Brain Training with Overwatch

Content Type: Gaming News
Date: September 15, 2016

If you’re here than it’s because you think video games are fun. Hoorah, and they really are but it should come to no surprise to anyone that because our brains are fantastically wonderful things we can train our brain and learn new skills by playing video games. Every game has a different set of skills that you need to develop to play and certainly if you want to win, the more you play the more your brain adapts to using those skills, and the better you get.  So just imagine the skills you can pick up when you play Overwatch.

Now stop imagining, and read on to find out just what skill’s you’ll need to use and develop to get those top ranking slots on Overwatch.

This one is a given really for any first person shooter. Everyone is running about strafing like crazy to avoid your shots, you’re strafing to avoid theirs. You’ve got to develop the skill to fire accurately while everyone including you is moving about. Low hand-to-eye coordination when playing a FPS means a very low kill count, a very high death rate or both. The more you play the better you become at firing off those head shots, and hitting moving targets from further away. No matter which character you play in Overwatch, you’ll always benefit from an increase in your hand-to-eye coordination, so just keep playing.

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This is definitely a key skill that should develop as you play Overwatch although it won’t necessarily develop automatically. Overwatch is a perfectly playable game solo, but it’s very difficult to climb to the level of your actual skill on your own. If you aren’t talking with your team mates then you can’t plan attack or defence strategies, you can’t alert a team about a far-away sniper or to get everyone to take down a tank at the same time. This is certainly true if you work with the same team every time.

Understanding a team’s strengths and weaknesses, not only from a character level but also from an individual level can allow the team to compensate or promote accordingly. We’ve all been part of a group, which has one person who instantly knows what everybody has to do and continues to spend the entire match, barking orders and berating anyone who doesn’t succeed at doing exactly what they want. Team working, in short, means you’re not acting like an ego-driven asshole, you’re thinking of the team at all times.

Good communication goes hand in hand with working as a team, or at least you can’t have a successful Overwatch team without good communication. There is a big difference between being a good communicator and just being loud and opinionated (see above). A good communicator will notify the group of intentions and alert the group of any potential dangers. You’ve just been picked off by a sniper? Tell the team where they are. Your Ultimate ability is nearly ready? So communicate this to your team, so it can be used for that final push to topple the defence of the enemy team.

If you don’t have a mic, it doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. Overwatch has built-in emotes usable with C, that allow you to communicate things such, as needing healing, ultimate charging status and if you should group with them. They’re not as effective as talking of course, but they are better than nothing.

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If your reactions are slower than a doped up lizard in a freezer then you’re going to struggle with survival until you adapt to react at a fraction of a seconds notice. Your situation can change at a moment’s notice. For example, you think you’re safe happily taking pot-shots at the enemy, when before you know it a Genji is right on top of you. He’s difficult to escape or kill at the best of times, but a slow reaction time is not going to make this any easier. Knowing the sound that every Ultimate ability makes helps a lot in speeding up your reaction time, if you hear Junkrat’s Rip-Tyre, or D-Va’s “Nerf This”, react quickly and watch out for the tyre or head for cover respectively.

Ah Strategy. Is this a skill? It might be more of a mode of thought, but it is still something that develops over time. Even on a very basic level, the more you play the basic strategies become ingrained in you. Run in close range with Reaper, don’t engage Genji in close combat if you’re playing Mercy.  The more you play, the more complex the strategies you pick up. Skills such as when the best time to use your Ultimate ability, combinations of abilities, survival, knowledge of choke-points and open areas. Every game you build on what you know a little more and more.

This one is pretty much a Junkrat thing, learn how parabolas work. I do love that word, but basically it’s the arc that projectiles make when they’re thrown. As you use his Frag Launcher you’ll learn to see how the grenades move when fired, and how they bounce. Overtime this, allows you to get pretty darn accurate with your grenades and learn a thing or two about arcs and ballistics too.


All of the skills above can’t be developed in isolation. Well, ok I guess some of the skills could but you’d have to deliberately not work on the others. The point is that when you play Overwatch all the above skills work together. You develop your strategy by working as team, communication together well, and using your excellently developed hand-to-eye coordination to slaughter your enemies. The even better part is that each one of these skills (with the possible except of Junkrat’s parabolas) will help you in your life as well. Double win.

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