Overwatch has many sources of health. What do all these terms mean?

  • Health
  • Life
  • Armour
  • Shield
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    – user106385
    May 26, 2016 at 4:57

2 Answers 2

  • Health or HP is your total life + shield + armour.
  • Life is simply a number that represents how much damage you can take before you die.
  • Armour reduces incoming damage.
  • Shield self-regenerates over time.

Basically, armour and shield are similar to life, in that they contribute to your overall health, but they come with special attributes. A hero can have a mix of life, armour and shield that makes up their total health pool.

Shield will deplete before armour or life does, and armour will be damaged before life is.


Reduces incoming damage by 5 if the hit was 10 damage or more. If the damage is less than 10 then it is halved.

If a hero has innate armour, such as D.Va, then they will regain it through normal sources of healing (health packs, Mercy, etc). However, other sources of armour such as Torbjörn's armour pack are temporary bonuses and will be depleted from the hero once they run out and you will have to pick up another one.

For example:

  1. Winston has 400 life and 100 armour for a total of 500 HP.
  2. Soldier: 76 shoots a bullet that should deal 15 damage.
  3. The bullet hits Winston but because he has armour it only deals 10 damage.
  4. Winston has 400 life and 90 armour remaining.

Tracer shoots very quickly but each bullet doesn't hit hard. If her bullet does 4 damage, then armour will reduce it to 2 damage (halved).

Armour is more effective against smaller firearms such as Tracer and less effective against heavy-hitters such as Pharah and Junkrat.

Heroes such as D.Va have lots of innate armour (400 life and 200 armour).


Does not reduce incoming damage.

After three seconds of not taking damage, shield will regenerate at a rate of 25/sec.

Heroes such as Zenyatta have innate shield (50 life + 150 shield). Normal sources of healing will restore both the hero's life and shield.

Other abilities such as Zarya's Projected Barrier, Reinhardt's Shield or Winston's Barrier Projector are not shields in this sense. Instead, they are referred to as barriers and usually have their own health pool that is separate from the hero.

  • Please feel free to make corrections or suggest improvements in case I got something wrong. May 26, 2016 at 4:12
  • 1
    "Normal sources of healing will not refresh shield" I'm not sure about that. Health packs may not heal it, but healers seem to.
    – Powerlord
    May 26, 2016 at 5:44
  • In closed beta shields couldn't be healed by healers but the have since changed this. I'm not sure about health packs either by healing characters can definitely restore shields. May 26, 2016 at 7:05
  • 2
    Does Not Reduce Incoming Damage, Adds extra health when Active. because as it is now it's not immediately obvious how it works.
    – GeorgeWL
    May 26, 2016 at 12:38
  • 4
    How does armor work if your hero does not have sufficient armor to cover all of the damage in a hit? For example, if I have 5 armor left but I get hit by a shot that does 20 damage, do I still only take 15 damage total? May 26, 2016 at 14:21

Overshield / Overheal / Bonus Health

In addition to the above, the game also has an "Overshield" mechanic, only obtainable from Lucio's "Sound Barrier" as of now.

Lúcio gives himself and all allies he has line of sight to within 30 meters a large amount of temporary health, which rapidly decays.

Details from the wiki: At the time of writing, Sound Barrier grants 500 bonus health which decays over 6 seconds, i.e. losing about 83 of that health every second.

Order of application

It's perfectly possible in game to have all 4 of these health types at the same time, so it's worth noting how they interact when you receive damage.

Damage is absorbed in the following order. Once each level is depleted, damage will be applied to the next etc:

  1. Overshield
  2. Shield
  3. Armour
  4. Life

If there is not sufficient of one to cover the whole damage for a single hit the remainder will be applied to the next level.

  • I could have sworn it was 5 seconds, decaying at 100 per second. Does the wiki include the cast time (the "let's break it down" telegraph) as part of that 6 second window?
    – KizTrap
    Aug 17, 2016 at 9:32
  • @KizTrap - I'm afraid I don't know, I was just going off the figures on the wiki, which is why I linked it. I'm travelling at the moment and not able to test in-game or I'd check and verify based on the current patch.
    – xan
    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:13
  • 1
    If I get time after tonight's wow raid, I can quickly open a custom match and test this solo. Should be pretty simple :)
    – KizTrap
    Aug 17, 2016 at 12:49
  • Overshields are now referred to as "Temporary Shields" and are also joined by "Temporary Armor." Doomfist, Hammond/Wrecking Ball, and Sigma have abilities that give them overshields which (like Lucio's ult) appear as a dark blue color on your health bar by default. Torbjorn can grant himself temporary armor and Brigitte can grant players temporary armor with both her normal heal (if it heals past full) and her ultimate; Temporary armor appears dark orange on your health bar by default.
    – Powerlord
    Nov 21, 2019 at 22:45
  • 1
    This also changes the order that they absorb damage. As of a recent update it's Temporary Shields, Temporary Armor, Shields, Armor, Health in that order. Healing order is Health, Armor, Shields in that order; temporary armor and shields cannot be healed.
    – Powerlord
    Nov 21, 2019 at 22:47

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