Valve’s Team Fortress 2 dominated the team-based shooter genre. Its art style, humor, gameplay, and use of the hero-based selection of characters made the game a critical success. That is until Blizzard released Overwatch in 2016.

Just like TF2, Overwatch has a distinct style. It strikes a comfortable balance between being cartoonish and colorful, and gritty and realistic. Think Pixar but with less heartwarming moments and more gun-toting sci-fi gorillas and explosions to the face.

Overwatch doesn’t have a story mode, but it does have a plot, which is told through various media, like character profiles and animated shorts. The game is set in a fictional, futuristic Earth where AI-controlled worker robots have gone rogue and started attacking humankind. The UN formed an international alliance to battle the robotic uprising and called it “Overwatch”.

The initiative was successful in quelling the upheaval. However, all is not good in paradise. Public outcry about alleged misdeeds, in-fighting among members and leaders, and the destruction of its HQ have led to Overwatch’s official dismantling.

Years later, there’s economic and social unrest as well as a looming threat of a second robot war. Winston, the aforementioned great ape and former Overwatch member, goes about reviving the defunct organization through old members and recruits.

It’s no Blade Runner, but still—pretty intriguing stuff.

Overwatch is full of interesting playable characters (Heroes) and game mechanics. The action is a mile a second and will keep both players and spectators at the edge of their seats. It’s a great title for live streaming, and that’s what we’re here to teach you.

But first, a quick look into the fundamentals of Overwatch..

Overwatch Basics

The inner workings of Overwatch takes a lot of inspiration from other hero shooters. But it also offers plenty of new things. Let’s have a look at the Overwatch essentials that you should know if you’re new to the game.

Heroes

There are 32 playable characters currently. They’re divided into three main classes: Damage, tank, and support.

  • Damage-class heroes are fast and deal high DPS (damage per second). But they’re glass cannons—usually with low defense or HP. Some damage heroes also have unique abilities that help them traverse the map faster and more efficiently.
  • Tanks have high hit points and are equipped with defensive tools, like shields, which benefit them and teammates alike. They’re designed to absorb damage and are often the slowest of all the hero types.
  • Support characters have low to mid-table HP, defense, attack, and speed. They provide enhancements like buffs to allies and debuffs and negative status effects to enemies. Some have abilities that create environmental obstructions, like temporary walls. The often-targeted healer belongs to this category.

Each hero has at least three special abilities. Some are consumable, while others recharge over time. Performing certain tasks, like killing an enemy and assists, fill up a meter for an ultimate ability. Ultimates include extreme attack buff, invulnerability, powerful one-time use items, and so on. They vary from hero to hero.

Players that are performing well throughout a match get special points. Once the player gets enough of them, their on-screen icon gains a special animation, indicating to enemies that they’re a threat. This is just for dramatic effect and a form of acknowledging skilled players.

Maps and objectives

Objectives are tied to different categories of maps. There are assault, escort, hybrid, and control maps.

  • Assault tasks attackers to capture multiple points in the map while defenders fend them off.
  • Escort has one team assist in payload delivery while the other attempts to stop it. There is a time limit between checkpoints.
  • Hybrid gets one team to capture a payload and help bring it to the final destination. The other team tries to stop them.
  • In control, teams have to capture and maintain their presence at specific points until the control meter reaches 100%.

Most of the maps in Overwatch are based on real-world locations across the globe, like Nepal, Rome, and Japan. Examples of fictional maps are a lunar facility and Blizzard World—a theme park based on the developer’s other titles, like World of Warcraft and Starcraft.

Combat and game modes

Overwatch is a PvP multiplayer title. Depending on the game mode, matches can be 1v1, 6v6, or free-for-all. The maximum number of players per team is six.

  • Casual mode gets one or a group of players to join games with random players through quickplay. It allows crossplay, which means PC and console players can jump in games together. However, progress made in crossplay matches doesn’t carry over to players’ records.
  • In competitive mode, players take part in matches that advance their skill ranking. Competitive seasons last up to three months. Players are grouped by region and platform.
  • Custom games allow players to create public or private games and set bespoke game parameters, like match length and character selection limits. The game also has “Workshop”, which permits further customization through developer tools.

Both casual and competitive modes use matchmaking, which pits players of similar skill levels against each other. Before a match begins, the game reminds players if their starting team needs balancing, like if there aren’t enough support-class heroes.

A match doesn’t lock the player to one hero. Upon death, they can respawn with a different one. The game encourages adapting to enemies and scenarios by playing around with various heroes in a single match.

Experience points, leveling up, and rewards

Players get experience points based on performance. Factors that affect points include wins and losses, effective use of abilities, and how much effort is put toward playing objectives. Breaking personal records also yields points. When enough experience points are garnered, the player gains a level.

Reaching a level rewards players with a loot box, which contains random aesthetic items. These include poses, character skins, voice lines, etc. The reward bundle may also contain in-game credits, which are used to buy more loot boxes.

Likewise, players can buy credits with real-world money through microtransactions. There’s no pay-to-win mechanic. All purchasable items are strictly cosmetic.

Overwatch System Requirements

The minimum requirements for playing Overwatch are as follows:

Operating System: Windows 7, 8 , or 10 (64-bit, updated to the latest Service Pack)

Processor: | Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom X3 8650

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD Graphics 4400

Memory: 4 GB

Here are the recommended system specs.

Operating System: Windows 7, 8, or 10 (64-bit; updated to the latest Service Pack)

Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom 2 X3 or better

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7950 or better

Memory: 4 GB

General Requirements:

Storage: 30 GB available disk space

Connectivity: Broadband or faster

Display: 1024 x 768 minimum resolution

Now that we’ve got the cornerstones sorted, it’s time to set up Overwatch for live streaming from your PC. For this guide, we’ll use OBS Studio as our live streaming software since it’s free and has the most resources available online. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of broadcasting on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.

How To Live Stream Overwatch on Twitch

Here’s how to stream Overwatch on Twitch.

  1. If you haven’t already, create an account on Twitch and set up your profile.
  2. Download and install OBS Studio.
  3. Allow OBS administrator access on Windows.
  4. Run OBS but don’t go through the setup wizard. Click cancel instead, then go to “Settings”.
  5. Go to “Output” and select “Advanced” under “Output Mode”.
    • On the “Streaming” tab, select your dedicated GPU (Nvidia, AMD) for the encoder. Do this so your CPU won’t get overworked.
    • Set the bitrate anywhere from 4500 to 6000 Kbps—the recommended bitrate for a 1080p at 60fps stream. Your internet upload has to maintain a speed of at least 7 Mbps.
    • The rule of thumb is keeping the bitrate at no more than 50% of your upload speed. Stay within this range, and you’ll minimize lag.
    • Hit “Apply”.
  6. Go to “Audio”. Select your microphone from the “Mic/Auxiliary Audio” dropdown menu. Click “Apply”. This is an optional step, but audiences look for live commentary in general.
  7. On “Video”, set both Base and Output resolutions to 1080p. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  8. You’re now on the OBS Studio main interface. This is where you’ll lay out your scenes and add audio and video sources, among other things.

On the Scene box, in the lower-left corner, label the one pre-loaded scene to whatever you like. Do this through the right-click menu while highlighting the scene.

  1. Run Overwatch. Bring the game to a point where you want to start live streaming it.
  2. On the “Sources” box, click the plus (+) sign then select “Game Capture”.
    • In properties, select “Capture any fullscreen application” from “Mode” then “OK”.
    • OBS should detect the game as a fullscreen program. You should see it in the preview box. Make sure that Overwatch is the only fullscreen program that’s running.
    • If the above method doesn’t work, double-click “Game Capture” on the “Sources” panel. Select “Capture specific window” from “Mode”. Select Overwatch’s window from the “Window” dropdown. Then hit “OK”.
  3. Let’s add your facecam. Add another source for your gameplay scene. Select “Video Capture Device”. From the “Device” dropdown, select your webcam.
    • On the “Sources” box, drag “Video Capture Device” up so that it comes before “Game Capture” on the list.
    • Alternatively, highlight your webcam then click the up or down arrow. This makes it so that your facecam will stay over your gameplay feed.
  4. Resize your facecam by clicking and dragging the red border. Crop it by holding down the ‘alt’ key while dragging.
    • Drag your facecam to wherever you want it on the screen. Most Overwatch streamers place it at the top left or middle of the screen.
  5. Audio should appear on the “Audio Mixer” panel next to “Sources”. We recommend disabling Windows’ system sounds, so you don’t get audio alerts.
    • Your microphone should also appear on the mixer box, which is where you control each audio output’s volume levels.
    • If your camera has a built-in microphone, we suggest muting it from the audio mixer panel. We recommend using a dedicated microphone for live streaming.
  6. Once your audio and video sources are locked in on OBS, link your stream to Twitch.
    • Go to OBS’s settings, Stream, then select Twitch from “Service”. Connect OBS to your Twitch account. This will automatically input your Twitch account’s unique stream key on OBS.
    • Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  7. Back on OBS’s main interface, click “Start Streaming.” when you’re happy with your scene layouts and audio. Your stream on Twitch should begin after a little while.

How To Live Stream Overwatch With YouTube

Here’s our guide on how to live stream Overwatch with YouTube.

  1. Create a YouTube account and set up your channel.
  2. On your YouTube homepage, click on the camera icon on the upper right of your screen. On the drop-down menu, select “Go live.”
  3. Follow the verification instructions. There’s a 24-hour waiting period after verifying your account before you can start streaming.
  4. From this point, simply follow steps 2 to 13 from the above set of instructions for setting up OBS for Twitch. But note the following differences.
    • Set the bitrate from 4500 to 9000 for 1080p 60fps. Your internet connection must maintain an upload speed of 11 Mbps to handle the higher bit rate.
    • YouTube allows streaming in 4k. The recommended bitrate is 20000 to 50000, with upload speeds of 25 and 62 Mbps, respectively.
  5. Once you’re done with tweaking OBS, go to YouTube, click the “Create” icon in the upper right corner of the homepage, then “Go live”.
  6. On the “Manage” tab on the right side, schedule a live stream.
    • Leave “Enable Auto-Start” disabled. This will stop YouTube from going live automatically when it detects a signal from your live streaming software.
    • Configure the broadcast preferences according to your liking. Don’t forget to set the category to “Gaming” and the visibility to public, private, or unlisted.
    • Set the appropriate tags, stream title, and description. These play a huge role in making your content discoverable.
  7. Copy the stream key.
  8. Switch back to OBS, go to settings, then “Stream”. Choose “YouTube - RTMPS” from “Service”. Paste your YouTube stream key on the field. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  9. On the main dashboard of OBS, click “Start Streaming.” once everything is finalized.
  10. Back on YouTube Studio, wait for the feed from OBS to come through. It should start after a few seconds. When you see your OBS stream on the preview box, click “Go live.” to finally start live streaming on YouTube.

How To Live Stream Overwatch on Facebook

The steps required to live stream Overwatch on Facebook are also very similar to Twitch and Youtube.

  1. Create a Facebook account.
  2. Just like with YouTube, just follow steps 2 through 13 from the Twitch guide mentioned above. Here are the differences you should know.
    • In the “Video” settings, set the base resolution to 1080p but ignore the output resolution.
    • Set the bitrate to 4000. This needs 3 to 4 Mbps of upload speed. But 6 Mbps is the safest upload speed for that bitrate.
  3. When you’re done with the preliminary steps, go to OBS’s settings, then “Stream”. Select “Facebook Live” from “Service”.
    • OBS will say that you’re limited to streaming at a 720p resolution. Just click “Yes”.
  4. Leave unchecked “Ignore streaming service setting recommendations.”
  5. Click “Get Stream Key”. OBS will redirect you to your Facebook Live Producer if you’re logged in to your account on a browser. Live Producer is Facebook’s streaming studio.
    • You can access Live Producer through your Facebook homepage. Click on “Live video” at the top of your feed. It’s the red sideways camera icon.
  6. Once in Live Producer, select “Use stream key” from the “Get started” options.
  7. In “Setup options”, enable “Use a persistent stream key”. Keep your stream key secure. Anyone with this key can broadcast on your Facebook page from any location.
  8. Set whether or not you want Facebook to save a copy of your stream on your profile. Know that archived streams are undeletable. Additionally, Facebook breaks the video files into segments when there are dips and cuts in your internet connection.
  9. Items in “Settings” are up to your personal preference.
  10. Title your stream and give it a description. Set your visibility preference (public, private, friends, etc.).
  11. Choose where you want to post your stream (your timeline, group, page, etc.).
  12. Copy your stream key. And paste it on “Stream” in OBS’s “Settings”. Click “Apply” then “Ok”.
  13. Click “Start Streaming.” on OBS’s dashboard.
  14. Go to Live Producer and wait for OBS and Facebook to connect. After a few seconds, the signal from OBS should start coming in.
  15. When you’re ready to start streaming, click “Go live” on the bottom of the left side panel in Live Producer.

Facebook locks you down to the 720p stream resolution until you become part of the platform’s Level Up program. This happens when you reach a certain follower and stream time milestone. Upon qualifying, you can stream at 1080p and monetize your live stream.

Enjoy Live Streaming Overwatch

There you have them, basic OBS Studio setups for broadcasting one of the most popular and marketable games in the last decade on three of the biggest live streaming platforms. We’ll have more advanced customization tutorials soon. So, watch this space.

With Overwatch 2 coming in the next year or so, interest in the first installment is going up. There’s no better time to jump on the Overwatch wagon. But whatever your reasons behind deciding to live stream Overwatch, don’t forget to enjoy playing the game.

It’s well-liked for many reasons. The heroes and gameplay are fun and varied. The game is good at incentivizing players with rewards as well. Those feel-good hormone hits from getting achievements don’t just affect you as the player but also your viewers.

Yes, your enjoyment of the game translates to a good live stream. Audiences can tell if you’re just shilling for views. There are many ways of ensuring your Overwatch live streams stay positive and entertaining. For example, you can limit your game to playing with friends instead of randos. You can also invite superfans to your game.

Like in most multiplayer shooters, Overwatch players can get incredibly competitive, and things can get toxic quickly. Keep your cool, and don’t engage players that give off negative vibes. Remember, you’re streaming live in front of an audience. Most viewers would like to see you have a good time as opposed to raging and cursing your way through a live stream.

Photo: Overwatch