Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan discusses Symmetra’s redesign and exactly why these choices were made in the newest developer update from Overwatch. The video showcases some new features coming to the PTR as well as details what changes will be made to Symmetra’s build.
One of Symmetra’s biggest issues is that, according to Kaplan, Symmetra was “very effective, but viewed as overly situational. Players enjoyed playing her but would play her in specific situations, like for example on the first point in King’s Row… in essence her entire ultimate ability was not useful on later points.”
The “Quality of Life” aspect of the redesign involves first off, her ultimate. Symmetra will be the very first character in Overwatch to have a choice of ultimates. She will have a choice of two ultimates during the course of the match. She will, of course, start with no ultimate. When it is available, it will light up, and at first you will see the teleporter there. You can choose to set that down, but you can also toggle a second ult by pressing you ultimate again, this second one is a shield generator.
The shield generator is a built object, much like the teleporter, that puts a very substantial shield on all of her teammates in a very big radius. It even ignores line of sight so the shield generator can actually be hidden from the other team. Her teleporter now has more health, and shield health has been included as well. So the health of the teleporter will now regenerate over time.
Symmetra’s new ability is called Photon Barrier and it is a barrier that is projected on a track of movement, elliptical in shape, and she sends it out and it moves along a trajectory. The barrier signals your entire team to follow, for one, and Symmetra can use it to protect her own devices as well. This makes the shields more active and fun, lending more creativity to the player.
Symmetra’s sentry turrets have also been tweaked. She can now place all six of her turrets without waiting for a cooldown, it’s now instant. Instead of just three, wait, and then place again. The cooldown is now ten seconds instead of twelve. You can pick your area and set up in a more conducive way to your play style. This also allows Symmetra to move her location more along the lines of the flow of combat.
Finally, there are some tweaks to her weapon. The primary beam’s distance has been extended so she can lock onto targets further out, but she’s by no means long range even with this change.
Kaplan says that all of these changes are coming “very soon” to the PTR. He also wants to hear from seasoned Symmetra players versus non-Symmetra players. The goal is to have her be a “less situational” character and one who sees “a lot more use” instead.
In addition, there has been some news about Oasis, the new control map that was mentioned at Blizzcon. Oasis is coming to the PTR very shortly. After Symmetra, Oasis will be on there for testing. They hope to bring the map to everyone by early 2017.
There is also a small social feature that will be coming to the PTR as well. A small button on the screen will say “Stay with group or stay with the team” and will allow you to party up and stay with the team you are playing with. It will automatically form a party for you so that you can keep playing with your group.