After first unveiling its plans to radically change the Overwatch support hero Symmetra several months ago, Blizzard has finally explained exactly what those changes will be in a new developer update YouTube video. Her ultimate and shield ability are undergoing huge modifications, which players can test on the Overwatch public test realm as of Tuesday afternoon.
Overwatch PTR patch notes: Symmetra changes and a new social feature
Here's every upcoming change to Symmetra, explained by Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan in the video embedded above.
Symmetra will be the first Overwatch hero to have a choice between two ultimates. When her ult is available, you can choose to either put down her teleporter — which will work the same way as it currently does — or you can choose to put down a shield generator. This shield generator will add shield health to everyone within a fairly large radius.
Kaplan didn't say exactly how much it would add, but he said it was more than Symmetra's current shield-granting ability. Players don't need to be within the shield generator's line of sight, so Symmetra can hide it to help keep it from being destroyed for a longer time.
Her teleporter is also going to get beefed up a tad. It's going to have more health than it currently does. It will have 400 total health, 350 of which will be shield health, so it will regenerate over time. This will help Symmetra keep her teleporter up longer.
Symmetra's shield ability is being totally scrapped in favor of something much more active and strategic. It's getting replaced with "Photon Barrier," which Kaplan described as something like Reinhardt's shield, except that it's a projectile that moves slowly along a linear path. Basically, this will help Symmetra be more viable for offensive modes, where she can use it to protect allies as they push forward through choke points.
Her sentry turrets are also undergoing changes. Currently, Symmetra can place three turrets right away, but she then has to wait for them to recharge before placing her second set of three. The update will make it so she can place six turrets at once. Additionally, the cooldown after placing those six turrets will be reduced to 10 seconds — down from its current cooldown of 12 seconds. Kaplan said this will help make the setup phase a bit quicker and also help her readjust her defenses part-way through a match.
The only thing changing about Symmetra's weapon is that her primary fire, the beam that locks on to other players, is getting a slight buff to its range. Kaplan specified that Symmetra's weapon will still have a very short range, but it will have a tiny bit more reach than it currently does.
As of Tuesday afternoon, these changes are all playable on the PTR, in addition to a new social feature that will make grouping up with other players much easier. At the end of a match, when player stats are being tabulated, there will be a new button that says "stay with group." Every player in the group that hits this button will remain together for subsequent matches. This will be perfect for those rare-but-precious times where a pick-up group has great chemistry and wants to stick together for another round.
Overwatch Symmetra changes: Additional updates hitting PTR soon
One of the other updates hitting the PTR soon is the new control map, Oasis, that was first unveiled at BlizzCon. Kaplan said Oasis is coming to the PTR "very shortly after Symmetra," with a planned implementation on the live servers in early 2017. The main part of the map Blizzard wants feedback on is its jump pad, which is not something that's been in an Overwatch map yet.
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Nov. 22, 2016, 4:22 p.m.: This story has been updated.