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Game Director Jeff Kaplan of Blizzard has indicated changes to Symmetra are coming soon to the Overwatch PTR. He recently revealed in a developer update on Blizzard’s Youtube Channel, along with some other developer updates as well. Their goal is to make her less of a situational character, and a more fun dynamic character to play.

Symmetra, the support character without a heal, has always been in a strange place in the Overwatch community. While her turrets could slow enemies down and her teleporter was great on the first point, other situations meant that she was running at a reduced effectiveness. Kaplan explained that they saw the ultimate ability was one of the main causes of this, as her teleporter effectiveness was strongly reduced on the second point.

For the first time in Overwatch history, you’ll have a choice of Ultimate. While her teleporter is still an option for those who want it, she’ll also have a choice of a shield generator. As Kaplan goes on to explain: The shield generator is a built object that gives shields to all allies in a large radius, that goes through walls. It’s a destroyable object, so Symmetra has to protect it.

But that’s not all. The teleporter itself has gotten buffed, getting a buff in health, but more importantly, shields. One of the biggest problems with protecting the teleporter was the inability for Symmetra to repair the teleporter if it was at low health, meaning that it was going to go down. Now with the shields, some of that health will be restored, meaning that Symmetra can protect it a bit easier going forward.

The other big change is that her ability to give shields to her comrades. As Kaplan went on to say, that ability felt like a chore for most players, and wasn’t as interactive as they wanted it to be. So that ability has been eliminated, and in its place Symmetra will be getting a Photon Barrier. Similar to Reinhardt and Winston’s barrier: Symmetra can push a barrier in front of her which moves forward after using it. While they didn’t show an example, it sounds like it will push forward at a steady pace, allowing you to follow the barrier. This may give Symmetra some aggression options that she didn’t have before.

As for her Turrets: the ability’s cooldown and timing has changed. Previously she would have to place 3 turrets and then wait for the cooldown to place an additional 3. Now, she can just place all 6 in a single run of the ability and allow her to recover faster if those turrets all go down in succession. A slight reduction in the cooldown (from 12 to 10) for the recovery of turrets as well.

Her weapon gets a slight distance buff as well, but it’s only a small boost. Her weapon otherwise functions the exact same.

Beyond Symmetra, the mentioned Oasis map during BlizzCon is coming to the PTR very soon as well, with a goal to have it out of the PTR and live in early 2017. It’ll come after Symmetra’s changes. In addition, they’ve added a button at the end of the match that allows you to group up quickly with the group you just played with.

Quick Take

Interesting changes that I like on the surface, but I’m a little concerned about the Photon Barrier. Ever since the buff of D.Va’s defense matrix, I’ve been seeing a lot more negating shields in play lately, and I’m concerned that there’s too much damage protection going around. But without seeing it in action, that’s just speculation, and I like the idea of a choice of ultimates, and the shield generator in particular. It sounds like they really made effects to  change up Sym, without completely reworking her. So ok, let’s see what happens. 

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Shaun Joy

Staff Writer

YouTuber Dragnix who plays way too many games, and has a degree in Software Engineering. A Focus on disclosure on Youtubers, and gaming coverage in general.

  • BurntToShreds

    Overwatch may very well have more shields than Halo at this point. You could rename it Overshield.

  • Iconoclast

    I used to play Symmetra a lot during the months after launch.

    There is nothing like ambushing and microwaving an enemy push or watching the kill feed when 3 or so people walked into the turret pit of doom, earning me PotG.

    The secret: Location, location, location.

  • Laytonaster

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t drain overtime or respawn after 3 minutes.

  • I honestly liked the 25 shield thing, but it did feel like a chore.

    It’s sad to see it go, because it had a fun synergy with torbjorn

  • Evan Pierce

    After one of my games yesterday where I had a Torbjorn and Symmetra on the team, I know what you mean about that synergy between the two and their armor and shield giving working well together.

  • Diva and symmetra had good synergy too

    The shields were armoured, and armour was shielded.

    You’d get 25 auto healing armour. It dealt with scratch damage effectively.

    That makes things like the weak lucio healing go a lot farther.

  • Evan Pierce is usually a pretty good hero in general, she’s always my first pick and who I’m best with. And yeah, it was real nice having Symmetra’s shield on her.