A Symmetra Overhaul
Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan made a big announcement in a developer update today concerning everyone’s favorite light-bending architect. Some huge changes are live on the PTR, and the vast majority of them make massive adjustments to character Symmetra.
Some Overwatch players complain that Symmetra was extremely situational in that she flourished when protecting a point boxed in by a choke point, but both her ultimate and abilities weren’t a good match when it came to delivering a payload or even defending the second point in some capture maps.
Blizzard heard these complaints, and decided to rework Symmetra by adjusting nearly every aspect of her kit including her ultimate, primary weapon, turrets, and more. Here are the five big changes for Symmetra, and how they will affect how she plays in game.
CHOICE OF ULTIMATE
Perhaps the biggest and most exciting change coming for Symmetra is her new ultimate ability. Like before, Symmetra will be able to place down a teleporter that allows teammates to travel quickly back to battle. However, now she can also choose to place a “shield generator” that covers any nearby teammates within a certain radius with additional shields.
Symmetra will be the first Overwatch character to have a choice of ultimate ability, thereby allowing her to be useful in many more in-game scenarios. Since the shield generator does not need line-of-sight to administer shields, Symmetra can hide it like she did her teleporter and force the enemy team to find and destroy it if they wish to ensure a successful offensive attack.
Symmetra’s teleporter is great for defending the first point in all capture maps, as it allows her team to skip the long walk back and spend the majority of time fortifying a proper defense. However, when defending a secondary point the spawn point for defense is always immediately behind the area they are trying to defend. This makes Symmetra’s teleporter pretty useless, as it only saves approximately five seconds of walking time.
Likewise, the teleporter was often not helpful when dealing with payloads, as the moving playload conflicts with the idea of a stationary spawn point. If the enemy team were to push the payload past the placed teleporter, its much easier for them to continue forward with no defense setting up a barrier.
The inclusion of the shield generator means Symmetra can now be extremely useful when holding a point that is near a spawn, as she could buff her whole team against oncoming attacks. As well, she could sneak behind enemy lines while on attack and place the shield generator somewhere near the point, thus allowing her team to have a better chance to take a point with additional protection. Who knows, maybe we will start to see Symmetra’s placing the shield generators on the payload itself to further fuel the dreaded Reinhardt/Bastion/Mercy combo.
Symmetra’s teleporter is having its health reduced from 200 HP to 50 HP, but is gaining 350 in shields. This means that the teleporter will be able to regenerate back its shields and Symmetra could have an easier time keeping it online during enemy attacks.
Previously, when Symmetra’s teleporter was damaged, it stayed damaged. This meant that even if Symmetra was able to kill an enemy before they totally destroyed it, they could just come back and fire off the last few bullets needed to finish the job. Granting the teleporter the ability to self-generate is a great reward for Symmetra players who are good at defending ultimate placements, ensuring that if they keep-up the defense, they can have their ultimate up for longer and in turn better help their team get back into the fight.
QUICKER SENTRY TURRETS
Some changes are coming to Symmetra’s sentry turrets as well. Before she was able to stock up three of them at a time to place around the map, whereas now she will be able to hold onto the maximum six at all times. This means that when Symmetra is on defense, she can have all sentry turrets placed where she wants on the map before the match even begins.
As well, the time for turrets to regenerate has been lowered from 12 seconds to 10 seconds. So not only can the initial set up be more planned, but as Symmetra turrets get destroyed, she can more quickly put them back up to help with her team’s defense. And likewise on attack, Symmetra will be able to rapidly place turrets during a forward moving attack, and place newer ones quicker while moving a payload or pushing forward on point attacks.
PHOTON BARRIER REPLACES INDIVIDUAL SHIELDS
Symmetra will be ditching her individual shields ability — where she could place 25 HP regenerative shields on every member of her team — for a brand new photon shield ability.
Much like Reinhardt’s shield or Winston’s projected barrier seen above, Symmetra will be able to cast a phonton barrier to shield both herself and her team from enemy fire-power. However, Symmetra’s will be unique as the photon barrier actually moves on a trajectory, pushing forward from whatever direction Symmetra originally fired it from.
Much like her alternate fire on her primary weapon, Symmetra will shoot the photon shield and it will move forward towards the enemy. This could be used in a variety of ways, such as a means to push forward your team’s offensive line onto a point, make Symmetra herself more aggressive as she pushes forward onto individual enemies, or even just by shooting a barrier into a heated battle in the hopes it adsorbs some of the enemy bullets.
In terms of getting rid of the individual shields ability, Kaplan stated having to place shields on your team always felt less fun and more of a chore. By including a shield generator as a possible ultimate, Symmetra could still provide shields to her team while at the same time have a fun new addition to her kit that makes her a more well-rounded character.
LONGER BEAM FOR PRIMARY FIRE
Finally, the last change coming to Symmetra is to her weapon itself, the Photon Projector. It still has its primary fire of a beam that tethers to enemies and a secondary fire that shoots a slow-moving circular blast, however the beam will be lengthened somewhat to have a better range for locking onto enemies.
Kaplan notes that the beam is not being lengthened greatly, but just slightly further out to give Symmetra some more variety on how she approaches enemies, with a 5 meter distance going up to 7. Since the beam gets exponentially stronger the longer its attached, this means that Symmetra players will have a slightly easier time keeping that connection ongoing to deal more damage.
Along with the changes to Symmetra, Kaplan announced the new Oasis map revealed at BlizzCon 2016 will be making it to the PTR sometime very soon after Symmetra’s changes, and a new “stay as team” feature allowing you to group up with players after a match is live, now on the PTR too. Check out the patch notes for everything else that was added.
What do you think of Symmetra’s new changes? Will they make her weaker, more balanced, or overly OP while in-game? Let us know below.