Overwatch is primarily a team based game, meaning striking out on your own isn’t something you should do often or get particularly used to.
Communication and teamwork are key for success, and well-coordinated groups will almost always stomp poorly organized randoms, even if the latter have more skill individually. That said, sometimes your clan mates aren’t online, your microphone isn’t working, or it’s Friday and you’ve just about had enough of the human race as a collective and want to play without acclimatizing to others. Our first suggestion would be to play another game, but if you insist, there are some characters which work well on their own and you won’t be called out for being a selfish troll.
Now, some people will say that Reaper is the only true solo hero in Overwatch, and they would be right. However, that doesn’t mean that no other hero can work well on its own when in the right hands – and playing solo doesn’t mean actively avoiding your teammates anyway, so you’re bound to bumble into your healer’s line of sight sooner or later.
Solo heroes don’t necessarily mean heroes that work well on their own either – maybe you’re absolutely willing to cooperate with your team (good on you) but don’t have a set group with which to play. In this case, the definition of “solo” hero means a hero that will fit in with most team compositions. Naturally, you can always switch hero to fit the situation better, but many heroes rely on specific teammate compositions to truly shine, whereas others work just as well regardless of what heroes your buddies pick – the second group are relevant here
Surprise, surprise! Yes, naturally the game’s only “true” solo hero also happens to be its best. I bet you are all reeling.
Reaper has a skillset that makes him particularly adept at stalking the battlefield on his own and picking off targets who are either already weakened, unsuspecting or poorly equipped to deal with the Reaper’s playstyle. He’s all for sudden, devastating attacks at close range, his passive allows him to heal himself whenever he kills an enemy and has an escape ability for whenever things get hairy, meaning even in a losing battle he doesn’t need to rely on teammates to save his ass.
Reaper’s ultimate is another rather… selfish move. It solely accomplishes dealing large amounts of damage to enemy players, meaning there is no buffing or healing of allies, it doesn’t immobilize or debuff enemies, it simply deals damage and kills a lot of opponents. It is also one of the easier tickets to Play of the Game (another mechanic mainly aimed at solo players, since getting POTG almost always means not caring about your mates just to grab the glory).
Orisa is the vanilla ice cream or black clothes of tank heroes in overwatch – she goes with everything. Between a damage buffing ultimate and a low-cooldown shield, her skillset will benefit any collection of heroes your teammates could pick, and she’s also capable of crowd control with her Halt ability. Unless you can recognize a distinct intention among your allies to form a dive comp, you can stick with Orisa as the tank and make real impact on the course of the game.
This, however, will require communication, as both her shield and buffing ult require your allies to be organized around you to be truly effective. If they’re wandering off, hail your team to group up on you to make a push when tactically ideal.
Following Mercy’s recent rework, her role is a lot more dynamic than just hanging back with a charged ult waiting for the chance to pull off a 5-man rez. If you are solo queuing, more often than not you’ll be dropped into a team where no-one is willing to take one for the team and pick a support character. It’s incredibly rare for a team without a healer to succeed, and those rare occasions require well-organized groups who have practiced together. When you’re gaming with randoms, a healer is necessary, and it’s good etiquette to be that healer yourself.
Mercy can now resurrect single teammates as a long-cooldown secondary, and her ultimate allows her to fly while buffing healing and damage increase output. Mercy can even be played well if you yourself don’t have a working mic, since it’s more often that you’re called to critical locations by teammates, not the other way around. You shouldn’t be on your own when playing Mercy anyway.
While camping is the last thing you should be doing in Overwatch, Widowmaker is a hero well suited to dynamic camping – call it bush hopping, if you will. Instead of hunkering down for, say, the entire match in one location, Widowmaker can use her grappling hook and mines to move from fortified sniper nest to fortified sniper nest depending on where the action is. As a vulnerable long range hero, you need to be far away from the thick of the fighting, which is usually where most of your allies will be anyway.
Again, Widowmaker can be played with no mic, just pay attention to those of your teammates using voice chat to call out locations where you are needed. Drop some mines to prevent someone from picking you off from behind, get a good vantage point and line up those headshots.
Soldier: 76 is your archetypal FPS protagonist. He shoots bullets with his primary attack, shoots explosives with his secondary and can sprint. Additionally, he has healing abilities and his ultimate allows him to aim and shoot at things much better. He’s self-sufficient, gets shit done without needing much assistance, works well both alone and in a group push towards an objective.
Save for his biotic field, none of his abilities affect his teammates, and even that affects him too, meaning he can still function at 100% efficiency without any allies nearby. That said, he benefits greatly from healing and damage buffs, but few encounters hinge on his presence or performance, making him an ideal choice if you’re going to play with randoms.
Players should never lose sight of the fact that Overwatch is based on teamwork, much moreso than other multiplayer shooters. Playing with a team is the best way to go at it, and even when that isn’t possible, you should try to cooperate and work together with your allies, regardless of whether you can communicate or if they pick heroes you agree with.