It has only been a week since Sombra arrived to Overwatch, and already we're getting a brand new hero by the name of Symmetra! Now, some of you might argue that she was already in the game, but given that I hadn't seen her once in the past ~100 hours leads me to believe that was all an elaborate hoax by Blizzard.
If you're interested in an extremely detailed overview of Symmetra and the current state of Overwatch by none other than Jeff Kaplan himself, check out the video embedded right below. On the other hand, if you don't have 10 minutes to spare and are just looking for the short version, I'll also add the rather brief hero overview and patch notes. Have a look:
• Added a new "Boop" unlockable voice line for Sombra
• Players can now select the 1v1 Mystery Duel and 3v3 Elimination game modes from the Custom Game menu
• Added a "Stay as Team" feature, which allows players to remain grouped with their teammates after the match has ended
• New Abillity - Photon Barrier
- Replaces her existing Photon Shield ability
- Generates a large energy barrier in front of Symmetra that blocks enemy fire as it travels forward
• New Ultimate Ability - Shield Generator
- Symmetra's Ultimate ability now offers a choice between her Teleporter and a new option: Shield Generator
- Shield Generator places a device that grants additional shields to any ally within the its effective radius, regardless of barriers, walls, or obstacles between heroes and the Shield Generator
• Photon Projector (Primary Fire)
- Range has been increased from 5 meters to 7 meters
• Sentry Turret
- Number of turrets that can be carried has been increased from 3 turrets to 6 turrets
- Cooldown has been reduced from 12 seconds to 10 seconds
- Decreased health from 200 to 50
- Increased shields from 0 to 350
• Photon Shield
- Replaced with the new Photon Barrier ability
Developer Comments: When looking into changes for Symmetra, we wanted to address two main issues: she didn't feel active enough, and she often felt weak in certain situations on different maps and game modes, due to her Teleporter.
To address the first point, we removed her more passive Photon Shield ability, and replaced it with a much more active ability: Photon Barrier. Now, Symmetra can help lead the charge on offense or help shut down a big push on defense by actively blocking damage for your team.
For the second point, we noticed players would often switch off of her when they felt like her Teleporter wasn't as useful. For example, when playing her on defense on an Assault map, players often only used her to defend the first capture point, then quickly changed if that point fell. To help her feel more useful in more situations, we've given her an alternate to her Teleporter. The Shield Generator is just as important for the enemy to deal with, but is useful in more situations than her Teleporter.
The turret changes allow her to rebuild her turret nests faster. Even if all her turrets are wiped out, it's now easier for players to build them all back up before the next push.
The last change increases the range on her Arc Welder to make it easier for her to build up and keep a powerful charge on her weapon.
• Particle Barrier/Projected Barrier
- Attacks that deal damage to both a barrier and the target of a barrier (such as Reinhardt's Fire Strike, Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, etc.), no longer deal damage to the barrier twice
I've tried playing Symmetra for a couple of matches on the PTR, and I must admit she's actually pretty damn powerful now! The newly added shield allows you to close the distance without getting shredded, and the equally new Shield Generator allows both you and your team to take significant risks without actually getting punished for them. Whether any of this is balanced or not, I have no idea, but it is most certainly a ton of fun!
On a somewhat unrelated note, I have some bad news for you Genji mains out there. Unlike the current version of Overwatch where a single sword swing is enough to clear Zarya's barrier, on the PTR you need to hit it twice, which means that pretty much every non-Tracer hero with a Zarya on their team will take 4 swings to bring down! That is a rather significant nerf, even though it wasn't aimed at Genji himself, so do bear that in mind the next time you try to brute-force your way through Zarya's defenses.
And finally, if you would like to give this patch a try for yourself, you can do so by simply changing your region to Overwatch PTR on the PC version. Just bear in mind that each game currently features two Symmetras, so the odds of you getting her outside of some ridiculous 6v6 Symmetra matches is fairly low. But even still, getting to know her before she pops onto the live servers is probably a good idea, because if these changes go through - you will be seeing a lot more Symmetra!