We are now in the age of Hook 2.0, my friends. It’s been a long, sometimes unjust journey, often through walls or thick pillars. But yesterday, Blizzard fixed Overwatch’s Roadhog. And now, I feel good knowing that I deserved to hook you chumps, and didn’t just get lucky with a glitch.
In the patch notes, Blizzard says that Roadhog’s targets are now “released if they leave Roadhog’s line of sight before being pulled.” Also, hooked targets are pulled “directly in front of Roadhog (rather than straight to him),” except when our lovable pig boy does a surprise 180. It’s a huge improvement on the buggy hook Roadhog’s been working with for almost a year.
Since beta, Roadhog’s hook has been broken. It hooked players through barriers, environmental objects and occasionally, other players. Also, sometimes, Roadhog’s hook pulled players behind or to the side of him, leaving him vulnerable to attack or preventing him from quickly meleeing hooked enemies. The issue, in part, was that Roadhog’s hook did not properly account for his line of sight. So, if there was a pillar between Roadhog and an enemy, he could hook and drag them through it.
In October, Blizzard told Kotaku that “Roadhog’s hook is basically a sphere that he throws out and searches for targets as it moves. If the hook finds a target, it will pull them back to you.” They were working on a fix so Roadhog wouldn’t hook players “out of line of sight or unable to reasonably be moved back to Roadhog.” Players waited, impatiently, for months as rage-posts piled up on Battle.net forums.
This may all seem like whiney Overwatch players demanding a small nerf. But that’s not the case. Roadhog’s hook needed a bug fix. As a Roadhog main, I wanted to know that, when my hook landed, it landed fairly and not because of an error. Since Roadhog is a flanker, and his playstyle punishes out-of-line enemy flankers, he’s often hanging out in walled-off parts of the map where his buggy hook could be exploited. Also, since the hook is so powerful, a few corrupted ones could make or break an enemy team’s push. That just wasn’t right.
Now, it is the age of Hook 2.0. A few weeks ago, Overwatch principal designer Geoff Goodman said the hook would undergo a “new persistent line-of-sight check back to Roadhog once the hook as landed.” If the check failed, then the hook would break and the enemy would not be pulled into Roadhog. The PTR was a mess for a few days while the Blizzard team tested out, let’s say, Hook 1.5, which was highly sensitive to line-of-sight impediments for the hook.
Because it is Overwatch, Hook 1.5 provoked some salty, bitter tears from players who didn’t like the first round of test adjustments. The hook’s line-of-sight check was quickly adjusted for sensitivity on the PTR.
Goodman also said the hook wouldn’t allow players to “hook someone, spin 180, and dump someone off a cliff,” which is exactly what Hook 1.5 did on the PTR.
Hook 2.0 finally landed on PC and console yesterday. My review: It is the shit. It’s not flawless, but it’s fixed. And, no, it’s not a buff.
The hook breaks off when Roadhog doesn’t have line of sight on an enemy. On Hanamura’s second point, my hook broke off from a Soldier standing behind a pillar on the right side balcony. For me, it only went through something it shouldn’t have once—the top stair in the basement area of Hanamura’s second point. That definitely felt fair. My hooks landed a lot more often, too, for reasons I am unable to explain. I’m looking forward to maintaining a stable 55%-60% hook accuracy rate.
Where things get a little tricky is when an enemy hides behind something moments after being hooked. On Dorado, at the end of the map, the hook broke off from a McCree who had moved behind a thick pillar. It was a borderline situation, but felt reasonable to me. Other Overwatch players have had it worse. Here, Roadhog hooks a Pharah who, after she falls behind a bridge or a truck, is quickly unhooked.
She’s initially in his line of sight, fair and square, but after she moves behind the bridge, Roadhog’s hook cancels. My impulse is not to complain too much about this, since honestly, it’s pretty tough to hook a Pharah in-air anywhere. But this mechanic could prove exploitable by Reinhardts. After the hook makes contact with him, or someone behind him, he can now quickly throw up his shield to break off the hook:
It appears that although the hook is connecting, a lot can happen in the split second before it starts pulling in enemies. The hook cancels pretty easily. I’ve read some complaints, but also, since the hook seems to be hitting more often, it may be good that these strong line-of-sight counters exist.
Some people are saying it seems stronger now, too. Or, that it’s placing enemies in the perfect position to be shot and meleed now that it pulls them directly in front of Roadhog. Reapers, Anas and, sometimes, Meis were basically dead once I’d hooked them. I’ve heard that Zarya is vulnerable, too, but haven’t corroborated that myself. It’s possible that the hook is now just doing its full, intended damage since it’s less glitched-out. That said, it’s sort of your fault if you get hooked now. Probably, you weren’t playing defensively enough.
Roadhog’s hook is my favorite part of Overwatch, and mastering it on more legitimate terms will be exciting. If the salty tears still rain down, though, I do hope it’s a cry for balance, and not to nerf a character whose feature ability is now definitely avoidable.