Valorant and Overwatch are two massively popular online games that share numerous similarities. We categorize them as shooters with elements of MOBAs. However, although these two have similarly vibrant environments, traditional FPS modes, and ability systems, they emphasize different things.
Given they were made by two beloved developers, their respective fan bases continuously bicker as to which one is better. The truth of the matter is they cater to different audiences. In my opinion, Overwatch is much better for MOBA fans looking for a dynamic FPS experience. On the other hand, Valorant feels like revamped CS: GO for young generations.
Whichever you choose, you’ll probably have an excellent gaming experience. Both titles have incredible gameplay and are visually polished, but they can become stressful over extended periods. As someone who loves MOBAs, I’ll have to give an advantage to Overwatch. Then again, you should try both before deciding which suits you better.
In this article, I will compare their features while focusing on the pros and cons. At the end of the post, I’ll give my honest assessment as to which one is better.
Main Differences Between Valorant vs Overwatch
The main differences between Valorant vs Overwatch are:
- Valorant focuses on shooting, whereas Overwatch puts emphasis on ability use.
- Valorant has maps with unique features, whereas Overwatch maps don’t feel that special.
- Valorant allows you to buy weapons, whereas Overwatch players have to stick with predefined guns.
- Valorant ability system feels basic, whereas the Overwatch ability system is much more complex.
- Valorant allows more freedom, whereas Overwatch forces you to stick with the team.
- Valorant has surrender options, whereas Overwatch does not.
Valorant was released in 2020 by Riot. Although many similar games were on the market at the time of its release, it still managed to carve a spot for itself. In fact, if you check the player bases, you will notice that Valorant has slightly more players than Overwatch.
Although some people consider it a MOBA FPS, there’s much less emphasis on abilities in Valorant compared to Overwatch. In fact, a lot of the skills feel rudimentary. Specific agents have abilities like grenades, some of which are similar to grenades in CS: GO.
Only when you play both titles do you realize how different they really are. Unlike Overwatch, Valorant has a weapon shop. Furthermore, players need to have a fantastic aim to reach the top echelons of the competition. The thing I love about this title is the numerous map features, adding another layer of complexity to matches.
Overwatch is a game published in 2016 by Blizzard. In many ways, it was the first of its kind. The developers have created a tactical shooter where two teams of five clash in various real-world locations. The game features traditional FPS modes such as Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, and Control, but also some innovative ones like Push.
The thing that separates this title from the rest is the ability system. Unlike the majority of shooters on the market, players can’t buy weapons in Overwatch. You can’t pick up guns from the floor. Instead, to damage opponents, you need to use one of the few abilities which include weapon fire.
Another difference between Overwatch and other shooters is that you’re less dependent on your aim. You can be successful by simply following allies and providing support. This makes the title perfect for people who want to play an FPS but aren’t good at shooting. On the other hand, it has a gentler learning curve than traditional MOBAs.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Storylines
Our story begins in 2039 and the appearance of Radianite on Earth. This strange and powerful element appeared from the rifts in the sky during the First Light event. It turns out that Radianite is an incredible source of energy, and soon enough, people have started using it to power up their cities.
As it turns out, some companies wanted to exploit this resource for their own benefit. Soon enough, Kingdom corporation became the biggest provider of Radianite in the world. The organization was ruthless in its resource acquisition, leaving destruction and death in its wake.
Common people responded to this threat by creating an organization’s VALORANT protocol. Their agents hunted down members of the Kingdom corporation until the company was no more. Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived as there’s an even bigger threat on the horizon.
Valorant’s storyline isn’t bad, although it’s somewhat generic. Then again, most people who are into these games aren’t interested in background stories.
I found it very interesting that these games have similar stories. You might even say that Valorant “drew inspiration” from Overwatch.
Overwatch is a company of elite mercenaries formed during the Omnic Crisis. The game’s story is in the near future, in the 2070s, but we need to go 30 years in the past to learn about the formation of the group. During this time, robots rebelled against their human masters, almost destroying the whole world.
In an attempt to stave the threat, the human authorities have created a group called Overwatch. Acting swiftly and decisively, these military veterans managed to defeat robots Omnics, and restore stability to the world. The global institutions decided to keep Overwatch, as an entity that would protect humanity from future threats.
Alas, the mercenary group didn’t stay together for long, as internal strife and corruption led to its dissolution. Back to the 2070s, the world is threatened by a terrorist group called Talon. Overwatch’s senior officer, Winston, took it upon himself to reform the band and counter this new danger.
Basically, it’s hard to say which one of these two stories is better as they share so many similarities. In both cases, our protagonists managed to eliminate a major threat, but there’s something even more sinister looming about. On top of that, both stories are set in the near future.
I liked that there are no “goodies and baddies.” Many characters in Valorant and Overwatch are gray, some of which have extremely shady pasts.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Visual Appearance and Requirements
Minimal requirements and engine:
- Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
- Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 or equivalent
- Intel HD 4000 or equivalent
- 4GB RAM
- Unreal Engine 4
Valorant has a similar art style to many other modern shooters. The environment and characters have lots of different colors, although the graphics are not as vibrant as that of Overwatch. Color palettes can vary significantly based on the map. The agents are battling in different environments, from snowy regions to sandy beaches and cities.
Ability effects look fantastic, and they use lots of different colors. Most players use skins for their guns, adding some extra visual diversity. Based on graphics alone, I would have to put Valorant somewhere between the arcade and simulation (not too serious, not too childish).
Minimal requirements and engine:
- Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
- Intel Core i3 or equivalent
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or equivalent
- 4GB RAM
- Prometheus engine
Overwatch has very jovial graphic solutions geared toward younger players. Just running around the map feels incredible, as there are always some tiny environmental details to explore. Every ability feels and looks unique, and exchanging bullets with enemies will create a flurry of colors on your screen.
Although I can’t say that Valorant looks bad, Overwatch is simply much better in that regard. The maps have much more details to them, and developers obviously invested a lot of time creating them.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Gameplay
As previously mentioned, Valorant relies heavily on gunplay. By comparison, you can win many Overwatch games just by adequately using your abilities. This is why Valorant is generally more balanced than the Blizzard counterpart, as you’re not that reliant on characters or classes.
If you’re a CS: GO, veteran, you should feel at home playing this title. The weapon menu is extremely similar to that of Counter-Strike, so you won’t need much time to get accustomed. What’s even worse, some guns have similar recoils and reload times.
Characters and roles definitely provide some diversity, and you have to carefully plan your composition for maximum effect. Generally speaking, Valorant feels slower and less hectic than Overwatch. There aren’t as many open spaces on the maps that would allow for 5v5 melees. Furthermore, graphics are not as crazy, which makes it easier to track the action.
I would have to say that Valorant is much more skill-based. Both sides can use the same weaponry, and battles often come down to winning your 1v1 matchups.
Overwatch feels like a first-person MOBA with guns. With this title, Blizzard wanted to transfer Dota 2 and League of Legends to a 3D environment. Although characters have weapon fire, which corresponds to MOBA’s auto-attacks, you win the games by properly using your abilities.
Despite all these skills, the game often feels simplistic compared to other titles from the genre. There isn’t a shop or leveling up. You can’t buy or pick up guns and are stuck with the same kit. What makes things even worse is that maps don’t have any unique features.
The developers obviously wanted Overwatch to focus on action. Unfortunately, this sentiment was twisted somewhere along the way. In the recent metas, you could win lots of matches by simply spamming tanks and support and grinding action to a halt.
The game is much better for beginners than Valorant. It’s much harder to kill a character, so there’s more room for mistakes. Regardless of Overwatch’s drawbacks, you can still have lots of fun by playing casual games with friends.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Abilities
Skills in Valorant are often used in advance before engaging with the enemies. Once you have a clear site of opponents, you’re more likely to use weapons to take them out.
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the abilities in this game. Every third skill is some sort of a bomb or a trap. Many times, I’ve felt like I’m playing CS: GO, but instead of buying grenades, you’re buying ability points. Breach is a good example of this, as all four of his skills look like grenades.
However, there’s a good reason for this. Riot wanted to create a game where the focus would be on guns, and abilities would be an afterthought. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re completely useless. Players use them for distractions, crowd control, checking the corners, scouting enemy movements, and in a few cases, increasing their damage potential.
Ultimates are a bit better, as they can completely turn the tide of a round. They’re extremely powerful, but you need to charge them beforehand. Unfortunately, this also creates a somewhat strange dynamic. For example, you will have a close matchup where every bullet and headshot counts, and then you’ll just use an airstrike to destroy the entire opponent’s team.
Unlike Valorant, skills in this game are more reactionary. In other words, you will use a specific ability in the heat of battle, depending on the situation on the field. In fact, the timely use of your skills can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Even your weapon fires are classified as abilities. This means that you’re stuck with the same predefined loadout, and if you wish to try other weapons, you have to switch characters.
The abilities feel much better in Overwatch than in Valorant. You have scouting skills, traps, barriers, heals, buffs, debuffs, movement skills, and a few other mechanics. They are much more diverse and allow more strategizing compared to abilities in Valorant.
Unfortunately, abilities and classes are also the game’s biggest drawback. Since its inception, Overwatch has been known as an extremely unbalanced game where you can progress through ranks by simply spamming heroes. Although something similar can be said for all MOBAs, it’s much more noticeable in this title.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Roles and Team Compositions
Here’s a breakdown of all classes in the game:
As the name implies, this class is meant to control access in or out of certain zones. They use smoke bombs and similar abilities to fend off enemy incursions.
Duelists focus on dealing lots of damage in a short amount of time. They specialize in 1v1 combat and are the teams’ main offensive force.
These characters are meant to counter controllers. They gather information for the team and have fantastic disruptive skills.
Sentinels perform a somewhat similar role as controllers. They are defensive specialists meant to slow down enemy progress into certain zones.
Valorant’s roles are much more complex than you might think. Although there are predefined classes, the players have further segmented these roles into smaller ones. So, players’ duties can be further divided into Lurkers, OPers, Fraggers, Supports, Rotators, and Anchors.
As it usually goes with MOBAs, team compositions can vary significantly based on patch and map. However, due to the nature of the game, you’ll always need certain roles on your team.
The great thing about Valorant is that you’re not that constricted with picks, given that characters are somewhat interchangeable. Unlike Overwatch, there aren’t as many cheesy strategies that would ensure victory in every situation.
Here’s a breakdown of all classes in the game (including Overwatch 2 characters):
Like in all other MOBAs, the tank’s role is to go in front of the team and initiate battles. They are somewhat slow and have low damage but high health pool.
Damage (Echo, Genji, Hanzo, Bastion, Cassidy, Ashe, Mei, Junkrat, Widowmaker, Pharah, Sojourn, Soldier: 76, Torbjorn, Tracer, Sombra, Symmetra)
These are your standard DPS. They have high damage, low health, and various mobility skills that would help them get in the right position.
Support (Zenyatta, Moira, Kiriko, Baptiste, Ana, Lucio, Mercy, Brigitte)
The support’s role is to help other team members. These characters are less dependent on gunplay and are usually squishy. They focus on providing healing and buffs to their teammates.
Every MOBA has its fair share of balance issues. That being said, there are only a handful of games that are as imbalanced as Overwatch. In fact, if Blizzard ever manages to fix these issues, the game would be significantly better.
The balancing issues pertain not only to characters but also to the roles. Back in the day, Mercy was notorious for being an instant ban or instant pick. Nowadays, Sojourn has taken that role.
In theory, a perfect composition would consist of two supports, two DPS, and a tank (or two tanks and one DPS). Unfortunately, you can win a lot of games by simply taking a mix of tanks and support. This is quite sad as it eliminates the need for damage dealers, a group with most characters.
However, it’s also worth mentioning that the ability/character variety allows you to explore different synergies.
Valorant vs. Overwatch Modes
At this moment, Valorant is inferior to Overwatch in terms of the maps and modes. Of course, this is probably because the game is new. Riot will likely publish much more content in the upcoming year, adding to the title’s diversity.
This is the game’s basic mode that works under the same rules as Counter Strike’s Bomb Defusal. Two teams of five go against each other, where one team plays as Attackers and the second one as Defenders.
Attackers are trying to plant a spike (Valorant’s version of a bomb) on several designated bomb sites. Defenders try to prevent them from doing so. When Attackers plant the spike, Defenders have a certain amount of time to disarm it. Alternatively, Defenders win if Attackers don’t manage to put the bomb in the allocated amount of time.
If one team kills another, they win instantly. The only exception is when the bomb was already planted, in which case Defenders still need to disarm it to win. Plant/Defuse is used for competitive games.
During Spike Rush, everyone starts the round with the same randomized weapons. They can collect orbs on the map to receive buffs or inflict enemies with debuffs.
Deathmatch in Valorant looks like Deathmatch in any other game. You can play it as a team or as a free-for-all. During the allocated time, your task is to score more kills than opponents. When a player is killed, they instantly respawn and continue the fight.
Escalation is a variation of a team-based Deathmatch. The mode lasts for 10 minutes, during which time you’re trying to progress through 12 levels by killing enemies. On each level, every member of your team gets specific abilities and weapons.
In Replication, all participants take the role of the same agent. At the start of the game, they vote on which agent they want to play as. Replication lasts nine rounds and is played 5v5.
This is another 5v5 Deathmatch variation, where teams scramble to reach a 50-kill total. The only difference is that players have access to the deadly Snowball Launcher, and you can pick up gifts on the map to receive buffs.
As an older game, it makes sense that Blizzard’s title has more modes. However, the reason I prefer Overwatch to Valorant is because of Arcade. This mode alternates between unique maps and rulesets, making it a very unpredictable experience.
I’m incredibly excited about the Story Experience and Hero Missions that await us in Overwatch 2. These are PvE missions where players gain access to talent trees, which remind me of World of Warcraft. If Blizzard executes these modes properly, it could significantly change the MOBA landscape.
Assault is one of the game’s four competitive modes that’s no longer available in Overwatch 2. You play as an Attacker or Defender. Attackers try to capture certain zones, while Defenders are preventing them from doing so.
Defenders automatically when the time expires, while Attackers win when they gain control of two Capture Points. Every time Attackers capture one, they gain extra time.
Control has some similarities to Assault, but in this mode, both teams take the role of Attackers. In other words, you’re trying to snatch as many Capture Points as possible while preventing enemies from doing the same. As you gain capture zones, you slowly gain victory points (the more Capture Points you hold, the faster you gain points).
The mode has three rounds, each played in a different section of the map, with different Capture Points.
Escort is another mode where teams are split into Attackers and Defenders and switch roles between rounds.
As an Attacker, your role is to push forward a payload along a designated path with three checkpoints. Each time you reach a checkpoint, you gain points and additional time. Attackers win by reaching the end of the track, and Defenders win when the time runs out.
The payload only moves when there are Attackers nearby. If both a Defender and an Attacker are close to it, the shipment will stop. If there aren’t any Attackers close to the payload for 10 seconds, it will slowly start rolling back.
Hybrid is the fourth competitive mode in Overwatch, combining features of Assault and Escort.
Attackers try to secure a Capture Point, after which the match transitions into an Escort mission. Attackers win if they escort the payload to its destination, and Defenders win if the time runs out.
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag and Deathmatch are only available on Arcade maps. These two are Overwatch’s non-competitive modes.
Like in any other CTF, each team gets its flag which is positioned on their side of the map. Your role is to steal the enemy’s flag and bring it to your base while preventing opponents from doing the same.
In Overwatch’s Deathmatch, you can pick any hero and go against seven other players in a free-for-all brawl. The match ends after 10 minutes, or when one of the players scores 20 points.
What does Valorant do Better?
Despite their similarities, Valorant and Overwatch feel very different. In most cases, people choose one of these two based on their personal preferences. Funny enough, gamers often make their choice based on their devotion to Blizzard or Riot.
In my opinion, Valorant is much less exploitative. While Overwatch has fantastic graphics and solid gameplay, it quickly becomes dull due to various balance issues. There are so many different heroes and roles in Overwatch yet you’re forced to go with the same comps and characters to gain a competitive edge.
Here are a few reasons why you should go with Valorant:
- Easier to make in-game adjustments.
- Less dependent on roles and characters.
- More emphasis on skill.
- The game rewards players who perform well from the start.
- Maps have unique features.
What does Overwatch do Better?
Overwatch is a well-polished game. It simply looks amazing visually, and all abilities/weapons work as intended. I’m especially excited about some new modes that will be included in the sequel.
Simply put, Overwatch gives you more variety in terms of maps, modes, and characters. The abilities feel unique, and the game has specific mechanics that Valorant doesn’t.
Here are a few reasons why you should go with Overwatch:
- Characters feel more unique in terms of appearance, lore, and abilities.
- I prefer Overwatch’s modes.
- Maps look incredible and are extremely diverse.
- There’s more emphasis on team composition and ability synergies.
- A better choice for beginners.
Which is Better Overall and Why?
If I wanted to make a long-term commitment, I would choose Valorant. If I simply wanted to have fun with friends, I would go with Overwatch.
Regardless of all the cute technical aspects, I still can’t go over Overwatch’s balance issues. While this is something that all MOBAs are struggling with, it seems that Blizzard’s developers simply don’t care about these issues.
As a shooter, Valorant is a more dominant title. Abilities provide just enough variety to make it feel fresh without taking anything from the gameplay. The FPS is more complex than CS: GO and Apex Legends, yet it doesn’t become too complex.
Overwatch is a fantastic 3D MOBA where matchmaking quickly gets stale. The abilities are incredible, and you can experiment with various synergies. Unfortunately, you’re forced to continuously play a certain way to reach the upper echelons of the competition. In my opinion, the game is much more rewarding if you play it casually.
Here are a few titles that could be great alternatives.
Question: Do more people play Valorant or Overwatch?
Answer: Valorant and Overwatch and similar in terms of popularity. At the moment of writing this article, there were 23 million active Valorant players, which is the same number of people enjoying Overwatch 2.
Question: Is Valorant or Overwatch a More Challenging Game?
Answer: It’s hard to say which one of these two is harder to play. Valorant is tougher if we’re just analyzing the required shooting skills. On the other hand, Overwatch is more team-focused and requires better use of abilities.
Question: Are Overwatch and Valorant Similar?
Answer: While both of these are categorized as team shooters with roles and abilities, Valorant and Overwatch are inherently different. These two titles focus on different things and have entirely unique mechanics.
Valorant vs Overwatch: Conclusion
For many people, the choice between Overwatch and Valorant is a matter of taste. Both of these titles are primarily geared toward people who want to play shooters. However, Overwatch focuses heavily on RPG elements, while abilities just are a spice in Valorant.
I’ve been very harsh with some of my statements toward Overwatch. That doesn’t necessarily mean I hate the game. In the end, the fact many people enjoy it speaks volumes about its quality. However, it’s hard for me to turn a blind eye to all its issues.
Valorant is much more straightforward. It uses the old CS: GO concepts and revamps them for new generations. The agents have interesting abilities, but they aren’t game-breaking like abilities in Overwatch (although some of the ultimates are simply unfair).
All in all, whichever game you choose, I’m certain it will bring you numerous hours of fun.