Overwatch's Roadhog Has A Broken Hook

Nothing about Overwatch tickles me like Roadhog's hook. It is the most satisfying power move of the game. This is why I am loathe to report that Roadhog's hook, the most lovely and triumphant Overwatch feature, is definitely, 100 per cent broken. Yes, it's true. Consider this a call-out: Roadhog's hook has no business going through walls. Since May, Overwatch players have complained that Roadhog's hook defies known laws of physics, giving the porcine hero an advantage over more squishy enemies.

Lirk, a Twitch streamer, experienced an egregious wall clip earlier this month:

Caitlin, another streamer, was hooked through a wall and the corner of the payload:

Chaos0414 was hooked through several walls:

And, here — what even is this?

Fans debate whether Roadhog's hook is hitscan or projectile in an effort to explain why Roadhog can, sometimes, hook enemies through walls. A popular theory is that the hook can make immediate contact with an enemy upon sight, but that the chain's animation lags to give a sense of travel time. So, if an enemy is visible for a second through a door, Roadhog can drag that enemy toward him, even if the enemy moves behind a wall.

Seems possible, but not authoritative. Theories have been flying since beta. Most have exceptions. Like this abomination caught by Nt_Chris:

Blizzard explained how Roadhog’s hook works in an e-mail to Kotaku:

Under the hood of the Overwatch engine, 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. We’re talking about various improvements to the hook to help solve odd edge cases, especially where the target is out of line of sight or unable to reasonable be moved back to Roadhog. It is not a hitscan attack.

There’s a lot to unpack here. If Roadhog’s hook isn’t hitscan, but a projectile, then it’s still hard to say how it pulls enemies through walls. Projectile weapons account for travel time, so an enemy’s split-second appearance through a door still wouldn’t really clarify why Roadhog can sometimes pull them through a wall. The idea that it’s a “sphere” that “searches for targets” explains its large hit box.

It looks like the debate won’t be alive for too much longer — Blizzard says that they’re looking for ways to fix the hook-through-wall issue, which, to me, sounds like a nerf.


    Define 'hitscan' for me.

      Instant hit on the point you are aiming at is how people define hitscan. It was never hitscan but the projectile moves so fast it might as well be. Not to mention the hit box for it it huge and obviously ignoring geometry which is why it's ripping people through walls and shit.

      As distinct from a 'projectile' weapon, 'hitscan' weapons theoretically hit their target instantly (think Soldier's rifle, Tracer's pistols).

      A projectile takes time to arrive at its target (eg. Pharah's rockets, Lucio's wave gun thingy).

    I always have the opposite problem. I seem to hook people and they don't get pulled all the way to me, instead clipping walls or steps and stopping. Maybe it's ping?

      Ping is a simplistic way of describing whats going on. To combat latency, the game actually creates a compromise between the 2 client computers (shooter and victim) and the server. This compromise creates a lot of weird looking plays, especially with Roadhog's hook and Hanzo's arrows. The problem occurs where if you're client information hits the server late, or whatever, you might think you're round the corner, but actually on the server you didnt make it, therefore the Shooter actually hits. Then on the kill cam, you see yourself dancing around out in the open when you thought you were round the corner.

      The Blizzard devs have released a bunch of long winded description videos if you're really interested. They use plastic cups with pictures of chibi pharah stuck to them to demonstrate everything.

      Having said that, Roadhog's Hook still does some weird things even so. They apparently "buffed" it by stopping it from constantly flicking the victim behind Roady, and getting stuck to walls and stuff, but it's created more weird and unpredictable results than less from my experience.

        I've seen the video and it seems nice in theory, but Overwatch is the worst game I've played in recent years for dealing with latency. If my ping goes over 50ms it gets uncomfortable. Over 100ms and stuff starts rubber banding, 150ms and the game becomes unplayable trash with reloads and abilities failing to happen on top of horrendous rubber banding that makes it hard to even move.

        Meanwhile my other go to online game is MechWarrior Online, a game with really average developers that years old now. I can play that without issue all the way up to 300ms.

        Whatever Blizzard are doing they are doing it wrong.

        Last edited 05/10/16 3:48 pm

          Not trying to say I disagree. Any sort of lag spikes cause issues for pretty much anyone. I definitely get the issues you describe, although I pretty much constantly get a connection at 50ish ms so its not too bad. But this issue isnt just caused by your ping, its caused by the relative latency between you, the server and the other person involved. Even if you were getting 10ms 100% of the time, if the other end isnt, then you'd still get stupid Roady hooks. Plus the fact that Roady's hook looks like a projectile, but is actually hitscan, which means everything looks fucked up when you get a weird situation. This is also failing to mention that the hitboxes on the characters are pretty large as well.

          I dont know how you fix it reliably so that most people go "Hey this is working well now" but at the moment there are too many silly looking plays, and the devs have to figure out a way of making it at least better.

    The 2nd last one hooking the robots doesn't seem to be an issue? The hook clears the side of the barrels and where the hook sits in his hand, would visually be in line with them. All the others though, wow... thats bad.

      Lucio one was fine as well though, watched it at .25 speed and he hooks him prior to moving behind the wall so the pull animation triggers already and pulls him.

    I know that previous to the tick rate update, this issue was often explained by that. It's just much more egregious with this weapon than getting shot around a corner/behind a wall because you actually watch the physics get broken in a replay.

    I think it also has a little to do with the animation of the hook, because he throws fro the left of screen but the target reticule is in the centre.

    Finally, saying something is 100% broken implies that it never works =p

    You can still aim miles above a player and it will still hook them. Blizzard doesn't want to change anything because then players might need skill to play.
    Hit boxes in the game are still way to generous, Roadhogs hook, Genji Deflect, Hanzos arrows, Mei's projectiles. Fine for Console i guess but for PC players this shit is the most annoying thing.
    On PC we can actually aim, so i don't see why we need the huge hitboxes still.

    Blizzards Statement that they wanted to balance console and PC differently has done anything really at all.

      Blizzard doesn't want to change anything because then players might need skill to play.

      So the ranking system is totally randomized, and bottom-ranked players are just as skilled as top-ranked players?

      Don't get me wrong, I agree that the game has generous hitboxes - but this means winning is more about teamwork and hero choice than it is about whether you can nail headshots from long distances.

        Yes i agree team work is the major key to winning the matches which i am not throwing out. There are very few heroes that take skill, but the ones that do if it is a skilled player can make or break the game. But the current metas in over watch are just boring. Look at the pro games still. 3 tanks 2-3 healers, YEAH REAL SKILL there.

        My opinion is that overwatch is the utter most boring Esport game out there.

          It's the same with any hero-based game though. Take Dota as an example - every patch has certain heroes and strategies that are very powerful, which dominate the meta. Then these heroes get nerfed, or someone figures out a strategy that counters the dominant one, and the meta shifts. TI4 was incredibly boring - deathball strats that snowballed off early leads and games that lasted 20ish minutes. Fast forward 6 months, and deathball was a pocket-strat rather than the dominant playstyle.

          OW has only been around for a very limited time - the other big esports games have been around for years (even a decade+ for the older ones). Blizzard are still finding their feet in terms of balance... but changing hitboxes to artificially raise the skill floor isn't going to change that.

    Does it makes sense to anyone else that if the dev says its a 'sphere' then in some cases it should be getting people through walls? (I say should from a programming perspective, its not great for the game)


    ...........................................................................................|| wall ||
    Roadhog-----------------------------------( .....sphere.....)Target
    ...........................................................................................|| wall ||

    (apologies for the dots, it's trimming spaces)

    If players have large hit-boxes this would also add to this theory?

    Last edited 07/12/16 4:28 pm

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