Let the Dead Stay Dead?
With the recent delay in Torbjorn’s rework, the question of viability after reworks is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in the Overwatch community. As, most characters, after their rework have seen a massive swing in popularity either to the opposite or becomming even more entrenched at the pick rate that they have been known for. Blizzard got lots of these characters right at launch and have since second guessed themselves and changed the fundamentals of characters that may not have needed it.
Lucio was essentially the first character to undergo a serious rework, reigning in his healing and speed auras to become a higher skill ceiling character that can do more. While this partially happened, Lucio’s pick rate and viability plummeted and hasn’t fully recovered until very recently with the end of the seemingly impossible to dethrone Mercy rework taking center stage and dominating the game. Mercy’s rework became the opposite of what happened to Lucio, after her rework her pick rate skyrocketed and she became the only truly viable support for a long time. Mercy has had a stranglehold on the support meta for over a year now, since her previous ultimate (Ressurect) was turned into a normal ability and she was given an even stronger ultimate to compensate for it. Since that rework, Mercy has been nerfed about a dozen times up until this point, working on different things like resurrection speed, healing output, and almost everything with her new ultimate. Personally I prefer the old Mercy that could resurrect multiple people at once, where the skill didn’t come in healing potential, but what could the Mercy do with the massive upside she had to turn a fight. Timing and having enough courage to come out of hiding and making herself vulnerable for that time was a huge risk and something that had to be facotred in when playing her, now that isn’t as much of a thing, as resurrect is now used to safely bring back one person that may have died in a weird spot. Of course, none of these compare to the queen of bad reworks, Symmetra.
Symmetra is by far the most changed hero from the launch of the live servers. Originally symmetra had to build up the ability to make turrets, only starting the game with about 3 but the total amount of turrets allowed at once was capped at 6. Her teleporter was a difficult ultimate to use because of how specific the conditions had to be to get full use out of it. And, possibly most importantly, she could give 25 shields to all the members of her team, giving her a different kind of healing aspect that let her fit naturally into her original support role. However, because of there being little viability for her kit, she was reworked. All turrets were accessible from the start of the game, 6 turrets could go anywhere you could reach. She had a new ability, the photon barrier which projected a shield forward until it broke, and she became the first hero in the game to have two ultimates. That’s right, Symmetra had two ultimates and she was still considered useless. Now we have this most current form of Symmetra where she can shoot turrets, her original ultimate is now moved down to a regular ability, and her photon barrier has become something else entirely in her new ultimate, providing a giant unbreakable wall across the battle field, and guess what, she is still seen as unplayable, and that there are better options for everything that she does in other heroes.
Which is why when people start asking for reworks of characters I get nervous. Viability is of course, something that should be one of biggest concerns for the development team. Making sure the right characters are being used at the right times is an important part of the game that for the most part Blizzard has gotten extremely right. But, when the core elements of the charcaters change, especially their abilites, it is completely unkown how they are going to be recieved by the community. It seems like reworked charcaters only go one of two ways, they become super powerful, or the become even weaker than before. There is no middle ground on these sweeping changes. Smaller changes have seen charcaters become much more viable without having to change a bunch of the chartacer’s original abilities. Junkrat, Hanzo, and Bastion are all characters that had small changes that had big impacts. Overwtach is uch more well balanced than I think even the developers give the game credit for. The small changes often have the desired effects on the character much more than the large sweeping changes do.
This is why Blizzard needs to start sticking to their guns on what makes a good character. Maybe mercy just originally needed to do more healing, or have better access to something to defend herself. Maybe Lucio just needed a slight nerf to his aura output. Maybe giving someone 75 shields was enough to justify Symmetra as a pick originally. These are all questions that will never be answered, but ones that should be asked. Simply adding a second mine to Junkrat made him the most powerful charcater in the game for a short time. Maybe the only thing someone like Torbjorn or Roadhog need are small changes that tweak how the player approaches the character. Many charcaters fall in and out of popularity because of the other characters around them, a charcater’s strength isn’t determined on the singular output of the hero, it is based on how the hero interacts with the other 5 heroes on the team and how they react to the 6 heroes on the other team. Long story short, Blizzard needs to let their work breathe. More often than not, the balance of the game isn’t that far off, and giving some time for the characters to adjust to how the other charcaters work around them may be more beneficial than immediately reacting to their current status.
That’s just what I think though, tell me what you think down in the comments down below! Do you think more Heroes should be reworked? Less? Let me know! And don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more BYOG.