To help Blizzard make its online shooter Overwatch a more balanced experience, we name five characters that could use a buff, and five others that should be nerfed.
In the digital age of gaming, developers have the benefit of improving games long after they hit store shelves. For online multiplayer games, these improvements often come in the form of balancing updates that “nerf” (weaken) or “buff” (boost) characters or weapons in an attempt to make the game fairer for everyone playing. Like many other modern day shooters, the 2016 Game of the Year, Overwatch, has had its fair share of balancing updates since its launch last May.
Almost a year after Overwatch released to the masses, and Blizzard is still tweaking characters to balance the game. Sometimes these tweaks consist of simple stat changes, but other times Blizzard significantly reworks characters, giving them new abilities or taking away broken ones.
Despite the many updates that have already been released for the game, Blizzard is still trying to figure out how to make Overwatch as balanced as possible. While there are likely many other changes that could be made to achieve that goal, buffing and nerfing the following 10 characters could help Blizzard in its quest to balance Overwatch.
Overwatch Characters That Need Buffed
As it stands, Mercy’s healing and damage boosts seem to be at acceptable levels, but the problem is with her ultimate ability, Resurrect. In its current form, Resurrect has too small of a radius, meaning that if the team is even slightly spread out when they die, Mercy can only hope to resurrect one or two allies at best. Mercy’s ultimate can be a game-changer, so Blizzard shouldn’t buff it too much, but a slight increase in radius could make it much more useful in the thick of battle.
Blizzard itself realizes that Sombra needs a buff, and is already testing a couple of buffs that should be added to her in the coming weeks. One makes it so Sombra can hack enemies quicker and another reduces the charge time on her abilities, but we think it should be taken a step further. Even though Sombra is listed as an offense character, right now she doesn’t do enough damage to be used effectively in that role. Many players, outside of those that are exceptionally skilled when it comes to using her abilities, struggle with Sombra, and a slight damage increase could see her become more commonly used in Competitive play.
On consoles, Torbjorn is a well-balanced character, and can be devastating on Defend maps in the right hands. On PC, Torbjorn is another story entirely, with the character dying too quickly and his turrets easily destroyed by enemy players. When it comes to Torbjorn on PC, it would be nice to see him get a buff that increases his health or armor, as well as makes his turrets a bit sturdier.
Select Widowmaker in a Competitive match and watch the hate messages roll in. Unless someone is remarkably skilled with Widowmaker, many consider her a wasted pick, which is problematic in a hero shooter like Overwatch. Widowmaker’s reputation could be fixed with a buff that increases the damage of her sniper rifle, so she’s able to pick off weaker enemies quicker without needing to land headshots.
Anyone playing Overwatch‘s third season of Competitive should be familiar with the “tank meta.” Right now, the most popular team compositions are comprised of three tanks, two healers, and an offense character. However, one tank that is often left out of the equation is Winston, who simply isn’t as useful as his fellow tanks. Winston’s weapon is too weak and he dies too quickly (despite being a tank, two well-placed shots from Roadhog is usually enough to do him in).
Winston’s Jump Pack ability, which lets him leap away from danger when necessary, should be what balances out his weaknesses, but unfortunately, the Jump Pack doesn’t recharge fast enough to play that much of a role. Out of all the characters that need buffs in Overwatch, Winston’s buff should be the most dramatic, with the recharge time on his Jump Pack lowered, and his health, armor, and damage increased to make him a more viable tank option.
Overwatch Characters That Need Nerfed
Ana already has some nerfs on the way, which will mainly focus on weakening her over-powered healing grenade. However, Ana’s grenade is only part of the reason why she is so overpowered compared to her fellow healers, the other being her ultimate ability. The damage and defense increases awarded to characters that are boosted by Ana are fine at their current levels, but the issue is that Ana seems to generate her ultimate ability too fast, especially when she has multiple tanks on her team. By making it take longer for Ana to earn her ultimate, she should become a more well-rounded character overall.
Like Ana, D.Va is a character that is already being addressed with nerfs from Blizzard. But also like Ana, the nerfs currently planned for D.Va don’t seem to go far enough in making her a more balanced character. Perhaps making D.Va once again susceptible to death from her own ultimate will make her less of an annoyance, or maybe lowering the time on her Matrix Shield will make battles with her less one-sided.
One doesn’t even need to be especially skilled as Pharah to destroy an enemy team with her, especially on maps with lots of pits. Since she is basically able to fly indefinitely, Pharah can constantly pelt an enemy team with rockets that do way too much damage, so lowering the damage of her rockets, or maybe reducing their splash radius, will make Parah a better balanced character.
We realize characters like Pharah and Soldier: 76 are supposed to deal out a lot of damage, but even so, they seem to be a little too destructive. Like Pharah, Soldier: 76 does too much damage in his current state, but besides simply lowering how much damage he deals per second, there’s another way to make him more balanced. One of the reasons why Soldier: 76 feels a little too powerful is because of his Helix Rockets, which can one-shot many characters, even at a great distance. By increasing the spread on the Helix Rockets so they do less damage the farther they travel, Soldier: 76 would feel less ‘cheap’.
At one point in time, Symmetra was pathetically weak in certain situations compared to other characters, making her one of the least-played characters in the entire game. In an attempt to make Symmetra a more popular character, Blizzard seriously reworked her, giving her a second ultimate ability, new shields, more turrets, and increased the range of her gun. While a Symmetra buff was much-appreciated at the time, Blizzard seems to have gone a little too far, making the character one of the most overpowered in the game. We can think of a couple of ways to make Symmetra less frustrating to do battle with, like lowering her shields and reducing either the range or ammo capacity of her gun.
We think the suggestions we’ve made would go a long way in making Overwatch a more balanced game, but we acknowledge that tweaks to characters can result in new unforeseen balancing issues. Until the community leaves, Blizzard is likely to support Overwatch with endless updates in an attempt to make the game as balanced as possible, but with new characters, maps, and game modes added on a regular basis, something tells us it will never quite be perfect.
What changes would you like to see to Overwatch‘s heroes? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.
Overwatch is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.