One of Overwatch's underused - and underappreciated - roles is that of a healer. While their playstyles may not always be the flashiest, they're a crucial part of establishing a strong, cohesive team.
They also have the benefit of requiring relatively low mechanical skills to be effective; favoring general game-smarts instead. Still, while many of these healers can be rather easy to play, they can easily be misused or produce problematic errors. These common flubs and ill-advised moves can ultimately lead to a team collapse if they're done enough.
The good news is that most of these mistakes are quick fixes; and if rectified, can turn you into a game-saving hero.
With that said, let's take a look at 10 very common mistakes healers make in Overwatch, and how to fix/avoid them.
10 Failing To Communicate
This is a simple technique, but it's one that might make the difference in a win or a loss. It's true that you can get through even competitive matches without engaging in voice chat - thanks to the game's basic coms that convey vital information. Still, talking to your teammates can prove to be a difference-maker, especially as a healer.
Calls as simple as "come here for healing," "need to recharge," or "I'm popping my Ult" can go a long way in keeping everyone on the same page. If you're Ana, for instance, you may want to inform a teammate of your intention to use Nano Boost on them. If you're Mercy, you'd do well to give a downed player a heads-up that you'll revive them, in case they're reaching for a beverage or checking their phone.
9 Getting Into Harm's Way
Being the embodiment of a support beam of your team - you do not want to collapse, as your team will often come crumbling down with you. This means avoid dying at all costs; aside from the rare instance of a self-sacrifice greatly benefiting your squad.
Obviously, you won't be able to completely avoid this, if a team has an elite sniper, cheeky flanker, or just has a strong, cohesive unit. Still, you can minimize your odds of an untimely death with a few simple methods. For one, you'll usually want to hang in the backlines, especially behind shield tanks and near other supports. If your team is moving swiftly or you fear a flank by a sneaky Tracer or the like, try to position yourself in the middle of the group.
8 Getting Cut Off From Your Team
Smart Overwatch teams will sometimes opt for cutting off your squad into 2 or 3 segments, as this increased vulnerability will often make it easier to be picked off. As a healer, you might find yourself being a prime target for being cut off and killed. In these scenarios, you'll want to try and make a mad dash towards your team, if possible. If the situation calls for it, try to take matters in your own hands and damage the weaker, squishier foes.
What you don't want to do is drift off on your own without the opposing team causing this separation. If your group is making a push, be sure to recognize the path they're taking and follow them. If you're guarding the payload or a point, you won't typically want to post up in the corner by yourself.
7 Trying To Do Too Much
While Mercy and Lucio are somewhat designed to go "hero mode" and bounce back and forth between multiple targets, most healers are fairly limited in their maneuverability. Even Moira, who can make swift escapes, can find herself in trouble as her Fade cools down. Try and get the team to rally to you; don't try and be everywhere at once. This way, you'll be able to heal larger groups more quickly. You'll also want to wisely balance your resource economy, rather than constantly crank out dealing and/or damage.
Being an effective healer is often about methodology, positioning, and resourcefulness, more so than speed, mechanics, or flashiness. Leave that to the DPS.
6 Healing The Wrong Targets
Being a solid support in Overwatch can frequently mean making quick decisions as to who to prioritize in healing. Often, healers will make the mistake of becoming laser-focused on solo DPS heroes, rather than focusing on larger groups and/or tanks.
Sure, if a DPS is in trouble, or if they're on a hot streak - it may be a good idea to help prop them up. But if given the choice to heal wandering Genjis, Soldiers, or Reapers, or staying put and keeping your tanks alive, you'll usually want to opt for the latter. Tanks can take more hits, but they're also easier targets, and they're needed to protect your team.
5 Failing To Coordinate Ults With Other Supports
Again, coordination and communication doesn't necessarily mean you have to chat up your fellow supports, but you'll at least want to make them aware how close to are to getting our Ult. You should let them know when you plan on using it too, in order to maximize the healing output and resourcefulness between the 2 (or sometimes 3) of you.
For instance - it makes much more sense to follow up a Valkyrie with Zen's Transcendence several seconds afterwards rather than using both at the same time. Popping 2 healing Ults at once is just a waste, as one healing Ult at a time is usually enough - unless both supports are in different locations.
4 Failing To Wait For A Team Push
Pushing with your teammates can mean the difference between steamrolling a point and getting swatted back with relative ease by opponents. While most players should follow this strategy to a degree, it's especially important for healers.
Being out of sync with the rest of your team will likely spell doom for your comrades, as the healing will be scarce, or worse - non-existent. Even if you've got a second support, putting all the burden on them to keep multiple targets alive while you're away isn't ideal, especially if it's an off-healer. If the deaths and spawns have been staggered, wait it out for the rest of your team (or at least most of them) so you can regroup and make another solid push.
3 Chasing Down Stray Teammates
This can be an easy trap to fall into. This is especially true if you're playing as Mercy, as her Guardian Angel ability makes it simple and enticing to swoop in towards an isolated comrade with ease. And while Mercy is more optimal for this, even she can find herself in trouble pretty quickly.
Of course, you should go rescue single targets if the situation calls for it, but you'll need to recognize when to hold back and stick with the main group. If a teammate has put themselves deeply in harm's way, you'll often have to make the tough decision to have them fend for themselves. After all, you don't want a situation where both of you end up dead. Sticking with the bulk of your team can often prove a smarter, safer, and more resourceful move.
2 Using Your Ult At Inopportune Times
Many healers tend to get a bit trigger-happy when it comes to popping their Ultimates. Swooping in with Zenyatta's Transcendence or Brigitte's Rally when most of the team is already healed, or find themselves spread out, could produce a ripple effect. While the damage may not seem immediate, you might soon find your team dropping like flies when they really needed your healing Ult.
Overwatch being what it is - the timing of optimal Ult usage will depend on the fluid, rapidly-changing situation. As a general rule, though, you'll want to pop that Ult when most of your teammates are near death, and/or during a pivotal team push. Timing these opportunely can be the momentum nudgers that your squad needs, and can quickly create a snowball effect.
1 Trying To Be A DPS Hero
This is a healer's sin that Moiras, in particular, have often been guilty of doing. On one level, it makes sense, given the ease and versatility of her damage abilities. But even Moira and Zen, just like most other healers, prove far more effective in their healing abilities, rather than their less potent DPS output.
Of course, there are scenarios where rocking some DPS assaults make sense - if you're being harassed in the backline, finishing off a fight, or chasing down a particularly weak, ineffective foe. Usually, though (70-80% of the time) you'll want to focus on healing your team. Remember, your role as a healer is to provide the support system that allows others to attack often and effectively.