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OverwatchApr 30, 2018 3:00 pm CT

Overwatch’s Symmetra will become a Defense hero in upcoming rework

Last week, Overwatch developer Timothy Ford revealed that Symmetra will be undergoing a rework in the near future, and that rework would involve her being reclassified as a Defense hero. At the time, Tim couldn’t go into details about the rework. Over the weekend, though, lead hero designer Geoff Goodman took to the forums to discuss some of the work-in-progress changes to Symmetra that are being tested internally.

Geoff wanted to make it clear that all of the below is subject to change. But rather than drop a massive rework on the playerbase out of the blue, Blizzard wants to provide insight to players as they work through the changes.

Geoff on Symmetra’s redesigned turrets

By far the aspect of Symmetra’s rework that Geoff discusses most is the change to her turrets. The short version is that her turrets are likely going to…

  • Become projectiles (a la Pharah’s rockets) that will stick to surfaces upon contact.
    • Geoff notes they currently cannot be shot out of the air, but this could very easily change before the rework foes live.
  • Be capped at 3, both in terms of number deployed at once and charges held.
  • Have more health and slowing potential, such that one post-redesign turret is close to the strength of two pre-redesign turrets.

The idea here is that turrets become more impactful while also freeing up Symmetra to do more than just constantly reapply them in nearby locations. The ability to send them forward as projectiles also means she can place them, say, around the enemy’s payload or capture point without actually needing to be in the fray herself.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)
We currently have moved her to Defense. 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.

That said, we are playing with a new way her turrets deploy. 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.

This helps for a bunch of reasons but one of the big ones is that it makes it a lot easier to play her on offense or just be able to preposition her turrets much more easily/quickly.

In response to this, one player asked about the exact physics of Symmetra’s new turrets. Would they travel in a straight line? Arc? Would they be fast, or would they be slow? Thankfully, Geoff had an answer to all of these.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

Currently they will travel effectively infinitely in a straight line. (think of them like Pharah rockets). 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.

This led to more skepticism, however, in the form of a player asking what the point of 1-HP turrets would be. As it turns out, they’re not 1-HP turrets anymore!

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

No, there are other changes to her turrets as well. We’ve lowered the max number to 3 (both that she can hold and that can be deployed), but we’ve increased their damage 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.

Three turrets? Three turrets?! Don’t worry, three is actually going to feel better than the current six, thanks to the other changes and buffs being made to them. Specifically, Geoff notes that deploying one turret post-change will feel closer to deploying two turrets in the game right now.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

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.

Geoff on Symmetra’s new weapon

Although Geoff didn’t discuss Symmetra’s weapon in separate replies the same way he did her turrets, he did go into significant detail in a single reply. It is, however, in this reply that he mentions all of this being heavily subject to change. Whether he means that to apply specifically to the weapon changes or the rework in its entirety is slightly unclear, though I think it’s safe to say the latter is probably truer than the former.

As for specifics, her weapon is still going to have two different firing modes. The primary fire mode is likely to do more damage but at the cost of a slightly higher ramp-up time as well as the loss of its ability to lock onto targets. However, it will also gain functionality when it comes to fighting barriers, gaining ammo against them rather than losing ammo. The secondary fire mode, meanwhile, will still launch a projectile — but this projectile will deal flat damage on impact, plus some explosion damage. The goal right now is to have the direct damage deal a higher portion of the damage than the explosion.

Here’s what Geoff had to say in response to a question over the future of her baseline weapon:

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

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.

This design appears to be following a similar approach to the turret changes mentioned above. Symmetra will keep the general functions of her weapons, but the damage and ranged potential will be increased. And if you think about it, that makes sense as a Defense hero. Many of the current Defense heroes — Bastion, Widowmaker, Torbjorn, etc. — excel at doing damage from a distance. And if she’s going to lose some of her Support-like capabilities (which she is), having extra strength is necessary.

Geoff on Symmetra’s ultimate (and new Portal-like teleporter)

Finally, Geoff went into a bit of detail on how Defense-hero Symmetra’s ultimate ability will work. The Photon Barrier is going to become her ultimate, though its functionality has changed. It’s hard to give a short version of this one, so I’ll just let you read Geoff’s thorough explanation for Photon Barrier 2.0 below.

Plus, Symmetra’s newly designed teleporter sounds far more interesting anyhow! It’s being moved to her E key and you can place the exit up to 25 meters in front of you, with the entrance spawning at your location (instead of the spawn room). That’s all well and good, but the crazy factor comes into play when you learn that certain projectiles and abilities may be able to travel through the teleporter.

Ever wonder what it would look like if Overwatch took some inspiration from Portal? That seems like what happened, because the team is experimenting with allowing abilities like Torbjorn’s turrets and Junkrat’s R.I.P. Tire to travel through the teleporter. Yes, Symmetra can potentially stand on the high ground, place a portal behind enemy lines below her, and then have a Junkrat send his ultimate through to decimate the team. I’m super excited for this one, y’all.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

I guess at this point I probably should have just posted everything at the same time since everything always makes more sense in context so ill just post whats remaining at this point.

Her teleporter is moving to her E ability and the Photon Barrier is moving to her ult, but these have massive changes as well.

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.

When someone — understandably — freaked out over how cool this sounded, Geoff reassured us that, yes, it is awesome.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

Its actually been super interesting in playtests. There are a lot of different ways to use it and exactly where you place it is super important. You can do stuff like throw it into a fight from spawn like a Hanzo ult, because it spans across entire maps.

And finally, one player posed the question of Symmetra and her soon-to-be-former defining trait: her ability to shield.

Originally Posted by Geoff Goodman (Official Post)

Correct, the shield generator is gone at the moment.

Overall, this is the most excited I think I’ve been for a rework. Symmetra has never been a hero I avoided, but she’s always held a weird niche. Everything Geoff has described makes her sound like she’ll be strong, unique, and a total blast to play as. Hopefully you’re as excited about these changes as I am.

Sadly, given these are all still very much subject to change, it’s hard to say when they’ll be on the PTR for testing.

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