups scattered throughout the map. Mei's abilities have a shorter duration and her Ultimate Ability is replaced with Junkrat's "Steel Trap" ability. Health pickups are disabled. Players have the option to prefer being Hunter or Yeti prior to starting matchmaking (with experienced Hunter players having a better chance of being the Yeti).
During co-op brawls, four players team up to complete mission objectives while fighting hordes of themed AI-controlled enemies. Throughout the match, they are scored based on numerous criteria (including game difficulty, player death count, and objective time/vitality). Each mission includes four difficulties of enemy strength: Normal, Hard, Expert, and Legendary.
Players choose between two modes in all but Junkenstein's Revenge: Default (in which only four Heroes are available) and All Heroes (in which the entire roster is available). Players can only choose one of each Hero and can not switch Heroes at any time.
Other than Junkenstein's Revenge (where players respawn shortly after death, and the game ends if all players are dead at the same time), Heroes who die are instead incapacitated. If a fallen Hero is not revived within 45 seconds (either through Mercy's Resurrect ability or by standing near that Hero for a short amount of time), the game ends with a loss. In addition, failed objectives ends the game with a loss.
Junkenstein's Revenge (Halloween Terror)
Added in the 2016 event, Junkenstein's Revenge is a horror-themed mission that takes place outside of Castle Adlersbrunn (a themed re-skin of a sectioned-off part of Eichenwalde). Players pick either The Alchemist, The Archer, The Gunslinger, or The Soldier, as they prevent waves of "Zomnics" (zombie omnics) and the forces of Dr. Junkenstein from breaching the castle door.
The 2017 edition adds an additional boss (The Summoner) and an alternate mode: Junkenstein Endless. Endless adds four new playable characters to the roster (The Countess, The Monk, The Swordsman, and The Viking) and revamps the wave structure (with additional bonus waves of increasing difficulty).
- Zomnics - Standard enemies that cannot attack Heroes. Instead, they travel in groups towards the castle gate and detonate (slightly damaging the door).
- Zombardier - A tougher enemy that remains almost stationary near their spawn point, lobbing energy projectiles at Heroes.
- Shock-Tire - Based on Junkrat's Rip-Tire, the Shock-Tire travels at a faster speed towards the door. Despite its low health, it is harder to hit and deals a higher amount of damage against the door.
- The Reaper - Based on Reaper. Enters the battlefield using Shadow Step. Occasionally uses Wraith Form and Death Blossom.
- Dr. Junkenstein - Based on Junkrat. Remains stationary on a balcony, lobbing grenades from a distance.
- The Summoner - Based on Symmetra. Deploys a Shield Generator after entering the battlefield. Occasionally uses Photon Barrier.
- The Witch - Based on Mercy. Enters the battlefield resurrecting Dr. Junkenstein and Junkenstein's Monster. Heals both Junkenstein's Monster and, in rare cases, Dr. Junkenstein.
Added in the 2017 event, Uprising is a historical mission that takes place in King's Row. Players pick either Tracer, Torbjörn, Reinhardt, or Mercy, as they fight the omnic terrorist group Null Sector in order to liberate the sector.
- Nulltroopers - Standard enemies that arrive in groups. Armed with sidearms.
- Eradicator - A more powerful version of the standard Nulltrooper, armed with a front-facing shield and shoulder-mounted plasma cannon.
- Slicer - Only appears when the payload is active. Weak, short, and nimble, they do not attack the Heroes, instead focusing a close-ranged laser beam on the payload that deals damage over time.
- Detonator - Only appears when the payload is active. Strong, large, and slow, they do not attack the Heroes, instead moving towards the payload and detonating for a significant amount of damage.
- B73 - Based on Bastion. Arrives in one of two forms: standard (which arrives in the Assault configuration, switches to Sentry after some time, and can repair itself) and tank (where it is permanently in the Tank configuration).
- OR14 - Based on Orisa. Occasionally uses Protective Barrier, Halt!, and Supercharger.
Added in the 2018 event, Retribution is a historical mission that takes place in Rialto. Players pick either Genji, McCree, Reyes, or Moira as they fight the human terrorist group Talon in order to escape a botched Blackwatch operation (leading to the dissolution of both Blackwatch and Overwatch).
- Troopers - Standard enemies that arrive in groups. Armed with assault rifles.
- Enforcer - A more powerful version of the standard Trooper (usually appearing with groups of Troopers), Enforcers are shielded and are armed with deadly shotguns (that must be charged prior to firing).
- Sniper - Armed with a powerful sniper rifle (with a highly-visible laser sight) that fires shortly after locking on to Heroes. Uses a grappling hook for maneuverability and a sidearm when cornered.
- Assassin - Armed with dual blades, assassins cling onto walls and teleport when fired upon. After some time, it charges across the ground towards a single Hero. If it reaches the Hero without being interrupted, it knocks the Hero down and continuously slashes at them.
- Heavy Assault - Powerful robotic tank with two minigun arms, a melee attack that can knock Heroes backwards, and charges Heroes (similar to Reinhardt's charge).
Storm Rising (Archives)
Added in the 2019 event, Storm Rising is a historical mission that takes place in Havan. Players pick either Tracer, Mercy, Winston, or Genji as they fight Talon in order to apprehend the wealthy omnic Maximilien. This mission uses the same enemies as the Retribution mission.
Prior to the inclusion of Arcade Mode, the game used a rotating "Brawl" playlist that switches every week. Afterwards, the game included a temporary "All Brawls!" playlist that switches between each of the following Brawls:
- Total Mayhem - Formerly "Arcade". Same as the version used in normal Playlists.
- MOBAwatch - Cannot switch heroes during the match. Prior to the Hero restriction rule, it was the only playlist to not allow duplicate heroes per team.
- Highly Offensive - Offense heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
- Overly Defensive - Defense heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
- Tanks A Lot - Tank heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
- Show Your Support - Support heroes only. Limited to 2 of the same hero per team.
- We're All Soldiers Now - Soldier: 76 only. Half health. Slow cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Control maps only.
- This is Ilios - Lucio and Roadhog only. Limited to 1 Lúcio per team. Single map only: Ilios Well.
- High Noon - McCree only.
- Justice Rains From Above - Mercy and Pharah only. Very fast cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Assault maps only.
- Super Shimada Bros - Genji and Hanzo only. Very fast cooldowns on abilities. Slow gain rate on ultimates. Single map only: Hanamura.
- Charge! - Lúcio and Reinhardt only. Limited to 1 Lúcio per team.
- One Shot, One Kill - Ana, Hanzo, and Widowmaker only.
All changes (unless otherwise specified) can be reproduced in the Custom Game mode. In addition, some Weekly Brawls were not used in the "All Brawls!" playlist:
- Ana Knows Best - Used in tandem with the Ana release. Ana, Tank heroes only.
- Girl Power - Female heroes only.
- Have Fun Storming The Castle - Single map only (Eichenwalde). No duplicate heroes per team.
- Mystery Heroes - Same as the version used in normal Playlists.
- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - McCree, Reaper and Roadhog only.
Many years prior to the events of the game, the Omnica Corporation, a leading robotics manufacturer and AI developer, found that its Omnic robots became somewhat sentient. The Omnics organized themselves and started attacking their human masters in a global war that became known as the Omnic Crisis. To counter this threat, an international task force called Overwatch was formed under the United Nations to combine those with special powers, technology, and other abilities into a fighting force capable of countering the Omnics. Eventually, Overwatch managed to fight off the Omnics enough to end the war, and reach a peace accord with the remaining synthetic beings.
After the war, Overwatch remained active as an international peacekeeping force, but after multiple instances of criminal and terrorist actions occurring across the globe, Overwatch found itself embroiled in controversy. Branded as being corrupt and evil, like those they were fighting, public opinion slowly turned against the organization, culminating in an explosion at Overwatch headquarters that supposedly took the life of its leader and his second-in-command.
Afterwards, the task force was officially disbanded by the United Nations, and the members of Overwatch drifted away. However, after new attacks by the mysterious Talon group start happening around the globe, and rumors of a second Omnic Crisis awakening in Russia, the surviving members of Overwatch decided to reunite to once again protect the world from evil.
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