Overwatch has been one of the most popular esports games for a couple of years now. It featured a unique esports scene with franchised leagues and teams, and felt like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise crowded gaming world. And now, with Overwatch 2's recent release, let’s take a look at all the Overwatch characters as well as the new ones in the sequel.

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How Many Overwatch Characters Are There?

The original esports game featured 32 characters. Overwatch 2 features all of these, plus three new heroes exclusive to the new game. Here’s a list of all Overwatch characters (we’ll mention the new ones in detail later in the article):

HeroRoleHero AgeRelease Date
TracerDamage2624.05.2016*
ReaperDamage5824.05.2016*
WidowmakerDamage3324.05.2016*
PharahDamage3224.05.2016*
ReinhardtTank6124.05.2016*
MercySupport3724.05.2016*
TorbjörnDamage5724.05.2016*
HanzoDamage3824.05.2016*
WinstonTank2924.05.2016*
ZenyattaSupport2024.05.2016*
BastionDamage3024.05.2016*
SymmetraDamage2824.05.2016*
ZaryaTank2824.05.2016*
CassidyDamage3724.05.2016*
Soldier: 76Damage5524.05.2016*
LúcioSupport2624.05.2016*
RoadhogTank4824.05.2016*
JunkratDamage2524.05.2016*
D.VaTank1924.05.2016*
MeiDamage3124.05.2016*
GenjiDamage3524.05.2016*
AnaSupport6019.07.2016
SombraDamage3015.11.2016
OrisaTankUnder 121.03.2017
DoomfistTank4527.07.2017
MoiraSupport4816.11.2017
BrigitteSupport2320.03.2018
Wrecking BallTank1424.07.2018
AsheDamage3913.11.2018
BaptisteSupport3619.03.2019
SigmaTank6213.08.2019
EchoDamageClassified14.04.2020

*Overwatch release date

Who Are the Overwatch Characters?

Overwatch characters are the heroes players can control. Each match features a team of five heroes that are pitted against each other in a variety of game modes. Each character has their own set of unique abilities that the player can use to their advantage.

The best way to learn about how Overwatch heroes work is by watching live streams of esports tournaments. These feature teams from numerous esports countries, each with its own playstyle and preferred hero roster.

As for the Overwatch characters themselves, most of them have a passive ability, the main weapon attack, two primary active abilities, and an ultimate ability. Because of this, there are a lot of unique strategies, which is what spectators and punters love in esports games.

Breakdown of All Hero abilities in Overwatch

Tracer

  • Weapon: Pulse Pistols – Short-range automatic weapon
  • Ability 1: Blink – Teleport some distance away from the current location
  • Ability 2: Recall – Return the hero to their previous position in time (a few seconds into the past)
  • Ultimate Ability: Pulse Bomb – Throw a bomb that sticks to any object or enemy character and explodes after a delay

Reaper

  • Passive: The Reaping – Heal for 35% of damage dealt
  • Weapon: Hellfire Shotguns – Short-range spread weapon
  • Ability 1: Wraith Form – Become invulnerable and move faster but you can’t shoot
  • Ability 2: Shadow Step – Teleport a short distance to the marked location
  • Ultimate Ability: Death Blossom – Damage all enemies nearby

Widowmaker

  • Passive: Can switch between two main weapon modes (sniper and assault rifle)
  • Weapon: Widow’s Kiss – A long-ranged sniper or medium-ranged assault rifle
  • Ability 1: Grappling Hook – Throw a grappling hook that pulls you towards the wall or ledge
  • Ability 2: Venom Mine – A mine that, when activated, releases poison around it
  • Ultimate Ability: Infra-Sight – Provide a view of the enemy’s location to your team

Pharah

  • Passive: Hover Jets – Hold SPACE to hover in the air
  • Weapon: Rocket Launcher – Long-range explosive projectile weapon
  • Ability 1: Jump Jet – Fly upwards while pressing SHIFT
  • Ability 2: Concussive Blast – Launch an explosive projectile that knocks back enemies
  • Ultimate Ability: Barrage – Launch a volley of explosive mini-rockets

Reinhardt

  • Weapon: Rocket Hammer – High-damage melee weapon
  • Ability 1: Barrier Field – Hold RMB (Right Mouse Button) to deploy an energy barrier
  • Ability 2: Charge – Charge forward, smashing enemies against walls
  • Ultimate Ability: Fire Strike – Launch a fire projectile

Mercy

  • Passive 1: Regeneration – Heal over time after not taking damage for 1.5 seconds
  • Passive 2: Angelic Descent – Hold SPACE to fall very slowly
  • Weapon 1: Caduceus Staff – Hold LMB (Left Mouse Button) to heal an ally. Hold RMB to increase the ally’s damage
  • Weapon 2: Caduceus Blaster – Automatic weapon
  • Ability 1: Guardian Angel – Quickly fly towards an ally
  • Ability 2: Resurrect – Revive a teammate that has died
  • Ultimate Ability: Valkyrie – Activate to gain the ability to fly. Other abilities get enhanced characteristics

Torbjörn

  • Passive: Main weapon has two firing modes
  • Weapon 1: Rivet Gun – Slow-firing, long-ranged weapon (LMB). Powerful short-range spread weapon (RMB)
  • Weapon 2: Forge Hammer – High-damage melee weapon. Can also repair turrets
  • Ability 1: Deploy Turret – Deploy a self-building turret that damages enemies
  • Ability 2: Overload – Gain more armor and improved attack, reload speed, and movement speed
  • Ultimate Ability: Molten Core – Make pools of molten slag that damage enemies walking through them. Deals more damage to armor

Hanzo

  • Passive: Wall Climb – Approach or jump at walls to climb up them
  • Weapon: Storm Bow – Accurate, long-range weapon. Hold LMB to charge and release multiple arrows further
  • Ability 1: Sonic Arrow – Reveal enemies for a short time in the area where the arrow lands
  • Ability 2: Storm Arrows – Activate to fire the next 5 arrows instantly with reduced damage
  • Ability 3: Lunge – Press SPACE after jumping to double jump
  • Ultimate Ability: Dragonstrike – Throw a devastating Dragon Spirit that damages all enemies it passes through

Winston

  • Weapon: Tesla Cannon – Electric, multi-target weapon (LMB). Hold RMB to charge and release fire-focused electricity
  • Ability 1: Barrier Protection – Deploy a protective dome
  • Ability 2: Jump Pack – Leap forward in the air, damaging enemies upon landing
  • Ultimate Ability: Primal Rage – Gain extra health but you can only leap forward and punch enemies

Zenyatta

  • Passive: Snap Kick – Melee damage increased by 50%. Knockback is also increased
  • Weapon: Orb of Destruction – Energy projectile weapon (LMB). Hold RMB to charge and release additional projectiles
  • Ability 1: Orb of Harmony – Launch the orb at an ally to heal them
  • Ability 2: Orb of Discord – Launch the orb at enemies to make them more vulnerable to damage
  • Ultimate Ability: Transcendence – Move faster, heal nearby enemies, and become invulnerable

Bastion

  • Passive: Ironclad – Reduce the damage you take while transformed by 20%
  • Combat Mode 1: Configuration: Recon – Increased mobility with a light automatic weapon
  • Combat Mode 2: Configuration: Assault – Increased damage reduction and reduced mobility with a powerful rotary cannon
  • Ability 1: Reconfigure – Switch between combat modes
  • Ability 2: A-36 Tactical Grenade – Shoot a bomb that bounces off walls and explodes when it hits the ground or enemies
  • Ultimate Ability: Configuration: Artillery – Become completely immobile but gain the ability to launch three high-damage artillery shells

Symmetra

  • Weapon: Photon Projector – Short-range beam weapon whose damage increases the longer you shoot (LMB). Hold RMB to charge and shoot a fire explosive orb
  • Ability 1: Sentry Turret – Deploy a turret that damages enemies and slows them
  • Ability 2: Teleporter – Deploy two teleporters that enable instant travel between them
  • Ultimate Ability: Photon Barrier – Deploy a massive barrier that prevents ranged attacks

Zarya

  • Passive: Energy – Damage that is blocked by barriers increases Particle Cannon’s damage
  • Weapon: Particle Cannon – Short-range beam weapon (LMB). Explosive energy grenade launcher (RMB)
  • Ability 1: Particle Barrier – Creates a barrier around you that blocks incoming damage
  • Ability 2: Projected Barrier – Create a barrier around an ally
  • Ultimate Ability: Graviton Surge – Launch a gravity well that pulls enemies in

Cassidy

  • Weapon: Peacekeeper – Accurate, high-damage revolver (LMB). Press RMB to fire remaining rounds in random directions (in front of the player)
  • Ability 1: Combat Roll – Roll in your moving direction and reload
  • Ability 2: Magnetic Grenade – Throw a grenade that locks onto nearby enemies and causes more damage if it sticks to them
  • Ultimate Ability: Deadeye – Activate a ‘face-off’ against your enemies. Press Q to lock onto enemies and then press Q or LMB to fire

Soldier: 76

  • Weapon: Heavy Pulse Rifle – Automatic assault weapon
  • Ability 1: Helix Rockets – Fire a volley of explosive rockets
  • Ability 2: Sprint – Press SHIFT to run faster
  • Ability 3: Biotic Field – Deploy a healing field for you and your allies
  • Ultimate Ability: Tactical Visor – Automatically aims your weapon and targets enemies in view

Lúcio

  • Passive: Wall Ride – Jump onto a wall to ride on it
  • Weapon: Sonic Amplifier – Sonic projectile weapon
  • Ability 1: Soundwave – Release a short-range blast wave that knocks enemies away from you
  • Ability 2: Crossfade – Switch between Healing Boost (heals nearby allies) and Speed Boost (speeds up nearby allies)
  • Ability 3: Amp It Up – Increase the effectiveness of your current active song
  • Ultimate Ability: Sound Barrier – Create a health shield (overhealth) for nearby allies

Roadhog

  • Weapon: Scrap Gun – Short-range spread weapon (LMB). Medium-range spread weapon (RMB)
  • Ability 1: Take a Breather – Reduce the damage you take for 2 seconds and heal yourself
  • Ability 2: Chain Hook – Drag the enemy you targeted toward you
  • Ultimate Ability: Whole Hog – Knock back and damage enemies in front of you

Junkrat

  • Passive: Total Mayhem – Deal no damage to yourself with explosives and drop bombs on death
  • Weapon: Frag Launcher – Explosive, bouncing projectile weapon
  • Ability 1: Concussion Mine – Throw a mine that knocks back enemies by pressing SHIFT, then detonate the mine by pressing RMB
  • Ability 2: Steel Trap – Place a trap that immobilizes enemies that step on it
  • Ultimate Ability: RIP-Tire – Start driving an explosive tire that you can detonate or let it detonate by itself

D.Va

  • Passive: Eject! – Get ejected from the mech when it reaches 1 health. Once ejected, D.Va will be in Pilot Form
  • Weapon (Mech): Fusion Cannons – Automatic short-range spread weapon
  • Weapon (Pilot): Light Gun – Medium-range automatic weapon
  • Ability 1 (Mech): Defense Matrix – Block projectiles in front of you
  • Ability 2 (Mech): Boosters – Fly in the direction you’re facing
  • Ability 3 (Mech): Micro Missiles – Fire a volley of explosive rockets
  • Ultimate Ability (Mech): Self-Destruct – Eject from your mech and overload it, causing it to explode and cause massive damage to nearby enemies
  • Ultimate Ability (Pilot): Call Mech – Call down a new mech

Mei

  • Weapon: Endothermic Blaster – Short-range spray weapon that slows enemies hit by it (LMB). Long-range piercing projectile (icicle) launcher (RMB)
  • Ability 1: Cryo-Freeze – Become invulnerable while healing yourself
  • Ability 2: Ice Wall – Create a wall of ice in front of you
  • Ultimate Ability: Blizzard – Deploy a drone that freezes all enemies in a large area

Genji

  • Passive: Cyber-Agility – Gain the ability to double jump and climb on walls
  • Weapon: Shuriken – Throw a burst of 3 projectiles (LMB). Press RMB to throw a fan of 3 projectiles in an arc
  • Ability 1: Swift Strike – Dash forward, causing damage to enemies. Any enemy you kill will reset the cooldown of the ability
  • Ability 2: Deflect – Block melee attacks and deflect incoming projectiles toward the direction you are facing
  • Ultimate Ability: Dragonblade – Equip a deadly melee weapon

Ana

  • Weapon: Biotic Rifle – Long-range sniper rifle that damages enemies and heals allies (LMB). Press RMB to zoom in
  • Ability 1: Sleep Dart – Shoot a dart that puts an enemy to sleep
  • Ability 2: Biotic Grenade – Throw a grenade that damages enemies and prevents healing on them. It also heals and increases healing on allies
  • Ultimate Ability: Nano Boost – Reduce the damage your ally would take and increase their damage

Sombra

  • Passive: Opportunist – Detect critically-injured enemies by seeing them through walls
  • Weapon: Machine Pistol – Short-range automatic weapon
  • Ability 1: Hack – Hold RMB to hack enemies. Hacked enemies can’t use their abilities for 1.75 seconds. Taking damage interrupts hacking. You can also hack health packs to cause them to spawn faster
  • Ability 2: Stealth – Move quicker and become invisible
  • Ability 3: Translocator – Deploy a beacon that you can teleport to by pressing E. Press F to remove the beacon
  • Ultimate Ability: EMP – Hack enemies, damage enemies, and deal huge damage to enemy barriers close to you

Orisa

  • Weapon 1: Augmented Fusion Driver – Heat-based automatic weapon; deals more damage the closer you are to enemies
  • Weapon 2: Energy Javelin – Launch the javelin at an enemy to knock them back and stun them. If the enemy is knocked against a wall, the effects are enhanced
  • Ability 1: Fortify – You are immune to enemy slows and stuns and take reduced damage
  • Ability 2: Javelin Spin – Spin the javelin to block melee attacks and destroy incoming projectiles while increasing forward-moving speed and pushing enemies
  • Ultimate Ability: Terra Surge – Anchor down and sweep in enemies. You also gain the effects of Fortify and charge up a surge of damage. Press LMB to release the surge early

Doomfist

  • Passive: The Best Defence… – Gain temporary overhealth by dealing damage to enemies with your abilities
  • Weapon: Hand Cannon – Short-range spread weapon. Has an automatic reload
  • Ability 1: Seismic Slam – Leap forward into the air and slam into the ground, damaging enemies
  • Ability 2: Power Block – Hold SHIFT to block all incoming projectiles. Blocking projectiles charges up Rocket Punch
  • Ability 3: Rocket Punch – Hold RMB to charge and release to launch yourself forward, knocking back enemies. If the enemy hits a wall, damage to them is increased
  • Ultimate Ability: Meteor Strike – Leap up into the air and strike in the targeted area

Moira

  • Weapon: Biotic Grasp – Hold LMB to heal allies in front of you, consuming biotic energy. Hold RMB to damage enemies. The damage you deal heals you and replenishes biotic energy
  • Ability 1: Biotic Orb – Launch a sphere that bounces against walls and the ground, healing allies or damaging enemies
  • Ability 2: Fade – Become invulnerable, invisible, and move faster. You cannot shoot
  • Ultimate Ability: Coalescence – Fire a long-range beam that damages enemies and heals allies

Brigitte

  • Passive: Inspire – When you deal damage to enemies, you also heal allies
  • Weapon: Rocket Flail – High-damage melee weapon with extended range
  • Ability 1: Repair Pack – Heal an ally for a short time
  • Ability 2: Whip Shot – Launch the flail forward, knocking an enemy away from you
  • Ability 3: Barrier Shield – Hold RMB to deploy an energy barrier in front of you. When deployed, you can press LMB to dash forward and knock back an enemy
  • Ultimate Ability: Rally – Provide overhealth to nearby allies and move faster

Wrecking Ball

  • Weapon: Quad Cannons – Automatic assault weapon
  • Ability 1: Grappling Claw – Throw a grappling claw to swing around an area, causing collision damage and knocking back enemies
  • Ability 2: Roll – Transform into a ball and increase movement speed
  • Ability 3: Adaptive Shield – Create temporary overhealth for yourself. The overhealth amount increases with more nearby enemies
  • Ability 4: Piledriver – Slam into the ground, damaging and launching enemies up
  • Ultimate Ability: Minefield – Deploy a huge proximity mine field

Ashe

  • Weapon: The Viper – Semi-automatic, quick-firing weapon. Hold RMB to zoom in for more accuracy and damage, but reducing fire rate
  • Ability 1: Dynamite – Throw a stick of dynamite that explodes after a short delay or when shot
  • Ability 2: Coach Gun – Knock yourself backward while blasting enemies in front of you
  • Ultimate Ability: B.O.B. – Activate Bob. Bob charges forward, knocking up enemies. After that, he will shoot at enemies with his arm cannons

Baptiste

  • Passive: Exo Boots – Hold CTRL to jump higher
  • Weapon: Biotic Launcher – Burst gun (three rounds). Press RMB to launch a healing projectile that heals allies within the impact zone
  • Ability 1: Regenerative Burst – Heal yourself and allies over time
  • Ability 2: Immortality Field – Throw a device that prevents allies from dying. The device is vulnerable to enemy fire and can be destroyed
  • Ultimate Ability: Amplification Matrix – Deploy a matrix that doubles the healing and damage of ally projectiles

Sigma

  • Weapon: Hyperspheres – Fire two charges that implode after a short time, damaging enemies caught in the blast area
  • Ability 1: Experimental Barrier – Hold RMB to propel a levitating barrier; release RMB to stop. Press RMB again to recall the barrier
  • Ability 2: Kinetic Grasp – Absorb projectiles right in front of you and convert them into shields that prevent damage
  • Ability 3: Accretion – Throw a mass of debris at enemies, knocking them down
  • Ultimate Ability: Gravitic Flux – Lift enemies into the air and slam them back into the ground

Echo

  • Passive: Glide – Hold SPACE to glide while falling
  • Weapon: Tri-Shot – Fire three shots at once in a triangle pattern
  • Ability 1: Sticky Bombs – Shoot a volley of sticky bombs that explode after a short delay
  • Ability 2: Flight – Fly in the direction you’re facing quickly and then free-fly for a short duration
  • Ability 3: Focusing Beam – Channel a high-energy beam for a couple of seconds that deals huge damage to enemies under half health
  • Ultimate Ability: Duplicate – Copy a targeted enemy hero. While this is active, the enemy cannot swap heroes

Overwatch 2 New Characters

The sequel features all the original Overwatch characters, but there are three new heroes with more in the works. Here’s what they look like:

HeroRole (Overwatch 2)Hero AgeRelease Date
SojournDamage50+26.04.2022
Junker QueenTank35-40 (approx.)28.06.2022
KirikoSupportEarly 20s04.10.2022

Sojourn

  • Weapon: Railgun – Rapid-fire projectile weapon whose projectiles generate energy on impact (LMB). Press RMB to fire a high-impact shot that consumes stored energy
  • Ability 1: Power Slide – Press SHIFT to slide across the ground. When canceled, perform a high jump
  • Ability 2: Disruptor Shot – Fire an energy shot that deals damage and slows enemies within the impact radius
  • Ultimate Ability: Overclock – Auto-charge Railgun energy for a short duration. Charged shots also pierce enemies

Junker Queen

  • Passive Ability: Adrenaline Rush – Wound damage caused by Junker Queen heals her
  • Weapon: Scattergun – Pump-action shotgun
  • Ability 1: Jagged Blade – Throw a blade in an arc. Press RMB to recall the blade. If the blade is stuck in an enemy, the enemy will also be pulled back. Using Quick Melee causes wound damage which damages enemies over time
  • Ability 2: Commanding Shout – Increase your health by 200 and your allies’ health by 50. Also increase movement speed by 30%
  • Ability 3: Carnage – Swing your axe and wound all enemies in front of you
  • Ultimate Ability: Rampage – Charge forward, wounding enemies and preventing any healing on them

Kiriko

  • Passive Ability: Wall Climb – Climb up walls by jumping on them
  • Weapon: Healing Ofuda – Fire a burst of healing projectiles that seek targeted allies. Press RMB to throw a projectile that deals increased critical damage
  • Ability 1: Swift Step – Teleport to an ally (even through walls)
  • Ability 2: Protection Suzu – Allies in the blast area become invulnerable for a short time upon impact and are cleansed of almost all negative effects
  • Ultimate Ability: Kitsune Rush – Summon a fox familiar that rushes forward, increasing attack speed and movement, and reducing cooldowns of allies that follow in its path

When Will the Next Overwatch Hero Be Released?

There is also news of a new Overwatch 2 character set to be released in December 2022, under the name ‘Ramattra’. While not much is known about Ramattra, he will have characteristics of a tank primarily, with the unique ability to transform into two forms, each with its own further set of abilities. He’ll also be able to dish out damage from melee range.

While we currently don’t have information about which Overwatch 2 characters are most popular, here’s a list of the most picked ones (in October) in the original Overwatch (Data from Overbuff):

  1. Ana (Support) – 13.4% Pick Rate
  2. Reinhardt (Tank) – 8.91% Pick Rate
  3. Mercy (Support) – 7.08% Pick Rate
  4. Soldier: 76 (Damage) – 5.73% Pick Rate
  5. Zarya (Tank) – 5.55% Pick Rate
  6. Roadhog (Tank) – 4.76% Pick Rate
  7. Cassidy (Damage) – 4.51% Pick Rate
  8. Genji (Damage) – 3.65% Pick Rate
  9. Moira (Support) – 3.48% Pick Rate
  10. Hanzo (Damage) – 3.44% Pick Rate

Apart from knowing what the most popular Overwatch characters are, you’re probably curious to know which ones are the strongest. Below is a tweet that indicates which heroes are the best to use in Overwatch 2.

How To Unlock Overwatch Characters

If you’ve played Overwatch in the past, then all heroes will already be unlocked for you once you merge your main Battle.net account. Otherwise, only 13 characters will be unlocked when you open the game for the first time. They are:

  • Reinhardt (Tank)
  • Winston (Tank)
  • Orisa (Tank)
  • Zarya (Tank)
  • Soldier: 76 (Damage)
  • Reaper (Damage)
  • Pharah (Damage)
  • Torbjörn (Damage)
  • Tracer (Damage)
  • Widowmaker (Damage)
  • Mercy (Support)
  • Lucio (Support)
  • Moira (Support)

The only way to unlock the remaining heroes is to play the game. Alternatively, you can purchase them for real money if you don’t want to play ~150 games to unlock them all.


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FAQ

Overwatch Characters FAQs

Overwatch 2 has 35 characters, whereas the original had 32.

Overwatch characters originate from a wide range of countries, including the Netherlands, Italy, Egypt, and more.

Sadly, the first game won’t be receiving any new characters because the developers are focused on Overwatch 2. As for that, we’ll most likely be seeing hero releases happening every 3-6 months.

Overwatch 2 was released on October 4th, 2022.

Yes, all the original 32 Overwatch heroes are also present in the sequel.

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