Overwatch 2 Zarya Guide: Abilities, Tips, How To Unlock

Overwatch 2 Zarya Guide: Abilities, Tips, How To Unlock
Images via Blizzard

Written by 

Chris Penwell


17th Oct 2022 10:13

Zarya is a powerhouse tank in Overwatch 2 that can take damage and then reciprocate all that firepower with her own beam. She's one of the best characters in Overwatch 2 if you know how to use her. Here's a breakdown of every Zarya ability and tactic you can utilize on the battlefield. 

  • Moira is a good healer to have alongside Zarya.

Overwatch 2 Zarya Guide: Abilities

Overwatch 2 Zarya Abilities
Click to enlarge
Screenshot by GGRecon

Zarya's beam and gravitational abilities offer seismic changes to the battlefield. Here are all of the tools that can help Zarya and her squad succeed:

Particle Cannon

  • Type: Primary Fire and Secondary Fire
  • Effect: The particle cannon's primary fire is a short-range straight pink beam that when coming into contact with an enemy drains their HP. The secondary fire blasts out an energy grenade that can deal damage to those further away. These abilities are improved when Zarya's barriers take damage. 

Graviton Surge

  • Type: Ultimate
  • Effect: A gravity well is released, pulling nearby opponents into it. Let others know when you're releasing the Graviton Surge so they can plan an offensive plan with it. For example, Tracer could run towards the surge and release a pulse bomb to explode everyone in the same vicinity. 


Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier

  • Type: Ability
  • Effects: The particle barrier creates a barrier around you that will defend you from damage, but also charge the particle cannon to be even stronger. The Projected Barrier is similar, but the barrier is placed around an ally instead.


  • Type: Passive
  • Effects: While the barriers are activated, this passive ability increases the damage of your Particle Cannon based on how much incoming fire the barriers take. It can go from 0 to 99, depending on how the other team plays. 

Role: Tank 

  • Type: Passive
  • Effect: As a tank, Zarya doesn't get knocked back as hard as other characters. However, there's less ultimate generation from the heals you receive or the increased damage you receive from Anna and Mercy

Zarya is an overall excellent tank if you time each shield correctly.

  • Sigma is another Overwatch 2 tank you should consider playing as.

Overwatch 2 Zarya Guide: Early Tips


Overwatch 2 Zarya Shields
Click to enlarge
Screenshot by GGRecon

Zarya is a dominating force in the battlefields of Overwatch 2... if you play her right. As a tank, you'll want to absorb the most damage for your team. Go in front of your squad alongside a healer behind you, and take in as much damage as possible while using the particle barrier. This damage that you absorb will translate to a stronger lazer from your weapon. 

If you see a damage hero that is struggling and becoming the main target of the enemy team, use the projected barrier. This will loosen the stress of that player and will let the healer in your team bring them back to health for a few seconds. Keep in mind that Zarya won't be able to give herself a barrier, so during these moments, try to attack enemies with your strengthened beam. The particle barrier and the projected barrier can't be used at the same time. 

If you see a group of foes together in one cluster, you should use the energy grenade. It will take a significant amount of damage from your enemies, and you'll get a little satisfaction from it as well. 

An even better strategy in dealing with groups is using Zarya's ultimate: the Graviton Surge. When releasing it, it will pull in nearby enemies and will keep them motionless. Communicate with your team and let them know to use their ultimate.

For example, D.Va could combo her Self Destruct with your Graviton Surge to take out all of those foes trapped in your ultimate. Doomfist can also use his ultimate to great effect in this scenario. Reinhardt's ultimate would probably be less effective in this situation, but it would stop them from firing their guns as the Gravitron Surge does not completely stun. 

How To Unlock Zarya

Zarya Overwatch 2 Unlock
Click to enlarge
Screenshot by GGRecon

You won't need to worry about playing enough games to unlock her because she's available from the very beginning in Overwatch 2. Go ahead and have fun as you use her laser to demolish enemy forces. 

If you want to unlock all 35 characters from the original Overwatch, you may want to consider getting the Watchpoint Pack. It's £34.99/$39.99, but it also comes with the Season 1 Battle Pass and 2,000 Overwatch Coins.

For more Overwatch 2 guides, keep reading GGRecon.

Chris Penwell is an experienced video games journalist with a Bachelor in Communications. He loves to play narrative-focused games like Kingdom Hearts and Beyond Good & Evil.

All we know about Venture & Space Ranger, the new heroes coming to Overwatch 2 in 2024
10 best free-to-play shooters in 2023, from Overwatch 2 to Warframe
How Clash mode works in Overwatch 2, including all maps, PvP rules & more
How the Overwatch 2 battle pass is changing in 2024
Overwatch 2 Mauga weapons, abilities, ultimate, backstory, how to play & more