Overwatch 2 is making some big changes to the team shooter, including reducing team sizes from six to five. With this new composition, tanks are more important than ever; each team will have two support heroes and two damage heroes, and tanks are tasked with protecting them all.
There are two major hero reworks coming to bolster the tank class, Blizzard says: One is the centaur omnic Orisa, who has an almost entirely new kit, and the other is damage-dealer Doomfist, who has been shifted into the tank class. Blizzard detailed those changes on Wednesday.
Doomfist is an infamously irritating damage-dealer, and he’ll keep a couple of tools from his old Overwatch kit. He will now have more health (increased from 250 to 450), and while he’s lost his Uppercut, he’s gained an ability called Power Block to protect himself from frontal attacks. His Rocket Punch and Seismic Slam do less damage, but they still get Doomfist in the middle of the enemy team to disrupt his foes.
Doomfist’s ability to lock down opponents makes him difficult to balance as a damage class, Blizzard explained.
“We were basically at a fork. Either he needs a light rework — potentially even a heavy rework — as a DPS to somehow function correctly without just giving you a ton of crowd control while he’s killing you, or try him as a tank,” said Geoff Goodman, Overwatch lead hero designer, in an interview. “He’s very threatening and he causes you to be in positions you don’t want to be in, especially on maps where there’s a heavily fortified defensive position like a ledge. He’s really good about breaking up those fortifications.”
Orisa, on the other hand, is losing almost all of her old kit. She no longer has Halt!, Supercharger, or Protective Barrier. Instead, she has Energy Javelin, which forces her enemies back — and they take extra damage if they hit a wall. New ability Javelin Spin propels Orisa forward, destroying projectiles in front of her, and knocking back enemies in her path. Her new ultimate, Terra Surge, can be channeled to force enemies towards her; Orisa is immune to crowd control during the duration of Terra Surge.
“Overwatch could have this tendency to get really bogged down with these defensive abilities,” says Goodman. “Playing against a double-barrier combo of Orisa and [Reinhardt] and you’re like, ‘I never even get to shoot at players anymore. I’m just shooting all these barriers.’”
Orisa’s centaur form and her defensive kit also led to a mishmash; her new form is an “engaging, brawly tank,” according to senior hero designer Brandon Brennan.
“The kit she had before could have worked in 5v5,” Brennan said in the same interview, citing Sigma as an example. “But the way she looks and the way she played, they didn’t really match. We wanted to try to resolve that, so that if you saw Orisa and what she was doing, things just made more sense. We thought that the brawly engagement direction works really well for someone that is, you know, as the community calls her, the centaur horse lady.”
The Overwatch 2 team tried many takes on a new Orisa, developers said, including a new model in a bipedal form, but ultimately they chose to stay true to her horsey roots. As a result, she’s gone from one of the most passive tank heroes in the game into an aggressive tank that will dive into the back lines to take out the enemy squishies.
Overwatch 2’s beta is set to go live on April 26, and it will include these two new reworks. The beta also includes new hero Sojourn and a host of other balance changes and quality-of-life additions.