Overwatch’s Turret Heroes Need A Fix, But One Won’t Come Until 2016

Overwatch’s Turret Heroes Need A Fix, But One Won’t Come Until 2016

In a video update, game director Jeff Kaplan has admitted that Overwatch’s two turret heroes — the Engineer-esque Torbjorn and the walking robot Bastion — are two major issues for players right now. But it’s a tricky problem, and Blizzard hasn’t quite got an answer yet.

Kaplan, who is also a vice-president of Blizzard, starts off talking about the game’s matchmaking systems. The most recent patch introduced ratings for matches and players so the system could find more balanced matches — although Kaplan admits that this will probably result in some unbalanced matches initially until more data is collected.

But the real interesting element was when Kaplan began talking about the three major problems players face when coming into Overwatch. New players, he said, often found that defenders won all the time when they first played, while Torbjorn and Bastion were incredibly overpowered.

As they became more accustomed to Blizzard’s inaugural FPS however, the turret heroes became increasingly weaker, so much so that experienced players don’t believe Torbjorn or Bastion are competitive at all. And the perception on attacking flips entirely too, where attackers win more often than defenders.

It’s a tricky spot for Blizzard to be in, since there’s no easy solution. If you buff the two turret heroes so they become more competitively viable, that also strengthens the opinions of new players that the two heroes are too difficult to handle.

Blizzard’s also in the space where every hero needs to be competitively viable. It’s not like the Overwatch roster has grown to the size of League of Legends or Dota 2, where heroes can fall out of favour in the meta and the developer doesn’t have to immediately respond.

Kaplan noted that they won’t make any significant changes to the turrets this year, although radical alterations will be unveiled once 2016 kicks off in earnest. I imagine part of the difficulty lies in the immobility of the heroes — perhaps turrets that can move, but have fewer shields, might be one answer.


  • If turret heroes (The new Harmonix game!) just don’t work then maybe the question is “Are they necessary?” Maybe the turrets would be better as part of the arsenal instead of being the key role of the character. I don’t envy game designers who have to work out balance issues, it’s always such a difficult thing to do.

    • It’s such a tricky spot too, having these two characters effectively be broken at both the bottom and top levels of the game. Don’t envy how you sort out that quandary without a complete rewrite of their abilities.

      • I reckon with Torbjorn they should go the TF2 route. Give him the option of a couple of mini-turrets you can plant offensively or his main upgradeable turret. No matter how you slice it, purely defensive characters like those two just won’t be viable. The best heroes right now seem like the ones with the most versatility.

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