After a good bit of bumping heads together, it seems that Blizzard has figured out how to make Symmetra — perhaps one of the least played heroes in Overwatch — more versatile and fun. The above developer update video has game director Jeff Kaplan detailing Symmetra’s new changes, and other future additions to the game.
The Symmetra Redesign
Her current iteration is said to be very situational, especially with her Teleporter ultimate, limiting her effectiveness in affecting change and helping the team in games. Blizzard’s new design choices to address Symmetra’s issues are interesting, to say the least.
The most major change is that she’s getting a second ultimate ability. Alongside her Teleporter, she’ll also have the option to build a Shield Generator. Players can choose which to build by pressing the ultimate button repeatedly to toggle between the two.
The Shield Generator grants shields to all allies in a large area of effect, even when not in line of sight. That last detail means the Shield Generator can be hidden behind a wall and it will still provide additional shields.
Due to the addition of the Shield Generator ultimate, Symmetra’s Photon Shield ability will now be replaced by Photon Barrier — a forward-moving barrier to provide additional protection. She can stay at the back and throw a Photon Barrier out, and it’ll travel to the front of the team to block damage.
(Imagine your team’s Reinhardt getting his shield depleted, but you’re able to make the save like Zarya can, but that barrier can cover the whole team.)
She will now carry 6 Sentry Turrets at one time and cooldowns for that ability have been tweaked. Putting up Sentry Turrets should now be less of a chore and can potentially make way for some more shenanigans with her baiting opponents into getting laser-beamed to oblivion.
The last of her changes mentioned is a slightly longer range to her primary fire. This, along with Photon Barrier, makes her safer to play as she doesn’t have to get as close to do damage as her current iteration.
Expect this new and improved Symmetra in the Overwatch public test realm soon.
Also coming up, the new map called Oasis, that was previewed in BlizzCon 2016, will also become playable in Overwatch PTR. It’s a control map like Lijiang and Ilios, and it’s expected to go live in early 2017.
Finally, Blizzard is adding a new feature that can potentially make the solo queue experience more bearable in Overwatch. The “Group Up” button will let players who aren’t in-game friends to vote for grouping up and playing succeeding games as a party.
This seems like a great way to make friends in Overwatch, and it could make for a decrease in salt as players will now have a way (other than the “Prefer This Player” option) to keep playing with other players they deem competent or just happen to be fun to play with.