Overwatch's Symmetra Is Getting A 'Dramatic' Overhaul

I love how unique Symmetra is as both a hero and a character, but... I’m a total trainwreck with her. Given that she’s one of Overwatch’s least-played characters, I’m guessing a lot of people share my sentiment.

As part of a wide-ranging developer update, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan shed some light on Symmetra’s evolution. He explained that this won’t be as simple as, say, a tweak to Widowmaker’s scope speed. The undisputed queen of sitting emotes is going back to the drawing board.

“It could be changes to some of her mechanics and just changing her overall feel through things like numbers and cooldowns,” explained Kaplan. “That’s always a possibility. But we’re going to look at some other changes and explore some other things as well that might be a little more dramatic in terms of design vision for her.”


However, Kaplan and co aren’t planning to turn Symmetra into something that she’s not. While players have requested things like turrets that heal teammates or healing based on proximity to Symmetra’s portal, those sorts of things simply aren’t in the cards. She’s not a healer, and she will not become one. Kaplan said Blizzard would sooner move her out of the support category than alter the philosophy behind her design.

“What we are looking to do,” Kaplan added, “is make her more viable in more situations. I think right now she’s perceived as being OK or acceptable if you’re playing on defense on a first point, or early in a match. Other than that, we really don’t see Symmetra as being super viable in a lot of other situations.”

Changes could be coming as soon as mid-November, but the team doesn’t want to rush.

In the developer update, Kaplan also covered a whole host of other topics, though he didn’t reveal anything too surprising. Spectator mode continues to receive improvements, and eSports features are definitely a focus. New maps, modes, and heroes are (of course) in development, and one hero in particular “will see the light of day sooner rather than later.” Another hero prototype is quickly taking shape and could be in the game early next year.


One of the maps, meanwhile, is already getting transformed from a series of boxy lumps into a series of boxy lumps covered in art, so it’s probably not too far out. It uses a preexisting game mode, as does another map that’s showing promise. New game modes, on the other hand, are still very experimental. Blizzard doesn’t want to pull the trigger on anything that’s not fun and balanced for all heroes.

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About the author

Nathan Grayson

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, PC gaming.