Overwatch’s Plans For Symmetra And New Gamemodes

Overwatch [official site], aka The MOBA Where The Camera Is Lodged In Your Head, is in a permanent state of flux. The creators at Blizzard consistently fiddle with every little thing like a gang of fussy monks micromanaging a Zen garden. Latest on their list of tiny stones to shift are the power and abilities of Symmetra, a hero who can place small turrets which slow and hurt the enemy as well as deploy a useful teleporter. We knew they wanted to change something about her but director Jeff Kaplan has now expanded (if only a little) on what that does and doesn’t mean. He also chats about the enticing possibility of new game modes.

You can watch the game designer natter on about everything in the development diary below. But to summarise: they are not interested in giving Symmetra any healing abilities, which is something that the community has been speculating and suggesting.

“I don’t think changes for Symmetra are as easy as some minor number tweaks that will have her available and ready to play very soon,” admits Kaplan. “It could be changes to some of her mechanics and just changing her overall feel through numbers and cooldowns but we’re going to explore some other things as well that might be a little bit more dramatic in terms of design vision for her.”

“We’re not looking to make Symmetra a healer. What we are looking to do is to make her more viable in more situations.”

This is because she is currently the game’s least-played character, and if she is chosen by players it’s usually early in a match and usually only as part of a defending team. The changes to her character, whatever they are, are likely to be done some time by the middle of November, says Kaplan. “But it could be much later than that,” he says, “because we don’t want to rush it.”

More tantalising and far less concrete are the developer’s long-term plans for new game modes and maps. These prototype game modes may not even make it to further testing but Kaplan is optimistic.

“We want Overwatch to be first and foremost about our heroes and not be about gimmicky game modes… but I’m hopeful that at least a couple of those new maps and game modes will see the light of day eventually.”

They are being even more coy when it comes to the new hero – thought to be called Sombra. “We believe this hero will see the light of day sooner rather than later” he said. Meanwhile, another hero is at the prototype stage but isn’t likely to be released until next year.

All this is less substantial than the upcoming changes to some other characters, which we do know about. Junkrat’s trap will now trap Genji when he tries to dash through it, for example, and his ultimate is getting a faster charge rate. At the same time, Widowmaker’s scope speed is being slightly increased to better aid those pesky snipers. There’s also some helpful changes to spectator mode, mainly aimed at esports dweebs. You’ll be able to set cameras in certain places and then use a hotkey to flip between them. These cameras will also be able to focus on certain characters if you press a certain hotkey combination. That’ll make it easier for those who watch the Overwatchers.


  1. Thurgret says:

    Are we extending the multiplayer online battle arena tag to cover first person shooters in general now?

    • wykydtronik says:

      Overwatch does have a lot of MOBA elements to it, I never thought of it as a MOBA until I started playing it.

      • DigitalParadox says:

        What moba elements does it really have besides heroes with cooldown based abilities and an “Ultimate”? Sure those are an integral part of the genre, but so are AI creeps/minions, lane based map structure, leveling up and buying items during matches, etc.

      • fahdiz says:

        No mobs, no progression, no items = no MOBA.

        It’s an objective-based shooter. Like TF2. Which is also not a MOBA.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Only when it annoys you.

    • lasikbear says:

      Demon Souls was the First True MOBA

    • aircool says:

      Fact – I don’t like MOBA’s.

      Fact – I like First Person Shooters.

      Fact – I like Overwatch.

      Conclusion – Kinda obvious really…

      • April March says:

        The conclusion is that you were fooled by the MOBA conspiracy, sheeple.

        Wait, what’s the singular form of sheeple? Sherson?

    • SaunteringLion says:

      Unreal Tournament is definitely my favourite classic Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Unlike most MOBAs, it even often takes place in an actual arena.

      Then I can’t discount how much I used to love World of Warcraft’s Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, again in actual arenas.

      Why bother giving MOBAs recognizable features (being like DotA) when everything can be a MOBA? Certainly makes writers’ jobs easier.

      (PS anyone check out that new Duelyst MOBA? CCG/Turn-Based Strategy hybrid that’s really fun. Played with multiple players, online, in a battle arena. -.-)

    • Elos says:

      Arguing about meaning of ‘MOBA’ is pretty pointless. The whole term is a pretty forced invention of Riot Games’ PR team because they really wanted to distance themselves from DotA early on and they obviously didn’t want to to call their game a ‘dotalike/clone’ so they started pushing their own term. And it obviously worked since here we are arguing about what it means.

      Though they really should’ve come up with something better.

  2. aircool says:

    Love the game. Love Symettra. But no decent colourblind mode on the horizon… and no comments by Blizzard to all the complaints about the colourblind modes.

    So for the time being, the game can get to fuck until they let me change the colours of bad guys SO I CAN ACTUALLY SEE THEM.

  3. bobbyk says:

    WTF Overwatch is not a moba. Speak gamer plz.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      But it is a MOBA.

      • artrexdenthur says:

        Brendan Overwatch is not a motherboard do not use Overwatch to build your rig please ok thanks

        *edit* Edits? What new sorcery…

      • SaunteringLion says:

        Just like Unreal Tournament, aye?

  4. WhiteHawke says:

    No npcs of any kind (lane, jungle, or boss creeps), no lanes, no gold, no towers, no bases to destroy, no mana. Having abilities with cooldowns, and ultimates that don’t even use traditional cooldowns, and classes does not make a game a MOBA.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      I think it’s a MOBA.

      • Monggerel says:

        Personally my favorite MOBAs are Invisicble Inc. and Grand Theft Auto V,
        but I’m also partial to DOTAlikes.


        • Rizlar says:

          Since ‘MOBA’ supposedly stands for ‘multiplayer online battle arena’ it could refer to practically anything.

          But yeah, I use ‘Dota-like’ cos it’s less annoyingly ambiguous. And although Overwatch borrows a lot of elements it’s not really a Dota-like.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      What if they do?

    • SaunteringLion says:

      My favourite RPG is a toss-up between Portal 2, and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. I love playing the role of Chell, and I also love the role of being a Soviet commander.

      That’s how genres work, right? You take the acronym at its most literal and abstract, and apply it to everything?

    • Niko says:

      Is it only a moba if there’s a bunch of cryptic terms?

  5. PiiSmith says:

    Can we please acknowledge on here that competitive exists and it still quite the mess.

  6. Rizlar says:

    The irony of Symmetra being the least played character is the fact that she is obviously the best. Turret webs of doom, map exploitation and borderline game-breaking teleport ult. At least in the beta she was my favourite by far. <3

    • SaunteringLion says:

      I think in part it’s because she has a somewhat high learning curve. Not even a high skill ceiling per se: you don’t have to be pro-Genji twitch master to be effective, but you need to think a lot more strategically than for most heroes (run towards the objective as a team, heal, block or damage). You have to know where to place turrets unexpectedly, but be able to switch them on the fly. You have to know good spots for your Teleporter that’s close enough to the frontline to be effective, but hidden enough to not immediately get blown up. On top of the fact that you have fairly low HP with one of the shortest ranged attacks in the game.

      Really gotta know your maps inside and out.

      • Rizlar says:

        True that, for me her attacks suited the playstyle to a tee. Spamming big AoE balls to deny certain avenues of attack, up close setting up a turret nest of death and using the close range, lock on attack to constantly dodge around objects while doing continuous, increasing damage to enemies that are slowed by the turrets and can’t even see you to attack back.

        Probably says a lot about my approach to this sort of game and the fact that I haven’t splashed money on the full thing.

  7. Ferno says:

    Warcraft 3 was the best MOBA. I really liked the Campaign with the orcs and the MOBAs.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    Worms World Party really is the definitive MOBA experience for me.