If someone told me ten years ago that people playing video games would generate a bigger audience than the NBA, NHL, and MLB, I…
It’s easy for a character get lost in Overwatch’s massive hero line-up, so it’s no surprise that some heroes are a rare sight during pro matches.
Characters can either be too weak, not fit in with the current meta, or be far too situational and all of this is fine, it’s why they have so many to choose from the in first place.
The case of Overwatch’s Symmetra is an interesting one because she functions so differently to all the other heroes. Her lock-on ability and auto-targeting turrets make her seem like a good beginner pick but often that’s simply not the case.
If I see a Symmetra in my game I know she’s either going to be useless to the enemy team, or the bane of my existence, depending on whose hands she’s in. There doesn’t seem to be much in between.
The thing with Symmetra is she’s always been an incredibly situational hero and has functioned too much as a lone wolf to feature in the upper skill levels. Most teams want a hero whose abilities complement the others on the team with the potential to combo moves and ultimates.
Given her turrets are easily countered by players with any level of skill – there’s a reason you don’t see her on the roster.
This isn’t for a lack of fan support. Whether jokingly or otherwise, people really want to see Symmetra played.
Often, signs can be found in the audience demanding that teams ‘Play Symmetra, you cowards!’ and she’ll often be chosen as a joke before quickly being swapped to a more viable character.
If the recent changes to Overwatch’s Public Test Realm (PTR) have anything to say about it, this initial Symmetra choice and switch is about to become a lot more common.
Symmetra has just received a massive rework and, while this isn’t the first, this is definitely one of the more substantial changes.
One of those includes changes to her teleporter, making it a regular ability on a cool down.
Now, you’ll be able to place it up to 25 metres away and instantly create two portals to travel through for ten seconds. Think of it like Reaper’s ability but others can use it too.
What this means is when a team is setting up for defence you can expect to see them position just about anywhere. If they don’t want to keep running her she can always come back and swap out before the match starts. This change will definitely mean we see more Symmetra play – but maybe only for the first thirty seconds of the game.
Though, that’s not all. No longer is she an auto target machine with her primary fire Photon Projector beam now requiring accuracy from its wielder with an increased range of ten metres.
Her alternate orb fire now also travels faster and causes explosive splash damage making it less of a useless floating ball.
Her sentry turrets can also now be placed quickly and are shot at a wall from distance. She can only have three, down from six, but they hit harder and have more health. This makes her less of a slow set up character and instead far more mobile, especially when combined with the new teleporter.
It is, however, in her ultimate where I believe she might become more common on the battlefield.
Her Photon Barrier has been reworked to be placed anywhere a user chooses and will draw a line through the entire map. It acts as a standard shield in that players can walk through it but not shoot through and it has 5000 health.
This may not sound that impressive, but when you consider how important Widowmaker sniper play has been – in League especially – this could present real problems.
Making an entire map safe from a long distance damage dealer for even a few seconds could well be the difference between taking a point or losing it and, in my experience, on the PTR it seems to build relatively quickly.
Does all of this make Symmetra a viable pick in Overwatch? I’m not really sure.
I’ve always been of the opinion players should pick who they’re best at but in metas there are definitely things that work better than others. It will come down to her primary and alternate fire in the end and if it’s enough to contribute to the fight while that ultimate builds.
I think she’ll still be an incredibly situational character as her defences remain incredibly low without any immediate ways to move out of enemy fire.
This makes her a sitting duck, especially with her attacks being built for close range. So, while still not useful all the time, maybe tight maps like Lijiang Tower or Hanamura might be where she finally finds a place.
Regardless, I do think we will definitely see more of the hard light architect, even if it’s just in the first few seconds while they get that Bastion and shield tank up to an impossibly annoying position.