A feature Overwatch lacked at its launch was a comprehensive training mode. There is a tutorial included which I was shoe-horned into upon launching the game; it taught me how to move, how to fire, and how to activate abilities, more instructive in first-person shooter mechanics in general than how to play Overwatch specifically. Completing that, I was kicked into a practice match against simple bots, grounding me to build my confidence before thrusting me into the meat-grinder of play against other humans. Aside from the Soldier: 76 character, the tutorial is uninterested in teaching me the nuances and abilities of the expansive cast. Were I interested in learning about another character—say, Reaper or Zenyatta—I am given tooltips, a shooting gallery, and the core game to learn with. There’s always the low-stakes Vs. AI match to experiment in, but I would still be jumping in blind. As a guided experience which shows me a character and their various abilities, nothing quite compares to that lone introductory level featuring Soldier: 76. I yearn for these rudimentary lessons, even though I have long since surpassed them by brute forcing Overwatch’s characters and systems.
I believe that Overwatch’s recent Halloween-themed event, “Junkenstein’s Revenge,” is an answer to that yearning. Though it is an original take on Overwatch gameplay, presenting a scenario I will never encounter in a regular match, its structured and regimented design instills me with more nuance and understanding of each character’s role as part of a team than fumbling through a regular match ever has.