Calling all Overwatchers, it’s time for the latest patch coming around the corner. No, it’s not live (just yet), but a new map and a major character overhaul have reached the Public Test Realm (PTR). When these hit the main game, prepare for a lot of confusion… and fun!
The first change will be the inclusion of a brand new map: Oasis. According to Blizzard:
Oasis is one of the world’s most advanced cities, a shining jewel rising from the Arabian Desert. A monument to human ingenuity and invention, researchers and academics from around the region came together to found a city dedicated to scientific progress without restraints. The city and its inhabitants are governed by the Ministries, a collection of brilliant minds who possess many secrets that have attracted the interest of powerful organizations from around the world.
I set up a custom game to check out this new “control” map, and I must say I like the style. Based on Islamic architecture, the map takes place inside a building full of vaulted ceilings, beautiful arches, and geometric designs. There are a variety of side hallways around, and beneath, the objective; in fact, the room beneath the control point has an open ceiling several characters will love. (I’m looking at you, Pharah!) While still small compared to other maps, I think this will be more fun (and is much nicer to look at) than the skirmish map in Antarctica.
The second change is an extreme makeover for a favorite character of mine: Symmetra.
The developers believed that she was often underutilized, only brought out for certain maps or situations. So, they decided to make her less passive and more adaptable, even when used on offense. To fulfill this idea, they’ve given her two new abilities (at the cost of an old one) and tweaked a couple of things.
The most notable change is the loss of her Photon Shields, the small bit of shield she’d throw on her allies. Honestly, that’s no great loss as I never felt they did much to help and were quickly blasted away. In its place, they’ve given her a Photon Barrier, a shield like Reinhardt’s that launches forward slowly in a straight line. While this means you don’t have much control (you have to aim where you want it to go), it is ideal for blocking incoming damage… whether pushing or defending. I did note that it can’t move through walls and will break upon contacting objects, so be careful how you use it.
The second change is to give Symmetra two Ultimate abilities. She still has her Teleporter, of course, although they’ve made it more survivable by replacing most of its health with self-recharging shields. If you press the Ultimate button a second time, however, you can place a Shield Generator instead. This device puts shields on any ally within its radius, even through walls. Hide it somewhere and watch how resilient your team gets!
Symmetra also received a few other changes. She now starts with all six turrets at the ready and their cooldown was reduced; this is great for offense or quick reactions, as she drops everything fast enough you’re getting hit by multiple beams. Also, her primary weapon now has slightly further reach, the better to tickle your enemies to death.
Will this change the game? I don’t know, but I loved Symmetra already, even if I agreed she was very situational. I’ve recently tried her on offense and found her to be somewhat fun (if a bit flawed), so I can only imagine how great she’ll be with these new abilities. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the new patch will drop or if they’ll keep all of the changes. I loved what I saw, so hopefully it’s more of tweaking for balance than scrapping anything so far. If you want to check it out now, the patch is live on the PTR.
And remember… the true enemy of humanity is disorder. It looks like Blizzard realized this and made everything by design.