A couple of characters in Overwatch, Torbjörn and Bastion, use turrets. They are pretty ridiculous.
Automated turrets are a staple in first-person shooters, including obvious Overwatch inspiration Team Fortress 2. Torbjörn actually has quite a bit in common with TF2’s Engineer class; he even bonks the crap out of his handy dandy fun-sized murder machine to repair and upgrade it. Difference is, Torbjörn’s turret is a bit too good at doing turret things. It’s kinda fitting that Torb looks a little like Santa Claus, because his turret knows when you’re sleeping, it knows when you’re awake, it knows when you’ve been bad or good, so get behind cover for goodness’ sake.
Observe, courtesy of Chouss:
Yeah, it can be absurdly accurate and fast, especially once you upgrade it. On top of that, Torb can just hang back and heal it, so it’s got staying power on top of everything else. Bastion, meanwhile, requires a bit more finesse to play, but he’s arguably got a more hellacious range game.
Now, it should be noted that both these characters do require a degree of skill to play well. In my time with Overwatch‘s most recent version, I’ve come up against good Torb and Bastion players and ones who deploy turrets with all the subtlety of somebody hurling an egg carton into rush hour traffic. Despite how overpowered these characters can be, you still have to be smart and strategic about your positioning. That sort of battlefield awareness can be deceptively difficult to master.
This has led to a degree of debate over whether characters like Torb and Bastion are really overpowered, or whether players just haven’t devised strategies to counter good players yet. However, recent consensus seems skewed toward balance issues, especially in Torb’s case. It’s too much of a triple threat: it hits too hard, aims too fast and keeps on ticking for too long. This makes it especially troublesome for less-skilled players, who don’t have the knowledge or reflexes to dismantle it reliably. And by troublesome, I mean frustrating.
It’s funny that we’ve arrived at this point, because Blizzard’s original goal in overhauling Torb and Bastion was to make them less effective against new players and more viable in higher tiers. At the time, they wrote:
Similar to Bastion, Torbjörn was a hero that often felt too powerful against less-experienced players, but underwhelming against more experienced players. In particular, we found that less-experienced players had a difficult time figuring out how to deal with Torbjörn’s level 3 turret. On the flipside, more experienced players could easily prevent Torbjörn from setting up a level 3 turret or otherwise getting too established, which in turn made him feel helpless. To help solve these issues, we’re making his Rivet Gun stronger; improving the damage output of his level 1 and level 2 turrets, but reducing their health; and linking his Level 3 turret to his Ultimate, Molten Core (thus limiting its duration).
And yet, it appears that the exact opposite has happened. Oof.
After a prolonged barrage of complaints, Blizzard recently acknowledged that, yeah, Torbjörn and Bastion need some more tuning. What kind? They’re not 100 per cent certain yet, so they’re gonna try multiple approaches. Game director Jeff Kaplan explained in a forum post:
We’re actively making changes to Bastion and Torbjorn right now. We will push these changes live sometime this week (hopefully). Our goal was to make these Heroes more viable in high end play and less of a threat in low end play. We obviously failed on the latter and are going to try a few changes over the next few weeks.
Good to hear. Balancing a video game is hard, folks — even when your intentions are as beautiful and pristine as a freshly braided dwarf beard.