Overwatch Characters: Which States Search for Your Favorite?

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Rankings, Video Games - 1 year ago
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We got really excited to do a list of the most popular Overwatch characters in each state. Everyone in the office plays a little more than we’d care to admit.

However, after the dust settled on our research, one character in particular stood out slightly more than the others:

overwatch-map_1024

Click to enlarge

This is probably due to the AR game surrounding Sombra’s initial release — globally the term “Sombra Overwatch” has been searched at least ten times more than any other character.

So, yeah. We get it. Sombra’s great.

But she makes the map and the list super boring, so we decided to take a slightly different approach.

In particular, which state, for the their size, disproportionately Google various characters from the game? Here’s that map:

overwatch-map_1024

Click to enlarge

Due to the (relatively) limited number of characters in the game, and some states winning multiple times, the map comes up a little different than before.

Let us explain how we got here.

Overwatch, the competitive multiplayer shooter published by Blizzard Entertainment, has grown from a retooled version of a canceled MMO into what for many critics was 2016’s Game of the Year.

Most were impressed with the character-focused story, clean and inviting sci-fi aesthetic, and surprisingly optimistic semi-post-apocalyptic setting. However, what really hooked reviewers was the fact that everything else Overwatch had to offer was built on the already solid base of Overwatch’s varied, interesting shooting mechanics, and Blizzard also received praise for the way they went on to consistently update and balance the game after its release.

The Cultural Phenomenon

More than simply being a popular game, Overwatch has quickly turned into a cultural phenomenon, and one of the chief reasons for this is the popularity of the individual characters themselves.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, as Blizzard’s made a few social justice missteps over the past year when it came to character costumes and victory poses. Overall, though, Blizzard Entertainment’s commitment to making its cast diverse and inclusive has garnered significant praise from social justice groups, and the mech-piloting D.Va has even become a feminist icon in her home country of South Korea (as covered in this great article by Polygon’s Allegra Frank).

Following this sort of regional appreciation that Overwatch has generated on a national level, we at Zippia were curious: looking at the United States in particular, are individual characters more popular in certain states than in others?

The answer, it seemed to be, was yes. Especially in Hawaii, where Overwatch is apparently wildly popular — it was the top disproportionate searcher for five total Overwatch characters, and came in second and third place for three more. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

How We Figured This Out

Before we get into the list, here’s a quick rundown of how we got this information in the first place.

Using Google Trends, we were able to compare the popularity of certain search terms over others and get information about which states disproportionately Google particular characters’ names more than others.

Because of the fact that certain characters’ names (like Reaper or Mei) were common enough that there was no way to tell if the search was Overwatch-related, certain names were appended with the title of the game itself (instead turning the search terms into things like “Reaper Overwatch” or “Mei Overwatch”). However, other names, like D.Va or Soldier: 76, were unique enough to be commonly searched for without the game’s title, and so these names were left alone as their own complete search terms.

Using these constraints, we were able to put together our list of each character and the states that disproportionately Google them the most. And just for fun, we threw in the second and third states most-Googling them as well.

It’s important to note that some states are the top disproportionate-searchers for multiple characters, so you’ll see a few states (like Hawaii, Maryland, and Rhode Island, among others) appear multiple times, while others (like Massachusetts or either of the Carolinas) won’t appear at all.

Below you’ll find our list, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t first shamelessly plug our website’s official career guide pages, particularly those for Programmers and Animation Artists. If you’re interested in Game Design (or any career), we have tons of information on how to get the job you really want, and we’re especially committed to helping out first-time job seekers navigate the difficult process of interviewing, resume-writing, and everything else it takes to land their first gig.

Okay, with all that out of the way, onto the list!

The List: Overwatch Characters and the States that Google ‘Em

All character biographical information taken from the Overwatch Wiki on Gamepedia, as well as Blizzard’s official Overwatch website.

Ana

Ana

Hero Type: Support

Bio: Sniper whose Biotic Rifle turns no-scopes into yes-scopes. I do apologize for going ahead with that joke, my Backspace key is not working for some reason. Anyway, Ana shoots special bullets that heal allies while hurting enemies.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Alaska
Second Most: Rhode Island
Third Most: West Virginia

Bastion

Bastion

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: Robot with an assault rifle who is able to transform into both a tank as well as an enormous turret. Has a heart-warming friendship with a cute lil’ tiny bird named Ganymede, which changes species depending on Bastion’s equipped costume.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Washington
Second Most: Oklahoma
Third Most: Utah

D.Va

DVa

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: The aforementioned feminist icon, D.Va is a mech-pilot and Starcraft pro-gamer. She’s a surprisingly mobile tanking character who’s able to detonate her mech for a huge area of effect, ejecting herself away to safety, although doing so leaves her somewhat more vulnerable to attacks. This detonation can also be activated against the player’s will if D.Va’s health is depleted. I’m too bad at the game to figure out how to beat this character consistently, so I think I’m qualified to say that she’s broken and overpowered and I hate her.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Hawaii
Second Most: North Dakota
Third Most: Alaska

Genji

Genji

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: The requisite cyborg ninja character, complete with shurikens, katana, a tortured past; the whole nine-yards. Favorite character of 14-year-olds who like to bully me on Xbox Live.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Hawaii
Second Most: Nevada
Third Most: California

Hanzo

Hanzo

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: Bow-wielding sniper character, and estranged brother to Genji (similarly tortured past). Hanzo has trick arrows, much like the superhero Green Arrow, except not quite as overwhelmingly lame.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: New Jersey
Second Most: Nevada
Third Most: Arizona

Junkrat

Junkrat

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: Junkrat is one of Overwatch’s villains, a Joker-esque explosive character with lots of traps and mobility. One of the better characters for new players to try getting the hang of some of Overwatch’s various systems due to his (relative) easiness to play.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: North Dakota
Second Most: Nevada
Third Most: Oklahoma

Lucio

Lucio

Hero Type: Support

Bio: One of the most mobile characters in the game, Lucio wears roller blades that he can use to glide against walls. Generates one of two auras at any time, one of which passively buffs nearby allies with a speed boost while the other passively heals. I’ve never seen anyone play as him who hasn’t also equipped him with the Daft Punk-esque frog mask costume, which coincidentally is the most annoying one he has.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Maryland
Second Most: Nevada
Third Most: Arizona

McCree

McCree

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: A cowboy with a robotic arm, because this game is absolutely wild. His abilities aren’t all that interesting, but they are useful, and include things like rolling and throwing flashbang grenades.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Washington
Second Most: Connecticut
Third Most: California

Mei

Mei

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: An environmental scientist with a gun that freezes enemies with gas and fires icicles like bullets. Mei is a “control sort of character, with a lot of her abilities focused on slowing or otherwise impeding an enemy’s movement.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Hawaii
Second Most: Washington
Third Most: Nevada

Mercy

Mercy

Hero Type: Support

Bio: A winged woman with healing abilities, including the power to resurrect teammates. Basically a sci-fi interpretation of an angel or a Norse Valkyrie.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: New Hampshire
Second Most: Oklahoma
Third Most: Hawaii

Orisa

Orisa

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: An “anchor tanking character, so called because she was made with the intention of being an anchor point for her team to gather around. Abilities include buffing allies, deploying a stationary barrier, and pulling enemies out of cover via a gravity cannon. The newest character on the Overwatch roster, officially added for console players within the past week.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Rhode Island
Second Most: Utah
Third Most: Indiana

Pharah

Pharah

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: Daughter of the character Ana. Pharah is equipped with a jetpack, which she uses to fly around and shoot rockets at unsuspecting enemies. She is well-known as the cause of every unfair kill that has ever been made against me as a player, and should certainly be removed from the game.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Hawaii
Second Most: Washington
Third Most: Maryland

Reaper

Reaper

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: Dual-shotgun-wielding teleporter with a skull mask and hooded tactical gear. Overwatch’s primary villain, as far as that goes (most of Overwatch’s story is told through short films released by Blizzard over the internet rather than being present within the game itself). Favorite character of those kind of people who only watch Tim Burton movies, and who talk all the time about how great Tim Burton is.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Hawaii
Second Most: Kentucky
Third Most: Nevada

Reinhardt

Reinhardt

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: An old German man with awesome facial hair who wears a gigantic suit of power armor, Reinhardt is a mainstay on most teams due to his phenomenal shielding ability. However, he literally brings a giant hammer to gunfights, and possesses very few ranged abilities.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Washington
Second Most: Louisiana
Third Most: Indiana

Roadhog

Roadhog

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: Roadhog wields a scrap-firing shotgun alongside a huge Scorpion-esque “Get Over Here chain. The undisputed best Overwatch character, as decided by myself and, as you can plainly see, the entire state of Maryland. Also the star of this particular Overwatch moment, which is one of the funniest and dumbest things I have ever seen.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Maryland
Second Most: Arizona
Third Most: Washington

Soldier: 76

Soldier 76

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: A relatively normal soldier-man. Wields an assault rifle and has a giant number plastered across his back like an NFL lineman. Upon activation, this character has the ability to Jog, giving him slightly faster movement speed than other player characters. His presence on the character roster simultaneously bores and annoys me. Inexplicably one of Overwatch’s most popular characters, although fairly explicable that so many of his fans appear to live in Oklahoma.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Oklahoma
Second Most: Hawaii
Third Most: Nevada

(I’m sorry, Oklahomans, I didn’t mean it. You and your state are probably fine.)
(I do stand by how boring this character is to me, though.)

Sombra

Sombra

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: A hacker character whose abilities revolve around stealth and blocking enemies from accessing health pickups and their own abilities. The second newest character on the Overwatch roster, behind Orisa. According to my little brother, “only one major leaguer actually mains Sombra in competitive, whatever the hell that means.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: South Dakota
Second Most: New Hampshire
Third Most: Nevada

Symmetra

Symmetra

Hero Type: Support

Bio: A scientist hero who manipulates light like a 3-D printer in order to create turrets, shields, and offensive attacks. Symmetra is confirmed by Blizzard developers to be on the autism spectrum, making her one of less than a dozen existing characters in video games who is openly on the spectrum. News of this has for the most part been positively received as a step in the right direction for how folks on the autism spectrum are represented in the media.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Rhode Island
Second Most: Hawaii
Third Most: New Hampshire

Torbjörn

Torbjorn

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: Swedish dwarf with a penchant for creating weaponry. His special abilities revolve around his ability to create and maintain a powerful turret. Superficially, Torbjörn looks like a weird mix between all of Blizzard’s games, like a dwarf from Warcraft found some Terran technology from Starcraft and then somehow wound up in Overwatch.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: California
Second Most: Florida
Third Most: New York

Tracer

Tracer

Hero Type: Offense

Bio: One of Overwatch’s first heroes and its first openly gay player character. Tracer is an English woman who is able to perform micro-leaps in time, which she uses to effectively teleport around the map and kill me.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: New Mexico
Second Most: Nevada
Third Most: Arizona

Widowmaker

Widowmaker

Hero Type: Defense

Bio: Brainwashed French sniper with a grappling hook. Subject of some questionable search suggestions when you start typing her name into Google, for which I hold the entire internet responsible. Looking at you, Reddit.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Utah
Second Most: Maryland
Third Most: Connecticut

Winston

Winston

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: Sentient, glasses-wearing gorilla with an electricity-generating tesla cannon. Deploys a stationary circular shield that prevents ranged attacks. In addition to Tracer, Winston has become one of Overwatch’s de facto mascots, and a baby version of his character has even been added to World of Warcraft as an in-game Battle Pet.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Washington
Second Most: California
Third Most: Maryland

Zarya

Zarya

Hero Type: Tank

Bio: A famous Russian bodybuilder turned war hero. Generates shields for herself and allies through an enormous particle cannon that she carries around. Initially created as a response by Blizzard to fans who were hoping for more differentiation in female characters’ body shapes, Zarya has gone on to become a fairly popular character in her own right, and her shielding abilities make her a great choice for increasing team survivability.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Maryland
Second Most: Arizona
Third Most: New Jersey

Zenyatta

Zenyatta

Hero Type: Support

Bio: A robot monk working to make peace between the warring robot and human factions. Zenyatta is able to slowly heal allies and poison enemies.

Most Disproportionately Googled In: Nevada
Second Most: Washington
Third Most: Idaho

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