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Video Game / Overwatch

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"Never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it could be."

"You know, the world could always use more heroes."
Tracer, Debut Cinematic Trailer

Overwatch is a stylistically Pixaresque team-based multiplayer Hero Shooter by Blizzard Entertainment. It is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch systems.

Sometime in the mid-21st century, a global catastrophe known as the Omnic Crisis plunged humanity into war. Their enemy was a line of automated construction robots known as Omnics, who suddenly went rogue and militarised themselves. In response, an international task force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities known as Overwatch was formed to end the uprising and restore peace. At its height, Overwatch served as a beacon of heroism and selflessness, a demonstration of what humanity could accomplish by working across race, creed and culture.

It is now thirty years later, and Overwatch has since been decommissioned after losing its reputation to internal corruption. Yet the actions of a mysterious terrorist organisation known as "Talon" threaten to re-ignite the flames of war and chaos across the world. The world needs heroes once again; it needs the rebirth of Overwatch.


The game's playable Heroes include:note 

The game is centered around two teams of six Heroes each, with each team trying to fulfill their objectives while preventing the enemy team from doing the same. Objectives can vary from map to map:

    open/close all folders 

    List of gametypes and maps 
  • In Assault maps, one team takes the role of the Attack team and must try to capture two objectives — small regions of interest — in order by occupying them until the progress meter is filled completely, while the Defend team must block capture by getting on the objective to impede capture progress and eliminate enemies in the process. Attack wins if they seize both objectives within the time limit, while Defend wins if Attack runs out of time trying to do so.
    • Hanamura note 
    • Horizon Lunar Colony note 
    • Temple of Anubis note 
    • Volskaya Industries note 
    • Paris note 
  • In Escort maps, the Attack team must escort a vehicle known as the payload by being present around it to move it towards its destination, while the Defend team must stop the payload by wiping out its escorts and occupying its general proximity to prevent its forward movement. Much like with Assault maps, Attack wins if the payload reaches its destination in time, otherwise Defend wins.
    • Dorado note 
    • Junkertown note 
    • Route 66 note 
    • Watchpoint: Gibraltar note 
    • Rialto note 
    • Havana note 
  • Hybrid maps are a mixture of Assault and Escort; the Attack team must first capture one objective holding the payload, and then escort the payload, while Defend tries to stand in their way.
    • Eichenwalde note 
    • Hollywood note 
    • King's Row note 
    • Numbani note 
    • Blizzard World note 
  • Control maps deviate from the above formats, with both teams in a symmetrical map each trying to capture a central objective and then maintaining possession of it to build a percentage meter over time. Each Control map has three sub-maps, one for each round in a three-round game. The first team to 100% wins the round. The first to two wins wins the match.
    • Ilios note 
    • Lijiang Tower note 
    • Nepal note 
    • Oasis note 
    • Busan note 
  • Arena maps have no objective to complete by default, and as such are not included in regular map rotation.
    • Ayutthaya note 
    • Black Forest note 
    • Castillo note 
    • Château Guillard note 
    • Ecopoint: Antarctica note 
    • Necropolis note 
    • Petra note 

In addition to these four standard gameplay formats, there are also some special modes available, exclusive to the Arcade category and custom games:

  • 1v1 Mystery Duel pits two players against each other in a series of duels in which they try to eliminate each other. Each round, a Hero is chosen at random and both players must play as that Hero. The first to win five rounds wins the match. A variation of this mode, Limited Duel, allows each player to pick from a small pool of permitted Heroes every round.
  • Elimination is another elimination mode, this time featuring two teams of three or six, although unlike in Mystery Duel each player is allowed to choose their Hero. There is no respawning until the beginning of the next round. First to three rounds of winning wins the match. A variation of this mode, Lockout Elimination, has Heroes used to win a round disabled for the round-winning team for the remainder of the match. Custom games of Eliminations can use Control maps.
  • Capture the Flag has two teams of six going at it in a traditional CTF mode, reusing most Control maps. The flag can be taken instantly, but using any movement abilities causes the carrier to instantly drop it, requiring a delay before anyone can pick it up, including enemies, who can return it to its base by standing on it for a few secondsnote . This mode was introduced with the 2017 Year of the Rooster update as a limited-time mode, using a "winner determined by first to three captures or whichever team has more captures when time runs out" ruleset, but it was popular enough to be made into an Arcade mode, made available for custom games, and became a Lunar New Year mainstay.
  • Deathmatch: Much like Elimination the goal here is to just kill your opponent. In Free For All mode 8 individual players fight each other battle royal style and the first player to 20 kills wins, though all 4 top players will be counted as a winner toward Arcade Loot Boxes. In Team Deathmatch, two teams of 4 players go head to head and the first team to 30 kills wins. Mercy's Resurrection Ability in this mode will remove kills.
  • No Limits uses the four standard formats, but allows teams to each have more than one of the same Hero.note 
  • Total Mayhem uses Escort and Hybrid formats, with ability cooldowns sharply reduced, faster ultimate generation, and health points doubled.
  • Low Gravity uses the standard formats, with less gravity, resulting in higher jumps and slower falls for all heroes.
  • Mystery Heroes uses the standard formats, but randomizes Hero selection for each player. When a player dies and respawns, they have a new Hero randomly picked for them.

The game's official website can be found here. The game's cinematic trailer can be seen here, its gameplay trailers here and here, and a theatrical teaser here. The game launched in an invite-only closed beta on October 27th, 2015 in the Americas and Europe, with Asia following sometime after. The full game was released on May 24, 2016. An open beta took place—first for those who pre-ordered and then for everyone—on May 3 (pre-order) and May 5-10 (everyone).

Outside of Overwatch Archives (see Seasonal events below), there's very little story in the game itself - most of it is instead being developed through an Extended Universe that, for now, consists of:

    Animations (CGI) 

Season 1

Season 2

Archives trailers


Overwatch 2

    Animations (Non-CGI) 



    Short stories 

    In-universe news articles/blog posts/documents 

Selected tweets from the official Overwatch twitter:

Backstory is also revealed through character profiles on the official website. Blizzard has hinted at the possibility of more "linear" media in the future, hoping to expose Overwatch to new audiences.

Young adult novels from Scholastic have been announced, the first of which will release in May 2020.

Overwatch also features seasonal events, which draw upon real-life holidays and game lore. These events have a special game mode, skins, voice lines and sprays that can be unlocked during the span of the event. These include:

    List of seasonal events 
  • Summer Games note 
  • Halloween Terror note 
  • Winter Wonderland note 
  • Chinese New Yearnote 
  • Overwatch Archivesnote 
  • Overwatch Anniversary note 

Overwatch 2, a semi-sequel to the game was announced at BlizzCon 2019, promising new heroes, game modes and a deeper co-op story mode. The news also came with the information that this game will eventually merge with Overwatch 2 in the future, with cosmetics and such also transferringnote  An animated short, Zero Hour, was released along with the announcement.

Tropes that apply to Overwatch:

  • Abnormal Ammo: A few characters' weapons fire unusual things such as scrap metal, molten slag, or chemical-filled darts.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: As players advance in level, they earn more and more ornate portrait borders. At multiples of 100 + 1, the portrait border reverts to the plainest version and a star is added beneath. Once the player has 5 stars, the next upgrade reverts to a plain border and no stars, but also changes the color of the border and stars from bronze, to silver, to gold, to platinum with gold stars. Obtaining the most ornate platinum border with 5 gold stars requires level 2391, which quite a handful of players already had, just to show how determined some could be.
  • Acrophobic Bird: The Last Bastion shows two fighters perform close air support in the desperate battle to defend Stuttgart, but they fly lower than that role necessitates (especially against an enemy horde full of Bastions robots that can can serve as antiair platforms, and one indeed goes down in flames), and the camera immediately pans to the dropships deploying the Bastions, which would be far more suitable targets.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Lightly deconstructed. While there are beautiful places to explore such as Numbani and Dorado, high technology, and almost utopian advancement of society; there are also wartorn areas, evil organizations such as Talon and Vishkar Corporation in abundance, and the game is placed in the aftermath of a Robot War. On top of that, Overwatch doesn't play into the No Endor Holocaust trope, and shows that yes, this is all very dangerous for the average bystander in the world. It would seem that all of the beauty, all the circumstances that led to these interesting characters and their contrasting philosophies, all of these had consequences. On top of that, with all the turmoil and factions that an enterprising hero could fight, there's one thing made clear: The world isn't safe, no matter how beautiful it looks.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: While individual characters come from all around the world with their own cultures, each of them has enough of a 'technological' aspect in their design that it unifies the art style as a whole. As an example, Hanzo is mostly a traditional samurai, but both his boots and his bow are teched up. McCree is 100% traditional cowboy, except for his cybernetic hand.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • The background of the setting involves a massive war caused when the machines du jour (called "omnics") suddenly decided to stop taking orders. However, the three playable omnics are a childlike and peace-loving amnesiac mobile artillery unit (Bastion), a not-quite-Buddhist robot monk (Zenyatta), and a refurbished defense unit who protects Numbani (Orisa).
    • The Anubis AI featured in Mission Statement isn't too fond of humans.
    • Null Sector is an entire Omnic terrorist organization.
  • All There in the Manual: Much like Valve with Team Fortress 2, Blizzard develops the unfolding lore outside of the actual gameplay.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The "Sombra ARG" lasted from Ana's initial announcement up until her eventual announcement (June to November 2016), taking the form of several videos, screenshots and website descriptions containing incredibly well-hidden encrypted codes hinting at her presence within the world. The decoding process has been extremely complex, and a summary of fans' findings can be seen here.
  • An Adventurer Is You: The heroes are split into three different groups, forming a typical Damager, Healer, Tank structure:
    • Damage: These heroes excel at dealing damage and securing kills, whether by actively pushing objectives and making power moves against the enemy team, or to oppressively defend objectives and kill those straying near the holdout.note 
    • Tank: These heroes are large, and that's the point. With lots of shields and armor, tanks soak up bullets for their team by being all up in their foe's crosshairs, and can also be capable of making disruptive engagements to set up for massive enemy team wipes. Tanks are often also more close-ranged than ranged-oriented.
    • Support: These heroes take on a number of supporting roles, most focusing on all-important healing to keep their team sustained in their constant battles. Some can contribute further with their unique buffs such as damage or speed boosts, while others can actively taking part in assisting with damage and crowd control themselves.
  • Androids Are People, Too: The story of Overwatch is set after the Omnic Crisis and the world is shown to be recovering from the war. Omnics are robots that came from the Omnium factories but there is prejudice between them and humanity, as humans blame the Omnics for the crisis. Kings Row shows this tense segregation in its entirety.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You can earn loot boxes by leveling up. Those loot boxes can reward you with cosmetic items like icons, victory poses, skins, and more. Blizzard's reasoning for this, according this youtube video from Game Director Jeff Kaplan, is to essentially weed out those who play to earn rewards and boosts rather than those who play to challenge themselves against people of similar skill levels.
  • And You Were There: The framing device for the "Junkenstein's Revenge" Halloween event is a scary story being told by Reinhardt. Ana, Hanzo, McCree and Soldier 76 take on the roles of the four heroes who repelled his forces. Mercy plays the Witch, who can bring people Back from the Dead, Junkrat plays the Big Bad himself, Dr. Junkenstein, with his bodyguard Roadhog playing his Frankenstein's monster and Reaper playing an undead monster under the control of the Witch (who had been friends with 76 and Ana's "characters" in his former life).
  • Animal Motifs: The Lindholms have connections to bears. Torbjorn's name means "Thor Bear" and his "Viking" skin has his claw resemble a bear; you can also make the claim that his white, fur cloak is in reference to a polar bear. Brigitte's "Shieldmaiden" skin also features a bear and a bear paw print.
  • Animesque: The Doomfist origin video looks like a high-quality anime, in contrast to the CGI shorts being more Pixar-esque and the previous non-CGI shorts being stills.
  • Anti-Armor: Torbjörn's reworked Molten Core deals increased damage-per-second to enemy heroes with Armornote .
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • All heroes have infinite reserve ammunition (the magazines still have a finite capacity, so reloads are still necessary) for their primary weapons (D.Va's mech, Hanzo's quiver, and Moira's, uh, hands all have Bottomless Magazines), and have relatively quick reload times. This is so players won't have to scour for ammo packs, something that will take them out of the fight, as well as to put focus on a hero's abilities. What's more, Torbjörn or Mercy can switch between their weapon and tool, and when they equip the latter, their unequipped weapon will automatically reload itself after a short time.
    • No matter how high a place you fall from, you will not sustain fall damage, although some maps have bottomless pits and edges that will kill you if you fall into them... even if your character can fly, and the 'pit' is grass 40 feet below.
    • Characters who build devices or place traps (namely Symmetra, Torbjörn and Junkrat) have indicators on their screen that show roughly where the devices are placed and their status, namely when they're being triggered and when they're destroyed. Oddly enough, in Junkrat's case, it applies to his trap and not his concussion mine.
    • Some characters have built-in mechanics to avoid wasting their ultimates:
      • Ana can't use her ultimate unless there are valid targets within range (any ally within line of sight), so she doesn't waste her ultimate by accident.
      • Before Symmetra's rework, if the spawn rooms change while she has a Teleporter/Shield Generator active, it will disappear and she will get a boost to her ultimate charge proportional to the number of unused teleports remaining, or a complete charge for the Shield Generator so she can immediately rebuild it.
    • You will get warned by either your own character or a teammate in various critical situations, including if someone spots a sniper or a turret, if someone starts capturing the objective, if they are revived, and if you get attacked from behind.
    • You can enable an option to get into a skirmish (a practice session with other players) if you spend more than a minute waiting to get into a match, so that you have something to do while waiting to join a game.
    • If you get disconnected in a Competitive match, you can re-enter the match when you reconnect as long as it hasn't ended in the meantime.
    • Because the game is essentially non-stop team fighting, things can get extremely hectic. To properly alert players about Ultimates, the game plays a voice line for each hero globally so that everyone on both teams knows who's ulting. The game also accounts for Mirror Match situations, and has the enemy teams voice lines play in their native tongue to help with differentiation. If the character's main language is English, then the game plays a more distinct and aggressive-sounding voice line such as Reaper shouting "Die, die, die" on the enemy team and "Clearing the area" on an allied team.
    • If someone leaves in a Competitive match but doesn't return (either due to doing it on purpose or disconnecting and failing to rejoin in time), remaining players of the affected team are allowed to leave one minute from the time the offending player left with a loss but no quit penalties to make up for the high chance the team will probably take a protracted defeat otherwise anyway.
    • When you drop into the middle of a game (usually because somebody quit partway through), Overwatch may give you an XP "backfill bonus" to make up for lost opportunities for other awards and bonuses. In addition, if this game ends with your team losing (which is likely), this defeat won't be marked on your career record.
    • Characters announce when they are supporting allies, such as Torbjörn telling allies to "Come get yer armor!" and Symmetra announcing her Teleporter is set up, so players will know that they are being given support.
    • If an ally dies during PvE events (e.g. Uprising, Retribution, or Storm Rising, etc...), you have a few seconds to revive him or her. If you fail to do so, you fail the mission. Since one of the modes of this mission can be done with any hero, it may lead to situations where someone dies in a place other players can't reach. If that happens, the body is teleported to a more accessible location nearby, so you still have a chance to revive them.
      • Formerly, reviving is manual, however as of Retribution, all revives now only require a teammate to stand within proximity to a downed ally until the counter ticks back up to full. This is due to the default lineup for the Retribution event (Reyes, McCree, Moira and Genji) not including any tanks, which means that actively reviving an ally would leave a player completely exposed with no possible cover.
    • In the first week of the Retribution event, the mission would only be complete if all four players had entered the dropship. This meant that if one player decided to, at the end, ignore the objective and continue racking up kills in waves of enemies designed to be eventually unwinnable, the other three players would be forced to wait or even die themselves if that player were to die in the middle of enemy lines. An update introduced in the second week allows the rescue plane to depart if at least one party member is in the plane and the rest of the party is dead, awarding everyone a victory.
    • As a deterrent for players constantly leaving in quickplay and requeuing for matches they like, the game will hit you with a -75% XP gain "leaver's penalty" if you have left too many in a row, usually 5 out of the last 20, and will stay like that until you've finished a certain number of games without quitting. Formerly, there was no way to tell if one is back in the "green", however a counter has been added under the playercard on the main menu to show how many matches left the player has to complete before their XP gains return to normal, and a giant warning label will appear on the lower left corner if you're close to receiving a penalty. It only applies to quickplay, however, as Competitive has its own penalty measures (see Anti-Rage Quitting below).
  • Anti-Gravity:
    • Very few vehicles have wheels, instead they have some anti-gravity device in their place which keeps them afloat in midair. Lampshaded in Hollywood by the payload car's occupant:
      Hal-Fred Glitchbot: How long is this going to take? May as well have tires on this thing!
    • It shows up in some unusual places as well, most remarkably, Hanzo's arrowheads are anti-grav, floating above the shaft.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting:
    • If a player drops out of 5 or more of their last 20 matches, they will get 75% less EXP from subsequent games until they reduce that ratio.
    • In Competitive Mode, quitting out of a match early locks you out of playing Competitive Mode again for 10 minutes at minimum, and the penalties can increase with subsequent quits. Continuing to abort matches will result in you getting banned from the mode for the rest of the current season. The quit prompts have a big red warning message in ALL CAPS to warn you of these penalties.note note 
  • Anti-Villain: A recurring theme is that evil does not exist ab initio. Rather, it is cultivated within people through their experiences and surroundings. Each of the villains therefore has a story behind how they became who they currently are, which leaves each of them — some, admittedly, more than others — with some measure of sympathy.
    • Symmetra is the straightest example. She is a fundamentally well-intentioned person who is motivated by a legitimate desire to make the world a better place, and she appears genuinely regretful for her actions in A Better World when they lead to worsening the situation. Unfortunately, thanks to the environment in which she was raised, her definition of "better" is inflexibly rigid, regimental and unquestioning order in all things, and come hell or high water she intends to have it.
    • Downplayed a bit more with Reaper and Widowmaker. Both are presented as tragic figures who were once good, relatable people but fell victim to circumstance into becoming who they are now. But they're also presented as murderers who have gleefully ruined a lot of innocent people's lives, and the story makes no bones about how they do not have anyone's best interest at heart, they are not sorry for their crimes, and they each pose a threat that has to be dealt with as long as they're allowed to roam about unsupervised.
    • Zigzagged with Sombra. Of all the Talon agents, her intentions are the least heinous, being more of a thief than a murderer or warmonger, and she has the most relatable motivation for her actions: she's on the run from a vast global conspiracy, and she's using the resources Talon provides her to covertly investigate it. She's also, far and away, their most obnoxious member, she's implied to possibly not have the best interests of anyone but herself in mind, and she has no problem with being an accomplice to Talon's destructive ways even when it doesn't immediately service her ends.
    • Roadhog's homeland was sold out by his own government, and the hardships he endured in leading its ultimately futile defense, coupled with witnessing its degradation firsthand, led him to becoming a bitter, angry, hateful and selfish man who believes the world has spurned him. Thus, he thinks the harm he chooses to inflict is just what the world deserves. His partner-in-crime Junkrat also, but not quite to the same degree. Both are presented as products of their environment, but Junkrat's grievances are not as explored in-depth, and his actions are portrayed more like the fevered shenanigans of an irresponsible madman for his own amusement.
    • Even the coolly aloof Moira, who at first glance appears to be an aversion of the trope, has clear and realistic motivations. She doesn't have a tragic backstory, which arguably makes her the least sympathetic character in the game, but she isn't evil for the sake of being evil. She believes that her work will forward humanity, and ethics should not stand in the way of progress.
  • Apocalypse Not: Junkertown was built from and over the remains of the destroyed Omnium that, according to lore, left much of the Australian interior an irradiated wasteland and made Roadhog and Junkrat the people they are. If you look at the landscape on the map, there are no signs of destruction, devastation, or explosions. The Outback never had much to look at in the first place, but it's certainly not a Fall Out-esque nuclear wasteland either.
  • Apocalyptic Log: One in the form of visual Story Breadcrumbs in the Ecopoint: Antarctica map that you can't really tell is there unless you're really searching for it. There are several of Mei's notes and sketches littered around the map that when pieced together chronologically, tell the tragic events of her backstory before she and her crew went into cryogenic stasis.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Reaper is directly targeting past and present Overwatch operatives, so he runs into this often:
      • He and Soldier: 76 have more history and bad blood between each other than any other two characters. Even going back to their days as Overwatch agents, Gabriel Reyes always felt a degree of resentment for the lack of recognition he got as their head of wetwork compared to the charming and well-regarded Captain Morrison. It gradually built to a boiling point that culminated with Overwatch’s collapse, brought about in no small part by Reaper himself. This has intensified their bitterness and antagonism towards each other to the point where they are both effectively at the top of each other’s kill-on-sight list today.
      • In the animated shorts, Reaper has been foiled by Winston at least twice. When Reaper appears at Watchpoint: Gibraltar to acquire the Overwatch database, Winston recognizes him and drips animosity as he says his name. Winston manages to fight off Reaper and his goons in that exchange, but got teamed up on by Reaper and Widowmaker during the museum heist. Reaper temporarily bests Winston, but stops to step on Winston's glasses, which sends Winston into a primal rage. In-game, Reaper and Winston say nothing but hateful remarks to each other, with Reaper dismissively referring to him only as "Monkey" (and being one of Winston's counters) and Winston stating that even children wouldn't be scared of Reaper.
      • Tracer and Reaper don't get that many interactions, but she does get a nice line mocking his "Death comes" voice line if she kills him.
    • Widowmaker, being deeply involved in most of the story's conflicts, has quite a few:
      • Tracer and she are shaping up to be this for each other. They are the most visible hero/villain pair in the game, having multiple on-screen encounters (instead of confining it mostly to backstory), to the point where it’s even bled into the marketing for both this gamenote  and Heroes of the Stormnote . For Tracer, the root of their conflict is very personal, as Widowmaker is responsible for a murder in Tracer’s hometown that destabilized the already tense situation between humans and omnics into all-out chaos, personally causing Tracer a substantial amount of grief and injury in the process. In turn, Tracer played a role in botching her and Reaper’s museum heist, which signaled the beginning of Overwatch’s return and makes her partially representative of the first real opposition Talon has had to face in years. These two have been at each other’s throats since day one, and every single one of their interactions in-game is dripping with antagonism.
      • Ana and Widowmaker first crossed paths on a mission that ended in a disaster for Ana and her team in Overwatch, and caused Ana to lose her eye due to Widowmaker's Scope Snipe. Meeting each other again in-game results in a metric ton of Passive-Aggressive Kombat between the two women, with Widowmaker calling Ana a "shell of a woman" and Ana stating that Gerard was a fool for ever loving her. Widowmaker makes cutting remarks if she kills Ana's daughter Pharah in combat, and Ana throws Widowmaker's catchphrases back at her if she kills her.
    • As the man responsible for spearheading most of the main conflict, Doomfist has earned himself a few enemies who would rather not see him succeed.
      • He has terrorized Numbani on at least two occasions (once as shown in his origin story trailer, and again to retrieve his gauntlet), during which he made short work of the city's OR-15 security robots. Efi Oladele, a Numbani resident, built Orisa as a buffed-up version of those same machines in direct response to one of his attacks, which makes her a spiritual deterrent against him designed specifically to handle the kind of threat he poses. In contrast to the others mentioned here, they have yet to actually meet.
      • Winston was the one responsible for landing him in prison after he made the mistake of hurting his friends during one of his aforementioned rampages, which likely did not engender any goodwill between either of them. Doomfist even has newspaper clippings covering the event hanging on the walls in his cell, suggesting he still hasn't gotten over it.
    • Lúcio and Symmetra to each other. Even with her own growing doubts on Vishkar, Symmetra simply can't accept Lúcio's rise to fame kickstarted by stealing from her company and accosted him as a street thief or admonishing his ideas of freedom as anarchy. On the other hand, Lúcio stands on the firm belief that the people should have freedom and Vishkar is only bogging them down with their so-called 'order', and thinks that Symmetra is nothing but an Unwitting Pawn to (or just the same as) the corrupt company that was blinded by its 'fake' slogans and mocks her for not realizing the truth about her company while continuing to harass or mock Vishkar while sharing the benefits of his 'theft' to the poor people that needs it more.
  • Armor Meter: Physical armor, (which provides Damage Reduction for incoming firenote ) is represented by yellow ticks on your health bar while shield (which doesn't reduce damage, but can regenerate automatically after a few seconds of not taking damage) is represented as blue. Temporary armour and shields (which aren't healed, and sometimes drain away over time) which some abilities provide are represented by darker ticks.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Junkers", Junkrat's bio on the news states that he "specializes in explosives, arson, demolition, barbecue".
  • The Artifact: The Summer Games event is this. In 2016, the Summer Olympics was in Rio de Janerio, which was why Blizzard added sports-themed costumes and victory poses with medals for the heroes, created Lúcioball, and have it take place in Lúcio‘s hometown. However, there were no Olympic games in 2017 and while the Olympics took place during the Winter in 2018, the World Cup took place in July, yet on both years, there were still general sports costume and medal poses though they did also added beach theme costumes on both years as well.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions:
    • AI-controlled characters will say "gg" at the end of the round.
    • Friendly heroes will automatically thank you or otherwise acknowledge when they receive shields, armor or other boosts, or when they're resurrected. They will also occasionally call out "good shot!" or similar when an ally makes a kill.
      Mercy: Heroes never die!
      McCree: Thought I was a goner.
  • Artificial Brilliance: As noted under Artificial Stupidity, the AI bots are generally pretty poor, but play some heroes better than others. Zarya and Zenyatta in particular are quite strong, the former because the AI uses Zarya's barriers as well as any human can and the latter because the AI has perfect aim despite the travel time on Zenyatta's projectiles. Having two Zaryas on the AI team will make a bot game significantly more difficult.
  • Artificial Gravity: Horizon Lunar Base is on the moon, but has Earth-like gravity - until you go out the airlock into the actual lunar environment where the gravity is moon-normal (in other words 6 times weaker, allowing for huge jumps). There must therefore be some device in the base that boosts the gravity to Earth-normal.
  • Artificial Limbs: McCree, Symmetra and Torbjörn have cybernetic left arms while Junkrat has a metal peg leg prosthesis and a robotic right forearm and hand strapped to his elbow. As seen in the Uprising comic, most of Genji's body was replaced with cybernetic implants, following Overwatch's acquisition of him, with only his torso, left arm and head being left organic. Genji's current body is potentially even more cybernetic in nature. Doomfist's non-gauntlet arm is a prosthetic with built-in knuckle shotguns.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The bots in the offline mode make for very poor practice. While they always make sure to group up, they lump themselves together in such a manner that it is ludicrously easy to rack up eliminations without having to worry about your safety, and they only ever march towards their objectives, only splitting up when they get there or if a player intervenes. Depending on whether or not the bots are attacking, they might pick a hero that's extremely unsuitable for the situation, such as an attacking Bastion when playing on an easily defensible map like Hanamura. Furthermore, you'll only ever see the AI play as Soldier: 76, McCree, Reaper, Bastion, Torbjörn, Roadhog, Zarya, Lúcio, Ana, Mei, Zenyatta and Sombra. The AI isn't programmed to handle Pharah's and Genji's use of mobility, or Tracer's abilities. Hanzo and Widowmaker's sniping abilities are useless because of the above mentioned pathing. Junkrat's positional defenses can't be utilized. Reinhardt and Brigitte can't use their shield in order to keep up the pace, Winston's gun isn't accurate and his shield is useless for bots on the move, and the AI can't play as D.Va because it's basically two different forms between her MEKA and herself. Mercy requires the player to hold down the fire button (as do Mei, Moira and Symmetra) and rapidly change between players to keep them healed. Symmetra's entire concept is useless, again, because of the pathing. Orisa's anchor shield is useless for bots that constantly move, and the AI is unable to utilize the biotic orbs that Moira uses. Mei was eventually programmed into the AI, and she's very quick to use her Cryo-Freeze. That said, the remaining characters do use their abilities properly, and will use their ultimates when they see the right moment.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • The game takes liberties with maps based on specific real-life locations; for example, anyone who's been to Hollywood in real life can tell you that there's no major studios within a five-minute walk of Hollywood Boulevard, unlike its in-game counterpart. Of course, this is all in the name of fun and balanced maps (and because Blizzard were told to stop recreating real-life Hollywood by Hollywood themselves).
    • "Rise and Shine" takes place in Antarctica, yet we see the sun go down and rise again at least once. While possible at certain times of the year, the polar regions are well-known for having months worth of darkness or months of sunshine due to the way that the earth is angled.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In McCree's Lifeguard skin, his hat shades the lower half of his face but leaves light around his eyes. Shadows don't work like that.
  • Art Shift: The non-CGI shorts progressively changed overtime. First they were stills in beige color with minimal animation. Then they changed to being in full-color with more animation with Sombra and Orisa's origin videos. Then, it switched being straight-up animesque with Doomfist's origin video, being completely animated with no stills whatsoever.
    • The Junkertown cinematic is done in CGI, but unlike the other cinematics, it's animated in a way that more resembles classic 2D animation. It was also rendered in-engine, instead of using the Pixar-esque style the other cinematics used. The "Rise and Shine" short confirmed that this change would not be permanent. And within the short itself, the title cards are presented with illustrated backgrounds and rotoscoped animations in flat colors like the opening to an early 1960s thriller.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • One of D.Va's emotes, "Game On", has her playing a game on her mech's HUD while eating D.Vatos chips and drinking soda, a shout-out to the "Gremlin D.Va" meme.
    • The famous Cardboard Meka cosplay made popular by the fandom is now a spray tag.
    • When McCree announces that his Ultimate is ready he may coyly say "You know what time it is", referencing the meme where either he asks someone what time it is or another hero asks him. A later addition has Mei ask him what time it is. His response?
      McCree: Well, I'd say it's about— nah, I see what you're doin' there.
    • Genji sometimes calls himself "Green Cyborg Ninja Dude", a nickname the fandom used before his name was ever given. His Halloween voice line has him declare "Cyborg Ninja" to be his costume.
    • Ana's Halloween emote is her giving out candy, a reference to a popular fan interpretation of her as a doting grandmother.
    • The Halloween sprays portray each of the cast of Overwatch as trick-or-treating kids, except for Soldier: 76, who is depicted as a grumpy old man in a rocking chair, a reference to the "Dad: 76" meme. note 
    • During Sombra's ARG there was a fan theory about a code hidden in the sky of Dorado. This theory was so misguided that it required intervention of the developers to put the players back on track. One of Sombra's emotes, called "Amused", consists in her looking at the code and laughing. The code itself is also one of her sprays.
    • Several references have been made to "Dad 76" but none so blatant as his Summer Games 2017 skin as a stereotypical barbecue dad with cargo shorts and socks with sandals.
    • As of the Uprising patch, Lúcio, when nanoboosted, has a small chance of shouting "Boostio!"
    • While killing an enemy with a damage orb, Moira has a chance to quip "Simple geometry," referencing one of Hanzo's more infamous lines. One of her achievements is also called "Simple Trigonometry."
  • Asshole Victim: In the comic short "Going Legit", a Corrupt Corporate Executive hired Junkrat and Roadhog to rescue hostages from Omnic terrorists so they can take the fall for an insurance fraud scheme he was doing. Once Junkrat and Roadhog catch on to his intentions, they kill him by hanging the man outside with chains several hundred feet in the air and then blowing him (and his office building) to kingdom come.
    • Antonio Giordani, the Talon executive whose bombing of Blackwatch HQ kills many agents and kicks off the events of Retribution. His execution at the hands of Gabriel Reyes alerts Talon to the strike team's presence and signals Reyes' own descent into villainy, but the guy is such an absolute scumbag that, even though you know it will lead to nothing good, you still find yourself cheering when his smarmy ass gets blown out that window and rooting for Reyes and his team to get away with it, at least for the duration of the event.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: The Winter Wonderland event-exclusive "Yeti Hunt", which pits 5 Hunters (represented by Mei) against a single boss Yeti (represented by Winston), similar to Evolve. The goal of the Hunters is to kill the high-health Yeti, while the Yeti has to kill 5 Hunters first, made easier by collecting meat across the map that can send him into Primal Rage and grant him huge bonus damage.
  • A-Team Firing: Everyone in the cinematic trailer. Bullets are flying everywhere, but even the sniper barely hits anything except Winston.
  • Ate His Gun: In the comic "Mission Statement", the Omnic team member Okoro kills himself instead of letting himself get taken control of by the Anubis AI and killing his team mates.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "Destroyer" features Torbjörn going up against a Titan-class Omnic, a monstrous machine as tall as a skyscraper. Torbjörn himself originally designed it to help build high rises, but the project was repurposed for warfare during the Omnic Crisis.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Dubstep plays over Soldier: 76's battle against street thugs in his short "Heroes".
    • Averted by letter, but played straight in spirit with "Reunion" letting McCree crush Ashe's team to an awesome westernnote  theme.

  • Badass Bystander: Brian, the older of the two kids in the cinematic trailer helps out by wearing Doomfist's gauntlet that Reaper and Widowmaker are after and punching Widowmaker with it, throwing her a good way across the exhibit.
  • Badass Crew: The original Overwatch strike team consisting of Jack, Reyes, Ana, Torbjörn, and Reinhardt definitely fit this trope. They were the ones that brought an end to the Omnic Crisis and established Overwatch as a worldwide organization.
  • Badass Normal: Most characters don't technically have special powers, but effectively achieve superhero-esque abilities through technology. McCree, on the other hand, is just a completely normal guy who possesses a flashbang, a revolver, and really good aim (he does have an artificial left arm, but it doesn't seem to give him any special abilities), yet can fight with the best of them.
    • Hanzo also counts, fighting with no cybernetics, and just wielding a bow and arrow. He does use magic when performing his ultimate, but other than that, it's all raw skill.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In general, at the end of the early era of Overwatch, Talon has overall won. They brainwashed Amélie Lacroix, who then assassinated their biggest opposition: her own husband. After that, Amélie became Widowmaker and gravely injured Ana Amari, leading Reinhardt to be forced into retirement, quickly allowing Overwatch to become corrupt. This led to the destruction of the Swiss Headquarters, the supposed deaths of Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes, and Overwatch being declared illegal and disbanded. In the present, Talon is a Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy capable of spreading their influence almost unopposed… until Winston reinstated Overwatch.
      • Talon has had more overall success in the present as well. In addition to the assassination in London, Doomfist's breakout completely negates Tracer and Winston's victory in the cinematic trailer, and also returns one of their leaders to a position where he can direct them to become an even greater threat. Masquerade also reveals through dialogue that Reaper was indeed successful in recovering information from the Gibraltar terminal in Recall, and that Talon has been able to work around the assassination's failure in Infiltration in order to turn the target into an asset. So, even when the bad guys fail to accomplish their objective, they still get what they want and manage to come out ahead. Meanwhile, Overwatch is still in ruins and its return has gained only a modicum of traction.
    • At the end of the Alive video, Widowmaker succeeds in assassinating her target. And at the end of Legacy comics, Widowmaker put Ana out of business very quickly and ruined her mission.
    • Zig-Zagged in Infiltration. While the Talon members fail to kill the Volskaya president, Sombra accomplishes her goal of blackmailing the president into becoming her "friend".
    • Escorting the payload in King's Row. YOU are escorting and detonating an EMP to destroy a group of Omnic refugees. Good job, You Bastard!...
    • Similarly, if you succeed in Junkertown, YOU are escorting a bomb, disguised as an offering to the queen of Junkertown, in retribution for kicking out Junkrat and Roadhog for very good reasons.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Reflections opens up with Winston in Watchpoint: Gibraltar talking with Athena about spending the holidays alone. Cut to Tracer frantically running around London on a last minute shopping spree. We follow her as she tries to find a gift for someone (and hitting some snags along the way), presumably her best friend. Then she gets back home. Surprise! She was actually trying to find something for her previously unseen girlfriendnote .
  • Banana Peel: In Recall, a Talon operative slips on a banana peel while trying to restrain Winston using the cable gun. This is a rare plot critical example of the trope, as opposed to being just for humor. It allowed Winston to break free, and defeat the Talon operatives (including Reaper), preventing them from getting the locations of the former Overwatch agents. Then he reinstated Overwatch. Yes, the failure of Talon's mission and the revival of Overwatch can all be attributed to one Talon operative slipping on a banana peel.
  • Barrier Warrior: All the Tanks sans Roadhog are able to deploy energy shields, and with different uses.
    • D.Va's Defense Matrix will block (almost) anything that's fired at her, and is governed by a recharging meter rather than damage taken. However, the range and width are small, making it more effective when she's up close and personal with the enemy rather than back with her team.
    • Orisa's Protective Barrier throws out a stationary barrier that can protect her and her allies from enemy fire.
    • Reinhardt's Barrier Field is a large shield that has 2000 HP, can be kept up indefinitely (though Rein moves much slower and can't attack when it's up), and regenerates 195 per second when it's not up. This makes a good player extremely valuable to the team, as he can directly protect other players while they make a push.
      • Brigitte (a Support hero) has a scaled-down Barrier Shield, which only has 500 HP and covers much less physical space and doesn't slow her down as much, but otherwise functions identically, along with an added Shield Bash attack.
    • Winston's Barrier Projector is a large stationary bubble that has 600 HP and a 6 second duration. He can drop it over his team to prevent the enemy from shooting in, or jump into the middle of the enemy and drop it over them to prevent them from shooting out.
    • Wrecking Ball's Adaptive Shield can create an extra 100 shields for him and adds more shields for each enemy that's near him for a total amount to 700 shields for a group of 6 opponents. This makes it very useful in case he's surrounded by the enemy and gives it extra time to either escape or buy some time to hold off the enemy at a point until the rest of the team shows up.
    • Zarya's Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier. The former shields herself for two seconds, and the latter shields a teammate for two seconds, and both have 200hp. That might not sound like much, but with proper timing, it can completely negate an enemy Ultimate or save the life of a recklessly charging ally. Additionally, shots absorbed by the shields power up her weapon, and if it gets to 100, she becomes a formidable damage dealer.
    • A non-tank example is Symmetra after her rework, where she can send out a floating, slow-moving Photon Barrier that provides unidirectional mobile cover for allies. When she received another rework, this ability became an infinitely-spanning wall as her new ultimate.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Heroes can apparently breathe perfectly fine on the surface sections of the Horizon Lunar Base with no explanation as to how. It's made even more glaring with the subversion of Space Is Noisy, implying that they are indeed within the vacuum of space with no equipment different to what they normally have.
  • Batman Gambit: Played for Laughs in the Trace & Bake ad commemorating the game's second anniversary. Tracer (or, rather, her living statuette) bakes a cake in honor of the occasion, but doesn't have any matches for the candles. Her solution? Slowly scoot it across the table and deliberately knock it against the base of Reaper's statuette. One hail of gunfire and a lot of dodging later, and the candles are all lit.
  • Battle in the Rain: One of the three maps for Lijiang Tower, Night Market, takes place outside in the rain, though it's only visible on higher graphical settings.
  • Beach Episode: Summer Games 2017 gives McCree, Widowmaker, Sombra, and Soldier:76 beach-themed skins and has a beach as one of the main menu backgrounds.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Played With. Both of the sexually-enticing Ms. Fanservice characters (Widowmaker and Symmetra) work for one of the two major antagonist factions: Talon and Vishkar. However, it's not that clear-cut. Widowmaker is also a Tragic Villain who was turned evil against her will (although she certainly embraces it now). Symmetra is a Noble Top Enforcer who truly believes in her employers' ideals, and questions many of their more unethical decisions. It's also worth pointing out that some of the most unambiguously good female characters such as Mercy, Tracer and Mei are plenty easy on the eyes themselves.
  • Becoming the Costume: Some of the alternate skins will give new/change their heroes' voice lines in order to make them fit with their new theme. Individual examples can be found on each character's character page.
  • Being Evil Sucks: While Reaper and Widowmaker are normally portrayed as Card Carrying Villains who find the act of evil exhilarating, the Reflections comic shows the clear downside of it. Both are lonely and depressed on Christmas, the season for being together with loved ones, to which they have none. Reaper watches a family happily going about their day on Christmas, looking clearly saddened through his static mask.note  Meanwhile, Widowmaker mourns her deceased husband in the snow, having been personally responsible for killing him. This sheds light on the theme that the villains of Overwatch are ultimately broken individuals who have been victims of the world they live in.
  • Being Good Sucks: The good guys don't have it much better. Most, if not all, of them are genuinely good, helpful, likable people whose efforts and sacrifices to uphold their ideal for a more prosperous world have earned them hardship, misery and ingratitude. Good or bad, everyone in the world of Overwatch is a victim to at least some degree.
    • Mercy has selflessly dedicated her life to peace and medicine after witnessing the horrors of war firsthand, and her reward is to be shuttled from one belligerent, unresponsive environment to another until she's reduced to sojourning through the plague-ridden Middle East by her lonesome in order to accomplish anything.
    • Winston has steadfastly, solitarily and thanklessly stood by Overwatch's side even after its collapse when upholding its duties could label him as a criminal.
    • Genji has put forward the effort to forgive and reach out to his brother even after the latter nearly killed him, and he's met with hostility and an arrow pointed in his face for his trouble.
    • Jack Morrison has seen his entire life's work in building an international peacekeeping force go up in flames as he himself is reduced to a bitter, wanted vigilante. It was revealed that he had a boyfriend/fiance, who has moved on and found a happy life without him (one he couldn't provide).
    • Reinhardt perseveres through his emotional scars to uphold justice wherever he goes with almost no support.
    • Mei basically took a nap and woke up to discover her friends had perished and several years of her life's work fighting climate change in ruins.
    • Fate seems determined to repay Tracer for years of tirelessly fighting for the common good and prioritizing the needs of others above herself by undoing her accomplishments, sometimes right before her eyes, and making life itself harder for her.
  • Berserk Button: A few characters have these.
    • Winston's is people stepping on his glasses, which are a Tragic Keepsake from his deceased human Parental Substitute Dr. Harold Winston. In the cinematic trailer, we see the results of pushing that button. Sort of literal during gameplay, as the icon for Winston's Ultimate (which, as in the trailer, makes him go berserk) is a pair of broken glasses.
    • In "Recall", we have another one for Winston: calling him a "monkey".
      Winston: I am not a monkey. I am a SCIENTIST!
      (cue Reaper being blown across the room and disintegrated by Tesla)
    • As revealed in the webcomic "Going Legit", Junkrat's is people calling his partner-in-crime Roadhog "fat". Though he has no problem doing it himself.
    • In "Dragons", the cool-headed Hanzo has an increase in rage whenever he hears anyone mentioning Genji, as he sees it as an act of mockery to his brother's memory.
    • Widowmaker, for someone who usually acts calm (apart from when she's killing), has enough humanity left in her to react very strongly when someone badmouths or even mentions Gerard, her deceased husband that she was brainwashed into killing.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed:
    • In high-level play, a common tactic when cut off from the rest of your team or being the only survivor of a lost team-fight is to commit suicide either by jumping off the map or blowing yourself up with your weapon. Not only does this prevent the enemy from killing you and charging their ultimates quicker, but it can help you regroup with your team when it otherwise wouldn't be possible.
    • In a Deathmatch, sometimes you are better off committing suicide because you can deny your opponent's point however if you do this enough times then you will lose a point.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The candidates for Big Bad seem to grow over time, to the point where we can expect a shuffle later. To wit:
    • There's Talon, who was at least partially responsible for Overwatch's original downfall by creating Widowmaker out of Amélie Lacroix and "killing" Ana, and kickstarted the plot by attempting to kill all of them off. Reaper, formerly known as Overwatch founder Gabriel Reyes, who was essential to Overwatch's dissolution, was revealed to be a member of Talon's Council of Leaders, alongside Doomfist, who had been The Ghost beforehand and a major force in leading organization, and then Moira, who gave Reaper his powers and Blackwatch and Talon scientific research and weapons. They all have their own agendas, and don't always agree, but work together to achieve a common goal.
    • The Vishkar Corporation, who entered the fray and established their presence by taking over Rio de Janeiro. Then it's revealed Vishkar might be in an alliance with Talon with Vishkar member Sanjay Korpal being on the Talon's inner council.
    • Also, Sombra's reveal also gave way to The Conspiracy, which has some involvement in everything, but whatever motive they have isn't yet clear.
    • Then there's the God Programs, who had been responsible for the Omnic Crisis, and are still alive (but currently quarantined).
    • Overall: Talon (lead by Reaper, Doomfist, Moira and others), Vishkar (who may have a connection to Talon), The Conspiracy, and the God Programs. This isn't getting into all the other antagonistic factions and forces in the setting, either.
  • The Big Guy: Tanks naturally fit this trope. Almost all of them are very large in size, towering over the rest of the cast, with Winston, Reinhardt, Roadhog, and Orisa being over seven feet tall, and Zarya is considerably shorter at only ("only") 6'5". Two exceptions to this are D.Va, who is quite petite as one would expect from a South Korean girl, and Wrecking Ball, who is a hamster, but they both compensate with their mech suits.
  • Big "NO!": The girl with the Omnic companion does this when Tekhartha Mondatta is killed in the Alive short.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • It's not uncommon for a Hero whose first language isn't English to drop a few voicelines in their native tongue (ex. Sombra with Latin-American Spanish, Genji with Japanese, etc.). However, this only applies when the voice actor knows at least a little bit of the language though after a patch, Lúcio does speak some Brazilian Portuguese despite his actor not fluent in the language.
    • The calligraphy in Hanamura (the one which Hanzo kneels in front of in the Dragons short) spells out a Chinese /Japanese proverb, which literally translates into "(A) dragon's head, (and a) snake's tail", and means "to start with a bang, but end with a whimper". Presumably, it was hung there to remind the Shimada clan to never commit that mistake.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the comics and shorts.
    • Dragons: Hanzo and Genji are reunited, and Genji forgives his brother, but their future is uncertain, as Hanzo, who had forsaken his criminal heritage and spent the past many years of his life trying to atone for what he thought was killing his brother, is left feeling very conflicted about the recent turn of events.
    • Hero: Soldier: 76 saves Alejandra and proves, at least to her, that he’s still a hero. But most of the Los Muertos gang members get away, and while Alejandra may think Jack is hero, he himself does not.
    • The Last Bastion: Ganymede helps Bastion overcome its programming, and it returns peacefully to the forest, but it’s still racked with issues from the war and likely won’t be able to coexist with people for a long time, if ever.
    • Train Hopper: McCree lets the Talon agents have the strange device they came for, but in the process manages to save everyone on the train.
    • Infiltration: Definitely more "bitter" than "sweet," though. The mission is technically a failure from Talon’s perspective, but Sombra still manages to pull the wool over her allies' eyes and walks away with everything she wanted. Volskaya has effectively been blackmailed/threatened into being Sombra's personal benefactor, but she is still alive, even if her position on the moral scale is somewhat ambiguous, and she's got a job for Zarya.
    • Reflections: Definitely more "sweet" than "bitter,” though. Tracer nearly returns home empty-handed until a family she had helped earlier offers her a gift of their own as thanks. When she returns to her flat, her girlfriend Emily impulsively opens it, revealing it to be the same kind of scarf Tracer let someone else have earlier. They share a tender little moment and then show up at Watchpoint: Gibraltar to save Winston from spending Christmas alone. The penultimate spread is a collage showcasing how all the various heroes and villains are spending their holidays. Some are happy, such as Genji writing a letter to Mercy and Reinhardt celebrating with Torbjörn's family. Others, such as Widowmaker paying a visit to her husband's grave and Reaper forlornly observing a happy family, are not. Still, back on Gibraltar, the trio are enjoying dinner and each other's company, and Winston comments that he has a good feeling about next year.
    • Uprising: Tracer gets through to Commander Morrison and helps convince him to authorize a strike to assist with the crisis in London. The team ships out, and judging by the conditions in chronologically later materials, they resolve the situation and retrieve the hostages; Tracer successfully gets to save her home on her first mission, proves her credentials, and her career as a field agent begins in earnest. Under normal circumstances, this would be a straightforward happy ending. Unfortunately, this is a prequel that takes place before Alive, which means any success the heroes achieve in this scenario is doomed to be short-lived.
    • Rise and Shine: Mei restores the relay, becomes aware of Winston's recall of Overwatch, and successfully escapes the station, with a happily recovered Snowball in tow. However, she has a very long trek ahead of her to civilization through the frigid Antarctic, her colleagues have perished, and the whole world has taken a drastic turn for the worse while she slept, as the global warming situation has intensified and Overwatch's absence has given rise to many challenges to overcome should she manage to regroup and help rebuild it.
    • Searching: Sombra once again gets away, and she manages to shake Zarya's faith in Chairman Volskaya by at least some measure; Zarya resolves to return to the fight in Russia but is otherwise unsure of what the future holds for her. But her experience with Lynx Seventeen has begun to soften her hostility toward omnics, and Sombra has at least been given a scare that someone knows her name and now has to deal with the possibility that her identity may be compromised.
    • Honor and Glory: Reinhardt decides to answer the recall, but is clearly still dealing with his Survivor Guilt from the defense of Eichenwalde. In the context of the flashback, he survives the events of the day, but has to live with knowing his commander Balderich von Alder perished, which he chooses to honor by joining Overwatch in his stead. Also, given that Eichenwalde remains in ruins and Balderich's body is still on the throne even thirty years later, it's possible that the defense failed anyway, or at least that the city was just left to rot with no effort at recovery or rebuilding.
  • Bland-Name Product: D.Va's "Game On" Emote has her munching on some "D.Vatos", a play on the Doritos brand of chips that are commonly associated with the gamer stereotype.
    • Judging from her unique Summer Games skins, Tracer has a preference for "Speed Unlimited" brand sportswear, which could stand in for any major retail sporting goods brand.
  • Blood-Stained Letter: The Hanamura map has in its shrine a a wall scroll with a sword slice in one corner with specks of blood around it, left over from the brothers' confrontation.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: More specifically, armor itself is considered a type of hit point that mitigates up to 5 damage with every incoming projectile, making it effective for facing automatic rifle weapons and even shotgun blasts, but not as much while facing explosive single bursts of damage. Most armored heroes naturally spawn with armor as part of their health bar, and Brigitte is able to grant armor to other teammates.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Healer heroes are often this, due to sacrificing damage-dealing and Plays of the Game in order to keep the team in top shape without them having to scramble for health packs.
    • Soldier: 76 is meant to be this. He has neither spectacular DPS, reliable burst damage, nor gimmicks to demolish the other team, and as a Damage hero he is understandably squishy. However, he is very beginner-friendly and versatile, sporting agreeable accuracy boosted by Tactical Visor to help snipe down annoying targets like Pharah and Tracer, a reasonably effective heal to serve as a ghetto Healer, and a sprint to help him quickly get in and out of combat. Not for nothing that he's the one you play as in the Tutorials, and Blizzard had to hit him with the Nerf bat several times so as to make him not too practical that he could steamroll other DPS heroes.
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: The two antagonist factions in Overwatch — Vishkar Corporation and Talon, represent Order and Chaos, respectively. The former is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to Take Over the World so they can enforce an iron-fisted dictatorship in the name of peace, while the latter is bent on causing as much destruction as possible to push humanity's evolution and strength through conflict.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Both Overwatch and the United Nations are right in some ways. Overwatch was formed to fight what no one else could, and later made a better world with peacekeeping, science and exploration. However, it's also very militaristic in nature, which created tension. Later, the covert "Blackwatch" unit and all of its dirtiest secrets were revealed to the public, demonstrating how corrupt it had become. The United Nations decided to revoke their charter and shut them down, and not without good reason. However, the world clearly still needs an organization of heroes like Overwatch, as there are many problems that the UN, nor individual nations, can't solve.
  • Bottomless Magazines: D.Va and Moira can fire nonstop without reloading. Reinhardt and Brigitte only have melee weapons, so they do not need to reload either. While everyone else has an unlimited supply of ammo, they still have a limited clip size.
  • Bottomless Pits: A frequent feature that almost every map has. Some are pits only on the borders of the map that you'd have to want it to fall in it. Other maps have pits that prove to be a hazard that you can fall or be knocked back into unintentionally, such as Ilios or King's Row. Pushing enemies into pits on purpose is a legitimate (and rather annoying) tactic that heroes with knockback (D.Va, Pharah, Junkrat, Lúcio, Brigitte) or drags (Roadhog, Orisa) can employ for easy kills. Subverted with Lúcio, thanks to his wall-riding ability, if you're skilled enough. Very high-skilled players can use the one in Ilios as a method of avoiding enemies. Hollywood and Temple of Anubis avert this trope.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Comes in two varieties.
    • Golden weapons are proof that a player has won in Competitive mode enough to show off their skills. Each win earns 10 SP, and 3,000 are needed to buy a golden weapon. Where the player ranks at the end of the season results in a bonus of SP as well, so eventually most players will obtain at least one.
    • The top 500 players of each Competitive season earn an animated version of the standard Season icon to show how strong they really are.
    • As noted under Absurdly High Level Cap, just owning the five-gold star, platinum portrait border means you've achieved practically the highest level possible in the game, at an astounding 2391. And this being a game where even five-star gold borders are an uncommon sight among streamers and year-long veterans.
  • Breather Episode: Compared with the other story materials released thus far, the holiday comics unfold at a much more leisurely pace, following the heroes just going about their seasonal business and involving little in the way of angst, drama or danger.
    • Junkenstein basically amounts to Reinhardt telling his friends a ghost story at a Halloween party. Any drama or danger present is all part of the tale, and it ends with shenanigans as Gabriel (before he became Reaper) makes a bombastic entrance in his costume. Everyone laughs, and all is well.
    • Reflections follows Tracer on a last-minute shopping spree through London at Christmastime as she tries to find the right gift for her girlfriend Emily, but keeps getting sidetracked by people in need around her. Once she arrives back at home, she and Emily share a sweet little moment of privacy and then pay a visit to Winston on Gibraltar to ensure he isn't alone for Christmas. A two-page spread collage shows the various heroes and villains peacefully (if not necessarily ''happily'' for a few) undergoing the holidays in their own ways and it all ends with Tracer, Winston and Emily enjoying dinner and being hopeful for the new year. Considering that London is usually embroiled in crisis when we check in, the difference in tone is striking.
    • Released between Doomfist's harrowing return and the very emotional Rise and Shine, Junkertown - The Plan is a straightforward screwball comedy comparatively shorter than the other shorts and animated using the in-game engine that plays out like a cartoon about Junkrat and Roadhog's titular plan to get revenge on the Junkers for kicking them out, carried entirely by Junkrat's bombastic rambling while Roadhog attempts to rein him in from screwing it up, which, naturally, he does.
  • Breakout Character: Not exactly a character, per se, but the Pachimari was originally just a background element for the Hanamura map, but was given increasing presence in the game and even story-related content due to its popularity with fans.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted. There are no weapons or boosts in the game at all, so a hero's effectiveness depends entirely on the player controlling it. The only things purchasable with real money in-game are the Loot Boxes, which not only contain purely cosmetic rewards, but are given to you for free every time you rank up.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Omnics are clearly an allegory for oppressed minorities. Where the story gets ham-handed is in the lore surrounding Omnics:
      • Real life minorities are not built with guns, Deflector Shields, or durable steel bodies. Arguing that living in fear of a rogue Omnic is comparable to them living in fear of a rogue minority is, in fact, doing the latter a disservice.
      • The Omnics were treated as disposable slaves and servants before their uprising, which can serve as a cautionary tale about Real Life slavery and unethical treatment. However, most marginalized groups in reality have neither the numbers, firepower, or capital to stage a full-scale uprising.
      • While most refugees come from conflicts restricted to a particular region, the Omnic Crisis was a global war. All of humanity was at risk of being wiped out. A civil war in one country absolutely pales to a conflict that spanned the world and nearly exterminated all human life.
      • Omnics can be hacked, as proven by Mission Statement (and, to a lesser extent, Searching). Even if you know in your heart that your Omnic friend wouldn't hurt a fly, they can still be hacked and turned against you. While Widowmaker proves that humans can also be brainwashed into committing cold-blooded murder against their will in the Overwatch universe, it took weeks of brainwashing and psychological torture for Talon to make Amélie Lacroix into their sleeper agent after they kidnapped her, whereas a God AI such as Anubis can take control of a nearby Omnic in the space of a few minutes.
    • The message the lore repeatedly tries to hammer home about having hope and taking the initiative to make a difference in the world starts to feel like this when you tally up the achievements of the heroes and villains and realize that the former have made almost no difference despite over two years of story developmentnote . The villains have an uncanny ability to circumvent the heroes' victories and turn their own losses into gains when they aren't winning outright, while the heroes continue to struggle just with regrouping and don't even appear to have a clear plan. And since the effects of their early victories have been diminished by later developments, you could even say they have lost progress in some areas. Hope is nice, but results are nicer, and the results we've seen so far give the impression that positive change in this setting is fleeting and having hope just sets you up for disappointment later.

  • Cain and Abel: The Shimada brothers Hanzo and Genji. When their father died, the dutiful heir Hanzo was forced by the elders to discipline his less responsible brother Genji and have him take a more active part in the clan's criminal activities. After Genji refused, tensions rose between the two until they clashed in a violent confrontation, in which Hanzo thought he'd killed his brother, causing him to leave the clan in shame. While Genji has since forgiven Hanzo after his return as a cyborg ninja, Hanzo is still very conflicted about his brother and what he is now, and the tension between the two is still evident in the game.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Each character calls out their ultimate attack, which, in some cases, can help you avoid them or even negate them with the right ability. Some characters even give a voice line after using standard abilities.
  • The Cavalry: Planes bomb the Omnics shooting at Reinhardt and two soldiers he's huddling over in the Honor and Glory short, saving them while they were desperately standing still and the rest of their ground allies fled.
  • The Cameo: The Player Icons contain characters from other Blizzard franchises, most of them already appearing in Heroes of the Storm. These include: Diablo, Sonya, Valla, Li-Ming, Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, Arthas (Lich King), Jaina (white haired), Sylvanas, Varian and Garrosh.
  • Cast Herd: Many characters can be put in distinct groups with others, who share their beliefs, methodology, and even fit the same overall playstyle, although there's also overlap (e.g. Reaper, Widowmaker and Sombra all work for Talon, but Sombra can also be grouped up with Zarya, because she's blackmailing her boss, and Soldier-76 because of his vigilante activities in her home-town). The playable characters are also all classified into Offense, Defense, Tanks, and Support, which are similar in game mechanics rather than characterization but still allow the fans to divide the large ensemble cast into smaller, easier-to-remember groups when discussing everyone at once.
    • Winston and Tracer are relatively young and idealistic ex-Overwatch members who have white weaponry and armor, with a visibly high-tech, angular design, are idealists attempting to re-start Overwatch, and play flanking roles based on rapid movement.
    • Soldier: 76 and Ana are old Overwatch veterans, Still Wearing the Old Colors, but more "Urbanized", seeking to find out whatever conspiracy brought the organization down. Their playstyles revolve around healing themselves and others while fighting in a cohesive group.
    • Members of Talon, like Doomfist, Moira, Reaper, Sombra, and Widowmaker are dresssed in dark hues, have various levels of physical modification done on them, and other Obviously Evil features such as spikes and claws. Their movesets are mobile, and all have some level of assassinesque gameplay with hard-to-follow mobility and escape options, with most of them also having high burst damage of some sort.
    • Junkers, like Junkrat and Roadhog, hail from the mess that was once the Australian outback, with a yellow-and-black Scavenged Punk design, using powerful, but imprecise brute-force weaponry and rather self-centered, offensive short ranged kits.
    • Lúcio and D.Va are celebrities who fight using their chosen art form (music and gaming) as weapons. They're also two of the more cheerful characters and remain stalwart fans of each other. Both are highly mobile and in-your-face with disruptive knockback and abilities that obstruct enemy attacks in general.
    • Symmetra and Zarya, are duped loyalist followers of relatively regional sinister organizations (respectively Vishkar and Volskaya) that use their naïve idealism to manipulate them into carrying out their dirty work. They're armed with beam-based energy weapons that get more powerful by charging up in some fashion, explosive energy blasts, and have half their health as shields.
    • Reinhardt and his squire, Brigitte, are defensive Close Range Combatants with purely melee weaponry in knightly Powered Armor. They defend themselves with powerful barrier shields while dashing into the fray to engage in hand-to-hand combat.
    • The Overwatch World Cup 2018 introduced four sprays that grouped together heroes by where they are in the game's extremely slowly developing story. One put Winston, Emily, Mei, and Tracer together note , another had Reinhardt, Bastion, Brigitte, and Torbjorn note , and another had Zarya, Sombra, McCree, and Hanzo note 
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Each hero has a distinctive design, distinguishable even in silhouette. This keeps the characters easily distinguishable even if you're not familiar with the skin they're using, or when viewing their outline through a wall with an ability. The only real notable exceptions of skins that deviate from the silhouettes are three of Reaper's skins: Mariachi and El Blanco (they give him a massive Mexican hat and guitar on his back), and Blackwatch Reyes (which removes his trenchcoat).
  • Catchphrase: Tracer's is apparently "Cheers, luv! Cavalry's here!", and each character's Ultimate Skill call-out could also count as one. Also played with on Reinhardt, one of his unlockable voice lines is literally yelling "Catch Phrase!". Other characters will mock or play with others' catch phrases, which can lead to the 'owner' of the catch phrase calling them out on it. For example, Junkrat may call out 'Cheers, mate, cavalry's here!', leading to Tracer indignantly hollering at him that that's her line.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The organization Talon makes no secret that they're terrorists and they want the world to either burn or get plunged into chaos. But hey, at least they're honest about it, compared to some like Vishkar Corporation, who masks their nefarious goals with benevolent methods.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • In the cinematic trailer, Winston asks the two brothers touring the museum if they're enjoying the exhibit even while he's getting shot at.
    • Some ultimate callouts can be this, especially the 'for allies' versions such as Reaper; "Clearing the area" rather understates the fact that he's unleashing an ultimate that can very well lead to an enemy team wipe.
  • Celebrity Paradox: According to lore and the map Blizzard World, Blizzard Entertainment themselves exist in-universe, as do most of their current games, though not Overwatch itself. When asked about this, the developers explained that this counterpart of theirs does not produce Overwatch.
  • Central Theme:
    • Maintaining hope, even when times seem at their darkest, and the power of individuals to make a difference, whether for good or ill.
    • Lunar New Year has a different theme every year, in which legendary skins are named after and represent various characters from Chinese mythology and folklore.
  • Character Roster Global Warming: Non-tanks tend to be added more often than Tanks. Of the 8 post-release characters added so far, only two Tanks have been added, and of those two, Wrecking Ball doesn't fit the same "slow but able to defend the team" niche that many of the others do. Justified with Support characters as they were initially the smallest class and one got moved to another class so they can catch up to Tank.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Junkrat and Roadhog steal various items in the "A Moment in Crime Special Report: 'The Junkers'" video. Those items end up being the cargo on the payload for the map Junkertown, as part of a heist to get revenge.
  • Classic Villain: In the proud tradition of the game’s inspirations, the villains fit many of the criteria, being overtly visually and methodically distinct from the heroes, achieving their goals early on, often acting as foils for their good counterparts, and embodying at least one sin:
    • Reaper: Envy and Wrath. Gabriel Reyes' resentment and frustration over the lack of recognition for his work embittered him to the point of outright hostility with his comrades, leading to a confrontation that left him in grievous condition for him to become what he is today. Now, as Reaper, he takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in violence, and his campaign of extermination against former Overwatch agents seems to be motivated at least in part by a desire to vent his frustrations against those whom he considers to have neglected himnote . For comparison, his former comrade and current foil Jack Morrison/Soldier: 76 was also presumed dead in the same incident, also wears a mask, and is also motivated by a desire for retribution, but where Reaper presents himself as an otherworldy wraith, dons a dark attire, and pursues personal vengeance, Morrison presents himself as just a man, wears a bright red and blue jacket, and pursues justice for his fallen organization.
    • Widowmaker: Lust and Pride. Not even just for her appearance, but rather for the way she luxuriates in her actions and treats killing like an indulgence, one for which she’s always eager for more. She is one of Talon’s most effective agents, and she seems to be aware of this given her mannerisms, which convey a condescending disdain and tendency to belittle those around her. She's particularly fond of mocking those she's triumphed over in the past, indicating that she likes to bask in her accomplishments and feel in control, especially at the expense of those she has hurt. To compare with her primary nemeses, she's a coldblooded assassin equipped with a dark, form-fitting wardrobe to contrast the vibrant Tracer's warmhearted hero and the practical Ana's family-minded protector. She is the direct cause for a substantial amount of grief in both their lives, being responsible for a murder that sparked mass unrest in Tracer's hometown and the shot that forced Ana into hiding and ruined her life, rendering the conflict both heroes have with her much more than professional.
    • Sombra: Sloth and Greed. She's a thief, a liar and a manipulator who seems to like nothing less than a fair fight. Her array of skills, which includes invisibility, long-rage teleportation, "hacking" which acts as a nullifier for the skills of others and — in gameplay — the ability to track down critically-injured opponents, all mark her as an opportunist whose entire style of fighting revolves around using every dirty trick at her disposal to get what she wants with as little effort and risk to herself as possible. She's motivated largely by her own self-interest, having proven that she’s fully prepared to withhold or fabricate information to even her own allies if the result would be a net gain for herself and herself alone. As a deceiver, she has shown herself to be a liar and a manipulator who engages in blackmail and threats against those who have something she wants in order to leverage them into benefitting her. The closest she has to a nemesis is Zarya, who strikes an immediate contrast by being a muscular, straightforward frontline fighter who is explicitly motivated by a desire to protect others and her homeland.
    • Doomfist: Pride and Wrath. Having cultivated himself through violence, Akande Ogundimu views war and conflict as the world's ideal state in order to allow the strong to thrive and the weak to be culled. As one of Talon's inner circle, he is one of the most powerful and influential characters seen thus far, and his considerable resources leave him with all the means necessary to make his ideal a reality with restrained, precise fury. He has made little effort in dispatching whatever opposition has come his way, and his return marks an indicator that Talon's influence on the global scene is likely to soon become far worse, which his demeanor would indicate he knows very well. Aesthetically, his eclectic mix of machine elements and warrior’s markings is unlike anything else exhibited in the cast, distinguishing him from both his dark, Talon compatriots and the bright, more orderly heroes. His brutal, Social Darwinist philosophy contrasts sharply with the ideals of both Winston, a literal animal who has dedicated his life to the prosperity of mankind through science and peace, and Efi and Orisa, who have dedicated the use of their talents and strengths to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
    • Moira: Pride. With nobody's approval but her own, she's decided that she alone has the authority and the vision to chart the course for humanity's future, regardless of what it, ethics, or naturenote  have to say, and she’s perfectly willing to be an accomplice to a warmongering terrorist organization in order to do it. Her behavior exudes a mocking condescension for those around her, and although she does not yet have a direct nemesis among the heroes, she does possess many qualities that make her look like a dark reflection of Mercy. Both operate as healing support for their respective teams who want what they think is best for humanity, but Mercy's worldview is built around cooperation, selflessness, and peace, and she has organized her own bright attire to carry out this goal almost exclusively to help others at the cost of offense. Meanwhile, Moira has outfitted her own dark attire with just as many means to hurt and harm others as to help, and her own concept of "helping" revolves around holding all of humanity to her twisted ideals. She even stands out compared to the rest of the cast: in this cutting edge cyberpunk world, Moira's appearance, tactics, and mannerisms make her come across like an evil sorceress who would be more at home in a place like Azeroth.
    • Symmetra: Pride. She's convinced that her way is the right way and doesn't appear to understand why anyone would willingly resist the changes she wants to bring into peoples' lives, changes she genuinely believes are for their own benefit. Her response to anything that challenges her views is to dismiss it as either radicalism, ignorance, or necessary for the world's own good; whatever it takes to keep herself convinced that she's in the right. She is the order to Lúcio's chaos, being very terse, clinical and matter-of-fact in her mannerisms and declarations (the announcement for her ultimate? Just a calm, straightforward "Teleporter online.") to contrast his boisterous enthusiasm. Her sleek and painstakingly ordered corporate attire strikes a chord against his dreadlocked, rollerbladed "urban freedom-fighter" look, which holds true even if you take their optional skins into account, as Lúcio gets a hockey outfit while Symmetra gets a business suit.
    • Junkrat: Lust. Of the "personal enjoyment at the expense of others" variety. His love for chaos and destruction is unbridled and motivated less by anger or malicious intent and more by the childlike glee it brings out in him. Junkrat doesn't hate you, he just thinks the wanton chaos he leaves in his wake is fun, and he wants to have as much "fun" as possible. And unfortunately for you, he also thinks explosions are fun, and you're standing right where he wants there to be one. He and his partner Roadhog have a (fittingly) Mad Max-style scrapyard aesthetic that immediately distinguishes them from the rest of the more obviously organized civilized cast, and their motivations are rooted more in watching out for their own skins than any kind of mission or ideology.
    • Roadhog: Gluttony. He's a big guy, and considering that the portion of Australia from which he hails is an irradiated, likely resource-strapped wasteland, he probably didn't get that way by sharing. His unique highlight intro from the 2017 Lunar New Year event even shows him in a food coma surrounded by dozens of empty plates. Even outside of his eating habits, he exhibits a very self-centric attitude with voice lines like "what’s mine is mine," and he tends to view Junkrat less like a friend and more like a client. This even extends to gameplay, as he's the only tank class character with no defensive ability that benefits or extends to his teammates (aside from Wrecking Ball); all of his abilities are geared towards helping just himself.
    • Ashe: Pride. Growing up with only the silent and unquestioningly obedient B.O.B. for company likely taught her to expect the same level of obedience in all of her relationships. And though she cares for her accomplices in the Deadlock Gang, it's clear that said care is entirely dependent on them following her “my way, and my way only" mentality. Even those who serve her without question can get mistreated; in the epilogue for ''Reunion’, Ashe takes out all her anger on B.O.B. (despite the fact that he just saved her life by blocking McCree’s bullets with a traffic sign). This is in sharp contrast to McCree, who, despite now being on the opposite side of his former partners in crime, offers a peaceful compromise before the shootout, defeats them non-lethally, sends them back to their hideout instead of killing or arresting them, and is affable enough throughout the whole conflict to even apologize to B.O.B. for dismantling him. And, considering that she could have been extremely rich for life had she not run away from her wealthy family, all her crimes are likely committed with infamy and self-satisfaction in mind rather than personal gain.
  • Clingy Aquatic Life: The supplemental web comic Binary starts with Bastion rising out of a pond with a kraken stuck on the side of his head. His unique Omnic Uprising tag reflects this.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Downplayed, but present. Most characters can be seen wearing something that explains their in-game abilities, ranging from a simple wrist-mounted grappling launcher to a full-out set of power armor.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Generally, good things and things belonging to your team are blue, green, and yellow, while bad things and things belonging to the enemy team are red, orange, and purple.
    • Players names, outlines and health bars are red for enemies, blue for allies, yellow for injured allies and green for players on the same group. Bullets and most abilities are also colored red or blue/white, so you can easily tell if it's either a teammate firing behind you or if it's an enemy flanker.
    • Almost all healing abilities have yellow effects, while anti-healing or damaging abilities have purple effects. For example, Zenyatta's Orb of Harmony is yellow and his Orb of Discord is purple.
    • The lights on Lúcio's clothes also change colors: yellow for healing and green for speed boost.
    • Mercy's healing beam is yellow while the damage boost is blue.
    • On the health bar, health is white, armor is yellow, and shield is blue.
    • An allied Reaper's teleportation is purple; an enemy Reaper's is red.
    • In Overwatch League games, from the spectator's point of view, one team has everything of theirs color-coded white, while the other team uses their own primary color.
  • Combat Medic: All heroes with healing capabilities are still capable of fighting to varying degrees. Some are able to both support and fight independently (such as Ana, Lúcio, and Zenyatta), but some require directly taking part in combat in order to support the team (such as Moira or Brigitte). Mercy is the closest to a "pure support" there is, but she can whip out her still-effective blaster if she really has to.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Overtime. When the normal match time runs out or a team reaches 99% on Control maps, as long as there's at least one attacker on the control point or payload, the match continues to play on, giving them a little extra time to turn things around.
  • Conlang: Omnics have a unique written language built of dashes, dots and diamonds called "Omnicode," and is found all over the place in most levels. Lead writer Michael Chu stated it's not one-on-one translatable and not intended to be easily read by humans "who haven't been augmented", so no cipher of it currently exists.
  • The Conspiracy: According to Sombra's origin story, there's one out there shaping world events. They have their fingers in everything from the Vishkar Corporation to Volskaya Industries to the government of Numbani to both Talon and Overwatch itself; Sombra had to erase her own identity and go off the grid when they found out she was investigating them. Their symbol is apparently an all-seeing eye.
  • Cool Plane: The MV-261 Orca, which serves as the spawn point for all Control maps released before Oasis, is very cool. It even has a basketball hoop!
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: D.Va plays with this trope. On the one hand, she streams her battles to thousands of eager fans and both her MEKA and her jumpsuit have various logos decaled on them (including the Blizzard logo). On the other, she's explicitly part of a specialized military response force slapped together in order to fight a giant robot.
    • Symmetra is about as direct a take on this trope as you can get. She's some type of specialist or infiltrator who operates at the behest of her employer, the Vishkar Corporation.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • The Vishkar Corporation mentioned in Symmetra and Lúcio's backstory is slowly revealed to be this trope. They took Symmetra away from her parents when she was revealed to be a Child Prodigy in light-bending architecture and prevented her from going back so they can use her talents for their own gain, without considering the emotional impact it might have on Symmetra and her family. They also took over Lúcio's poor neighborhood with the promise of improving their way of life, only to impose strict regulations, punishing what they perceived as "lawless behavior", and exploited Lúcio's friends and neighbors as a source of cheap labor. In the comic short "A Better World", when the people in Brazil oppose the Vishkar Corporation's plans to tear down their homes to make way for one of their buildings, they secretly send agents to blow up and set fire to a Favela in order to force the people to accept their changes, resulting in several civilian casualties and many more wounded.
    • In the webcomic "Going Legit", a wealthy CEO hires Junkrat and Roadhog to rescue his workers from Omnic terrorists but actually he wanted them to take the fall for an insurance fraud scheme he was doing. Both Junkrat and Roadhog catch on and they kill the bastard by hanging him with chains outside his office several hundred stories high, then blowing him and the building to smithereens.
    • The CEO of the Mexican company LumériCo is partnered with the Vishkar Corporation and has bribed public officials, created an internal company system of kickbacks and payoffs, and had plans to seize privately held land via government expropriation to expand LumériCo's facilities throughout Mexico. Once Sombra revealed his dealings via hacking, the public was so outraged that they revolted, causing the CEO to step down. That last is an image deliberately created by Sombra, though. In backstory material there are complaints from her about how he is actually an Honest Corporate Executive, and she expresses her disbelief that no matter how deeply she digs he really is that squeaky clean.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Winning competitive games gives you special credits that you can eventually use to purchase golden versions of a hero's weapons, and top 500 players will receive an animated version of a competitive season's spray at the end of it.
    • Aside from the sprays you can get from lootboxes, there are also sprays connected to achievements. Most of these achievements require pulling off a rather tricky feat with your chosen character, getting a high enough kill streak, or just reaching a level threshold.
  • Coup de Grâce: A few heroes, notably Mei, Ana, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Sombra, and McCree, have an ability that could disable the enemy for a period of time between less than a second to a very unhealthy 5 seconds. Mei is the most prominent example of them though, with this as her basic playstyle as she lacks direct combat ability otherwise.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Overwatch lore has a bright, cheery, outwardly utopian society that has reestablished itself in the aftermath of a near-apocalyptic war, where the heroes and villains are ultimately broken individuals fighting because they don't know anything else, and indications are that yet another global crisis is just around the corner and Overwatch will be needed again. Society also has a seedy underbelly, with criminals, terrorist organizations, Mega Corps with of Corrupt Corporate Executives seeking to impose their own version of order, Fantastic Racism towards Omnics (robots).
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played straight with playable heroes as to be expected, but also notably played straight with shields such as Reinhardt's Barrier Field or Winston's Photon Barrier. If it's still standing, it will completely block damage sources, including a 1000-damage-dealing D.Va Self-Destruct; as long as it has at at least 1 hit point remaining, it will completely shield from it as much as if it had 2000.
  • Critical Hesitation Blunder:
    • In the short "Alive", Tracer has Widowmaker pinned, but instead of killing her asks "Why?", allowing Widow to make a clean escape.
    • Ana hesitating to shoot Widowmaker (who she knew to be Amelie) causes her to lose her eye and jeopardize the mission, leading her to faking her death.
  • Crush the Keepsake: Reaper is shown stepping on Winston's glasses, which drives him into a rage. His glasses were a gift from Dr. Harold Winston, Winston's caretaker at the lunar base and his parental figure, who died during a riot.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: All over the place: In cutscenes, heroes have no cooldowns, (most notably Tracer, who blinks nigh-incessantly throughout every one of her appearances), larger heroes like Doomfist, Reinhardt, and Winston are basically Immune to Bullets and basically ignore anything smaller than a grenade thrown in their direction, while mobility skills are far more agile than they are in game, from Tracer blinking vertically to Widowmaker performing repeated Building Swings, Reaper being outright Super Smoke, and Reinhardt (and other Crusaders) sprinting with their shields up and sliding around cutting sharp corners that could never be replicated in game. And then there's the abilities they simply don't have like Reaper firing explosive slugs from his shotguns and Winston turning his experimental Barrier Projector into a IED (somewhat Justified in that the shorts were based off of earlier builds of the characters that never reached public gameplay).
  • Cutting the Knot: When it comes to ultimate's that involve boosting health or making teammates more dangerous, many resort to the method of shooting the target until they drop dead, hiding or at least interrupting the ultimate. Others resort to simply pushing or dragging the target off of the map while they are nano-boosted or effected by the Sound Barrier.
  • Cyber Punk: Set in the near future, the world is experiencing economic and political decline, coupled with widespread social transformation after a terrible war; mega corporations have as much power as countries; advanced technology including Artificial Limbs, cyborgs, and intelligent robots is becoming common; and most characters are dark or morally ambiguous. However, it is a lot brighter and more optimistic version than most other examples.

  • Damager, Healer, Tank: The game originally classified heroes into Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. With the Symettra 3.0 rework patch in June of 2018, Offense and Defense have been consolidated into "Damage", and the support group consists only of healing characters.
  • Darker and Edgier: Retribution is this compared to Uprising, the previous story event. Uprising puts you in control of some of the cast's most unambiguously good characters to carry out a genuinely noble mission to rescue innocent civilians from omnic terrorists and manages a defiantly hopeful tone throughout despite the circumstances. Retribution follows the far more morally nebulous and pragmatic agents of Blackwatch on a mission that becomes an assassination and scramble for personal survival against human adversaries (albeit Talon agents). Uprising is about Overwatch's capacity for good even during its decline; Retribution is about the beginning of the organization's end, and consequently carries an angrier, more frustrated tone.
  • Darkest Hour: Where the present story begins. Talon has already won, Overwatch has been disbanded, made illegal, and those involved are scattered, while the whole organization is treated as a social pariah. Terror reigns over the world, as Talon is free to Kick the Dog as they please with no real resistance to stop them. One of the central themes of the story is failure - and rising up in the face of it. This ends one fateful day, when Talon went too far and attempted to murder all former Overwatch members in a raid led by Reaper to extract their locations, only to be thwarted by Winston in a very close call. In response Winston officially reinstated Overwatch. Later that same day, Widowmaker was sent out to assassinate Shambali leader and prominent advocate for human-omnic peace Tekharta Mondatta. Unfortunately, she is successful despite Tracer's intervention. However, as a silver lining, this act may have very well been the catalyst to further solidify Overwatch's return by making it clear the world is more in need of heroes than ever.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Recall" focuses on Winston debating on whether he should summon former Overwatch agents or not when he is attacked by Reaper and a group of Talon soldiers.
    • "Alive" focuses on Widowmaker's mission to assassinate a prominent Omnic figure while Tracer attempts to stop her.
    • "Dragons" focuses on Hanzo and Genji meeting for the first time since their duel in the backstory, and Genji revealing his survival to his brother.
    • "Hero" focuses on Soldier: 76 as he deals with a gang smuggling weapons as well as a teenage girl caught in the crossfire.
    • "Train Hopper" deals with McCree and his attempts to stop a group full of soldiers from hijacking a train full of civilian passengers.
    • "Dragon Slayer" focuses on Reinhardt during one of his travels after Overwatch's fall, and his attempt to save a town from a villainous motorcycle gang.
    • "Going Legit" focuses on Junkrat and Roadhog's first foray as professional Hired Guns which ends badly when they realize the CEO who hired them is a Corrupt Corporate Executive scumbag who set them up to take the fall for an insurance fraud scheme.
    • "A Better World" focuses on Symmetra's attempts to help the Vishkar Corporation give the poor people of Brazil a better way of life as well as Symmetra's growing doubts towards her company's true intentions when the Vishkar Corporation sets fire to a favela.
    • "Mission Statement" focuses on Pharah's dilemma of either save lives or complete the mission.
    • "Destroyer" focuses on Torbjörn's quest to shut down a colossal Omnic that's going on a violent rampage through the country of Kurjikstan.
    • "Legacy" focuses on Ana's supposed final mission and what exactly transpired that day.
    • "Old Soldiers" focuses on the conflict between three of the founders of Overwatch in present day: Soldier: 76, Reaper and Ana.
    • "The Last Bastion" focuses on Bastion, reactivating in a forest many years after the end of the Omnic Crisis.
    • "Infiltration" focuses on Sombra, as she joins Reaper and Widowmaker in assassinating Katya Volskaya. Sombra actually has other plans in mind. Zarya makes a cameo appearance in The Stinger.
    • "Reflections" focuses on Tracer's attempts to get a Christmas gift for her girlfriend, and Winston's preparations for a Christmas party. Pharah, Zenyatta, Genji, Mercy, Hanzo, Torbjörn, Reinhardt, McCree, Sombra, Reaper, Ana, Soldier: 76, and Widowmaker make cameo appearances.
    • "Binary" focuses on Torbjörn's attempts to protect a small Swedish town from a rogue Bastion unit (namely, the one in the main game and "The Last Bastion").
    • "Uprising" focuses on Tracer's first mission in Overwatch with the strike team of Torbjörn, Reinhardt, and Mercy, as well as Jack Morrison's attempts to navigate the London Omnic Uprising. Reyes, McCree, Winston, and Genji make cameo appearances.
    • Doomfist's intro trailer focuses on the fight between him, Genji, Tracer, and Winston that led to his arrest. It ends with him breaking out of prison, and "Masquerade" follows shortly thereafter, where he, Sombra, Reaper, and Widowmaker work together to redirect the goals of Talon.
    • "Junkertown: the Plan" focuses on Roadhog and Junkrat's plan to get back into Junkertown.
    • "Rise and Shine" focuses on Mei's escape from Ecopoint: Antarctica following the failure of all the facility's cryo chambers except hers.
    • "Wasted Land" focuses on Roadhog and how he met and recruited Junkrat.
    • "Searching" focuses on Zarya and an Omnic named Lynx Seventeen, shortly following the events of "Infiltration", as they search for Sombra on the orders of Katya Volskaya. Efi and Orisa, and Alejandra, the little girl from "Hero", make cameo appearances.
    • "Reunion" focuses on McCree's confrontation of Ashe and her gang in the pursuit of a mysterious crate in her possession, which turns out to be a deactivated Echo.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: A few heroes' primary weapon deal minuscule per projectile (2-9 damage), coupled with high fire rate (such as Tracer or Sombra), or expelling a lot of projectiles in a single shot (such as Reaper or Roadhog). In Roadhog's case, it's even enough to One-Hit Kill anything that's not a fellow Tank.
  • Deface of the Moon: The moon in the Overwatch universe has a visible settlement on it reminiscent of Crop Circles.
  • Deflector Shield: Many heroes use translucent-white shields in different ways, most of them as physical impediments to protect from fire, and each with different effects, attributes and uses. Some abilities can specifically go through shields, though they tend to be slow or have high cooldowns.
  • Delinquent Hair: One security guard working for the Shimada clan in "Dragons" sports a "Regent"-style pompadour that is popular among Japanese gangsters.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If Soldier: 76 is selected multiple times in a custom game match, each one's number will go up. From 76 to 77, 78, and so on.
    • In The Horizon Lunar Colony Map, entering Winston's room will make the PA system announce that Winston is not currently in the room. If Winston enters the room, the PA System says nothing.
    • Ashe's ultimate, B.O.B, counts as "another player", meaning he can be healed and nano-boosted just like everyone else. He also counts towards Wrecking Ball's Adaptive Shield ability, can help cap a point, and can even be hacked by Sombra. If you wave at a friendly B.O.B., he even waves back!
  • Die, Chair! Die!: There are a lot of very minor environmental elements, from display screens, to pottery, to fire extinguishers that serve no purpose other than to be shot and destroyed. There usually tends to be a lot of them in the Attack-side spawn room of Attack/Defend maps, since those players are stuck there during preparation time and will usually not have much to do other than just randomly shoot stuff anyway.
    • The Hanamura spawn room has multiple stories of arcade cabinets and vending machines just waiting to be destroyed before the game starts.
    • The Junkertown spawn room has Roadhog's bike, just waiting to be dismantled piece by piece just like the Street Fighter II bonus round.
    • Railings are prime targets for being destroyed by defenders on capture point maps,
  • Disneyesque: The art style is very reminiscent of Pixar CGI.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Junkrat's, er, reaction to lighting the fuse for the final time in Junkertown - The Plan.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Winston had been contemplating the idea of reinstating Overwatch many times, only for Athena to stop him by pointing out that the PETRAS Act makes all Overwatch activity illegal. He may have never reinstated Overwatch, had it not been for Talon attacking soon afterwards, led by Reaper, who wanted to extract the locations of all former agents so they can kill them. Winston thwarted their plans, but came close to death and the locations were nearly leaked. After all was said and done, Winston decides that enough is enough, and reinstates Overwatch, giving rise to Talon's biggest adversary once again. If the ending of Alive is anything to go by, this might further solidify the need for Overwatch, as Talon left unopposed has gone too far.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: One of the movie posters during the Winter Wonderland is "Love Hacktually". Looks like a wacky Christmas romantic comedy where a young woman hacks a male Omnic into loving he-wait, what?
  • Downer Beginning: The start of the story in a nutshell. Talon has already won, Overwatch - once hailed as Earth's heroes - have long since disbanded following reports of corruption and infighting, wars wage across the world with the Second Omnic Crisis going on in Russia and threatens to expand, while the few heroes that remain are unable to make a difference. But the world needs more heroes, and when push comes to shove, Overwatch is reinstated to put an end to threats around the world, legality be damned.
  • Downer Ending: Hope in the face of dark times is one of the game’s major themes. Unfortunately, hope for a brighter tomorrow is meaningless without a dark today, and some days are darker than others.
    • Alive goes out on a pretty bleak note. Mondatta, who only wanted to peacefully spread tolerance and acceptance in a volatile area, is dead, and along with him so are any hopes of peace in the area where he was speaking, which just so happens to be Tracer’s home. Tracer herself is devastated and desperately pleads for just an explanation from Widowmaker, the perpetrator, who laughs in her face and escapes, using her grappling hook to throw Tracer into a wall in the process. Tracer ends the short lying defeated and injured in an alley, having suffered likely the most crushing defeat in her life within her own home while Widowmaker walks away completely unharmed and smiling. And as if that weren't enough, later materials such as Masquerade reveal this to all be a calculated move on Talon's part to stoke tensions between humans and omnics into a new world war. The only comforts that can be taken are that Tracer, though beaten, survived and that the whole sordid affair might have indirectly contributed to a more uplifting turn of events in the long run. Talon may have gotten their way for now, but after years of running amok unchecked, murdering a peaceful religious leader in cold blood combined with the assault on Watchpoint: Gibraltar as depicted in Recall may have proven to be the final straw and served as the impetus for Winston to galvanize Overwatch's comeback.
    • Legacy doesn’t fare any better. Ana, momentarily distracted upon realizing the identity of the mysterious new Talon agent, hesitates on taking the shot and gets her eye shot out by Widowmaker (noticing a pattern here?), which takes her out of the fight, leading to the mission’s failure and likely the deaths of several hostages. Ana is presumed dead and driven into hiding for years, which, as additional materials expound, snowballs into Reinhardt’s forced retirement and the eventual total collapse of Overwatch itself. Fun times.
    • In A Better World, the Vishkar Corporation decides to stop messing around and bombs a favela they had previously been trying to negotiate with over a new construction project. Symmetra is shocked, and although she manages to save the young girl she had befriended earlier from the fire, her face is disfigured, and she’s likely lost all of her trust for Symmetra and her company forever. We then skip ahead to the opening ceremony of Vishkar’s new project, with company representatives going on about how it will improve the lives of everyone in the area right in front of an attending crowd of the very survivors displaced by the bombing, including the little girl. It ends with Symmetra looking absolutely miserable while trying to convince herself it’s all for the sake of a better world.
    • Masquerade serves as this for everything in the main conflict that has happened up until the point of its release. Doomfist's breakout negates everything Winston and Tracer accomplished in the cinematic trailer, and Reaper is revealed to have acquired a substantial amount of information from the Gibraltar terminal, retroactively applying a degree of this to Recall as well. All of the heroes' efforts we've seen are invalidated as Talon regains one of its leaders and sits down to work toward its main goal of plunging the world into a cataclysmic new conflict while Overwatch remains just as broken and disenfranchised as ever. We even get a one-panel flashback that shows us the aforementioned assassination from Alive at a different angle like some kind of "Talon's Greatest Hits" mixtape.
    • Retribution has the Blackwatch strike team technically succeed in their objective to avenge their fallen comrades and Gérard's injuries. But in doing so, they've exposed Blackwatch to the public and set the stage for Overwatch's decline from the inevitable backlash. And by allowing his anger and frustration to motivate his actions, Reyes has unknowingly taken his first steps down the path that will lead to him betraying Overwatch and becoming Reaper, and both he and Moira will eventually become loyal members of the very organization they've spent the mission fighting. Any setback Talon might have endured in the incident is ultimately inconsequential, as Overwatch's fate is still a Foregone Conclusion, as is Gérard’s. If Uprising and Legacy depict Overwatch's ball rolling downhill, then Retribution marks the point where it cleared the edge of the hilltop.
  • Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: Downplayed in most modes including Quick Play, in that you can drop in and you can drop out mid-game, but do it too often and you'll get stuck with -75% XP deductions; additionally, you'll receive a 400 XP "Backfill" bonus if you're dropped into the middle of an ongoing game. Completely averted in Competitive mode, where players who leave will be punished as they will not be substituted, potentially crippling the entire team if they don't reconnect.

  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Mei's holiday ornament shows her wearing a red robe with gold decorations, and D.Va's shows her wearing a pink and blue hanbok. Both were previews of their Chinese New Year outfits.
    • Before D.Va was revealed as a hero, she appeared on a poster in Hanamura.
    • Moira also made an appearance before her release, in the shadows of a panel in the comic "Masquerade".
    • The Horizon Moon Colony map was first seen in the short "Recall", although it did not become a map in-game until over a year later.
    • Although some heroes are not known before their release, others have been key figures in the lore long before they become heroes.
      • Not much was known about Sombra before her launch, leading some to believe that the masked sniper who would eventually be revealed to be Ana was Sombra.
      • Shortly before Orisa's release, destroyed OR-15s were found in the Numbani airport.
      • Doomfist's gauntlet appeared in the Cinematic trailer and on Numbani before he was revealed to be a hero. Furthermore, a museum exhibit in Numbani labeled him as "the Successor", although he was cloaked in shadow. Orisa's release involved an attack on Numbani by the Successor, which spurred the creation of the OR-15A.
      • Reinhardt's squire Brigitte appeared in comics and shorts alongside Reinhardt before she took up arms and became a hero herself.
      • When Horizon Lunar Colony was released, there were two references to Hammond: another opened cell and a spacesuit with his name on it that was missing. Over a year later, the hamster became a playable character.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first Cinematic Trailer has some oddities as a result of the game being in pre-alpha as it was made, most notably what characters were in the original Overwatch team. Lúcio, Bastion, Pharah, and Zenyatta were seen as active members in its heyday, and there is nary a mention of Jack Morrison aside from a shot of an unnamed statue of him.
    • Season 1 of Competitive mode had significantly different mechanics from subsequent seasons:
      • Instead of a 1-5000 skill rating system divided into six tiers, there was a 1-100 rating system.
      • Players' ratings rather than tiers were shown by their nametags.
      • In situations on non-Control that would be declared a draw from Season 2 onwards, the game instead went into Sudden Death: a coin was flipped, and the side it landed on determines which team would attack with a short time limit; whichever side succeeded in their objectives won the match.
      • Multiples of the same Hero could be chosen; the limit-1-of-each-hero rule was imposed about a month into the season and has been standard Competitive (and later, Quick Play) behavior since.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the first cinematic trailer, Symmetra's Photon Projector makes an appearance at about 3:40.
    • KOTH maps have the players spawn within transport aircraft that carry basketball hoops and basketballs that can be shot at or melee'd. While it is exceptionally difficult to do so, if one manages to successfully score in the basket, confetti will dispense along with celebratory arena sounds.
    • Doing the Konami Code on the official site (replacing the Start for Enter) will make D.Va recite it and cause a bunch of D.Vas will appear. Originally it was bunch of Hanzos instead of D.Vas.
    • On the Busan map, there exists a working Dance Dance Revolution-style machine where not only can you track the arrows by moving on its steps, using an actual dance emote with any character will cause you to flawlessly track all of them. Yes, even with Reaper's edgy foot-tapping. The opposing spawn on the main spawn has a karaoke machine, which McCree, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, Zenyatta, and Genji can use.
    • It's well-known that the first attack-side spawn in Dorado features a few bells that produce ringing tones if you shoot them. However, if you shoot them as Wrecking Ball to play the main fanfare of the game, Hammond will actually sing along.
    • There are fully-functioning pianos scattered across Paris. Every key pressed will play its appropriate note when you shoot it, so if there's a song you want to play, go for it.
    • References to certain heroes can be found on some maps. Aside from the obvious (D.Va's posters plastered everywhere in Hollywood and Hanamura or Junkrat and Roadhog's houses outside Junkertown), these include Junkrat's detonator and Roadhog's gas can in the bank vault in Dorado, McCree's hat on Castillo, Ana and Morrison's weapons in Necropolis, and Reinhardt's name carved into a bar in Eichenwalde.
    • Wrecking Ball is the ball itself in Lucio Ball games. You'll hear Hammond squeaking inside every time the ball gets hit.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: Ecopoint Antarctica was set up to study climactic anomalies in the region. Its staff put themselves into cryostasis after nearly running out of supplies during a severe storm; Mei was the only survivor.
  • Emergency Trainee Battle Deployment: Uprising event mode is a playable version of Tracer's first mission (along with Mercy, Torbjörn and Reinhardt filling the rest of the playable character slots); liberating King's Row (which is either her home, or very nearby) from an Omnic terrorist group. Downplayed, as she was explicitly said to be just about qualified for active duty, and was deliberately sent in because she convinced Morrison to intervene despite the British government's wishes (and perhaps because she would have plausible deniability for being there anyway).
  • End of an Era: The Overwatch's golden era started after they quelled the Omnic Crisis, but the bad news surrounding it which culminated to its downfall marks the end of that era, as Overwatch became reviled by the public, and its key members either went away or faked their deaths. However, Winston is trying to bring back the era of good old heroes in the new age.
  • Enemy Mine: The usual gameplay makes it possible or even likely that the team will contain characters that are diametrically opposed lore-wise. Sometimes, they synergize extremely well - for example, Lúcio's speed boost can make sure Symmetra arrives at a disputed area ahead of the enemy team and has enough time to conjure her turrets before the fighting starts. Many characters also comment when paired with their rivals.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It's a bit ambiguous just how evil Symmetra is, but even her most charitable interpretations still involve her supporting the Vishkar Corporation's agenda and harboring open disdain for people like Lúcio who stand up for themselves against it. But even she recognizes the threat Talon poses to the world and the need to stop them. Given how incompatible Talon and Vishkar's respective goals are, it's open to interpretation if this is genuine goodwill on her part or just antipathy for another perceived obstacle.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Hitscan weapons will leave brief colored trails of light in the air so that players can locate shooters and distinguish between friendly and enemy fire. Widowmaker's sniper shots leave trails that last for a particularly long time to help enemies locate her.
  • Evil Counterpart: Overwatch and Talon mirror each other on an almost uncanny level while being on opposite ends of the moral spectrum to the extent where Talon could essentially be considered the anti-Overwatch. Both are international organizations with access to much of the same cutting-edge technology and near-superhumans at their disposal, but one was set up to keep peace and the other is a terrorist organization.
  • Evil Is Angular: On an iconic level, compare the sigils of Overwatch and Talon; Overwatch's Icon is circular, looking like a futuristic peace icon. Talon's is a High Tech Hexagon with a three-pronged pointed talon in the middle.
  • Experience Booster: Bonus experience is awarded to the player's first win of the day, playing in a group, playing consecutive matches, and joining an in-progress match.
  • Experience Penalty: Constantly leaving in-progress matches will result in a 75% reduction in experience for the next completed matches, and is only removed when enough matches are played to completion.
  • Expository Pronoun: Omnics (sapient robots, who rebelled and started a Robot War in the backstory and are an oppressed minority in the present) use different gender pronouns to help drive home the fact that they're essentially on the same level as humans. Zenyatta and Orisa go by "he" and "she" respectively, Bastion (who was churned out as a Mecha-Mook in the aforementioned war, but gained full sapience after being offline for decades) goes by "it", and the non-playable Lynx17 uses "they" (with Word of God clarifying that they identify as non-binary).
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The shorts Recall and Alive are confirmed to take place on the same day, which makes sense as that would mean Reaper and Widowmaker were sent out by Talon on their assignments at roughly the same time. What makes slightly less sense however, is the implication that Dragons also takes place within this timespan despite being largely unrelated and completely coincidental. The implication comes at the end of Recall, which shows Genji close to Japan (keep in mind that he is currently based in Nepal), most likely traveling to Hanamura to confront Hanzo.
  • Eye Scream: In her origin story, Ana gets her eye shot out by Widowmaker and is shown in an immense amount of pain afterward, clutching her face while writhing on the ground. She's actually presumed dead because of this, but, of course, turns up alive and playable years later, now sporting an eyepatch.
    • Reinhardt is noticeably scarred over one eye, which appears to be blind. Honor and Glory gives us a firsthand look at what happened.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In the Dragons short, when Genji's blade is at his throat, Hanzo simply tells him to do the deed, showing no fear. The reason Hanzo seemingly has no fear of death is that he believes he deserves it. Genji even calls him out on this while sparing him.
    Genji: No. I will not grant you the death you wish for.
  • Faceless Goons: Most of the Mooks that get gunned down in the animated shorts wear something that obscures their faces. Best demonstrated by Infiltration, in which every Russian soldier killed is wearing a balaclava, while the unmasked soldier and technician both survive.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Players on defending objectives will usually call out to their team if it's being contested by their enemies... and if they can see them. On payload maps especially, it's not entirely uncommon for the defending team to be in an over-extended 6v5 brawl and fail to realize one of their enemies have quietly pushed the payload to the objective until it's too late, a practice nicknamed "back-capping". Even high-division competitive players and professionals can fall victim to this.
  • Failure Hero: Let's face it: Overwatch has a commendable in-story pedigree, but their on-screen track record has been less-than-stellar. Cumulatively, their efforts have had little to no impact on the greater scope of the conflict, and all of their actions have been either ineffective or short-lived in both achieving their own goals and in preventing the villains from achieving theirs. They always try their best, but ultimately Overwatch is still in ruins, its legacy is one of futility, their losses outnumber their gains, Talon has come out ahead in each of their encounters, and its agents have been left broken as shells of who they once were, twisted into outright villainy or struggling just to stay above the rising tide. Examples include:
    • Jack Morrison was unable to keep order even among his close friends as the organization he founded and led collapsed and fell apart. Most of his screentime during this period of his life tends to show him waffling on how to handle a dilemma until someone else effectively decides for him. Meanwhile, he's been reduced in the present to an old, bitter vigilante who is also a wanted criminal, and both times we've seen him in action as Soldier: 76 have ended with his quarry escaping and him not really achieving anything.
    • Gabriel Reyes technically achieved his goal to exact retribution on the Talon commander who bombed Blackwatch HQ, but, out of anger, he did so in the most needlessly conspicuous way possible, which gave his team away and turned Venice into a war zone as a simple extraction became a mad scramble for survival. In the process, Blackwatch was exposed to the public and outrage mounted against Overwatch, signaling the beginning of the end for both the organization and his own humanity. Which means the dire situation he and everyone else now find themselves in is at least in part due to Reyes being unable to control his temper at the worst possible time.
    • Tracer failed to prevent a murder in her own neighborhood, which undid her previous success with resolving the London Uprising, and her only other victory in the cinematic trailer was also undone by the release of Doomfist, whom she along with Genji also failed against during the incident that led to his initial capture.
    • McCree basically let the Talon agents have what they came for on the train, even if he did so for the right reasons.
    • Ana's hesitation with Widowmaker failed to save either of them and ultimately resulted in the complete ruination of her life, the failure of a mission that likely cost the lives of several hostages and, ultimately, Overwatch's initial collapse (which was due more to its own internal problems than external sabotage).
    • Symmetra is more of an Anti-Villain than a hero, but she's largely sympathetic for the purposes of A Better World, in which she doesn't accomplish anything other than witnessing a disaster, having the image of the people she works for shaken, and saving a single girl from a fire, which still leaves her scarred and likely fearful of both her and the company she works for. She ends the comic trying to convince herself it's all for the best, but judging from the look on her face, she's failing at that, too.
  • Famed In-Story: All of the Overwatch heroes are famous, as evidenced in one animation featuring a museum dedicated to them. However, D.Va and Lucio are also celebrities on top of being heroes. They exchange requests for autographs as their pre-game patter, and Reinhardt will also asks for D.Va's autograph, "for a friend." Their likenesses on products and ads for their works can be seen in several maps and sprays.
  • Fanservice: Overwatch is filled to the brim with attractive men and women and does not shy away from emphasizing their aesthetically pleasing qualities in both their default and unlockable outfits. Noteable examples include:
    • Widowmaker, the game's resident Ms. Fanservice. Her default attire is the most obvious example, consisting of a skin-tight bodysuit with Absolute Cleavage, but she also has her "Côte d'Azur" skin, which is basically a two-piece swimsuit with sarong.
    • Mercy's default skin emphasizes her bust due to how form-fitting it is, but her "Winged Victory" and "Witch" skins really dial up the fanservice, drawing attention to the doctor's long legs in particular.
    • D.Va also has a few form-fitting outfits in her wardrobe, including her default skin and the "B.Va" / "Junebug" skins. Her Junker and Scavenger outfits have a bare midriff and her cat outfit gives her a positively fetishistic black schoolgirl outfit with ponytails. Her Play-of-the Game animations are all sexualized in some form.
    • Tracer isn't as blatantly sexualized as some of the others, but she does have a very well-maintained athletic figure that we can observe very nicely through her leggings, and one of her victory poses accentuates her backside while her legendary "Sprinter" and "Track and Field" skins put her in tight runner's clothes that show off her legs and midriff.
    • McCree's "Lifeguard" skin, which shows off his pecs and torso.
    • Doomfist, who is perpetually topless and very muscular.
    • For those in the community who are into older men, Soldier: 76 and Reinhardt both have skins that remove their headgear, and 76 in particular has a few skins that roll up his sleeves to show off his well-kept forearms, not to mention his 2017 Summer Games skin which gives him the same kind of treatment as McCree.
    • Who is the male character with the most squealing fangirls (and boys)? Why, it's Genji! Yes, even though he's partly machine, encased in a metallic shell and keeps his face sealed away behind a visor at all times (and the few glimpses we've caught of what's underneath do not offer a pretty sight), he still has a very toned musculature which is defined even through his armor and complimented nicely by his graceful body language. His sympathetic backstory and identity as someone earnestly trying to make peace with himself and those around him also go a long way.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Anti-Omnic sentiment is a major theme present in the game's world, bleeding into some heroes to varying degrees, namely Zarya, Torbjörn, Junkrat, and Roadhog. King's Row is especially tense about this (with bits of hate graffiti sprayed around), as it was built on Omnic labor and Omnics are still being treated as second-class citizens, not helped by the Uprising event and Null Sector years ago and the assassination of a major Omnic figure in the present.
    • The comic short "Going Legit" implies that some people use the excuse of an Omnic threat to cover up their own wrongdoings as Junkrat and Roadhog found out.
    • In the animated "Hero" teaser (featuring Soldier: 76), a group of thugs are seen assaulting a lone defenseless Omnic, and they try to coerce a young girl who happened to be walking by into joining in.
    • In a non-Omnic vein, Reaper constantly mocks Winston for his appearance and refers to him as a "monkey" in a pejorative manner. While other characters do make light of the fact that he's a gorilla, none have speciesist undertones such as what he says. Even the other villains, such as his counterpart Widowmaker, haven't shown to have speciesism towards gorillas like him.
  • Fastball Special: During the cinematic trailer, Tracer teleports into Winston's hand so that he can throw her across the room at Reaper and Widowmaker.
  • The '50s:
    • D.Va's "Cruiser" skin is based around this era, with her MEKA resembling a 1950's Buick while she wears clothing akin to that decade.
    D.Va (Hello): Hey, Daddy-o!
    • The attacking team's spawn room on Route 66 is a rundown diner that looks like it could have been a set piece from American Graffiti, complete with tacky tiling and a jukebox.
  • Filk Song:
  • Five-Man Band:
    • Overwatch's original strike team, formed during the first Omnic Crisis and who would later go on to found the organization proper.
      • The Leader: Jack Morrison: charismatic, upstanding, and eventually the first Strike Commander.
      • The Lancer: Gabriel Reyes: Jack's gruffer, more pragmatic second-in-command who could never quite measure up to the Commander in the public's eye.
      • The Smart Guy: Torbjörn Lindholm: an expert machinist and engineer who knew more about the omnics and their capabilities than anyone because he helped to build them.
      • The Big Guy: Reinhardt Wilhelm: a massive, armored member of the Crusaders equipped with a big hammer and an even bigger heart. His immense compassion helped hold the team together, and once he was forced to retire, things quickly fell apart.
      • The Chick: Ana Amari: the one girl of the bunch who primarily held back with her sniper rifle and tried to play the counselor whenever Jack and Gabriel started butting heads.
    • The strike team sent to resolve the London Uprising:
      • The Leader: Jack Morrison: as Strike Commander, he is Overwatch’s highest-ranking member, personally dispatched the team, and monitors and directs their progress remotely from headquarters.
      • The Lancer: Split between Lieutenant Reyes and Captain Amari; they advise the team along with Morrison and help direct them through some of the more specific objectives.
      • The Smart Guy: Torbjörn: it is his plan the team intends to carry out to break into the King's Row omnium, and he personally designed the bomb to help them do it.
      • The Big Guy: Reinhardt: a big man with a big shield and a big hammer.
      • The Chick: Mercy: the team's compassionate, peacemaking medic whose job is to make sure everyone gets through the mission alive and well.
      • The Heart: Tracer: as the rookie on her first mission with the future of her own home at stake, she is the epicenter for most of the event's emotion. She brings her usual vibrancy to the table to help keep the team's spirits up, and a fair amount of dialogue from the others — especially Morrison and Mercy — involves checking on her to make sure she's alright.
  • Flying Firepower: Pharah, who uses a jet pack in accordance with a rocket launcher. Her ultimate ability has her unleash a Macross Missile Massacre while floating in the air.
  • Foil: Enough to have its own page.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: King's Row has a bell in a Clock Tower that gongs ominously several times when the attacking team takes the first control point and transitions to the payload. It's also incorporated in the map's theme as heard in the loading screen.
  • Follow the Plotted Line: Assault maps have red and blue lines leading from each side's spawn points to the initial control point, and Escort maps show a blue line leading the defense to the payload. The lines disappear when the match proper begins and the attackers' spawn point opens.
  • Food Porn: Reunion opens with McCree sitting down at the Route 66 diner, with the camera focusing on an incredibly detailed and tasty-looking pie. He only gets two squishy cuts out of it before leaving to take care of the nearby train heist.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Reaper made his debut carrying what looked like an upside-down Overwatch symbol on his belt. It was later revealed that Reaper is the villainous identity of Gabriel Reyes, who was a member of the strike team that became Overwatch and was the former commander of Blackwatch, Overwatch's covert ops division.
    • One of Reaper's lines when killing an enemy Sombra is "You never fooled me." It's later revealed in Masquerade that Reaper knew about Sombra's part in the failed assasination attempt on Katya Volskaya all along.
  • Forgiveness: At the end of "Dragons", Genji tells Hanzo that he had forgiven him for nearly killing him, and advises his elder brother to forgive himself.
  • For Want of a Nail: Two examples. One that contributed to Overwatch's destruction and the rise of Talon, and just to show that this trope goes both ways, one that contributed to the return of Overwatch against Talon.
    • The dismantling of Overwatch happened due to two separate events: The kidnapping and brainwashing of Amélie Lacroix to kill her husband Gerard in his sleep, who had foiled Talon at every possible turn, as well as Gabriel Reyes leaking Overwatch's Dirty Business to the public to turn the world against Overwatch, all in a fit of jealousy due to being denied the glory for far too long. If Amélie had been better protected, and if Reyes' hatred could have at all been overcome, all of this could've been avoided. Talon wouldn't have become the power they are today, Overwatch would still be around in its glory, and the two of them would still be on the good team, not better known by their new codenames — Widowmaker and Reaper respectively.
    • In a more humorous example, Talon's plot to eliminate all former Overwatch agents for good was foiled all due to one Talon operative making a little mishap. They sent Reaper and his Mooks to Watchpoint: Gibraltar to extract the locations of their whereabouts, only for Winston to protect it. However, they came prepared with cable guns to keep him at bay. It was working just fine, until a single Talon operative accidentally slipped on a banana peel that Winston initially used as a distraction. This enabled Winston to escape, and then defeat the invading Talon forces, including Reaper. In the end, Winston reinstated Overwatch, officially reviving Talon's enemy when they were completely unopposed. Again, all of this wouldn't have happened if it weren't for that one Talon operative making a mistake commonly found in lighthearted cartoon shows.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played straight for the most part, though Pharah, Tracer, Soldier: 76, and Zarya are capable of blowing themselves up with their own explosives (prior to balance patches, most of Junkrat's explosives and D.Va's Self-Destruct could harm themselves). However, Genji's Deflect can invert this, sending his enemies' fire back at them as it does nothing to his allies.
  • From Bad to Worse: Overwatch was already long gone and its agents struggling with the aftermath of its collapse while Talon continued to cause trouble and leave the heroes reeling at nearly every turn. Then, right when things start looking up with the recall of all agents, Talon throws some water on that candle by breaking out one of their leaders and setting in motion their plans to plunge mankind into a new world war while the heroes are barely any closer to their goal than before.
  • Funny Background Event: You can find random jars of peanut butter spinning in place in the vacuum outside the Horizon Lunar Colony.

  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In competitive mode, on the assault-assault maps (Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries and Hanamura), the overtime clock can sometimes get stuck despite the fact that nobody is contesting the point, resulting in the defending team needing to allow the attacking team to capture in order for the game to even progress. If you're starting to relax after a seemingly easy win and this happens, you're gonna have a bad time. This isn't helped by the fact that all of the maps this happens on are That One Level for many players. Thankfully, as of the release of Sombra, it appears to have been patched.
    • Speaking of competitive, there's an annoying tendency for warning sounds regarding the time limit (60 seconds remaining, 30 seconds remaining, overtime, etc) to not play in overtime rounds on payload and hybrid maps, and since you're more likely to be focused on the match than the time, not having any warning can result in a jarring defeat.
    • There was a nasty bug in the Ecopoint: Antarctica map that allowed Mei to be able to Ice Wall and clip through the world geometry, making the enemy unable to touch them but them able to attack from the walls/ceiling, or worse, do nothing and force games into long draws. It had existed in the map for an unknown period of time before it started gaining traction, with many Youtubers actively showing how to replicate it, and as such, Blizzard took notice, considering it an exploit to be fixed and dropping the banhammer on anybody that used it on the grounds of cheating.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • McCree's belt buckle reads "BAMF", which is short for "Badass motherfucker".
    • Genji and Widowmaker can occasionally exclaim "Kuso!" and "Merde!" respectively, both meaning "Shit!" in Japanese and French. Brigitte might also shout "Fan!", which in Swedish literally translates to "Damnit!", but is sometimes interpreted as a more severe curse word.
    • As part of the Sombra ARG, one of her messages calls the president of LumériCo "cabrón", which can be translated as "dumbass" or "asshole".
    • Tracer gains 3 kill quotes in her "Punk" and "Ultraviolet" skins ("Heh, wanker!", "Tosser!", and "Sod off."), all of which are quite strong for a T-rated game. Played with, as these quotes can only be heard if the profanity filter is turned off.
  • Gilligan Cut: Zarya states pretty firmly in Searching that Lynx Seventeen is most certainly not coming with her to Mexico on her search for Sombra. Cut to the office of LumeriCo's CEO, and lo and behold who's standing right next to her.
  • Global Warming: Climate change has grown severe over the years, and based on the view from the Horizon Lunar Base, it's taken its toll on the earth; a large portion of Brazil and Florida have become deserts (most of the Atlantic Forest is gone), the Great Lakes/Hudson Bay seem to have risen and consumed several states, Greenland appears to have no ice, and Cuba seems to be completely missing. It's implied there's some unknown, much bigger cause than just expanding industrialism and the rising Omnic population that's causing the phenomena, and it's Mei's mission to restart the world's eco-points to find out what it is.
  • Godlike Gamer: D.Va is Blizzard's love letter to the professional StarCraft community. As such she's a pro-gamer whose skills at a mech combat game have been transferred to piloting a Mini-Mecha to fight an Omnic Kaiju which attacks South Korea every few years. Notably, she holds all the high scores in every map set in an Arcade (beating out Genji's old scores, and discounting Sombra's questionable ones).
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Junkertown is ruled by a queen. She has yet to personally appear, and Junkrat, who has nothing nice to say about her, is hardly a reliable source of information considering he clearly holds a grudge for her kicking him and Roadhog out, so we don't know much about her. Still, if she's what the Junkers would consider an authority figure, she can't be good news.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: Overwatch is chock full of examples played straight and otherwise. Of the characters with confirmed prosthetic limbs, we have:
    • Doomfist, a mercenary/ terrorist whose arms are both prosthetic, but his primary weapon is the massive gauntlet that he wears over his right arm. Doomfist is one of the few confirmed antagonists in the game, and his gauntlet is twice as large as his left arm, decked out with spiked knuckles, and features a prominent set of horns on the shoulder.
    • Genji, a former yakuza and current Cyber Ninja under the employ of Overwatch whose injuries were so severe that 3/4 of his limbs and most of his torso had to be rebuilt with cybernetic prostheses. Genji is a rogue operator, but ultimately he strives to atone for his past actions. While undoubtedly mechanical looking, his body maintains basic humanoid proportions.
    • McCree, a former teenage arms dealer and gang member who was taken in by the titular organization. His bulky (but proportionally sized) mechanical hand and forearm are decorated with a prominent skull, hearkening back to his criminal past.
    • Junkrat, an Australian scavenger and international criminal. In keeping with his chaotic nature, his prosthetic arm and leg appear to be cobbled together out of scrap metal and discarded parts. His peg-leg also forces him to walk with a distinctive limp.
    • Torbjörn, a brilliant but jaded engineer who worked for Overwatch. His left arm appears to have been replaced by a set of Power Pincers, and his right eye is covered by a mechanical looking eye patch.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Some characters will sometimes speak their native language and pepper their dialogue with it to varying degrees (Russian by Zarya, Chinese by Mei, Korean by D.Va, Swiss German by Mercy, Arabic by Ana, French by Widowmaker, Latin-American Spanish by Sombra, Irish Gaelic by Moira, Swedish by Brigitte, Japanese by Genji and Hanzo, Dutch by Sigma, and after a patch, Brazilian Portuguese by Lúcio and Hindi by Symmetra). Foreign languages also serve as a giveaway to whose ultimate is activated - if a character says their Pre-Asskicking One-Liner in English, it's a friendly ult; while if they say it in their native language, it's a sign to get out of the way.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Mondatta's security team in Alive is aware that there's a shooter on the rooftops surrounding his rally and correctly have him leave the area immediately. However, instead of simply going back into the building Mondatta emerged from at the start of his speech, they opt to escort him out through the crowd to a waiting car. Predictably, the crowd slows Mondatta's departure because they don't want him to leave and because he stays out in the open Widowmaker is able to snipe him.
    • Doomfist enacted his escape from prison by punching the same spot on his cell wall over and over again until it gave way, presumably over the course of several years. In all that time, did the guards just never notice the occasional rhythmic pounding or perform routine cell inspections?

  • Halloween Cosplay: Reaper, Ana, Soldier: 76, Mercy, Junkrat, Roadhog, Symmetra, Pharah, Zenyatta, Reinhardt, and Bastion all get in the Halloween spirit with their skins during the 2016 Halloween update. 2017 gave McCree, Mei, Torbjörn, and Zarya Halloween costumes as well. 2018 added ones for Doomfist, Hammond, Moira, and Sombra, and gave proper ones for Soldier: 76 and Pharah as well.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Reinhardt's alternative skins "Bundeswehr", "Lionhardt", and "Stonehardt" reveal that his left eye is blinded and scarred. Doesn't stop him from hammering his foes to death.
    • Junkrat, despite having a mechanical prosthetic right leg and arm, is able fight on par with the other playable characters and kick their asses, too. In the comic short "Going Legit", he was able to execute a Three-Point Landing from high ground as he and Roadhog infiltrate a warehouse from a rooftop opening, with him only commenting that his artificial leg "didn't break this time" after doing so.
    • McCree, Torbjörn, and Symmetra each have a prosthetic arm. Genji uses prostheses as well, though it's unknown exactly how much of his body is prosthetic.
    • Tracer is detached from time, and the large device she keeps strapped to her chest is what's keeping her anchored in the present.
    • Ana lost her right eye to Widowmaker, but her newfound lack of depth perception has not hampered her skills as a sharpshooter.
  • Happy Ending: Few and far-between, given the state of the world, which just reinforces the themes of hope and heroism when they somehow find a way to happen.
    • The cinematic trailer. Tracer and Winston succeed in driving off Reaper and Widowmaker with no casualties (unless you count Winston’s glasses), the Doomfist is safely secured, and Tracer commends and salutes the two boys before she leaves, leaving the older brother awestruck and the younger brother cheering that he got to see two of his favorite heroes in action. And, as one of the in-story news articles covers, this event confirms Overwatch is back in action after years and people are hopeful again. Sadly, Doomfist gets his gauntlet back anyways, meaning they only postponed Talon acquiring it.
    • Recall: Winston prevents Talon from extracting the locations of the former Overwatch agents, and defeats Reaper in the process. Then he recalls all Overwatch agents, meaning that Overwatch is back in business.
    • Dragonslayer: Reinhardt dons his old equipment after a touch-up and succeeds in driving the gang members out of the town. He is now back in the game as a modern-day wandering knight, complete with his trusty squire in tow, who gives a little girl’s teddy bear a makeover in the style of Reinhardt’s armor, which she loves.
    • Shooting Star is a standalone adventure free from the baggage of the main conflict in which D.Va successfully defends the city from a surprise omnic attack. Yes, she might have broken her leg and been forced to destroy her mech to take out the last drone due to charging ahead without reinforcements, but everyone is safe, she and her friend have some peaceful time off together while she recuperates, and they both seem happy, so it all ends on a positive note.
  • Happy Ending Override:
    • The cinematic trailer where Winston and Tracer successfully secured the Doomfist gauntlet and kept it out of Talon's clutches. It ultimately didn't matter, as Doomfist got his gauntlet back later after Reaper broke him free from prison, elevating Talon into being an even bigger threat than before.
    • "Masquerade" retroactively confirmed that Reaper managed to extract data on some of the Overwatch agents in Recall, meaning that Winston didn't save everyone from being hunted down and killed by Reaper and Talon. Also mentioned (for a given definition of "happy") is that despite technically failing the mission to assassinate Volskaya due to sabotage from one of their own in Infiltration, Talon has been able to work with the outcome to turn it to their advantage anyway.
    • Uprising retroactively makes Alive this. In the former, an Overwatch strike team helps relieve a major crisis in London — Tracer's hometown — after tensions between humans and omnics sparked an urban warfare situation. In the latter, Widowmaker kills one of the hostages Tracer had previously worked to save, which plunges her home into another period of turmoil which dialogue in Masquerade outright says hasn't been so bad since "the uprising."
  • Heal Thyself: In addition to heal kits scattered around the maps (with the typical instantly-fixing-you-up-the-moment-you-step-on-them behavior), some characters have abilities to restore their health in one way or another, most notably Supports who have a job to heal others.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The public turned against Overwatch, eventually making any activity associated the organization illegal.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Zigzagged in multiple ways. During the game's beta and for a few months after release, many character hitboxes were larger than their models, making them much easier to hit and get headshots for, including with Hanzo's infamous Huntsman-esque arrows, though they were shrunk down after enough fan complaints were made. The actual hitbox detection on various hero abilities vary on accuracy, with Hanzo's arrows and Roadhog's hook having disproportionate hitboxes, Reinhardt and D.Va's barrier abilities being very accurate, and Ana's Biotic Rifle having larger hitboxes when healing allies but standard hitbox sizes for enemies. It's generally perceived that these were designed for the purpose of not being frustrating to players rather than dead-on accuracy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In the comic short "Going Legit", the CEO who tricked Junkrat and Roadhog into aiding in his insurance scam gets strung up by them and then blown to bits.
    • Junkrat's concussion mine, in a more literal sense.
    • Pharah, Tracer, Soldier: 76, and Zarya can blow themselves up by their own explosive weapons (and so could Junkrat's explosives and D.Va's Self-Destruct before they were balanced out).
    • Genji can deflect any projectile in the game - one of the reasons that he's frequently used to counter Bastion is that he can activate his deflection skill and decimate it with its own damage. The same goes for Pharah's barrage, Tracer's pulse bomb, and even Hanzo's Dragonstrike!note 
  • Holiday Mode: Some maps are updated during holiday-specific events to fit the mood better, such as Hollywood, Chataeu Guillard, and Eichenwalde, becoming darker and spookier during the Halloween event, King's Row and Hanamura getting fresh snow during Christmas, and Lijang Tower being decorated for the Lunar New Year.
  • Hollywood Hacking:
    • In the comic "Mission Statement", one of Pharah's team members uses this to stop the Anubis AI from uploading itself.
    • Sombra revels in this trope, with much of this trope being integral to her character and playstyle.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: This seems to be one of the game’s central themes. The Omnic Crisis may be over, but the world is still far, far away from being at peace. Times are grim, villains are running amok unchecked, and the heroes don’t always win. But there are still heroes. And for every one of them that continues to fight and refuses to let reality grind them into nothing, the world comes that much closer to a brighter tomorrow.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Downplayed from what we know about the Omnic Crisis. The Omnics aren't Killer Robots out to Kill All Humans - they're second-class citizens and slaves who want to be recognized as people. Unfortunately, they can also be hacked by the true AIs and turned into killers. Graffiti on walls at King's Row, statements by otherwise heroic characters about peaceful Omnics like Zenyatta and Bastion and reactions to the flourishing and open-minded city of Numbani don't paint a pretty picture of humanity. Then again, factions like Null Sector and the Omnic Talon council member Maximilien indicate Equal-Opportunity Evil.

  • I Die Free: The Pharah-centric comic Mission Statement features an omnic merc named Okoro as part of Pharah's squad. During the mission to infiltrate Helix's facilities, the newly freed Anubis god program takes over all the nearby Omnics, and as Okoro realizes this he swiftly warns his teammates, apologizes for not being able to help, and blows his own head off to prevent being used against his will.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: D.Va and several other professional gamers were explicitly picked by the Korean government to pilot a Mini-Mecha because of the reflexes they developed playing video games.
  • Implied Death Threat: One of the pre-game interactions between Junkrat and Reaper either implies that Reaper wishes to enlist Junkrat's services, or Reaper is threatening Junkrat in a rather implicit and witty way.
    Junkrat: You look like a guy who needs someone blown up.
    Reaper: A candidate just came to mind.
    • Widowmaker gives Sombra the whole "It'd be a shame if something happened to you" routine when the latter gets a bit too chummy with her in-game. Which should give you an idea about how well Sombra is regarded by her colleagues, since Widow doesn't even threaten Tracer or Ana when she interacts with either of them.
  • Improbable Age: Mostly averted in present events, with most of the characters being appropriately aged for combat-ready fighters, the majority of whom at least in their mid-20s to 30s — and that's considered "young", as many more of them are older than that. The sole exception to this among the human cast is D.Va, a 19-year-old professional gamer-turned-soldier, but this doesn't stop her from kicking ass like the rest of them. Even the omnic characters are primarily in the same age range as the humans, except for the 1-month-old Orisa. That said, some heroes had this trope in the past:
    • Mercy was already studying medicine at university by 17, and ended up running a prominent Swiss hospital by her mid-twenties, with the justification being that she's that smart.
    • McCree, who is the same age as Mercy, is a darker spin on this. He was an infamous outlaw in his teens before being recruited to join Overwatch.
    • Soldier: 76 is around his mid-fifties while Overwatch was founded to deal with the Omnic Crisis around 30 years ago, meaning he'd been declared in charge of the prestigious paramilitary organization at around 30. Granted, Jack's significant part in basically saving humanity from robots trying to kill everyone would no doubt lend clout to his selection.
    • Tracer was one of the most skilled pilots in Overwatch and handpicked to test out the (ill-fated) Slipstream when she was wasn't even twenty.
    • Orisa's creator, Child Prodigy Efi Oladele, certainly counts, since she built Orisa when she was 11.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Soldier: 76 and his Ultimate "Tactical Visor" allows him to pin-point targets and guide his shots straight to them. In his short "Heroes", he uses this against three thugs... while mid-fall... with three shots.
    • McCree's ultimate "Deadeye" similarly allows him to target and dispose multiple foes quickly and with perfect precision.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted; the "Are You With Us?" trailer implies that children were among the victims of the Omnic Crisis. Narrowly played straight in the comic "A Better World" where a young girl Symmetra befriended is caught in a fire caused by the Vishkar Corporation; Symmetra saves her in time, but the young girl's face is burned and permanently disfigured.
  • Infinite Supplies: All heroes have an unlimited amount of ammo, and special abilities are limited by a cooldown period rather than a limited resource. Other abilities, such as D.Va's Defense Matrix and Bastion's self-repair ability, have a limited amount of usage that automatically regenerates over time. Torbjörn and Moira also have abilities (armor power-ups and healing sprays, respectively) that draw on a resource that slowly builds over time and can be augmented by by attacking/defeating enemies.
  • Insult Backfire: Well, less an insult than an announcement of distrust. Zarya will occasionally tell Zenyatta that she's keeping an eye on him. Zenyatta's reply? "I will watch your back as well", either accidentally or deliberately turning around her intent.
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: Blizzard apparently wants to invoke a variation of this trope with its Healers. Mercy has some of the strongest normal healing, but she has very little utility aside from that. Lúcio and Zenyatta can't heal as much (outside of their Ultimates), but have lots more utility and lethality. Subverted when Ana came out, as she had both the highest healing and utility in the game, though this was somewhat compensated by her mechanical difficulty and subsequent nerfs.
  • Irony:
    • Reinhardt was forced into retirement by the UN because, after Ana's "death" in Egypt, his age was viewed as a liability and losing another founding member might have led to a drop in morale. Reinhardt was also the only person in Overwatch with both the heart and the seniority to hold it together as internal tensions escalated. His departure only succeeded in hastening its downfall.
    • The place Tracer calls home is King's Row, a dirty, rundown and oppressive neighborhood that is constantly broiling with tension that occasionally escalates into violence. In other words, the exact kind of place someone like her shouldn't even look twice at. On the other hand, it might actually suit her just fine.
    • One of the gentlest characters who is most in tune with nature is Bastion, a man-made industrial war machine.

  • Karma Houdini: Talon has had free reign to pursue their campaign of plunging the world into chaos and war for years (both in-story and verging on out as well), and none of the characters associated with it have faced any punishment for their on-screen misdeeds. The heroes' job is to get back together and pool their resources to change that, but for various reasons, they have yet to meet with much success. Doomfist presumably got the stuffing beaten out of him by Winston for hurting his friends and then locked up for tearing up Numbani, but since we don't actually get to see it and he broke out anyway right as we were learning any of this even happened, it's hard to think any of that matters.
    • The executives at Vishkar responsible for bombing the favela to make room for their public works project in A Better World also ended the comic not by facing consequences, but by holding a sickeningly self-congratulatory opening ceremony, and it's heavily implied that the company has been engaging in this kind of behavior for a long time.
  • Keeping the Handicap: Mercy says there are procedures she could use to restore the eye Ana lost in a Sniper Duel against Widowmaker. Ana is grateful for the offer but declines, saying that she's comfortable with who she is now and that her missing eye is a good reminder to push forward in life.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Talon's abduction and transformation of Amélie Lacroix into a cold, remorseless killer is already considered to be possibly the most morally reprehensible action in the game's canon, but they also gave her the codename "Widowmaker" because her first victim was her beloved husband Gérard. In other words, they gave her the name because she made a widow out of herself. Lovely people, those Talon folks.
    • Widowmaker herself has a propensity for this:
      • Her killing of Mondatta was horrible, yes. But that was just her assignment. Her laughing about it in a distraught Tracer's face when all she wanted was an explanation? That was entirely on her. And while she needed to make her escape, personally injuring Tracer by swinging her into a wall was probably unnecessary.
      • Her response in the cinematic trailer to the sound of a child calling out? Activating her visor. You know, the one she uses to help her kill people.
      • She even does this to the player. Her "Under the Mistletoe" highlight intro from the 2016 Winter Wonderland event has her beckoning to the camera presumably for a kiss… only to knock it to the ground once it's in close and then literally kick it while it's down.
      • Depending on what map she's on and her team composition, she might take a moment in-game to recount her past killings or rub her teammates' failures in their faces. Notably, she can mock Ana about ruining her life directly to her face, and she might gloat about killing Mondatta at the spot where it happened on King's Row while Tracer, Zenyatta or both are right beside her.
    • The Shimada Clan forcing Hanzo to kill his younger brother Genji because he didn't want to take part in their illegal activities. Though Genji survived, it was only because Overwatch rescued him and made him into a cyborg.
    • Reaper does this in the cinematic trailer by crushing Winston's glasses as he moves in to finish him off. This backfires spectacularly, since doing so triggers Winston's Berserk Button.
    • Sombra threatening a woman with blackmail into being her own personal benefactor in Infiltration probably would have scored her enough brownie points around Talon's water cooler even if she didn't feel compelled to drag her daughter into it.
    • When Tracer begins flickering out of time in Doomfist's origin story trailer after he rips her chronal accelerator off her back, notice how instead of just finishing her off or turning his attention onto Winston while he's distracted with watching in terror, he just stands there and lets it play out. He wanted her to suffer, and he wanted to make sure her friend saw it.
    • The news report on Junkrat and Roadhog features them committing their various crime sprees, including robbing an arcade for toys while Junkrat steals a kid's soda.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: If a hero starts to announce something through the radio from a distance but then dies, the message will be interrupted by their death scream.
  • Kill the Host Body: Okoro, who is an omnic, is nearly hijacked by Anubis, a God Program, but performs a Heroic Sacrifice of shooting himself to prevent Anubis from using him to harm his teammates.
  • Konami Code: Typing the code on Overwatch's official website (replacing Start with Enter) causes miniature D.Va's (originally Hanzos) to start raining down in the website. In addition, D.Va will say what the code is loudly.
  • Lag Cancel: All characters (except Reinhardt and Brigitte) have the ability to instantly strike out with a melee attack immediately after firing their main gun, with the downside being that you have to wait for the melee animation to reset before you can start firing again. A skilled Mei can finish off a 200 HP character by freezing them in place, firing an icicle at their head, and finishing them off with a punch in the same moment that the headshot registers. Roadhog can hook enemies to bring them in, fire their gun and then finish with a melee. This combo used to be a One-Hit Kill in most situations before the hook itself was nerfed.
  • Land of One City: Numbani is described as a single city in Africa, but it's not listed as residing in any country beyond that, pre-existing or not. It's described as being close to Nigeria, but otherwise, Numbani seems to be recognized as its own state, identified in-game with its own unique flag.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Barrier abilities like Zarya and Winston's bubbles and Reinhardt, Orisa, and Symmetra's shields have an HP value after which they break, but they always absorb the entirety of the attack that breaks them. This makes them good for defending against ultimate abilities that deal their damage in a single massive explosion, like Junkrat's Riptire and D.Va's Self-Destruct. The latter does 1000 points of damage to an unprotected target, but if there's even 1 hp worth of barrier in the way, it does nothing.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: One of Mei's notes in Ecopoint: Antarctica give three possible guesses as to what's causing the weather anomaly.
    What's causing the anomaly?
    -Global Warming
    -Unexplained Phenomenon
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • An unfortunately common practice with many players, referred to by the community as "trickling." Many players' first impulse upon getting killed and respawning is to immediately dive back into the exciting battle alone, instead of waiting to group up with their team for full-on teamfights, usually getting themselves killed all over again simply due to a numbers disparity.
    • Bad Reinhardt players can be notorious for this. His skill Charge has a chance to instantly kill someone, but also very easy to miss. It's very often that Reinhardt players forego their role as the team's shield and instead choose to Charge attempting to kill a target, fail, get shot down to death, and then their team members die unprotected. This is surprisingly a similar scenario with the Trope Namer himself and fits entirely with young Reinhardt's persona before he got some character development.
    • Happens with distressing regularity in quickplay these days, where the majority of the playerbase would immediately pick DPS heroes upon match start and not tanks or healers. Said DPS players then throw themselves at the enemy with reckless abandon until they either time out, or the other team cave somehow. DPS heroes being, well, DPS heroes, life expectancy is usually measured in seconds, especially if the other team has a Bastion, or worse, plays properly to counter this weird strategy.
  • Legacy Character: Doomfist, which is both the name of the gauntlet and the wielder. So far we've had Adhubu Ngumi (the Savior), Akinjide Adeyemi (the Scourge) and the current holder Akande Ogundimu (the Successor).
  • Libation for the Dead: Mei commemorates the deaths of her colleagues in Rise and Shine by placing mugs of hot cocoa at the foot of each of their chambers, using each person's favourite cup.
  • Life/Death Juxtaposition: Moira is a support hero who can heal her allies with her left hand and rip her enemies apart with her right. Both her hands are visually distinct, with her right hand appearing corrupted and necrotic with long, clawlike nails.
    • In a narrative sense, Alive is about an assassination that brings about mass unrest and, potentially, a future conflict, and it immediately follows Recall, which is about Winston setting the stage for Overwatch to be reborn and make its comeback.
  • Lighter and Softer: The game as a whole to the rest of Blizzard's normal output. It seems to bum some of its aesthetic from Pixar films, and has since its original announcement been compared to Team Fortress 2 in terms of both gameplay and style. In terms of lore, it is much lighter than the Crapsack World Blizzard usually puts out; while bad and depressing things have happened, the lore remains more hopeful than negative.
  • Limit Break: Each character has a powerful ultimate ability that builds over time or by dealing or healing damage.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: From a story standpoint, there are over 100 named characters in the Extended Universe, despite the rather limited lore content thus far. 25 of which are currently playable, while the rest serve to flesh out the world and are often important to the story itself, and it's only expected to grow from there.
  • Logo Joke: Junkertown: the Plan has Junkrat singing the Overwatch fanfare over the logo at the end.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The "Mystery Heroes" Brawl, in which each player gets a random hero picked for them every time they spawn. Depending on how the RNG feels, your team might get a competitive-standard composition, or a team that would be considered a joke even in Quick Play. Certain characters like Bastion which would be easy to counter by picking another hero are rather more deadly in this mode.

  • MacGuffin: Whatever that strange device in Train Hopper was, those Talon agents sure wanted it really badly. Also, whatever Junkrat found in the Australian omnium, which, judging by his pre-fight banter with other characters, he tries to avoid talking about. We most likely have not seen the last of either of these.
  • MacGyvering: Roadhog and Junkrat's arsenals are cobbled together with random junk and car parts. Even Junkrat's prosthetic leg seems to be homemade.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When asked whether Winston prefers smooth or chunky peanut butter, the official Overwatch Twitter answered with "All of the Above."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The vast majority of the characters use advanced tech that would be seen in soft sci-fi or a superhero comic, but some have abilities even that can't explain. Hanzo and Genji summon giant ethereal dragons, Zenyatta briefly ascends to a higher plane, and Reaper can become ghostly and pick up "soul orbs" from his defeated enemies to regain health, though the latter two are non-canon elements that primarily exist for gameplay.
  • The Mean Brit: Averted and played straight. The aversion is Tracer, a proud British girl and one of the most idealistic good hearted characters in the game. On the other hand, the people of King's Row, located in England, are majorly racist against Omnics.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • Several maps, especially ones directly relevant to certain heroes, are littered with tons of visual hints that when not simply for flavorful World Building, sometimes directly fill holes or provide some insights on heroes' pasts. Some examples include the various notes scattered around Ecopoint: Antarctica documenting everything preceding Mei and her crew going into cryosleep, or the various disturbed objects in the apparently-abandoned Château Guillard, hinting at some of Widowmaker's history and recent activities.
    • The chronology of Shooting Star is never put at the forefront, but around 6:42, the news broadcast can be very faintly heard saying that "Former Overwatch agents have been appearing around the whole world" (the voiceover is more audible in other language dubs like in German and French), meaning not only does the short take place after Recall, but the media has taken notice of Overwatch's return.
  • Mecha-Mooks:
    • Bastion, originally as "SST Laboratories Siege Automaton E54, 'Bastion'" comprised a large part of the omnic forces during the Crisis. Damage to its programming has allowed it to transcend this state, however.
    • The Suit in Going Legit tries to ambush Junkrat and Roadhog with these as a part of a plan to get an insurance write-off.
    • The Anubis AI uses these in the slightly more terrifying version of hacked Omnics.
    • All of the enemies in Uprising are robots.
  • Medium Blending: Trace & Bake is a cute little short about Tracer('s model) baking a cake in celebration of the game's second anniversary, which is portrayed by combining animated versions of her and Reaper's models with live action footage of someone's desk and kitchen.
  • Membership Token: An Overwatch coin is prominently featured in "Honor and Glory". Balderich received it as an invitation to join the new organization, and before he dies, he hands it off to Reinhardt.
  • Mirror Match: The entire purpose of Mystery Duel. In each round, both players are assigned the same random Hero.
  • Mission Creep: In the backstory, Overwatch was formed to deal with the first Omnic Crisis. Afterwards, it became a general peacekeeping organisation, but it also gained a secret "Black Ops" division. When these operations were revealed, public opinion turned on it and infighting between the two sections began. Culminating in both of its top leaders apparently Mutual Killing each other after a confrontation, and the UN disbanding and outlawing it.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In the Alive short: Yes! Tracer's dodged Widowmaker's shot... No! She got Mondatta! With the same shot! In addition, Alive is confirmed to have happened later the same day as Recall — the same short that ends on a high note where Winston reinstates Overwatch! Talk about a Tone Shift.
      • Alive in general is this compared to the rest of the, generally more hopeful and lighthearted, lore-related materials. It’s grim, humorless, ends with a completely unambiguous victory for the villain, and what little levity exists is of the "set you up for a fall" variety. Despite taking place on a much smaller scale and impacting only a relative handful of lives, it rivals the end of Brood War for sheer underlying dread and bleakness in a Blizzard cinematic, and it's sandwiched right between the uplifting Recall and the bombastic Dragons. It even contrasts with the other villain-centric cinematic, Infiltration, which plays out more like a conventional thriller.
    • The Last Bastion opens with Bastion waking up and walking around the forest, admiring the beautiful scenery and helping a little bird build a nest on its shoulder. Then it hears a woodpecker, which triggers its memories of combat and throws it into a panic.
    • The Winter Wonderland-exclusive "Yeti Hunter" mode. Despite it being an asymmetric hunt-or-be-hunted mode with quiet, winter-y ambience, it starts off rather innocently, with a cute-looking intro animation and playful banter between the Hunters that just want to study the Yeti... until the Yeti gets four pieces of meat, where he then becomes a hulking, red-eyed Lightning Bruiser that can near-instantly slaughter your character, turning everything into a deadly game of cat and mouse as primal drums play in the background.
      Mei: Don't be afraid, we don't hurt you! (ROAR) Run for your lives!
    • A meta example: Masquerade may represent the most dire point we've reached in the story so far. One of Talon's leaders is free, many of the heroes' accomplishments are undone, Overwatch remains broken, and the villains are unified and uncontested in their goal of plunging the world into another cataclysmic war. A couple weeks after its release later: "Hey, everyone! Have some fun in the sun for the 2017 Summer Games event with these new beach-themed skins! Including one for this cold-blooded assassin you just saw kill someone."
  • Mook Horror Show: The "Hero" short shows the weapon smugglers being brutally attacked by Soldier: 76, leaving them and an innocent bystander terrified by the assault.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: On the surface, the main conflict appears to be a straightforward case of heroes versus villains, and that's true to an extent since Overwatch are clearly presented as the good guys and Talon as the bad guys, but even within and outside that conflict, the cast provides enough variation to run through the entire moral spectrum.
    • Right at one end, we have a collection of thoroughly, unambiguously good and heroic characters like Tracer, Mercy, Mei, Winston, Lúcio and Reinhardt who are wholeheartedly committed to making the world a better place, compassionate toward all people, and unwaveringly devoted to their ideals in spite of their hardships.
    • Then, we have a grayer niche of heroism occupied by characters like Soldier: 76, Torbjörn and Zarya: definitely on the side of good and working to improve things, but soured by their experiences enough to engage in harsher tactics, and some carry a chip on their shoulder that hinders them from being wholly heroic to everyone all the time.
    • Solidly neutral parties like Bastion and Hanzo skirt the edge of the main conflict and prefer to deal with their own problems without getting involved in anything greater or infringing upon anyone else.
    • Symmetra is an Anti-Villain with good intentions who occupies a nebulous area toward the middle and can slide further up or down the scale depending on the situation. She genuinely does want the best for humanity, but her warped definition of "best" and her general disdain for those who don't share her views prevent her from being genuinely heroic.
    • Junkrat and Roadhog are a pair of selfish, marauding bandits; solidly immoral, but ultimately more interested in crime, saving their own skins, and having a good time at others' expense than in pursuing any kind of sinister agenda.
    • And finally, we have unambiguously evil and malicious villains represented by Talon and its agents, who are actively pursuing a campaign of death and destruction for their own nefarious ends. They have their reasons for being who they are, so even at this point you can still find some measure of humanity, but at the end of the day, they're still hurting and killing innocent people without remorse in order to stimulate a conflict more or less for its own sake.
  • Motion Blur: Overwatch uses cartoon-like and smearing for the characters animations, in place of more traditional motion blur techniques.

  • Near Victory Fanfare: Played straight or inverted depending on whether one is attacking or defending:
    • For defending players, a tense track plays when the timer is down to less than 30 seconds, which also the attacking team's cue to hurry up.
    • For attacking players on Escort maps, a dramatic track plays when the payload is almost at the end of the line, which is also the defending team's cue to get their crap together.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Talon, a recurring foe for Overwatch both directly and as The Man Behind the Man. Their motives have become increasingly clear as the backstory comes out, going from seemingly acting For the Evulz to a strong Social Darwinist ideology.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Encouraged; you get points for "Ultimate Shutdown" by killing enemies who just activated their ultimate, thus negating a potential Play of the Game by the enemy.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with. Kills and deaths are referred to as "eliminations" so that assists can be counted as well, but many characters, most notably Reaper, have dialog that talks about death and killing.
  • New Old West: The Deadlock Gang, Ashe, B.O.B and McCree's whole schtick, justified by the fact that according to Michael Chu, by the time of the game's present, the American Southwest is considered "lawless." The animated short Reunion plays out like a western movie.
  • Nice Guy: There are several genuinely nice people in the game, and it doesn't stop them from kicking ass. This stands in contrast to other characters who are cynics, jerkasses, or outright villains.
    • Zenyatta is a Omnic monk who only wants peace, and his many lines have nothing but nice things to say (though he does get a quip here and there).
    • Lúcio acts very friendly and upbeat, and even praises the team dynamic in-game (regardless of how bad it actually is).
    • Mei is very friendly to everyone around her (except for Junkrat, hoo boy), which comes across as odd as she is freezing people to death.
    • Mercy hates violence, cares deeply for her teammates, and dedicated her life to saving as many lives as possible. Even though she abhors Overwatch's methods, she still wants to help them and keep them all safe.
    • Winston doubles as this and Gentle Giant. He's a very friendly gorilla who only wants to help others out, having invented Tracer's chronal accelerator out of the goodness of his heart. Best not to call him a monkey or step on his glasses, though.
    • Tracer is kind, helpful, places the needs of others above herself, and remains steadfastly committed to the public good even when faced with great personal adversity. She has her limits, though.
    • Widowmaker is a more tragic take on this, believe it or not. Amélie Lacroix was a perfectly sweet and innocent civilian whose only connection to the main conflict was through marriage. Then Talon got ahold of her, and nothing's been the same since.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Zenyatta is a robot monk! Torbjörn is a cyborg dwarf! Winston is a scientist gorilla from the moon! Genji is a Green Cyborg Ninja Dude!
  • Nonindicative Name: Eichenwalde is German for "oak forest", but the map does not feature any oak trees, only pines.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: Cinematic trailer, full stop. Tracer fires hundreds of rounds, but never hits anybody. Widowmaker and Reaper return the favor, but only manage to disable Tracer's equipment and knock Winston down for all of twenty seconds. Handwaved by the minimal number of visitors at the museum during the assault.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: All abilities that affect another Hero will have the same effect regardless of whether the target is an organism or mechanical in nature, unless the target has a unique ability to reduce or negate the effect. For example, Ana's weapons, both designed to be harmful or helpful to flesh-and-blood humans, can poison, heal, or put to sleep Omnics, cyborgs, and mechs as well.
  • No Experience Points for Medic:
    • The Play of the Game mechanic favors scoring a lot of kills in a short period of time. Thus, very rarely will the Play of the Game feature a Support hero, unless it's a Lúcio blasting the enemy team into a bottomless pit, a Mercy rezzing her whole team (before her kit was reworked), or a Zenyatta using Transcendence to save teammates from immediate death.
    • Experience points themselves are no problem for solo healers, because earning a medal results in an extra chunk of EXP proportionate to the quality of the medal, and the only dedicated healer on a team is almost certain to earn a gold medal for highest healing output.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Talon's brainwashing of Widowmaker. The ability to turn a random person into an utterly loyal living weapon, and one of the worlds most dangerous people, seems like something that would be useful more than once. The Retribution mode, however, shows that Widowmaker wasn't the first person to undergo the procedure, as the three Elite units (Sniper, Heavy Assault, and especially Assassin) are all brainwashed and programmed as well, though it left them psychotic, laughing mad, and hungry for carnage. Widowmaker is the first 100% successful result of the procedure.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The game shelves the lore of Overwatch in favor of PVP gameplay, so those wanting to know more about the characters and the world will have to look into the rest of Overwatch's media to scratch that itch. At the very least, knowing the lore will help shed some light on some of the more specific character interactions that the game provides (such as Soldier and Reaper, or Lúcio and Symmetra).
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Played with. Very few characters have actual 'powers' but all of them have some form of tech that grants them unique abilities. It really comes down to whether or not you consider, say, D.Va's Mini-Mecha to be a super power or not.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Several characters from different nations speak with American accents for no discernable reason, these being Lucio (who's from Brazil), Roadhog (who's from Australia), and Brigitte (who's from Sweden). D.Va has a slight hint of an accent at times, but mostly speaks with an American accent.
  • Not Wearing Tights: The characters have yet to explicitly be called superheros, probably because they use guns and have mostly technology-based abilities. However, they do have unique appearances, backstories, and powers that would not be out of place in a comic book.

  • Odd Friendship: The game's roster is chock-full of diverse, colorful characters from just about every conceivable walk of life, so any combination that develops a rapport is bound to qualify, with some particular standouts:
    • Tracer and Winston. You'd be hard-pressed to find a friendship more unlikely than one between a hyperactive lesbian fighter pilot who's been displaced from her own timeline and an intelligent, talking gorilla scientist from the moon, yet they're remarkably close and have one of the strongest friendships of any two characters in the game.
    • Reinhardt is a sexagenarian German body builder who fashions himself as a quixotic modern-day knight errant, complete with a suit of armor and a massive hammer, and his taste in music is just as archaic. D.Va is a trash-talking Korean teenager whose career is split between being a celebrity gamer and a mech pilot. They're about as far apart as two individuals can be while still being recognizable as members of the same species, but they still get along great in-game, with the former outright asking the latter for her autograph.
    • Bastion is a traumatized, semi-amnesiac Killer Robot whose struggle to adapt in a world it finds unfamiliar is aided by its best friend: an ordinary songbird called Ganymede. In-game, it also has a pretty chummy rapport with Lúcio, a bombastic celebrity musician who champions the cause of society's disadvantaged.
  • Offhand Backhand: During the firefight between McCree and Ashe's group in Reunion, McCree shoots the sniper omnic without even looking at it.
  • Official Couple: There are two official couples among the main cast: Tracer and her girlfriend, Emily; and Torbjörn and his wife, Ingrid. In the past, there was also Ana and Sam (Pharah's father) but it's unclear if they still have feelings for each other.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: A meta example: since the "Play of the Game" kill cam is restricted to the player's viewpoint, for characters with indirect source of damage like Torbjörn, their play can consist of, say, their construct getting a triple kill while the cam shows your dead body. Patches have allowed the Play of the Game to use other cameras for a better view of the action, but it still happens sometimes.
  • Old Soldier: Most of the founding members of Overwatch are in their 50s and 60s, but still kick ass. And of course, this is Soldier 76's whole shtick.
    • Reinhardt is the largest member of the whole cast (larger than the gorilla and Mini-Mecha!), wields a gigantic hammer which he can use to let off blasts of fire or cause small-scale tremors, and is capable of taking lots of damage with his "Crusader" Power Armor. He is also 61 years old.
    • Torbjörn, The Smart Guy of Overwatch, and like Reinhardt, Morrison, and Reyes, one of the members of the original Overwatch strike team. He's 57 years old.
    • Soldier: 76, too. Like Reinhardt, Strike-Commander Jack Morrison was one of the members of the original Overwatch team 30 or so years ago during the first Omnic Crisis. Morrison volunteered for the US Soldier Enhancement Program when he was 18 years old, meaning he should be pushing 50 now. Despite that, he's still able to hold his own with the rest of the cast.
    • Gabriel Reyes (Reaper) co-founded Overwatch with Jack Morrison and inducted McCree into Blackwatch. He's likely a similar age to Soldier: 76.
    • Never Mess with Granny: Ana is the second oldest character behind Reinhardt, being 60 years old as opposed to his 61, and she hasn't aged quite as well as he has either. She's also one of the world's best snipers and was doing combat operations well into her 50s before she lost her eye to Widowmaker, and even that hasn't slowed her down.
  • The Olympics: The annual "Summer Games" originally debuted and ran during the same time as the real deal, using a lawyer-friendly Olympics-esque logo and loot that have country flags and sports themes. It also features the Brazilian character Lúcio prominently on the title screen, and a special 3 on 3 brawl mode called Lúcioball, which is basically ''Rocket League with everyone playing as him.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Averted via Bilingual Bonus. We have Aleksandra Zaryanova, and from the "Hero" short film, a little girl named Alejandra. Both are female forms of Aleksander (Russian) and Alejandro (Spanish), respectively, and equally related to the Greek name Alexandros. Lampshaded in the "Searching" comic when the two meet.
    • Also averted via a gendered variation. There is Gabriel Reyes, now known as Reaper, and the minor/currently unseen character Gabrielle Adawe, who was responsible for the formation of Overwatch.
    • Additionally averted by Hana Song, the playable character D.Va, and Hanna, a minor character in "Dragon Slayer."
  • Only Child Syndrome: With the exception of Hanzo, Genji and Brigitte, none of the other heroes are mentioned to have any siblings.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Most characters have a defined personality, so when they act differently from what you'd expect, it's serious.
    • Tracer is normally one of the game's most upbeat characters, but she takes her commitment to protecting the world very seriously, which tends to be most evident when lives are at stake, especially when Widowmaker is involved. The most notable examples are the ending of Alive, which shows her visibly overcome with grief upon realizing her failure and reaching her lowest emotional point, and Uprising, in which she gives a short but impassioned speech to Commander Morrison about her reasons for enlisting when she sees nothing being done about the titular uprising in London. Her voiceover that leads into the event proper is a somber overview of what's at stake in which she sounds gravely concerned and anxious to do something.
    • Widowmaker herself has a few small but noteworthy moments where her humanity resurfaces from beneath her sadism, such as taking offense to hearing her husband Gérard be insulted, sighing his name upon being revived, and visiting his grave to privately mourn. One of her emotes also has her practice ballet, which she used to perform as a civilian. It's here that we see she has retained some of her former identity and isn't as unfeeling as she appears, at least as far as her own grief is concerned.
    • D.Va has a voice line on Eichenwalde and Volskaya Industries where she takes the situation seriously.
      The destruction caused by the omnics here, it reminds me of home.
      • D.Va's animated short, "Shooting Star," highlights the contrast between her "in-character" gamer celebrity persona, and her "out-of-character" persona, where she obsessively prepares for the next fight, motivated partially by shell-shock.
    • Reinhardt laments the sacrifice of The Crusaders on Eichenwalde, in a tone that sounds nothing like his normal self.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: Many of the Heroes have differing approaches to both combat and how to improve the world.
    • Perhaps best demonstrated with Mercy and Reinhardt. Reinhardt is a Blood Knight who rushes into a fight, Mercy dreads fighting but understands that it's sometimes the only way.
    • Soldier 76 will chastise D.Va by saying, "War isn't a game!" D.Va will retort, "Are you sure life isn't a game?"
  • Out of Focus:
    • Ironically, Overwatch itself; or at least the issue of its return. In the time since the release of Recall, it has been referenced primarily through a few background easter eggs and some sparse lines of dialogue. It took seventeen months of real world waiting for Rise and Shine to confirm Mei as the first agent other than Winston or Tracer to acknowledge the recall order, and Honor and Glory added Reinhardt to the list a couple months after that. In both cases, however, the matter of the recall itself is confined to the background in favor of showcasing their origin stories.
    • Due to the number of characters, several have received very little screen time in the supplemental animations and materials. For example, in spite of being an original release character with a consistently high selection rate, D.Va has only appeared for a few seconds of a montage in the game's teaser trailer and once barely visible on a tv screen in the background of a single panel in Reflections (until Shooting Star, that is), and the most Lúcio has is an interview that's pure text and lasts only a handful of paragraphs, as well as an in-universe commercial for Lucio-Os.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • Of course this being Overwatch, most of the stories have a flavor of your typical superhero genre, from the cheery and colorful good guys fighting off the black-clad villains, to vigilantes that work in the dark. Then "The Last Bastion" comes along, a dialogue-less short about an omnic reawakening in a forest untouched by man, evoking works such as WALL•E.
    • With the official introduction of Sombra, Overwatch has dipped into Cyberpunk— Sombra's character wouldn't be out of place in Shadowrun or Deus Ex, having cybernetic augmentations, Hollywood Hacking skills, and being noticed by a massive conspiracy during the early days of her career as a hacker, leading her to erase her identity entirely, and getting the attention of Talon as to uncover how deep the conspiracy goes. She even spares Katya Volskaya, instead opting to blackmail her in exchange for information regarding the conspiracy.

  • Palette Swap: The skins to varying degrees act like this; "rare" skins will only change either the main colour of the character's costume (Like D-va's bodysuit and MEKA) or certain highlights/accessories (Mercy's skirt and sleeves), "epic" skins change all the colours in character's clothing while "legendary" skins will change the look of the character entirely; however, each character started with four legendary skins, excluding preorder bonuses — but they are actually only two skins with two colour options each.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Only the top 500 players of each competitive season will ever see a special player icon to prove how skilled they really are. The rest of the player base will never earn them.
    • Averted with the holiday material. Unlike most games, which add new rewards each year and make the old ones unavailable to anybody who wasn't there, each season unlocks the ability to earn all of the previous years bonuses, as well as new ones.
  • Play Every Day: The first match you win each day nets you a substantial XP bonus.
  • Playing Card Motifs: The Overwatch Anniversary sprays for each character depict each of them as a different playing card. Junkrat and Roadhog are the Joker cards.
  • Playing Games at Work: In the cinematic trailer for the game, a guard at the museum can be seen playing Hearthstone on his tablet instead of monitoring the security cameras. Hearthstone can also be found on various tablets and monitors throughout the maps, mostly at research stations and consoles where important work should be being conducted.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Widowmaker's helmet got broken by Ana's sniper round, but not only did she survive but she wasn't even injured at all. She also survived being punched in the face by Doomfist's gauntlet, which is said to be able to level a skyscraper.
    • Winston shrugs off shots from both Widowmaker and Reaper, withstands electrocution, and survives having a multi-ton machine fall on top of him. He is a heavily-armored gorilla, but even that should have limits.
    • Both Soldier:76 and Reaper survived an explosion that killed many other people. All Soldier got from it was a scar, but Reaper only survived mortal injury thanks to an experimental medical procedure (although he might wish he hadn't).
    • Roadhog survived a nuclear explosion and dose of radiation, with the side-effect that it's left him dependent on his gas mask and the Hogdrogen that he breathes through it.
    • Genji survived being on the losing end of a sword duel, but was wounded enough that the only way to permanently save him was to turn him into a Cyborg.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Zarya and Torbjörn, who are anti-Omnic, although they have their reasons (Zarya is fighting a brutal war against the Omnics, and Torbjörn helped design many of the machines the Omnics would later use against him).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Subverted, as although the Omnics are meant to be viewed sympathetically and Roadhog and Junkrat are semi-villainous, Talon is composed of both omnics and humans (although they would like to see the two groups go to war again).
  • Power Armor: Lots of 'em.
    • Winston wears armor with back-mounted jets which allow him to do extremely long jumps.
    • Pharah has her "Raptor"-model armor, complete with jets allowing her to glide and do long jumps, wrist-mounted concussion blasters, and Macross Missile Massacre functionality.
    • Reinhardt uses his "Crusader"-model armor, which essentially makes him a futuristic version of a Knight in Shining Armor. Heck, his entire order of Crusaders uses them!
    • Torbjörn's armor apparently contains a "Personal Forge", allowing him to create armor for his team on the battlefield as long as he has scrap metal to use.
    • Mercy uses the "Valkyrie swift response suit", allowing her to fly around the battlefield and swiftly aid any companion in need.
  • Practice Target Overkill: One of Hanzo's highlight openings shows him not only Splitting the Arrow, but splitting the entire target as well.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Most heroes have a specific line they say when they activate their ultimate ability.
  • Private Military Contractors: Helix Security is a mercenary/private military company that appears to have stepped in to fill the void left by Overwatch's collapse, but they don't have the same pedigree or celebrity factor, and they're a bit shadier with their protocol. They ran the prison facility that held Doomfist until his breakout, and Pharah — who wanted to join Overwatch but never could due to her mother’s insistence — is currently palling around with them, presumably because they're the next-best thing.
  • The Purge: The Masquerade comic has Doomfist and his allies conduct one on Talon, bringing the rest of the organization more in line with Doomfist's vision for it.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The main plot of the current story is kicked off when Winston reinstates Overwatch after having decided that "enough is enough", when Talon attempted to kill all former agents and coming close to death himself against Reaper. Who all will be members of the newly reformed Overwatch is anyone's guess, but the ending of Recall suggests that Tracer, McCree, Genji, Mercy, Torbjörn, and Reinhardt are going to be members alongside Winston, as they were among the many agents (the rest unidentified) being recalled at the end (the formermost even Jumped at the Call)
    • Said word for word by McCree to Echo when he reactivates her.

  • Quick Melee: With the exception of Reinhardt and Brigitte (whose primary weapons are already a melee attack), every character has access to a swift melee strike that deals a small amount of damage, usually in the form of a pistol whip or punch. Though its actual damage output is (usually) negligible, it can be thrown out in a split second regardless of most other circumstances, making it occasionally useful as a finishing strike, or in Genji and Roadhog's cases, a core part of their devastating combos.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: The Halloween exclusive RIP Victory Poses, mainly of Heroes clenching their weapons, though with some exceptions like Widowmaker's variant has her legs sticking out and Reaper's has him raising himself from his grave.
  • Random Number God: Loot Boxes, earned from leveling up, randomly drop four prizes, including skins, sprays, player icons, emotes, voice lines and in-game currency used to buy them in the Hero Gallery.
  • Raster Vision: Raster lines appear as an overlay on kill screen playbacks.
  • Real Robot Genre: The MEKA. They are used by pro gamers drafted in by the South Korean army to fight off Omnic invaders. However, they aren't even close to being the end-all-be-all in terms of combat abilities, just another contributing factor to the World of Badass that is Overwatch.
  • Real Fake Door: A number of maps have walls with a closed door or window on one side and a solid wall on the other side, or elevators that have no other floors, to the point that it may well be a running gag.
  • Reality Ensues: In the Oasis stage, standing in front of the moving cars will get you instantly killed. Much like a payload, putting Mei's Ice Wall in front of a car will do nothing to stop it.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: "The Last Bastion" animated short shows that Bastion himself started off like this. After the Omnic war, he was shut down in the middle of a forest, and was soon overtaken by lichen and moss until Ganymede landed in front of his sensor and woke him up. One of his game skins features the moss and dirt clumps still on his body.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Talon agents who attack Winston's hideout in the "Recall" short have helmets with glowing red eyepieces.
    • When entering Wraith Mode, Reaper's eyes give off a menacing crimson glow. Some of his skins also give him perpetually glowing eyes.
    • One of Bastion's alternate skins colors its vertical eye slit red. Appropriately, it's titled "Omnic Crisis". Bastion is generally depicted as having its "eye" turn from blue to red when entering a hostile mode.
    • While Soldier: 76 himself doesn't have red eyes (his eyes are blue), his tactical visor does, albeit in the form of a single horizontal red slit through which he sees.
    • When he enters Beast Mode, Winston's eyes glow reddish-orange and exude lightning bolts.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: Regular health is restored by specific sources of healing (though in Mercy's case this includes a passive self-heal), but shield health regenerates on its own after a few seconds without being damaged. Only three characters have shields by default; Zarya and Symmetra have shields making up half of their total health pool while Zenyatta's shield makes up three quarters of his health pool.
  • Rejecting the Inheritance: Hanzo got into a fight with his brother Genji, and believes him dead: so Hanzo abdicates from his inherited position as clan leader out of shame. Genji comes back as a cyborg and forgives his brother. This is related to a Japanese story that might be the ur-example, about two dragon brothers.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: A pretty large running theme in Overwatch, it seems.
    • Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes are assumed to have died in the destruction of Overwatch HQ in Switzerland, but both survived, and are actually Soldier 76 and Reaper, respectively]
    • Ana Amari was presumed dead after Widowmaker shot out her eye.
    • Amélie Lacroix aka Widowmaker herself was thought to be dead after the murder of her husband Gerard. Naturally, it was quite the shocking revelation to learn that not only was she alive, but actually the one responsible for Gerard's death and is now a Talon operative. The heartbreaking part however, is that they don't know the true reason behind it and assume she did it all For the Evulz.
    • Lena Oxton was presumed dead after the incident with the Slipstream before she began to phase in and out of existence.
    • Genji was presumed dead after Hanzo was forced by the elders of the Shimada clan to kill him, but Overwatch saved him by giving him a new cyborg body. The revelation of Genji's survival years later shuts down Hanzo emotionally.
  • Retcon: There are numerous notes that Mei wrote and left scattered around Ecopoint: Antarctica. If you take them into consideration with the "Rise and Shine" short, there are some inconsistencies and details that were omitted in favor of telling a more straight-forward and dramatic story.
    • Her notes imply that she was the one who suggested that the team used the cryo-stasis chambers to hibernate, but her video log at the beginning of the short shows her using Air Quotes when she says "Hibernation", meaning that she's just going along with someone else's idea, supported by the fact that the others have to tell her that she's holding them up.
    • One note shows Snowball being upgraded to gradually freeze the surrounding area, just as her Ultimate functions. It's unknown just when she thought up the idea, but probably wasn't after he gives up his remaining power to help Mei finish building her freeze ray.
    • Another note right next to Snowball's upgrade indicates that repairing the communication antennae was on the To-Do list for some time]], though the short may have just omitted her writing the note.
  • Retraux: At the end of a match on Hollywood, the usual Team Shot of the winning team features a film reel effect and the caption "Fin." at the bottom, in a style similar to early 20th-century films.
  • The Reveal: After Sombra's animated debut short, it looked like she managed to fool her team into thinking she tried and failed to kill Katya Volskaya. Come the Masquerade comic and it turns out Reaper knows what she did, he just hasn't acted on it yet.
  • Robosexual: There seem to be a few human-Omnic couples in the crowd seen in the "Alive" short, with the woman who reacts to Mondatta's death standing next to an Omnic who has his arm draped over her shoulder. Those same two characters are seen in the original announcement trailer, the woman helping the injured Omnic while both are being protected from rioters by Reinhardt's shield.
  • Robot War:
    • In an event that would later be called the Omnic Crisis, robots made by humanity turned against it, causing Overwatch to be formed in order to fight them and put an end to it. However, it was a long time in the past, and man and omnic are now starting to integrate. On the other hand, a second Omnic Crisis is happening in Russia and the recent assassination of Tekhartha Mondatta, a prominent Omnic monk, might make things worse.
    • The Comic "Mission Statement" is about Pharah and her team attempting to stop the Anubis AI from starting one.
  • Rocket Jump: Junkrat actually has this built into his mechanics, with his Concussion Mine allowing him to send himself high into the air to reach out-of-the-way locations. Some other heroes can do this but to nowhere near as great an extent, see Soldier: 76, Bastion, Zarya, and Pharah, the last of which has a jetpack anyway.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Taken quite literally in the "Justice Rains From Above" brawl, which restricts players to Mercy and Pharah, leading to all players attempting hit each other with rockets twice before the healer can get to their opponent.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Evil in the world of Overwatch does not exist in a vacuum. The villains are still unambiguously not good nor admirable people, but they have each been molded into who they are now through the environments and circumstances surrounding them, rather than their own intrinsic natures. Many were once good or at least potentially good people whose upbringing or misfortunes have twisted them into villainy. The heroes are similarly good people whose hardships have either worn them down or driven them to prosper through adversity. Good or bad, everyone at the end of the day is ultimately still human.

  • Scavenged Punk: Junkertown, a city built of scrap metal in the Australian Outback.
  • Scenery Gorn: Eichenwalde, a war-torn map full of destroyed infrastructure and Omnics that have long since been put out of commission, and Junkertown, a Scavenged Punk city in the Australian Outback.
  • Scenery Porn: Every playable area in the game is filled with detail and is beautifully lit, helped by certain maps having different modes for different times of the day. Each one of the maps is densely filled with its own set of unique props and assets that tell the story of where you are and what it's like. Special mentions go to Eichenwalde, which while it crosses over into Scenery Gorn for its history, is still a gorgeous small town and giant castle surrounded by nature, and maps with sunsets such as the CtF version of Ilios and Oasis, both of which have amazing lighting and beautiful scenery.
  • Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink: Overwatch packs as many unique sci-fi tropes as you could possibly fit into the setting, regardless of how different they are from each other. Best reflected with the roster, it includes, but is not limited to: a cyber ninja, a hyper intelligent gorilla, a cyberpunk-like super hacker, a cowboy with a bionic arm, a super soldier, a shadow-casting villain mutated by mad science, two junk-based scrappers who came from the Australian wasteland, a religious robot, a genetically modified brainwashed and crazy femme fatale sniper, a teenage mech pilot, a futuristic knight, and a mad scientist bent on improving the world. That still isn't all of them.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The main plot of the games is kicked off when Winston recalls the Overwatch agents even though the Overwatch program has been officially outlawed and carrying out the activity will make you a target of the United Nations, not to mention Talon. However, as Talon has been left without anyone to oppose them, they have gone too far in their actions, which makes the return of Overwatch (legally or not) a justified action.
  • Self-Deprecation: A very meta one from D.Va, who may say this in the Hanamura map:
    D.Va: Blizzard games? That's so old-school!
  • Shabby Heroes, Well-Dressed Villains: A variant. Just about everyone who isn't a Junker is a pretty spiffy dresser, but the Talon agents are all equipped with professionally engineered, specialized equipment with a unifying aesthetic, clearly benefitting from a shared manufacturer that is active and dedicated to supplying them. Vishkar also affords Symmetra an utterly immaculate garb and some pristine prosthetics. Since Overwatch is long out of commission, the heroes have to make do with what they already have or what they can find, and thus they lack both the cutting edge quality to their gear and any shared consistent visual traits. Tracer wears her personal bomber jacket which is visibly frayed around the edges, Torbjörn trudges about in welder's gear, and Reinhardt's armor had to be reforged on the fly while out in the German boonies. Compare the aforementioned characters' base designs to their unique Uprising skins, which represent Overwatch when it was fully operational.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • In the diner on Route 66, there's a sign that says "Credit Chips NOT accepted" next to a QR scanner code that says "Credit Chips NOT accepted."
    • The map "Busan" is located in...well, Busan, something which makes the text on the loading page for the map amusing to read:
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The reveals in the holiday comic, "Reflections", have made it a lot less likely for some ships to become canon.
      • Tracer is revealed to have a girlfriend, not only revealing that she's gay (her specific orientation having been confirmed via Twitter) but ending any ships with other characters.
      • Torbjörn wasn't shipped that often, but he's shown to be in a relationship with a young and beautiful woman. Blizzard also confirmed that Brigitte is his youngest daughter and the kids in the Relections comic are his grandchildren.
    • Michael Chu confirmed that Reinhardt was not Pharah's father, shooting down the possibility that Ana and Reinhardt were a couple in the era when Overwatch was formed. Many more holes were shot in its starboard hull by giving her a spray called "Newborn", in which Ana is holding a newborn Pharah, with her clearly NOT-Reinhardt father standing next to her. This also sunk Reaper or Soldier 76 as Pharah's father, but didn't sink the possibilities of a current relationship with Ana with any of the three.
    • The short story "Bastet" sunk any chance of a relationship between Soldier: 76 and Ana, as it revealed that the former was in a relationship with a man during Overwatch's glory days (and was later confirmed on twitter by Michael Chu as explicitly gay).
  • Ship Tease:
    • Valentine's Day themed voice lines hint at a ship between Genji and Mercy, with the two having lines where they exchange chocolates with each other. Genji admits that the chocolates aren't Swiss, but Mercy says they'll have to do. These voice lines can only be heard during Valentine's Day/White Day while playing on Hanamura.
    • In 2018, they added a line where Hanzo considered Symmetra a 'kindred spirit' after hearing her declaration about order and discipline.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Doomfist's Seismic Slam and his and Reinhardt's Ultimates, Meteor Strike and Earthshatter respectively, all involve them striking the ground to damage, stun or move enemies around. To a lesser extent, Lúcio's Sound Barrier starts with him striking the ground, and Winston's Jump Pack causes minor damage when he lands.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • While always good policy, this is especially true with Mercy. She can heal characters very quickly and resurrect characters who have died, making her a prime target to kill first, or else she will draw out fights by reversing any kills that are earned. She is good at evading damage by shooting herself toward teammates, taking her towards backup and out of the line of fire.
    • Ana has the similar problem of attracting a serious amount of hate since she heals more than any other healer in the game, her ultimate (Nano Boost) can be game-changing and it charges very fast. In contrast to Mercy though she can defend herself pretty well generally.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Reaper, Roadhog, D.Va and Doomfist all have spreadfire weapons as their main armament. The bullets spread out over range and the damage falls off dramatically, forcing the characters to get up close to do real damage.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work: In one of Hanzo's victory animations where he shoots an arrow towards the screen, the arrow is shown oscillating while in flight. In other words, the same as with real arrows.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: While having a more extensive background than its precursor TF2, the game, as of its release, has yet to explain why the battles are occurring between this cavalcade of characters.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Bastion is a low-to-mid Average Joe Android due to being a former war machine who is now a sort of Amnesiac Hero. Orisa is a higher-tier Average Joe Android, possessing intelligence enough to converse with others and possessing a sense of morality, but lacking in nuance when interacting with organics. Zenyatta, being a Religious Robot, is a bit harder to pin down, but he seems to be mid-Nobel-Bot, with his ultimate, Transcendence, boosting him up to near-godlike levels.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: On the one hand, the back story is built on terrible wars; on the other, one of the characters is a giant intelligent gorilla from a colony of intelligent gorillas on the moon — who themselves murdered every human in the colony, while said gorilla escaped along with a hamster with cartoon-like proportions that he befriended.
  • Snowball Fight: "Mei's Snowball Offensive" for the winter holiday event. Everyone plays as Mei (while Soldier: 76 narrates), and you only have one snowball to hit your enemies with. You reload by sucking up snow piles found on the ground, and getting hit is an instant kill. Mei's ultimate creates a flurry above her, giving her unlimited snowballs for about 7 seconds.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked by Jeff Kaplan on the forums in regards to Zarya's "Totally 80's" skin.
    Jeff Kaplan: This skin is the single most polarizing piece of content we've ever made. Half our team loves it. Half our team hates it. We told the half that hates it that it's ok to be wrong every now and then.
  • Solar Punk: Numbani, the "City of Harmony", featuring curved bronze skyscrapers and African tribal decorations, where humans and robots live together in peace.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Each hero says something specific when they activate their ultimate ability, with important variations:
      • For some, the line depends on which team they're on. For example, when Soldier: 76 uses his ultimate, he says "Tactical Visor activated!" if he's on your team, and "I've got you in my sights!" if he's on the opposing team. The biggest example of this shows with Ana's ultimate callout. Since Nanoboost targets one ally, she has four different ultimate voicelines: Two for the enemy teamnote , one for her teammates, and another for the specific ally who is being buffed.
      • Some characters who aren't native English speakers will say their ultimate lines in their native language - but only if you're either the person playing them or on the opposing team. If you're on their team, they'll say it in English. Hearing a loud line in a non-English language is your cue to get far away from whoever said it as fast as possible. (As some fans put it: "If you hear angry Japanese shouting, run away.")
    • Every hero produces distinct, unique sounds, and recognizing what heroes are out-of-sight but nearby through sound is an important gameplay element. This is especially highlighted with flankers: Enemy footsteps sound much louder than ally footsteps, and as pointed in the tool-tips, the more dangerous heroes tend to have heavier footsteps. Some heroes can get around this by crouch-walking to mute their footsteps (Zenyatta just silently floats), but others can't (Roadhog's chain and heavy breathing can still be heard, and D.Va in her mech is incapable of crouching), and knowing who's capable of hiding and who isn't is an important thing to learn.
  • Space Is Slow Motion: In the "Horizon Lunar Colony" map, there's an airlock you can use to leave the colony and explore the surface. Doing so doesn't cause any actual damage, but it does gradually slow your movement speed to a crawl.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Jump pads were found on Estádio das Rãs, a map only played during the temporary Lúcioball brawl, allowing players to boost themselves up to high altitudes (they were also present on Sydney Harbor Arena and Busan Stadium which had different locations, aesthetics, and time of day but were functionally identical). Later on, a single jump pad was made a permanent fixture in the Oasis map, with Blizzard saying it's an element they wish to experiment with, as it has meta-changing potential for several heroes. There are also jump pads found on the deathmatch maps, Chateau Guillard and Petra.
  • Squee!: A quiet one in the cinematic trailer, when the younger kid reacts to Tracer dropping her Catchphrase in front of him. He doesn't say anything, but his smile says it all.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Sombra acted as this when she was with the Los Muertos gang. Using her hacking skills, she uncovered dirty information and released them to the public world. This caused the CEO of LumériCo to step down after (false) evidence of his shady money dealings came to light and sparked a revolution in Mexico.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Falling off the map into the water is an instant death.
  • Superhero Prevalence Stages:
    • The days before and immediately after Overwatch formed was a lot like the Golden Age of comics, with heroes operating independently until they were united in a war against a much bigger and global enemy.
    • The peak of Overwatch's power was like the Silver Age, with a more formal organization to run the world's heroes, and very few enemies or threats that actually posed a threat to them.
    • Overwatch's fall, and beyond, is like the Bronze Age of comics, with heroes now fighting each other, corruption setting in, and villainous groups gaining the power and ability to defeat or even kill noteworthy heroes.
  • Super Mode: Some ultimates are this, altering the hero's abilities in different ways, from stat changes to more drastic effects. Ana's Nano Boost grants this to someone else, increasing their damage and defenses. God help you if they use their own while doing so.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker: In the cinematic trailer, the guy who is supposed to guard Overwatch's museum plays Hearthstone instead.

  • Take That!:
    • The prices in Hollywood seem very much like this, given how movie theatres in Real Life notoriously overcharge for refreshments, as well as how some bottled water costs more than sodas.
    • The animated short "Honor and Glory" is a meta one to all of the players who don't play Reinhardt as intended. The younger Reinhardt repeats all of their mistakes to a tee, charging blindly into the enemy and getting themselves in trouble, leaving their teammates without a tank character to protect hem.
  • Tattered Flag: The graphic of the ruins of the bombed out Overwatch HQ shows a ragged Overwatch flag standing amidst the debris.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: A portion of the cast has tattoos, namely Pharah, Ana, Junkrat, Roadhog, Widowmaker, Hanzo, Torbjörn, Zarya, and Lúcio. McCree used to have a tattoo, but that belonged to the arm that he lost and was replaced with a cybernetic. In each case, the tattoo means something to indicate their character:
    • Ana's eye tattoo represents her patriotism for her Egyptian heritage, while Pharah has a similar tattoo to show her (struggling) connection to her mother. (Pharah notes in Mission Statement that the tattoo symbolizes protection. She thought at first that it would protect her, but she realizes at the end of the comic that it marks her as the protector.)
    • Junkrat is a criminal with a skull tattoo on his right arm, a good indicator that he's a bad guy. His partner-in-crime Roadhog also fits, but his also shows his affinity with pigs.
    • Widowmaker has three tattoos, namely a giant spider tattoo on her back, French spider-themed tattoos on her right forearm, and a Talon tattoo on her left thigh which show that she identifies with spiders and is a Talon agent. It's also to show the dissonance between her current self and her past self before she was brainwashed, as back when she was the innocent Amélie her skin was devoid of tattoos.
    • Hanzo has a sleeve of tattoos on his left arm, which show that he was once part of a yakuza that he was set to inherit before leaving the clan.
    • Torbjörn has a gear-themed tattoo on his left arm, to show he's a mechanic. His daughter Brigitte has a matching one.
    • Zarya has her weight record (512) tattooed on her left arm, showing that despite being a sergeant in the Russian Defense Forces, she still enjoys bodybuilding.
    • Lúcio has a frog-themed tattoo on his left arm, representing his theme around them as a professional DJ.
    • McCree formerly had a tattoo of the Deadlock Gang on his left arm, which he was once a part of before joining Blackwatch. Since the arm has since been replaced by a cybernetic, he no longer has tattoos.
  • Team Shot: At the end of a match, the winning team is shown standing together before the Play of the Game/Match. They're arranged by size, with the largest team members in the middle and then getting smaller to each side. Players can acquire different Victory Poses to change the pose of their character during this shot.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Some combinations of Heroes on the same team (particularly Overwatch and Talon) lead to conversations where it's clear that the involved Heroes are not too thrilled about having to work together:
    • Widowmaker and Tracer:
      Widowmaker: It looks like we will be working together.
      Tracer: Don't think I'm happy about that.
    • Symmetra and Lúcio:
      Symmetra: To think, I would have to work with a street ruffian.
      Lúcio: I'm not all that excited about this arrangement either.
    • Torbjörn and Bastion:
      Torbjörn: I hate working with these talking tin cans!
      Bastion: *sad beeps*
  • Teleporters and Transporters:
    • Tracer uses a chronal device that lets her hop around like a bunny on steroids. She can also revert to where she was three seconds ago.
    • Sombra can throw a Translocator anywhere and warp back to that point anytime within 15 seconds. Voice chatter implies it has some connection with Tracer's abilities.
    • Symmetra is able to create two-way portals for her (with a maximum distance between them being 25 meters) and her team mates to use throughout the map.
    • Reaper can mark a location in his field of sight and teleport there.
  • Temporary Online Content: The various seasonal character skins and goodies are only obtainable from their respective lootboxes. Once a given event is over, its contents cannot be unlocked again until it reruns the next year, or until the annual Anniversary where all seasonal items can be purchased with credits, or gotten from lootboxes.
  • Tempting Fate: Can be invoked in a few circumstances if the character makes a Badass Boast and then gets Killed Mid-Sentence.
    Reinhardt: I am capturing the objective! Try and stop—AAAAAHHH!
    D.Va: I'm capturing the point! Don't worry, I got t—UUUGGGH!
    Junkrat: Tick, tock, tick, tock. Weeeee're gonna wiiiiiin....RAAAGH!
  • Theme Park Version: All of the stages (with the exception of Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Numbani, and Oasis) are theme park versions of their respective countries, loading as many traditional and idealized hallmarks as possible. Some specific aversions include:
    • Dorado, was inspired by an image the team found of a colorful Mexican town on Google Images which actually turned out to be of Riomaggiore, Italy.
    • Having never seen Hollywood, the map artists made the map according to their imagination of Hollywood. After their location visit, they started to change the map to more like reality, and had to be told to stop.
    • Deliberately averted with Oasis, with the team wishing to give a country that would usually be depicted as rather dreary (Iraq) a rather beautiful map, in recognition of the "see it for what it could be" philosophy followed by the developers (which is also a recurring theme in the lore), which favors rich imagery over gritty realism.
    • Played straight in terms of Blizzard World, a literal Blizzard theme park. One would imagine that the games represented would have to be toned down to fit in a family theme park.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Implied to be how Dr. Harold Winston and the other scientists on the Horizon Lunar Colony met their deaths.
  • To Be Lawful or Good:
    • Pharah's internal conflict revolved around this trope in the comic short "Mission Statement", choosing whether to save lives or complete the mission at any cost. She chooses the former.
    • Symmetra is a loyal employee of the Vishkar Corporation who believes in their good intentions to bring order to the world, but she has doubts if doing it by force is a good idea, which started when the Vishkar Corporation set fire to a favela when its residents refused to have their homes "improved", resulting in civilian casualties.
  • Token Non-Human: Of the original 21 heroes, only three weren't human. Bastion and Zenyatta were the Omnic representatives, while Winston is a sentient gorilla. As the roster expanded, they added another Omnic with Orisa and another non-human with Hammond, a sentient hamster, but there are still five times as many humans than non-humans.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: So far, the focus is mainly about reuniting Overwatch and bringing back everything good that came with it, but many of the stories also are more about exploring the characters' arcs and World Building, including Soldier: 76 and Ana trying to figure out how Overwatch fell in the first place, Bastion's reawakening, the confrontation of the Shimada brothers, the Order Versus Chaos struggle between Symmetra (under Vishkar) and Lúcio, the general 'terror spree' of Junkrat and Roadhog, and so on.

  • United Nations Is a Superpower: The UN not only unilaterally formed Overwatch, it also disbanded it and enforces the global prohibition against vigilante activity. After Overwatch is disbanded, the UN funds Helix Security, a private security firm, to act as a worldwide peacekeeping/paramilitary organization. Justified by the global nature of threats in the setting making it infeasible for most individual countries to deal with problems on their own, as well as the general trend of globalization.
  • Units Not to Scale: Not noticeable in first-person normally, but going third-person (either by emoting or just by watching other players) will show that the characters models aren't to scale with the rest of the world. (For example, a table will be as high as Tracer's chin, the transformaters are bigger than any characters, etc...)
  • Universal Poison: Any weapon with a chemical component to it will work on its victim regardless of whether the victim is flesh-and-blood, mostly-cyborg, a mech, or an Omnic. Lampshaded when Ana's sleep dart is used on D.Va when she's in her mech suit: It's the mech that gets put to sleep, and you can see D.Va frantically waggling the joysticks in the cockpit to try and get it to move.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Reversed in the Junkertown: The Plan short. Junkrat develops a cunning plan to sneak back into Junkertown: Put on inconspicuous disguises, push a cart full with money and explosives to the Queen's place, reveal their deception, detonate the explosives. At Roadhog's urging, he amends the plan with "run like hell" and "grab some of the gold on the way out", repeating the plan every time. When they put the plan into action, he immediately announces themselves as "Junkrat and Roadhog"...
  • Victory Pose: Each hero has a pose for when they appear on the victory screen as well as an victory animation for when they get the Play of the Game (or any highlight reel). Both versions have a standard "Heroic" pose, 3 or 4 unlockable poses, and (usually) a few event-exclusive victory poses.
  • Video Arcade: Some maps have arcade machines in the Attack spawn. Hanamura's Attack spawn in particular is a full-on game center; Genji remarks how he used to spend his days there.
  • Villain Episode:
    • Alive is shown largely from the perspective of Widowmaker, as she goes about her assassination of Mondatta while Tracer tries to stop her. She is successful.
    • Infiltration is about Reaper, Widowmaker, and their ally Sombra (who serves as the protagonist) as they try to assassinate Corrupt Corporate Executive Katya Volskaya.
    • Masquerade takes the above guys and girls and adds Doomfist to the mix as he returns and sets out to bring Talon in line with his own vision.
  • Villain Protagonist: Reaper, Widowmaker, Junkrat, Roadhog, Sombra, Doomfist, Moira, and Ashe are playable "heroes," but are villains and criminals in one way or another in the lore. Symmetra could be considered an Anti-Villain Protagonist.
  • Villain World: The present setting of Overwatch is only one step away from this. With Overwatch out of the way, Talon has been busy reshaping the world as it desires, largely with great success. The only thing that prevents this from being ironclad is the fact that Talon's leadership was split between being content with their power and profit, or upholding the original goal of pushing the world into a massive conflict. Doomfist's return marked the end of that split, and a return to its true motives.
  • The War Just Before: The titular organization was formed to fight a war with the Omnics, and after the war ended, Overwatch was disbanded. Now, a new conflict looms on the horizon, and Overwatch is being called back into the field.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Many of the Summer Olympic skins bear the flags or the flag's colors of their respective characters' home countries. McCree seems to be literally wearing a tattered American flag as a poncho in his.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The Vishkar Corporation and its employees truly believe that everything they do will ultimately improve people's lives and bring order to the world. Dubious acts such as child-kidnapping (Child Prodigy Symmetra was taken from her family without their permission), taking over poor neighborhoods and running them like police states while calling it "improvement" (they did this to Lúcio's neighborhood in his backstory), and blowing up and setting a Brazilian favela on fire when people start opposing the company's plans for their homes (in the comic short "A Better World") were all done for the greater good.
    • From the tie-in comic "Destroyer", we have Sven, a fellow robotics engineer and former partner of Torbjörn. He piloted a giant-sized Omnic he and Torbjörn created to lay waste to the country of Kurjikstan because he believes it'll stop Kurjikstan from building deadly weapons that will be used to devastate the Earth in a nuclear war. Torbjörn thinks Sven's only doing it because he was paid to.
    • Sombra's storyline reveals that the Los Muertos gang (the same guys who beat up an Omnic and were chased after by Soldier: 76 in the animated short "Hero") is pissed at the government for favoring the rich and powerful, so they decided to incite violent revolution by any means possible.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: There is Fantastic Racism toward Omnics, even extending to some of the player characters like Torbjörn, Zarya, and Roadhog. On a meta level, the animated shorts don't let humans get killed on-screen (although they almost certainly get killed) but are perfectly fine showing Omnics getting headshot, arrows through their chest, and beaten with a baseball bat, and in Uprising, they're just hordes of Mooks to kill. Also, Bastion is the only hero that gets completely destroyed when it dies while the more human-like Zenyatta and Orisa simply cry out in pain but collapse intact.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The sapient primates on the moon colony who killed all the humans and took over are not seen during the flashback sequences of Recall and have yet to make any appearance or be given any reference outside of Winston's backstory. With the addition of the Horizon Lunar Colony as a new Assault map, the Attacker side can see several paused screens of the apes (including two chimpanzees and an orangutan) monkeying around and making a ruckus, but the apes themselves are absent, with Winston remarking that they don't seem to come to the battle area much and are in another part of the colony (a map of the main Horizon building where the stage is set shows that the apes are scattered about the colony ring but are not close to the section of the building the teams are fighting for contol of).
    • Despite being set up as a potentially severe, recurring threat and one of the world's primary sources for discrimination against omnics, the "God AIs" like Anubis have not been mentioned nor alluded to since the same was introduced and dealt with in Mission Statement.
    • D.Va's backstory involves a giant omnic which regularly menaces the Korean Peninsula, and she herself is explicitly described as being from South Korea. This naturally invites the question of "Hey, what about the other Korea?", which has received no reference. Given the DPRK's rather infamous recent history with responding to its portrayal in western media, the fandom has generally accepted that we'll likely never know and tends to regard the topic as an Elephant in the Living Room.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The exact locations of most stages within their countries are not known. Even for Route 66, Lijiang Tower and Eichenwalde, exactly where the stages are located on the highway/river/forested mountain range is not known; at least Eichenwalde is said to be located in the "middle" of the Black Forest. note  The exceptions are Watchpoint: Gibraltar (located on the Rock of Gibraltar), Hollywood (where the attacking team starts out on Hollywood Boulevard), and King's Row (where you can see London's Big Ben tower).
  • Whispering Ghosts: The vast, catacomb-like interior of the Petra map has some unusual whispers throughout the creepy ambient sound. This is likely a nod to the fact the actual Petra in Jordan is believed to be haunted, with reports of similar whispers being heard at night.
  • With Catlike Tread: A major gameplay element is that enemies make more distinct sounds than allies, particularly footsteps, even through walls. As pointed out in tooltips, the more dangerous heroes to be flanked by such as Reaper (who wears heavy boots) and Winston (who's a giant gorilla) tend to have louder footsteps to alert their enemies, but this can be negated by crouch-walking (Zenyatta, who simply floats, has no footstep sounds at all, though he should usually use this more for getting away rather than setting up ambushes).
  • World of Badass: Goes without saying that the world of Overwatch is populated by badasses, and they come in a variety of different ways.
  • World of Ham: Glory be! Overwatch has the heart of a Pixar movie and the soul of a comic book, and it revels in its two-fisted inspirations. The presentation all around is deliciously grandiose, with the visuals, sound design, the cast and even the direction, framing and choreography of the story materials all engineered to wrench as much emotion from the characters and the audience as possible. From the young lady who will happily dance and flip her way through a hail of live gunfire on foot while giggling to the old knight who will rally his comrades at the top of his lungs as he roars across the battlefield in his rocket-propelled armor, every character is bombastically over-the-top, and each of them is brought to life through lovingly exaggerated, cartoonish animations and some very enthusiastic voice acting. Even the stoic Widowmaker has an air of sinister, breathless melodrama about her, and the ever-tranquil Zenyatta somehow manages to be theatrical about wishing peace of mind upon his friends. The only character who doesn't really mesh is the professional Symmetra, who speaks very clinically and never even raises her voice. On the other hand, you could argue that her fixation with order is so extreme that her dedication to pursuing it comes across as ostentatious in its own right.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Vishkar Corporation wants to bring order to the world, not caring if even children get hurt because it's all done for the greater good. In the comic short "A Better World", this results in a young girl getting caught in a fire when the Vishkar Corporation blows up her neighborhood favela in order to force the local people to accept their "improvements". While the girl survives thanks to Symmetra's timely intervention, her face is irreparably burnt.
    • The Los Muertos gang in "Hero" throw a live grenade at a young girl to get Soldier: 76 off their backs. It works, as Soldier: 76 runs off to save the girl instead of continuing his ruthless pursuit of them.
  • Wretched Hive: War, unchecked crime, corporate exploitation and virulent tensions have allowed these to emerge even in places that would be considered gentrified in our own world today. A few of them figure into the plot, and many of them are playable as maps.
    • Rio's favelas are still around just like in real life, and they remain an ill-kept squalor for society's destitute. A Better World and Lúcio’s backstory actually deconstruct this notion to an extent, as both show that while the favelas are far from ideal living conditions, the inhabitants are honest, exploited people who are just trying to live their lives and contend with the meager circumstances they've been dealt. It's the Vishkar Corporation's attempts to "improve" the situation without actually taking the citizens' concerns into account that leads to making things worse.
    • The King's Row district of London is a hotbed of tension between humans and omnics, who have almost no rights and are kept under heavy surveillance amid abuse from the human townsfolk. Racial animosity is so bad that it has escalated into outright urban warfare on at least one occasion, and the assassination of a prominent peace advocate has caused tensions in the present to once again reach a boiling point. Even disregarding the race issues, the place appears far from accommodating. The walls are absolutely covered with hateful graffiti, litter is everywhere, most of the average citizens are jerks, and the whole neighborhood sits in the shadow of a huge, smoke-belching factory. Somehow this place was able to produce Tracer, one of the game's kindest, most idealistic and unambiguously good characters, who calls it home and has made helping it become less of a wretched hive one of her primary goals.
    • Dorado certainly appears festive and well-kept in game, but from what we've seen in Hero and Sombra's backstory, the place is a haven for criminal activity, and gangs like the Los Muertos rule the streets once the sun goes down.
    • Junkertown is the most merciless of them all, being the home base of Junkrat and Roadhog. It's a rusted out scrap metal shantytown in the middle of the desolate, war-ravaged Australian Outback and populated entirely by thieves, maniacs and cutthroats.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In "Alive", Widowmaker blows Tracer off a building with an explosion, then jumps after her and aims a shot at her chestpiece. Tracer warps away, and the bullet keeps going and hits the original target, Mondatta. If Tracer had stayed, her chronal stabilizer would've been severely damaged, putting her out of the fight at best...and giving Widowmaker an uninterrupted shot at Mondatta, who stopped exfiltrating to look at the explosion.
  • Yakuza: Hanzo's and Genji's family runs a criminal empire.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: There are many, many dumb ways to die, many of which involve explosives, but notable examples include:
    • Pre-patch, deploying Junkrat's RIP-Tire Ultimate and blowing yourself up because you detonated it too close to yourself.
    • Pre-patch, deploying D.Va's Self-Destruct Ultimate and not getting behind cover.
    • Allowing Tracer to remain in the blast radius of her own Pulse Bomb.
    • Using any movement abilities and diving into a pit. Somewhat less embarrassing if you manage to take someone down with you. Reinhardt actually has a not-yet-implemented voice line for charging to his death and taking out an opponent in the process: "IT WAS WORTH ITTTTTTT!"
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Genji to Hanzo in Dragons:
      Genji: Perhaps I am a fool to think there is still hope for you. But I do. Think on that, brother.
    • Alejandra to Soldier: 76 in Hero:
      Alejandra: You're one of those heroes, aren't you?
      Soldier: 76: ...Not anymore.
      Alejandra: I think you are.

    Junkenstein's Revenge 
  • And You Were There: The story borrows elements from people that Reinhardt actually knows, such as Jack Morrison, Gabriel Reyes, McCree and Mercy. However, it also involves people and events he couldn't possibly have known about, such as Junkrat, Roadhog, Hanzo, and Reyes becoming someone called "Reaper".
  • Creepy Crows: Around the area, they do nothing but dissipate into purple smoke if you attack them.
  • The Danza: In-universe, Jamison "Junkrat" Fawkes as Dr. Jamison Junkenstein.
  • Endless Game: The endless variant used in the 2017 version of the event. The game is officially "won" after 12 waves, but players must keep going until they get wiped out, fail to protect the castle, or complete the 15th bonus stage.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The player slays The Reaper as the first boss character. Shortly after facing other bosses, The Reaper begins returning. Gee, it's almost like there's someone bringing him back from the dead...
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The bosses are Junkrat/"Junkenstein" (Mad Scientist Villain Protagonist of Reinhardt's story), Roadhog/"Junkenstein's Monster" (Take a guess), Mercy (The forest witch who gives Junkenstein the final spark of life for his creation), Symmetra (the Summoner), and Reaper (Mercy's bodyguard/assistant); Reinhardt takes the announcer/narrator role over from Athena, and the only characters you can play are Soldier, Ana, McCree (All present at the party), and Hanzo. Torbjörn being absent despite being at the party is justified, as he would completely kill the balance of the battle if he was in the brawl.
    • The endless mode adds Torbjörn (the Viking), Genji (the Swordsman), Widowmaker (the Countess), and Zenyatta (the Monk), Tracer (the Will-O-the-Wisp), and Brigitte (the Shieldmaiden) in the mix. Of those, Reinhardt might know Genji and Tracer, but Brigitte and Widowmaker would have been a child and married to an Overwatch official at that time, respectively, and Zenyatta is completely unknown to him.
  • Halloween Episode: The brawl is a ghost story being told by Reinhardt decades ago, to entertain his friends on Halloween.
  • Hold the Line: The Lord of the castle called for heroes to defend him and his subjects from the wrath of Dr. Junkenstein. The brawl tasks players as Soldier: 76, McCree, Hanzo, and Ana with fending off the wicked forces of a Mad Scientist until time runs out, then fighting off his allies in a Final Battle. Endless mode tasks the heroes with buying enough time for the denizens of the castle to escape, but they're on their own to survive the night (the 15th bonus wave.)
  • Interactive Narrator: Reinhardt's narrations change depending on the player's actions. If one player gets a kill, he will narrate it happening. If they die, he narrates that, too.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Given that this is a ghost story being told by Reinhardt, it's fitting that it takes place during such a night.
  • Meaningful Name: The story takes place in Adlersbrun; Balderich von Adler was the leader of the crusaders before his death at the siege of Eichenwalde.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Incorporated into the loading screen music for the Hollywood Halloween stage.
  • The Smurfette Principle: During the initial 2016 event, both the heroes and the villains had only one female member. 2017 added Widowmaker to the heroes and Symmetra to the villains. Fully averted for the 2018 version, which added both Tracer and Brigitte to the heroes's roster.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Despite taking place in a different setting altogether, Hanzo still murdered his brother and went on exile, Reaper is still an old friend turned evil of Soldier: 76 and Ana, Torbjörn and Reinhardt are old Bash Brothers and Genji is still Zenyatta's disciple. Tracer was still victim of an accident (here a magical one) leaving her between two worlds. Brigitte is Torbjörn's daughter. That said, Genji and Hanzo's stories are not connected, it's implied that Hanzo's exile was a decision from his clan rather than self-imposed, nor are Ana and Widowmaker's stories connected.
  • Story Within a Story: This is a ghost story told by Reinhardt, but the characters and setting are given life in the brawl.
  • Total Party Kill: While having the castle door be destroyed is one way to lose, another way is if all four team members are wiped out without anyone else to continue holding the fort in the meantime.

  • Action Bomb: The Detonators are large spherical Omnics that explode when they get close to the payload, dealing heavy damage. Fortunately, they don't explode when destroyed.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: While most of the enemies can be headshotted, there are two notable examples: eradicators have a shield generator on their left shoulder which can be shot off, and damaging a detonator's surface armour enough will expose the core which can be shot at for headshot damage.
  • BFG: The Eradicator untis have shoulder-mounted cannons that fire a triple-spread shot. Fortunately the shots can be dodged and it has a rather low rate of fire.
  • Call-Forward: Overwatch's disbanding is near and the writing is on the wall. Blackwatch operations are completely suspended (not that Blackwatch cares) and the English prime minister doesn't want Overwatch operating in London even though he has lost control over King's Row and there's a massive hostage crisis with a religious leader and the London mayor among the hostages.
  • Elite Mooks: B73-N units, which are more or less functionally identical to the playable Bastion. They pack more firepower and much more health than most enemies encountered.
  • Escort Mission: Like in Escort and Assult/Escort maps, there's a payload to escort...but it is not invulnerable and has to be protected from enemy Omnics until it reaches its destination.
  • Final Death: Unlike most other modes, there is no automatic respawning - fallen teammates must be revived by allies, either by standing next to them and holding a button or using Mercy's ultimate. If a downed teammate goes for too long without being revived, they're gone for good, and the mission fails, as they have to dispatch another team to retrieve the fallen hero.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The weapon of choice for the Slicer Omnics - they don't hurt players that much, but they can melt the payload if left unchecked.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The OR14s fought at the end of the mission have all of Orisa's abilities at their disposal, despite it being heavily implied that most of her unique abilities were invented by Efie specifically for her. Though this was necessary to make them proper bosses.
    • The "All Heroes" variant is this in its purest form. You can have such things as Jack Morrison issuing orders to his future self, or Orisa fighting in a battle that took place before she was even created. Most of the heroes still have voice lines to call out enemy types though.
  • Harder Than Hard: Legendary mode ramps the difficulty up to such ridiculous extremes that even highly coordinated teams of pro players have run into trouble beating it. Unless you go in with a strategy already in mind and execute it flawlessly, you have zero chance of survival.note 
  • Hold the Line: After hacking the Anti-Air guns, the team must defend a payload for four minutes against four waves of increasingly difficult enemies. They must then continue defending it while escorting it to the power station.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Hacking Null Sector's anti-air guns involves little more than a small drone hovering over a terminal for a few minutes.
  • Mission Control: Jack and Ana initially oversee your assault on Null Sector's forces. Once you start moving the payload, they hand off the duty to Reyes.
  • Purple Is Powerful: All of the Null Sector Omnics are colored purple.
  • Race Against the Clock: When the power station is breached, Null Sector attempts to detonate the reactor, giving a limited amount of time to take out the OR14 units inside.
  • Replay Value: Winning several matches of this mode will result in new lines of dialog between the main four and command being inserted into the pool of voice lines; for instance, instead of Morrison giving the mission briefing, any of the four heroes can rattle off the objective as they're running down the tunnel at the start.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Eradicators, which are larger, tougher versions of the basic Nulltrooper with more firepower and Deflector Shields that protect against damage from the front. However, the shield can be disabled by sufficient firepower from the front or dealing enough damage to the Eradicator from behind. They also turn slowly, making it easier to attack their exposed rears.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The mode is a reenactment of Tracer's first official mission with Overwatch seven years ago, defending King's Row against an Omnic terrorist group known as Null Sector.
  • With Catlike Tread: Mercy may suggest that the group stay quiet so as to not attract unwanted attention from Null Sector. Reinhardt voices his thoughts.
    Mercy: Keep quiet, we don't want to attract any unnecessary attention.
    Reinhardt: (shouting) COME OUT YOU BASTARDS! I'll fight the lot of you!
  • Wolfpack Boss: The four OR14 units in the power station come out firing with Nulltroopers and Eradicators backing them up. As you defeat them B73-N units in Sentry and Tank modes come out to play, and the final room after the second OR14 has the final two OR14s at the same time along with a B73-N unit in Sentry mode, one in Tank mode, two Eradicators, and several Nulltroopers.
  • Zerg Rush: The preferred attack strategy for the Slicers, who are little more than a nuisance on their own but can rack up damage on the payload fast when attacking in groups.

  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The revival mechanic from Uprising reappears here, but in a modified form. Instead of having to hold a button and be a sitting duck until your teammate revives, all you have to do is stand near them, allowing you to keep fighting. This was also applied retroactively to Uprising.
    • In the first week of the event, Retribution couldn't be completed without all four players boarding the dropship, meaning that a player could grief by refusing to board, thus losing the game for everyone. An update made it so that if a player went down after the dropship arrives, they are no longer needed to board to complete the game.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: The fans have asked before if Widowmaker was the only person brainwashed into being a Talon operative, or if there were more. The Ax-Crazy Assassin character, with her dialogue of insane giggling, rambling and moaning, suggests that more brainwashing is indeed occurring.
  • A Simple Plan: The mission was intended to be a simple (if unsanctioned) target extraction meant to go under notice. Unfortunately, as McCree described it, things went horribly off-the-rails.
    McCree: Everything was going according to plan. We were going to get in, grab the target, then get out. But then all hell broke loose, it was like the whole damn city was trying to kill us.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Blackwatch team kills Antonio and fights their way through Talon's forces to escape. However, the whole event blows Blackwatch's cover to the world, possibly starting Overwatch's downfall. Additionally, Talon appears to have suffered very little in the long term from the setback.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Talon Assassins have long red blades protruding from their arms.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Heavy Assaults are immune to knockbacks and stuns. Mei can freeze him, but Snowball can only keep him frozen if she freezes him first. Graviton Surge in particular has almost no effect on any type of Elite Mook. Ana has no issues with using a sleep dart though.
  • Darker and Edgier: Falls into this when compared to Uprising. Uprising had players playing as a straight and conventional set of heroes from Overwatch. In Retribution, players play as the morally questionable Blackwatch, with an Anti-Hero Team (Future Talon members Gabriel Reyes and Moira among them). This is cemented as Reyes kills the criminal they were supposed to apprehend in the intro. Also, this is the first PVE event that has you killing actual human enemies as opposed to omnics, and it's further implied by the Assassin character type that some of your enemies didn't willingly join up with them, making things darker than the Uprising event that preceded it.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • "All Heroes" mode in Uprising allowed for some truly broken team combos that could easily beat the mode on most difficulty levels. Retribution changes up the enemies encountered based on the team composition.
    • Reaper's voicelines are still usable by Reyes in Retribution, but have been altered so that Reyes says them with his pre-Reaper voice.
  • Elite Mook: Enforcers, Snipers, Assassins, and Heavy Assaults serve as this for Talon.
  • Faceless Goons: Double Subverted. The basic soldiers wear a mask protecting their faces, but shooting it off (by killing them with a headshot) is possible, which reveals them wearing a balaclava underneath.
  • Flash Step: Assassins can instantly jump from locations, leaving a brief after image behind them.
  • Gatling Good: Heavy Assault enemy wields two of them.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The mission was simple: take Antonio in for questioning, but it quickly went awry one point-blank shotgun blast later...
  • Guide Dang It!: If an Assassin is ripping an ally to shreds and you don't have the time to kill her, you can save them by simply shoving her off with a melee attack. Unfortunately, this isn't mentioned anywhere in-game.
  • Hold the Line: Towards the end of the mission, the Blackwatch team needs to hold the area around a restaurant against waves of Talon forces until their dropship arrives. However, unlike many traditional missions of this type, the dropship's arrival is triggered by downing a certain number of minibosses, not by a strict timer, and once the dropship arrives you need to actually get everyone aboard to win, something that can be difficult since more Talon mooks and minibosses keep spawning until everyone is safely aboard or you lose.
  • Lighter and Softer: Not the game mode itself, which as mentioned earlier is much darker than Uprising. However, the changing dialog during subsequent playthroughs can add a great deal of humor. Some examples:
    • The Blackwatch members apparently infiltrated as servants. It turns out that McCree got fired from his cover job because he started sassing a woman.
    • Apparently Reyes' original plan for sneaking in was to disguise themselves as the band.
    • Reyes can play an instrument, but whatever it is he can't play it well.
    • We get to hear McCree try an Italian accent. Moira tells him to never do it again.
    • There is one interaction which isn't humorous on its own, but can be pretty funny due to timing. McCree mentions that their intel was a little spotty and Genji says that they could have sent him into spy. However, it is very likely that this interaction plays when the Heavy Assault first shows up, so Genji is bragging about how stealthy he as as he's getting shot at by double machine guns.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: On initial release, the mission didn't end until everyone boarded the dropship at the very end, which was unfortunately prone to griefing as one uncooperative teammate who simply chose not to board it would pointlessly extend the mission, possibly going off alone to fight the endless enemy horde and die, thus losing everyone the entire game. Blizzard has since made it so those who end up incapacitated are simply left behind, completing the mission.
  • Replay Value: As with Uprising, winning more matches of this mode will result in new dialogs between the four.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Antonio tells Blackwatch what was originally stated in the "Retribution" comic: It doesn't matter if he's arrested or imprisoned, because he has deep-rooted connections throughout the government that would get him out in no time.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Compared to Uprising, Retribution is easier, as there are fewer enemies at a time, you only have to worry about your team (instead of having to defend an area/payload), there is no timer either, and enemies don't quite have the firepower of the the Null Sector Bastions.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: True to form, Genji can have one with enemy assassins when they sprint at each other. Unless the assassin is heavily wounded, she won't be killed, but it will keep her from pouncing on Genji and give the rest of the team a few seconds to finish her off.
  • Start of Darkness: The whole mission could serve as one for Gabriel Reyes (Reaper), considering his choice to execute Antonio in cold blood rather than capture him as per the plan, the fallout of the operation leading to Blackwatch being exposed and the organization taking a big hit to its credibility.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Reyes: It should be smooth sailing from here.
    Heavy Assault shows up
    McCree: You just HAD to say it, didn't you?
    Reyes: I withdraw my previous comment.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: No matter how long the restaurant defence lasts, the Blackwatch aircraft doesn't show up until all the minibosses are defeated.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The restaurant at the end is manned by a single omnic waiter. Unlike the ones at Oasis, this one isn't shielded and can be attacked and destroyed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Reyes and his team were supposed to bring in Antonio, but Reyes just shoots him instead. McCree is not impressed.
    McCree: This is all your fault, commander! We had a plan! We could have walked Antonio right out of the city. I didn't sign up for this.
  • Wham Episode: After Reyes's team made it out of Venice, the fighting that had spilled out onto the city's streets led to Blackwatch's existence being exposed to the public, which played a major part in Overwatch's downfall. McCree even suggests this may have been the entire point of the Venice mission...
    • It's also implied that the extrajudicial slaying of Talon boss Antonio not only leads to their stronger, more dangerous iteration in the current timeline, but also acts as a Start of Darkness for Commander Gabriel Reyes, setting him on the path from being an antiheroic black-ops soldier willing to get his hands dirty for The Greater Good to becoming the nihilistic supervillain Reaper.

    Storm Rising 
  • Battle in the Rain: The team takes on Talon in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Blinded by the Light: Mercy uses her Caduceus staff to blind the driver of Maximillien's car.
  • Call-Back: The last mission involving Gabriel and Jesse is mentioned, saying they're on rather bad terms since then.
  • Offhand Backhand: Genji tosses two shuriken into the wheels of two cars speeding toward him without looking in their direction.
  • Ship Tease: The event is a goldmine of this for Genji/Mercy shippers, from mentioning he enjoys talking to her, readily agreeing to buy her dinner, to her saying she likes him...
    Mercy: I do seem to be making a habit of saving you. It's a good thing I like you. Buy me dinner when this is over.
    Genji: It would be my pleasure.
  • Tag Line: Teasers for the event use the tagline: "Chase the Truth."
  • Unflinching Walk: After Genji takes out two cars with shuriken, he stands and faces away from them as the flaming, exploding cars careen towards him, simply lifting a hand for a passing Mercy to take and lift him out of the way about half a second before he would have been obliterated by the oncoming debris.

    Zero Hour 
  • Absurd Cutting Power: Genji's sword, when empowered by the Dragonblade, proves strong enough to cut through the heavily armored giant mecha's arm.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: After The Cavalry arrives, it's practically Overwatch Assembled.
  • Big Damn Heroes: With Mei badly injured, Tracer forced to evacuate civilians, and Winston making a Last Stand that will almost certainly end with a Heroic Sacrifice, Genji, Reinhardt, Brigitte, Echo, and Mercy arrive to save the day.
  • Call-Back: In Reunion, McCree told Echo, "Say hi to the monkey for me." In Zero Hour, the first thing Echo says upon her arrival is: "Hello, Winston!"
  • The Cavalry: Just as Winston is at the mercy of the massive Omnic, Genji jumps in and deflects the blast, neutralizing its best weapon in one fell swoop. Then we see the familiar weapons of Reinhardt and Brigitte, and the two appear saving the day with a smile while Echo flies by with air support. Finally, Mercy arrives from the heavens within a pillar of light to save Mei and provide a much-needed Heroic Second Wind for round 2.
  • Chest Blaster: Hitting all the giant robot tropes, the Titan Omnic has this, which it uses to effortlessly slice the Orca dropship in half and tear up a good chunk of road, then almost roast Reinhardt and Brigitte when they block it with their barriers.
  • Combination Attack: The large mecha is only put down with Tracer's pulse bomb and Mei's freezing container exploding inside of it. In an inversion, Reinhardt and Brigitte were able to combine their shields to block its attacks while they did this.
  • Failed a Spot Check: No one noticed that giant Null Sector Omnic until it literally walks through a BUILDING shorter than it!
  • Humongous Mecha: The tide really turns when a Null Sector bot the size of a building makes the scene.
  • Killer Robot: Null Sector is still active since the events of Uprising, with an entire army wreaking havoc in Paris.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Reinhardt says it's "ice" to meet Mei. Brigitte groans in response.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Titan Omnic launches one in an attempt to destroy Echo while she's distracting it. All it hits are buildings and the ground.
  • Male Gaze: As before, Tracer has a tendency to turn away from the camera in a manner that puts her skin tight pants on display.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Null Sector, the evil Omnic group from the Uprising King's Row event that took place several years before the game's modern day. Thought to have been neutralized, they're sporting much more intimidating designs, stronger weapons, and even titanic building-sized units armed to bear.

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