With Overwatch 2 now deep in development — but still no release date announced (sigh) — one can forgive Blizzard for neglecting the OG game. While support and updates for the game have slowed in recent months, there’s still a lot of focus and debate as to how to improve the experience and keep it fresh, with direct word from the developers constantly keeping the community on edge.
A recent Moira rework, for example, is still the topic of heated debate, and the jury’s still out as to whether or not those changes will actually have any meaningful impact on the broader experience and Support meta.
Nonetheless, tinkering and tweaking is constantly needed for a game that has such a varied and diverse character roster, not to mention such a divided community across different competitive tiers. Thankfully, Blizzard is constantly looking at ways to improve the playability of lesser-played heroes, although the latest murmurs and commentary from Overwatch HQ is certain to raise a few eyebrows across the community.
Lead hero designer, Geoff Goodman, always one to engage the community across social media and the Blizzard forums, has unearthed some interesting rework scenarios for the likes of Symmetra and Mei, and boy do they sound, erm, interesting.
Symmetra is perhaps the most intriguing hero in the game: she went from being an annoying and shockingly-OP “Support” hero, stacking a two-pronged Ultimate that could quite literally turn the match on its head in a matter of seconds. A well-placed teleporter or shield generator could provide a team with much-needed support during integral attacks or defenses, although her lack of genuine healing abilities — not to mention limited fire range — made her more and more undesirable the further up the skill ranks you went.
A rework in May 2018 saw her change from an opportunistic Support hero, to a Damage hero distinctively lacking in identity. She’s had her current kit now for longer than her OG kit, although ask any diehard Symmary fan and they’re likely longing for a return to her original kit.
The latest proposed changes by Goodman may actually see her brought further in line with her Support routes, although not by much.
“[We] tried Symmetra as a Support hero where her turrets healed instead of dealt damage,” Goodman said in a recent Reddit AMA. “This was sort of fun but was kind of frustrating as a Symm player because Overwatch moves so fast.
“We started trying to tune the turrets to have super high range, or being able to have a ton of them out, etc. It ended up just feeling like a mismatch, but honestly I’d be up for taking another crack at it at some point.”
Blizzard has long teased the prospect of a major Symmetra rework, and it’s great to hear a key member of the development team is still actively considering such changes.
Another interesting tidbit to come out of the AMA were comments made about Mei, and the prospect of her as a tank.
Mei has always been a fascinating Damage hero, even during her time in the Defense tier. Her secondary deals a ridiculous amount of damage, whilst her primary fire can cause havoc if utilised correctly alongside her healing and blocking abilities.
That said, something doesn’t feel “right” about her current place in the meta, and Goodman appears to agree.
“Mei as a tank comes up quite a bit, its something we can maybe try,” he explained. “She would have to get nearly reworked though, for example her secondary fire is far too much [damage] and long range to go on a Tank, but its a possibility.”
There’s a lot to take in there, and unlikely to happen with Overwatch 2 surely on the horizon within the next 12 months, but it’s great to see there is some thought going into how these intriguing characters can be reworked to more suitably fit into a tier.