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.