Overwatch: Symmetra redesign is broken?
Before I get into my analysis, I want to throw out a disclaimer right now to let you know that this is entirely an opinion piece based on the several hundred hours of gameplay that I’ve passionately dedicated to this game that I can probably assume you love as much as I do if you’re taking the time to read this.
Prior to the public release of the Symmetra redesign a little over a month ago, as of the publication of this article, Symmetra was in a very weird place amongst the Overwatch cast.
Symmetra was a utility support hero that had a tendency to only be able to reach her full efficacy in niche circumstances. This carried the consequence of her usage being incredibly sparse next to everyone else.
I thought that was okay-ish at the time. She wasn’t exactly the most fun character to play because of her “plate spinning” style of gameplay, but in the right hands she was capable of really shining in the right moment. I was definitely in the camp that favored a redesign to increase her relevancy and overall fun factor, but I think that Blizzard might have given her a bit too much…
Switching out her shield buff ability for the projected barrier was a stroke of genius to be sure.
The old ability was okay, but it added to the overall aspect of her playstyle to an extent that it was bothersome. Personally, I seldom played alongside a Symmetra in a public game that actually bothered to issue shields to her teammates outside of the spawn room waiting for the match to start. It was a useful ability, but oh so very meh…
Her photon barrier alone lends her an insane amount of improved and fun utility that has real synergy with teammates. It can be used to aid a push, give your Reinhardt’s shield a reprieve, negate some ultimate abilities and so much more!
A choice of ultimate abilities has most certainly broadened Symmetra’s usage now that she has that shield generator as an option when your team is no longer at spawn disadvantage. The generator is an ultimate ability that can truly shift the momentum of your team.
I think that’s about it as far as positive change goes…
Symmetra’s turret placement was a large culprit in her style of play, but it really wasn’t as bad as Blizzard seem to think it was…
Having a cooldown and limit as to how many turrets you could place in succession made her a careful strategist and character for the thinking player. Positioning, critical thinking and judgement calls meant that she had to utilize her resources to get the most benefit possible for her team. Putting all your eggs in one basket was a lesson learned the hard way when a clever Winston would play minesweeper and clear the path for his team.
Faced with this situation, Symmetra would only be able to place 3 turrets down (tops) I’m that immediate moment.
Allowing Symmetra to place all 6 of her turrets in succession with a near non-existent cooldown was a HUGE mistake. This seemingly little change has detracted from her character hugely and turned her into a severely dumbed down version of her former self. Symmetra is now free to place all of her eggs in one basket as she sees fit, as there is little to no consequence to losing them. Poor Winston has been rendered impotent as he makes a sacrificial leap into a choke-point and clearing out that nest for his team.
That kind of play used to be a noble risk of life and a good trade-off if he died in the act. Symmetra would become limited in her resetting of defenses because all of her eggs were stupidly in one basket and it would now become an uphill battle to start again. Not anymore! Symmetra just stands there holding a button and either kills Winston or watches him disengage with next to no health if he’s lucky and near instantly sets up all 6 turrets again, completely negating the play.
That’s wrong on a lot of levels, in my opinion, as Winston was the king of dismantling her defenses, which is a bigger pain in the ass for pretty much everyone else now that she’s free to place them carelessly.
The new ultimate ability was a step in the right direction, but the execution of it was poorly conceived. On one hand it’s awesome to get that much extra health, but the generator tends to be hard to locate, covers quite a large area (through walls and all) and has a wealth of regenerating shield health of its own.
Getting in there and taking it down can be very problematic because of the amount of shielding you need to penetrate before you can do any actual damage. Nothing short of a very coordinated effort can ensure that the generator goes down. The game is about teamwork after all, but people that are going against this in quick-play or solo queue are the ones suffering the most because of it.
I’m not even going to get started on the sneaky ways that she’s able to get her ultimate ability almost instantly. There’s information out there, but I don’t want to be the one spreading it. Regardless, I feel like Blizzard seriously need to look into her ultimate charging rate and how the ult refund cost when teams push past her effective point.
Last but not least we have the 30% increase on the range of her primary weapon. I feel like this was not needed in the least.
For starters, her photon barrier is a huge asset in closing the distance gap to get into effective range of a target. That alone should have negated the need for a range increase on a weapon with such devastating potential.
The very nature of her weapon is a complete fun killer for anyone taken down by it. It instantly locks on to a target and requires absolutely no aiming beyond keeping someone in your line of sight. It’s not a good feeling to know that you got taken down by someone that pretty much just held a button and did next to nothing to earn her victory.
It doesn’t feel that good to do it either…
I’ve seen myself get play of the game by sneaking up behind an unaware team, holding fire and shredding an entire push in a domino effect and it felt completely hollow, unfair and undeserved.
The longer I held the button, the more the damage output ramped up to the extent that players had next to no time to react to me. Taking down Symmetra these days is anything but balanced. Compare the effort that it takes to play her versus the effort it takes to beat her and you will quickly discover that it is horribly disproportionate.
No longer does Symmetra fit into the support category by any means. Once again she’s stuck with an identity crisis and a newfound sense of omnipotence.
Is it just me or does Blizzard need to go back to the drawing board on this one?