There is one hero that is yet to be used in the Overwatch League, and it’s something Blizzard has taken to heart. Symmetra, the “Support” hero everyone loves to hate, is getting a long-awaited rework — the first since shortly after launch — and it may just be the most significant change to a hero yet.
Last month I detailed how Blizzard could consider reworking Symmetra into a more suitable Support healer. The basic gist of my idea was to make her turrets work as both healers and defense turrets, with significant changes to her Teleporter and Shield Generator, and how they work together.
Turns out Blizzard actually considered my idea for turret health output, although it seems that the idea works better in theory than in execution.
Speaking on the Blizzard forums, Geoff Goodman explained how the development team has been working had to rework perhaps the most underutilised hero in the game.
From Support to Healer
As it stands in the testing phase, Symmetra has been reworked and moved over to the Defense class. Goodman explains that they had worked to make her a better Support healer, but that it “felt super awkward”.
“We tried a healer version which had her turrets healing instead of dealing damage, but it felt super awkward, especially with how fast Overwatch moves,” he explained.
Blizzard is working to change the way turrets are deployed, however.
“Instead of having to stick them directly onto a wall herself, she can now fire an un-deployed version like a projectile, which sticks to walls/ceilings/etc. Once it sticks, it will unfold like it does on the wall currently when she builds them.”
Goodman explained that this works better because it makes her a more viable option on attach, as her turrets can be prepositioned more easily and quickly.
Continuing on from the above, turrets will travel in a straight line.
“The projectile speed isn’t super fast though so enemy players can see them coming. They can’t currently shoot them out of the air though, but we’re still iterating and may allow this,” Goodman explained.
There’s also a change to the max health of each turret, their damage potential, and slow potential.
“They also have 30 health currently, though that number will probably change over time as we test. They still die quite easily but there is a significant difference between dying to any damage and just having very low health.
“So far we’ve found the turrets to be much more powerful this way, not less. Keep in mind its almost like you’re deploying 2 turrets at a time now, since they are more powerful individually. You lose a little bit of map coverage, but overall the turrets are actually more impactful, not less.
Plus spending less time re-deploying turrets frees you up to do other things at the same time, rather than spending so much focus on moving around trying to keep your turret nest up somewhere useful.”
Here’s what Goodman had to say of changes to Symmetra’s primary weapon:
“Yes. We’re still trying some things but whats working pretty well right now is her primary fire changed to no longer lock on but works as a straight beam that is fairly thick and has increased range. It still has the potential to gain extra damage by dealing damage like it does now, but instead of going 30/60/120 dps it is currently 65/130/195 dps.
However, it now takes a combined 2 seconds of damage to ‘level up’ to the next tier of damage instead of 1 second. This means the weapon has significantly more potential but it is more difficult to get it to max power.
Also, when hitting a barrier it currently generates ammo instead of consuming it. This means not only is she good at taking down barriers themselves, but she is good at just generating charge off barriers and using that charge to take down enemies as well.
“Her alternate fire is still a charge-up large projectile, but it has a bunch of important changes as well. First off, it charges to max charge in 1 second, down from 2 seconds.
Next, the projectile speed has increased significantly, currently it has changed from 10 m/s to 30 m/s.
Lastly, instead of piercing enemies, it now impacts enemies/environments and explodes, dealing area damage around it. We’ve been heavily iterating on how much damage this ball deals now, but a direct shot has been hovering in the area of 130ish, with a large % of the damage coming from a direct impact (rather then the explosion).
“I’ll say it here again, we are still pretty heavily iterating on this stuff so this is all subject to change, but we like to try to give you guys some insight as to whats going on with her rework as it stands today.”
Ultimate and Teleporter
Perhaps the biggest changes come by way of Symmetra’s ultimate.
Her teleporter will see a significant change, moving to her E ability, while her Photon Barrier will now become her ultimate. The Shield Generator appears set for the junkyard completely, and will be ditched.
“The teleporter now works as follows: You place the exit like you normally do, except that you can place it up to 25 meters away, instead of only right in front of you. When you place the exit, the entrance automatically gets built right in front of you instead of at your spawn.
It lasts only a short time but allies can use it freely as they normally do, but there are some new things that can teleport as well. We’re experimenting with what works and what doesn’t but currently you can teleport things such as Torbjorn turrets, D.Va’s exploding mech, Junkrat tire, etc.
This has lead to some sneaky/fun plays that are really unique to her. It also allows you to get onto high ground on offense with a comp that might otherwise have trouble doing so. The health has been lowered to 300 and the entrance is now attackable as well. If either die, the other is destroyed as well.
“Her Photon Barrier has moved to her ultimate and is now very different as well. Instead of placing a moving barrier, she places a static barrier wall that effectively is infinite in size and has 5000 health. She places this wall much like Mei places her Ice Wall, which means you can place it at some range and you can also change the orientation.
“This is all fairly early still and we’ve only recently started working on the visuals/animations/sounds etc, so its still a little ways out. I don’t have an ETA on when you guys will get a chance to see and/or play with this but hopefully it wont take too long.”
This sounds like a fantastic change in direction for what is Overwatch‘s most least played hero. Here’s hoping these changes make her more viable a pick across the board.