Any tips for Zarya?

General Discussion
I really want to become better at playing as Zarya, I think she's a fun character but I don't do very well as her. A big part of the problem is that I find it difficult to track enemies with her beam and to know when I should or shouldn't use her abilities.

Any experienced Zarya player out there with some tips on how I can improve on this?
Don't use your shields the instant you see an enemy. You might get off with 0 energy if you do that
Wait until you take some damage. You have regenerating shields as lifepoints, so use your barrier once you start taking damage.
If you're being frozen by mei, don't instantly use your barrier. Wait until you've slowed down a bit. Wait until you're almost frozen, then use your barrier. You will have a few extra precious seconds to kill Mei or, if she uses cryo-freeze, just get out of there (unless you have 1 or more teammates helping you out).
Zarya is all about timing. And when the time is right to use your barrier, you'll know
Also, Zarya is basically a hard counter against D.Va. Your beam goes through her defense matrix, and you can shield yourself (and a teammate if needed) when she uses her ult, which gives you instant 50 energy/ 100 energy if you also shielded a teammate.
The only thing D.Va can do against Zarya is eat her ult with the defense matrix, but that's very rare and situational and you'll see it happening maybe only 1/10 of matches
10/19/2016 03:41 AMPosted by HoefkadeCK
Don't use your shields the instant you see an enemy. You might get off with 0 energy if you do that
Wait until you take some damage. You have regenerating shields as lifepoints, so use your barrier once you start taking damage.
If you're being frozen by mei, don't instantly use your barrier. Wait until you've slowed down a bit. Wait until you're almost frozen, then use your barrier. You will have a few extra precious seconds to kill Mei or, if she uses cryo-freeze, just get out of there (unless you have 1 or more teammates helping you out).
Zarya is all about timing. And when the time is right to use your barrier, you'll know
Also, Zarya is basically a hard counter against D.Va. Your beam goes through her defense matrix, and you can shield yourself (and a teammate if needed) when she uses her ult, which gives you instant 50 energy/ 100 energy if you also shielded a teammate.
The only thing D.Va can do against Zarya is eat her ult with the defense matrix, but that's very rare and situational and you'll see it happening maybe only 1/10 of matches


Adding to that, Zarya is basically a hard counter to hero who has a shield that block projectiles (Reinhardt, DVa, etc). Just use your left click to hit them (with Reinhardt you may want to gain some energy first, I would say about 50, one flame charge worth of energy. You can easily break his shield with high energy left click, but beware of his charge). Remember to shield your teammate whenever you see they are in danger, especially the supports. You can shield a teammate that is being charged by a Reinhardt which will totally save that person's life or shield teammate that is under enemy's ultimate attack. Shielding an ulting Genji, Pharah, Mercy or any heroes that will become stationary during an ult can also be a good thing if other teammates are not in great danger.

In terms of her left click, practice your aiming with the moving bots in the practice range. You may want to tune your mouse's sensitivity for this.

I am not a Zarya main but had currently been having fun playing as her.

Also, when the enemy team's Zarya threw a black hole to my team, I will shield myself and the biggest character in my team that is under the effect of the black hole. This will help absorb the other attacks and can at least buy some time for the team.
Play aggressively. Zarya controls the field and keeps her team mates in the fight. Get in the enemy's faces and make it safe for you and your team to rambo. If you're not in the middle of the fight, something is wrong (Seriously, you don't want to be ahead of everyone with no one insight to give barriers to but you also want to be close enough to absorb all enemy damage).
Also, unless you are confident you can take out the group you are about to ult, call it. No point in ulting the enemies only to have your D.Va's ult charge seconds later. As for the beam, I am not sure what you are on but if PC, turn your sensitivity down which you can do for all heroes or individually.

Zarya is all about momentum and keeping the cadence going. Remember, you are mother Russia. Own it.

Vmeste my sila
I often wonder if it's best to ult cap 3 or even two people because if I ult most of their team, their supports and Reinhardt would most likely prevent any fatal damage.

Anyways, here's my two cents: whenever I have my ultimate ready, I like to remind my team not to use all their ults with my graviton surge. Yeah, it's cool to pretty much decimate their team, but we'll be at a huge disadvantage for the next fight since all of our ults have been spent.
10/19/2016 05:30 AMPosted by AlbinoTadpol
I often wonder if it's best to ult cap 3 or even two people because if I ult most of their team, their supports and Reinhardt would most likely prevent any fatal damage.

Anyways, here's my two cents: whenever I have my ultimate ready, I like to remind my team not to use all their ults with my graviton surge. Yeah, it's cool to pretty much decimate their team, but we'll be at a huge disadvantage for the next fight since all of our ults have been spent.

the problem is not counters to your ult, there will nearly always be an ult to counter yours, the most important is neutralizing the foe who may cause problem for your ult mates, let's say zenyata while you ult for your hanzo, the most important thing about zarya ult is that your mates are aware of your readiness, that's it, you still will have to determine if it is worth going for it or not , THAT'S WHY IT IS IMPORTANT EVEN IN QP TO ANSWER YOUR ZARYA IF YOUR ARE UP FOR A WOMBO COMBO, that's why i often say 3 times on chat my ult charge before sending it, clever players will understand what the spam mean

anyway i don't like playing zarya in front line , but with mates side by side, so i can shield them easilly, see if someone get hooked by a chopper and i am aware who is where, and i don't have to 180 and loose several seconds to figure out who is in need for a shield

a simple tip for the shield, never prevent shield unless very rare situations
10/19/2016 04:40 AMPosted by geishaface
Play aggressively. Zarya controls the field and keeps her team mates in the fight. Get in the enemy's faces and make it safe for you and your team to rambo. If you're not in the middle of the fight, something is wrong (Seriously, you don't want to be ahead of everyone with no one insight to give barriers to but you also want to be close enough to absorb all enemy damage).
I feel like this is only situational. Zarya plays a lot better when you play it a bit on the safe side. She doesn't have quite as much health as the other tanks, but her build benefits from retreating, regening a bit of health back and your cooldowns, and re-engaging.

One thing i tend to do when I'm zarya now is saving my shields for when it is actually needed. Usually using them to save a healer from hook, mei, etc. I find those engagements benefit greatly from bubble. Bubble negated the damage they could do with that cooldown, and you can capitalize on it, and kill off the enemy while their skill is on cooldown. Not just using them to gain energy for damage

For example, Reinhart is about to pin a healer, he has charged deep onto your side of the map to potentially get a pick and snowball from there. A quick bubble saves the potential pick, and now you all kill the Reinhart, the enemy team is down their tank, and its a 6v5 in your favor. Or you notice a mccree flash bang your ally, a quick bubble to save from fan the hammer, get 40-50 charge off that, and pick off the mccree. I found myself hanging in the middle of the team rather than the frontline if we are not hard engaging the enemy. It allows me to have a better field of view and notice when an enemy is on my allies, allowing me to save one when bubble is up.

It is easier to be on the front line when you have a dedicated healer, and you're using voice chat and making callouts when an ally is being attacked. You can turn around and quickly toss them a bubble.
Already some good tips here so I'll just say -
- that beam is deceptive. It's much longer than it appears from your PoV.

- try not to waste your time engaging Roadhog. I've seen this fight last upwards of 2 or 3 minutes. I'm not kidding.

- When at high energy, that beam sounds really cool but you really should be using alt fire during big pushes when people tend to be grouped together due to its splash damage.

- don't give your teammates barriers too soon. Shield Reinhardt AFTER he charges, not at the beginning of his charge and not during his charge. After; that's when he's likely to take the most damage. Stuff like that.

- Don't panic Surge. It's tempting to ult when you're in a jam but using Graviton Surge when nobody else is around to take advantage of it is a good waste of the best ult in the game right now.

- Use teammates as the primary way of charging your energy level. Don't be so quick to shield yourself for a quick charge. It's better to make sure you anyways have that thing ready to use when you absolutely need it.
10/19/2016 05:30 AMPosted by AlbinoTadpol
I often wonder if it's best to ult cap 3 or even two people because if I ult most of their team, their supports and Reinhardt would most likely prevent any fatal damage.


I say that is all situational. For example I'm already focusing their support (ie mercy) before I ult or baiting Zenyatta's ult. If you are going to solo ult just 2 or 3 people, what are they contributing to their team? Last night for example I killed two of the high damage dealers and then solo ulted their reinhardt. Does ulting one person sound like a bad idea usually? Yeah, but in that instance ulting rein and killing him won us the game
Lots of good responses here, thanks! Many of theese tips are things I would not have thought about myself.
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you can turn on Friendly health bars as Zarya I suggest you do that, it really helps with knowing when you have to sheild someone taking damage
Speak Russian.
Winston is probably the single best hero to have on your team when learning who and when to shield, followed by Genji. The easiest map type to learn her on is payload attack, you can hide behind the payload, shield the people in front of it and nip out there yourself with shield up to gain charge, then wreck with high energy.
Zarya hard counters loads of ults and abilities so keep your eyes for that.
D.Va ult - barrier on you and teammate (just wait a little, don't rush and use barrier instantly).
Genji, McCree, Reaper, Pharah, Tracer - all their ults can be largely negated with a simple barrier. Reaper's and Phara's are more tough and you/the teammate should try to escape as well, but still barrier gives some precious time.
With barrier you/teammate can escape from Mei - both freezing attack and Blizzard.
Junkrat is trickier because he can delay and wait for your barrier to end and then explode, but that gives time to kill the tire.
You can save people from D.Va's ult or from Reinhardt's charge. Or from Roadhog's combo (both by negating the hook or by defending from the shot afterwards). Barriers also remove Orb of Discord which is just gold (not so much after the nerf, but still).
So basically this is what I'm looking for during my Zarya games - trying to save people's lives and build charge that way. I don't like being way to aggressive, because it's harder for me to focus both on my personal defences and watching for key teammates (most of the times they are behind me when I'm aggressive so it's almost impossible for me that way). After building charge, I attack more, but still my main concern is safety of teammates.
When ult time comes, I don't always aim for big ults. From DOTA/2 I learnt that one key Black Hole is more important than keeping it for big play. So I use my ult as Zarya even at 1-2 enemies to negate ult or secure key kill.

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