An Ode to Zenyatta, the Actual Best Character In Overwatch

Certain esteemed video game-related websites might tell you that the likes of Tracer or D.Va are the best characters in Overwatch, Blizzard’s crazy-fun shooter about wacky heroes and quasi-superheroic shenanigans. I am using the opportunity of Gawker Media’s Senior Week to tell you that they are wrong.

I have been angling to bother my delightful editor Rob Bricken with hot Overwatch takes pretty much since the game came out and dominated my limited free time over the past few months. While thanks to our glorious world in which everything is a transmedia franchise behemoth I’ve managed to sneak some posts under the radar, our celebratory Senior Week—and it’s surprisingly petrifying editorial freedom—now gives me free reign to educate you on why the Overwatch hero I play the most is the best, and your favorite sucks.


He’s a Robot Monk

In Overwatch’s backstory, some bad stuff went down with artificial intelligence before the events of the game. Basically, a bunch of robots rebelled against their human masters, something called the Omnic Crisis. The Overwatch organization was formed to defeat the robots—and they did—but in the wake of the war, a certain sect of them chose to form a religious order, promoting peace with the humans through faith.

Zenyatta is one such monk, who eventually left the order to travel the world and dispense his own brand of spiritual justice, which involves telekinetically flinging balls into peoples faces at deadly speeds. That’s way cooler than “Morally ambiguous architect” or “Shitty Cowboy” if you ask me.


He’s a Healer, So You Get to Feel Morally Superior to Everyone Else


The life of an Overwatch support character—the class of character designated as specializing in providing healing, utility, and buffs for their teammates rather than specializing in offensive or defensive abilities—is certainly a thankless one. Zenyatta especially so, though, as he’s actually the hardest healer to get a grasp on in the game.

Unlike his fellow healers, Zenyatta’s healing orbs are a bit weak. They also require you to stay in line-of-sight with whoever they’re being used on, and given that Zenyatta is a squishy healer, that means leaving him in danger. And that means to be an effective healer you have to be on your game constantly, but hey—you get to feel better than those assholes who always pick the damage-focused characters and nothing else, judging them as they spam the “I need healing because I did something dumb!” button.


He’s Also a Cold-Blooded Killer

Where Zenyatta also differs from his fellow healers is that he’s surprisingly lethal. One of his special abilities is a debuff that makes his target take extra damage, and combined with his deadly ranged attacks he can melt most of the other characters in Overwatch. As he’s slow and vulnerable most people don’t expect it, but Zenyatta can and will beat the living crap out of you if you don’t pay attention. It’s almost hilariously schizophrenic that a healing monk also floats around the battlefield killing people left, right, and center.


He Says the Darndest Things

Speaking of that, while he’s either healing people or smashing them into itty bitty bits of pulp, Zenyatta’s voice is excellently chill. He’s fairly monotone, and just waltzes around saying cute lines like how he dreamt he was a butterfly while murdering the living daylights out of people.


Even in moments of failure, he sounds adorable:


You just wanna pat his little robot head.

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire


Given that it’s a first-person shooter, everyone has a weapon in Overwatch. There’s bows, shurikens, shotguns, pistols and assault rifles, even wilder options like Mei’s cryo-beam or Reinhardt’s rocket-powered hammer. Zenyatta ignores that and throws metal balls with his mind. And then reloads them by clapping his hands in prayer.

Seriously, look at that gif. That’s gorgeous. Now imagine getting to see that all the time, instead of something boring like shotguns or SMGs. Balls are the ultimate video game weapon, apparently.


Sometimes He’s a Robot Egyptian Bird Monk


Ca-caw, ya jerks.

Feel free to disagree in the comments below, Overwatch fans. But you’ll be wrong.


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About the author

James Whitbrook

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!