In a massive forum Q&A, Blizzard finally revealed the work-in-progress changes being tested for one of Overwatch‘s most underused heroes.
The Q&A was hosted by principal designer Geoff Goodman, who discussed the new build for Support (soon-to-be Defense) hero Symmetra. We learned of the character’s role switch last week, but there are much bigger changes in store for the hero beyond just a new title.
Starting with her Photon Projector, the weapon’s trademark lock-on function is out the window. Instead, it is being tested as a straight beam, presumably like a thicker version of Zarya’s primary fire, except that it still gains damage the longer it connects with enemies. It will also boast the unique function of gaining ammo and charge when targeting enemy barriers, making Symmetra effective at burning down enemy shields. Changes are also being tested for the Photon Projector’s secondary fire. The orb now charges and travels faster, but it no longer passes through shields, instead exploding on contact to deal a small amount of damage to the area around it.
Next up are the hero’s Sentry Turrets, which most fans would agree are long overdue for a rework. Goodman explained that the developer tried the turrets with a healing function as an attempt to keep the hero in the Support category, but it apparently felt “super awkward”. The iteration currently being tested has Symmetra firing the turrets from range, moving similarly to Pharah’s rockets and deploying on the surfaces they hit. As it is now, Symmetra can only carry and deploy three turrets at a time, but each are significantly more of a threat. Each turret has 30 HP (instead of the original 1 HP) and also deals more damage and slow-down to enemies than before.
For her second ability, Symmetra’s Teleporter has actually replaced the hero’s Photon Barrier. The teleporter is now placed at range, up to 25 meters, with the entrance constructing right in front of Symmetra, instead of in spawn. This allows her and teammates to get to places they couldn’t before, and in its current build, it can even be used to sneak powerful ultimates like D.Va’s Self-Destruct and Junkrat’s RIP-Tire behind enemy lines. It only lasts a short time, but sounds like it has unlimited uses during that period. To balance its efficacy, its health has been reduced to 300 HP, and destroying either the entrance or exit will also destroy the other.
Replacing the Teleporter as her ultimate ability is the Photon Barrier, but it works nothing like it did before. As Goodman describes, the barrier is now orientated and placed like Mei’s Ice Wall. What gives the Barrier its ultimate status is that it is apparently infinite in size and has 5,000 HP. This is hard to even comprehend, but based on Goodman’s description, it will allow the hero to protect her team by cutting off huge sections of map. Goodman also states that it can currently be used from spawn, along the lines of Hanzo’s ultimate. As for the Shield Generator, the other Symmetra ultimate ability that’s now live in the game, it has been removed.
While all of the changes above are the current working build for the character, none are final. Some or all of the changes could be tweaked or reworked entirely before making their way into the final game. For more details and Goodman’s exact wording on the changes being tested, Reddit user Seagull_No1_Fanboy posted a helpful breakdown with links to each of Goodman’s responses.
Symmetra isn’t the only Overwatch hero currently facing drastic alterations. Hanzo will see numerous changes go live before Symmetra’s rework hits the game, such as a new ability that replaces his Scatter Arrow.
Source: Battle.net forums