Zarya Overwatch 2 – Everything you need to know

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Overwatch 2 is a team-based first-person shooter that lets players choose from a roster of 35 different heroes. Each hero has their own special playstyle, weapons, abilities, and personality. On top of each hero being unique, they each belong to one of three different roles to help further define them in combat. These roles are tanks that can protect their team, supports that can heal their allies, or DPS that can damage their foes. Choosing the right hero for the job is paramount to a team’s success. Zarya is a tank hero that can help to shield herself and her allies while dealing significant damage to her enemies. Here is everything players need to know about using Zarya in Overwatch 2.

Who is Zarya in Overwatch 2?

Zarya is a tank character who uses her special barriers to shield herself or her allies. When the barriers take damage, it generates power for her Particle Cannon, which she can use to destroy her foes. Zarya has seen some improvements in Overwatch 2, gaining increased HP to 250 (up from 200) and increased shields to 225 (up from 200). This makes her more durable than she was previously in the original Overwatch, and can be a true asset to her team by increasing their survivability.

Note: You can read about all of the Overwatch 2 characters here.

Tank heroes were reworked in Overwatch 2

Of the multiple changes that occurred in Overwatch 2, perhaps the largest was the reduction in team size. In the original Overwatch, teams consisted of 6 players each. However, in Overwatch 2, teams have been reduced to having 5 players each. This means that there is one less tank per team. To compensate for this, each role received a special passive ability to help them out on the battlefield. For tanks such as Zarya, they received a 30% reduction in knockback effects used on them as well as a 50% reduction to enemy Ultimate gain when they are attacked. This can make them much harder to push around as they shield their teams from harm.

Zarya’s abilities in Overwatch 2

Zarya Weapons and Abilities

While Zarya will play mostly the same as she did in the original Overwatch, many of her abilities were reworked to make up for the differences in a one-tank meta. Because of this, players will notice some changes to the way she can shield herself and her allies, as well as the slight increase in her overall staying power. By mastering her abilities, players can keep their team safe from danger and lead the charge to a win in Overwatch 2.


Energy is a passive ability that Zarya has access to, and gives her access to a special resource called Energy that can boost the power of her Particle Cannon. Each time that damage is blocked by the Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier, Zarya gains energy. The more Energy that Zarya has, the brighter she will glow. In addition, Energy will decay at a rate of 2.2 per second (up from 1.8 per second in Overwatch). This means Zarya must constantly generate Energy to feed to her Particle Cannon to deal increased damage.

Particle Cannon

The Particle Cannon is Zarya’s main means of dealing damage to her foes, and her signature weapon in Overwatch 2. When used in primary fire, the Particle Cannon fires a beam at her foes, draining 20 ammo per second from the 100-round magazine. Reloading the weapon takes players 1.5 seconds to complete. The Particle Cannon deals a base of 75 damage per second at 0% Energy charge, and up to 170 damage per second at 100% Energy charge. For this reason, players will want to shield as many attacks as they can from enemies, so they can deal increased damage to their foes.

In addition, Particle Cannon has a secondary fire mode. In this mode, the Particle Cannon can lob an explosive projectile that consumes 25 ammo per shot. In this mode, the Particle Cannon’s rounds will explode, doing AoE damage to targets within a 2.5-meter radius. Targets hit by this firing mode will take up to 47 damage at 0% Energy charge and up to 95 damage at 100% Energy charge. Zarya can also damage herself with this ability if she is too close. 

Particle Barrier

The Particle Barrier is Zarya’s way of reducing incoming damage to herself while simultaneously charging her Particle Cannon. The ability has been recently re-worked for Overwatch 2, now sharing a cooldown with Projected Barrier (ally shielding ability). This means that Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier both use the same 2 charges, and Zarya can choose to prioritize her own shielding or to shield allies. The duration of the shield has increased to 2.5 seconds (up from 2) and the shield absorbs a total of 200 damage. Any damage absorbed by Particle Barrier is converted into Energy for the Particle Cannon. Particle Barrier has a cooldown of 10 seconds and can store a maximum of 2 charges.

Projected Barrier

The Projected Barrier lets Zarya send out a healing shield on her allies. When used, a protective barrier will be placed on an ally, absorbing 200 damage and converting any damage absorbed into Energy for the Particle Cannon. Projected Barrier shares a 10-second cooldown and 2 charges with Particle Barrier. Zarya can choose to protect her allies, or to protect herself, however, both now have an increased 2.5-second duration (up from 2). Zarya can use this on an ally about to take a large amount of damage, and then quickly absorb energy for her Particle Cannon before punishing her foes.

Allies who are shielded with Projected Barrier cannot be re-shielded again for 2 seconds after the Projected Barrier expires.

Graviton Surge

Graviton Surge is Zarya’s Ultimate Ability. When used, Zarya launches a gravity bomb at her enemies that traps them inside and deals damage to them over time. The Graviton Surge lasts for 4 seconds, and does 5 damage per second, up to a maximum of 18.72. Graviton Surge lasts for 6 seconds and can be used by Zarya to coordinate focused attacks with her team. The ability can keep players still enough to create combos that can wipe out entire teams with careful usage. In addition, Zarya can follow up with powerful charged attacks to ensure any enemies trapped inside will take massive damage.

Tips for playing Zarya in Overwatch 2

Zarya can be a powerful tank but takes a lot of practice to play effectively. She is capable of dealing large amounts of damage if she can charge her Photon Cannon, however, this requires careful usage of both Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier. If she is charged all the way up, she can eliminate most enemies with ease. Additionally, her Ultimate Ability can set up some of the most devastating combos in the entire game.

However, her weaknesses are a lower health pool than other tanks, as well as no mobility-enhancing moves. She relies a lot on her teammates and her own judgment in using her Projected Barrier to gain Energy effectively to dish out the pain to her enemies. If a player can make good use of their team and have proper coordination, she can be one of the most powerful heroes in the game, able to both protect her teammates and set up for extremely powerful attacks.

Charge into victory with Zarya in Overwatch 2

Zarya can be a powerful tank in the right hands that can not only protect her team but deal damage as well. While she does come with a learning curve, players who put the time in to learn her will be able to lead the charge into victory in Overwatch 2.

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Overwatch 2

  • Release Date: October 4, 2022
    • - 04 October 2022 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, Nintendo Switch)
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox Series X
  • Genre(s): Action, Shooter