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Many popular streamers have been talking about "animation cancelling" for months, and about it having some added benefits for many different heroes and abilities.

I'm not too sure what animation cancelling is. What's the point of it, and how does it work?

There is plenty of confusion in the comments below about a previous question I asked. These two questions are entirely different. Abilities are hero abilities that do not have reloads, only they have timers and their own unique specific animations for them. Reloads are entirely reliant on specific heroes, since only some heroes will have access to weapons with limited ammo capacity.

In short, reload cancelling is animation cancelling, but not all animation cancels are reload cancels. EVERY hero can have an animation cancel, but NOT EVERY hero can have a reload cancel. This is a question designed to address the bigger concept of cancelling attacks/abilities into other attacks/abilities.

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    Didn't you just ask a question two days ago asking if reload cancelling actually works? (Answer: No, it doesn't) – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jun 2 '16 at 23:15
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Two different things, reload cancelling doesn't save time for some heroes like Reaper, but animation cancelling can have nothing to do at all with reloads. – senpai Jun 2 '16 at 23:21
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    You are cancelling the animation of the reload. It's the same thing. – bmarkham Jun 3 '16 at 1:08
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    Even though reload cancelling is an animation cancel, not all animation cancels are reload cancels. Unless you can tell me, with certainty, that all rectangles are squares and all squares are rectangles. – senpai Jun 3 '16 at 1:56
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    This and the proposed duplicate are completely different question. Are they related? Yes, but they're asking different things. The most important being there are a lot more animations to this game than just reloading, so the scope of this question is actually larger than the proposed duplicate. However we don't go around closing earlier smaller scope questions as duplicates of newer larger scope ones. – Wipqozn Jun 3 '16 at 11:11
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Animation cancelling is a way to skip the animation of most weapon reloads, ability animations, and other abilities.

What this means is, when you use an ability X, you can use another action or ability to reduce the amount of time you spend staring at your hero waiting for the animation to finish.

A simple example of this:

  • Mercy's pistols have to reload after fully firing it
  • As Mercy needs to also juggle knowing when to use her pistols as well as healing and boosting teammates, staring at your pistol and waiting for it to reload may take up precious time
  • If, immediately after you press reload, you switch to your Caduceus (healing beam), when switching back to your pistol it will be fully reloaded
  • In short, you've saved the time you would've spent staring at your pistol waiting for it to reload, and could've used that extra second or two healing or boosting a teammates.

What heroes work very well with this?

  • Reinhardt
    • His Rocket Hammer has a fairly slow swing speed, however...
    • It can be animation cancelled by holding your shield up immediately after swinging and connecting with an opponent (hitmarker)
    • It can also be animation cancelled by launching his Fire Strike right after your swing connects.
    • The benefits of this? You can skip a half second of waiting for your weapon to return to the original position to use any other ability
  • Reaper
    • His Wraith Shotguns can be animation cancelled into melee.
    • You press reload, then press melee, and thus, instead of waiting for the reload animation to fully play out, you can cram some extra melee damage to an opponent who's chasing you down while you reload
    • You can also cancel reload into Wraith Form, and when you exit Wraith form your weapons will be fully reloaded
  • Junkrat
    • Concussion mine deployment can be cancelled into Steel Trap, so instead of having to wait until the Concussion mine has landed, you can launch a steel trap in the meantime
  • Soldier 76
    • Much like Reaper, can cancel his weapon reload with other abilities. He can cancel his reload into melee, sprint, or even biotic field
  • Genji
    • Genji and Roadhog are the two heroes that gain the most use from animation cancelling, because most of their abilities can cancel into melee. For a hero like Genji, who is all about getting into the enemy's faces, this adds tons of extra damage that can decide a kill or not.
    • His Shuriken burst can be animation cancelled into a melee, thus adding extra damage.
    • His shuriken can also be cancelled into melee, which can then be cancelled into Swift Strike. You can start to see the possibilites here
    • A popular and simple combo is:
    • Right Click (Shuriken burst)
    • Melee
    • Swift Strike
  • Roadhog
    • Much like Genji, can cancel weapon animations with his hook. Because of this, his hook combo is one of the most devastating combos in the game
    • A popular combo is:
    • Alt-Fire
    • Hook
    • Primary Fire
    • Melee
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    I'm skeptical of these claims, based on the answer about reloading. – DCShannon Jun 3 '16 at 0:25
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    @DCShannon I haven't played much Overwatch yet due to a borked account courtesy of Battle.Net, but If it's just the animation that's cancelled and not the reload, then its a similar functionality to say, the TF2's medic's crossbow. You can fire a shot, switch to the medgun/melee while the reload finishes, and - once the requisite reload time has passed - switch back again. The benefit of doing this is a couple of seconds healing for a teammate or alternating between firing rounds and melee attacking an enemy. – Robotnik Jun 3 '16 at 0:31
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    @O-O I'm stumped by your claim that these are entirely different things. They're almost identical. – DCShannon Jun 3 '16 at 0:33
  • @Robotnik The explanation that this allows you to do something else while the first thing finishes is useful. Still, I'm not saying I disbelieve, I'm saying I'm skeptical. Some kind of supporting evidence would be nice. – DCShannon Jun 3 '16 at 0:33
  • @DCShannon I'll use my previous analogy. You're right, they are similar, but they're still different. Not every rectangle is a square, and yet all squares are rectangles. Reload cancelling is only a smaller part of animation cancelling which can encompass other abilities that aren't reloading. They may be similar, but have entirely different applications – senpai Jun 3 '16 at 11:44

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