Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch‘s Head Developer, has just been seen in a new developers update video outlining the much anticipated changes for Symmetra, more information about the new control map, Oasis, revealed at Blizzcon, and a new social feature coming to the PTR soon.
First off Symmetra is getting a total remodel. The biggest and best news is that she will now have two Ultimate abilities! When Symmetra’s Ultimate ability is charged, she will now have the option to use either the Teleporter we all know (which is also getting changed) or her new Ultimate, the Shield Generator.
In the video, Kaplan explains that instead of having to manually give players a shield (her current ‘E’ ability), the Shield Generator will give each person their own individual shield. The Shield Generator will also be an object that must be placed in a tactical area like the Teleporter before it can aid allies. However, we don’t know if there’s a range friendly players must stay in to keep their shields or if as long as the generator is active players will have shields.
“We see [Symmetra]… being super useful in King’s Row playing defense and getting her Teleporter up. However when the team fails and doesn’t capture that first point we see her failing and often people switch off of her or stay with Symmetra but don’t do nearly as well.” – Jeff Kaplan, Blizzard
The Teleporter has proven to be a fantastic tool for moving teams and having good control of an area, but it isn’t perfect. In the new update in addition to getting a new Ult, Symmetra is also getting her teleporter re-designed. The Teleporter will still serve the same functionality, but it has been given more health, part of which functions as a shield. Another problem adressed in the video is the issue with defending a teleporter when it sustains damage but can’t recharge. Like all shields, the Teleporter’s shields will naturally recharge.
Out with the Old, In with the New (Ally Shield)
Next up is the shield Symmetra can put on her allies. That ability is gone. This update will replace her shield ability with a shield called the Photon Barrier. Particularly useful in situations when you do not have a Reinhardt or Winston to drop a shield down, the Photon Barrier will be “elliptical in shape” and “sweep forward” following a set trajectory. It sounds like this ability will have a massive utilization when you want to push forward as a team, but don’t have adequate cover.
As far as functionality this new shield sounds like a Reinhardt shield in behavior that will move independently at a set rate, allowing teams that are pushed back to move forward as a group and reclaim their place in a match.
Turrets and Symmetra’s Gun
Finally, we have her turrets and primary fire gun. The gun will behave the same way with a slightly longer range to allow her more breathing room when defending. Symmetra can now keep six turret charges at once and the turret ability will charge faster for her.
New Map and Social Ability
Enough about Symmetra, though! We received two other big pieces of information in the latest developer update.
First we have the new map, Oasis. This is said to be coming to the PTR “very very soon”. We don’t have a time frame, but they plan on adding in the new social button after this map in early 2017, so it’s safe to guess that within the next month or so Oasis will be available.
Finally, the arguably best social update they’ve added to the game is the “Stay with Group” button. This will be available at the end of matches. If you’ve ever gone into games solo and been amazed at how well your team covers, defends, attacks, and flows with each other then this is good news for you. You will now be able to select the option to stay with this group for the next games. The whole team does not need to select this option, according to Kaplan, if three of you decide you want to group up you will be placed in your own party and the continue on to matchmaking.
We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks, and this is all coming right after we have had the release of Sombra. Seems like Blizzard is giving a holiday gift to their loyal Overwatch players!
- Developer Update | Symmetra Redesign. Perf. Jef Kaplan. PlayOverwatch. Blizzard, 22 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016. https://youtu.be/elN-QGyToxM