My High-Energy Zarya Problems in Overwatch

Overwatch — Zarya

Recently, I’ve been rethinking about my approach to Overwatch. Since late last year, I’ve been a Zarya main as I found her to be my most dependable option. She lets me consistently(?) contribute to my team, whether I’m doing particularly well or not. Constant use of barriers, consistent splash damage, picking off stragglers every now and then, staying alive, and well-placed graviton surges are pretty much the basics to a competent Zarya.

However, I’ve since hit the glass ceiling with her, and I’m looking for ways to get better with her. In the meantime, I’m trying to abstain from my dependence on Zarya/D.Va switch-picking (failing miserably thus far) and experimenting with a Tracer/Reaper switch-pick to see if I can get better on the offensive side of things.

In other words, “Yes, I am in dire need of personal training.”

Rethinking My Zarya Play

What made me change my mind was this post on r/CompetitiveOverwatch in Reddit. It made me rethink how I should be playing Zarya. Over time, I had started to relish in being able to turn games around with Graviton Surge and high energy, and perhaps that’s why I started to die more and win less.

Mind you, I personally think the guy who posted that is being a bit too alarmist with his argument, but he does have a point in how an overly aggressive Zarya who only aims for getting high energy above all else can be detrimental to the team, especially in higher levels of competitive play.

That’s pretty much how I play her, albeit a bit more conservatively when on defense. But with all the losses in comp and me starting to get sick of playing her, my performance with my so-called main may need to be bolstered soon with supplementary practice with other characters.

I can’t keep relying on getting my Graviton Surge all the time, you know.

Possible Ways to Improve My Zarya Play

From what I can tell, it’s going to be very subtle changes that can take me further. Perhaps the most obvious one would be to get a lot better with my energy grenade lobs. While I’ve gotten pretty good with hitting even enemies in mid-air with it, I don’t hit with almost perfect accuracy. The more I can scare enemies with my splash damage, the better.

The most important factor has to be my barrier timings. I’ve been trying to use it less for gathering energy and more for assisting frontliners, but I found the difference to be rather hard to discern. I recognize the need to throw barriers out to teammates who are getting charged by an enemy Reinhardt or exposed by an enemy D.Va self-destruct, but what about everything else? I’ll have to dig deeper with this.

Current Plans for Now

As mentioned, I’ll be practicing Tracer and Reaper in quick play. If ever I do play comp, I’ll still go with Zarya/D.Va, but I’ve been picking 76 and Lucio more. I’ve also been planning to learn McCree and Genji, so long as I get brave and foolish enough to play them without being swayed by toxic teammates telling me to pick a healer or someone good in the current meta.

I also have a growing urge to play more Roadhog. Maybe I’ll get to that in time and I’ll get back to Zarya full-time once I get myself out of bronze and back to gold in comp.

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