Tanks have long been part of video game history. From role-playing games, to FPS, MOBAs and so on, they’ve always appeared in just about every game imaginable. In all games, tanks have always had one job – to act as meat shields and soak up as much damage as possible. The same holds true in Overwatch.
Overwatch currently has five tank heroes, namely Winston, Zarya, Roadhog, D.Va and Reinhardt. Although all five does their fair share of taking damage, each of them fulfills their role in rather different ways.
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Winston is a tank through and through. He’s very mobile, has crowd-control abilities and can use a shield that allows him to protect multiple team members. His firepower leaves a lot to be desired, though. But hey, when you can jump across the map, who needs firepower? He is a tank, after all, and his lack of firepower means you don’t really have to worry about aiming properly. So long as you know whom to prioritize in the backline, you’ll be of significant help to your team and be the ultimate frustration to your opponents.
Oftentimes, tanks boast strong defensive capabilities, but have little to no offense. Take Winston, for example. But, Zarya’s not exactly your typical tank. Instead of playing defense, she’s almost always on the front lines, especially in competitive play. With the ability to turn the damage absorbed by her barriers to additional damage output, Zarya is very useful in general assaults and when pushing through choke points.
Be warned, although quite powerful, her personal shield and the one she can project to teammates last for only about two seconds. This makes it very important to remain patient and to know when to engage to play Zarya effectively. This also means that Zarya’s best use is when playing with a coordinated team.
Roadhog’s means of protecting isn’t by any means, conventional. Instead of shielding teammates directly, he acts as a big hulking target. He’s probably the biggest target in Overwatch, and one of the slowest too. Those two things mean that sharpshooters often rejoice when facing against Roadhog. Even so, Roadhog remains quite a formidable tank, especially in the hands of an elite player. His Take a Breather allows him to regenerate tons of health, and he has a Chain Hook to bring targets close to him. At the same time, Chain Hook serves as a way to interrupt hero ultimates.
D.Va’s role depends on who’s playing her and who she’s playing against. In pubs and even in the hands of beginners, D.Va can easily wreak havoc by charging in unexpectedly and causing massive damage. Albeit, often at the expense of her life. However, against elite competition, her role becomes a bit more specialized. She’s often only used under the right set of circumstances and in the right map. In such cases, though, D.Va becomes extremely valuable, especially after her recent round of buffs.
Reinhardt is every bit of a traditional tank if you ever saw one. Therefore, his role is quite simple, protect anyone behind him using his shield, and should anyone be dumb enough to come close, smash him or her with his big hammer. His projected shield is simply the best in the game and it makes him extremely useful when riding the Payload, or when pushing through heavily defended routes. Use it right, and Reinhardt still has his uses even in cases where he’s left a bit exposed, such as in a King of the Hill match.
Given his simplistic role and character design, Reinhardt is an excellent starter hero for beginners, while also remaining a common staple in competitive games.
Written by Ray Ian Ampoloquio