November 22, 2016 – Earlier today, Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced major changes for Symmetra. These include modified mechanics for her turrets and Ultimate, as well an entirely new move to replace her shield-granting ability. The new Symmetra is available for testing at the Overwatch PTR.
Symmetra is a Support class character capable of building orbed turrets, shooting through shields with slow energy balls and teleporting allies from their spawn zone to a chosen point on the map.
Perhaps the largest change is to Symmetra’s Ultimate ability, her teleporter. According to Kaplan, “you can also toggle, by pressing your Ultimate ability again, to a shield generator. The shield generator is a built object just like the teleporter, but it puts a very substantial shield, more than her old shield, on all of her teammates in a very big radius.”
The shield generator grants allies 75 HP shields, and players do not need to be within the generator’s line of sight in order to get gain them. Symmetra’s teleporter functions exactly as it did prior to the PTR update, except its HP has been reduced from 200 to 50 and it has gained 350 HP shields where it used to have none. Overall, the teleporter (and shield generator) should be much tougher to destroy than in previous versions.
With the addition of the shield generator, Symmetra’s photon shield ability has been scrapped in favor a new ability altogether: the photon barrier.
Resemblant of Reinhardt and Winston’s barriers, the photon barrier blocks incoming projectiles. Instead of remaining in one place on the map, the photon barrier will glide forward before disappearing or crashing into a structure. The ability allows for allies to regroup behind the cover of Symmetra’s shield and allows Symmetra herself to push forward when on the attack.
Check out Symmetra’s barrier here.
Another welcome change was applied to Symmetra’s turret ability. She can place up to six turrets before her ability is disabled by a 10-second cooldown; previously, Symmetra required a 12-second cooldown after placing just three turrets.
The photon projector, her primary fire, has had a small upgrade, boosting its beam’s length from 5 meters to 7 meters. Hopefully this will allow her to hasten the ability’s gradual damage increase.
Symmetra’s kit is criticized for its low viability in many situations, such as King’s Row after Point A is claimed by the attacking team. Blizzard’s changes to Symmetra are meant to give her more flexibility and allow her to help her teammates in more impactful ways.
As stated in the PTR patch notes:
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.
Zarya also received a slight change. According to the developer’s comments:
“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.”