The Unloved Heroes Of Overwatch

Image: Supplied

Part of the fun with Overwatch is picking a character and sticking with them through thick and thin, never leaving their side. But not all characters are equally loved.

Some Overwatch characters are so interwoven into the fabric of the game that they'll never not be popular. Tracer, for instance, might find herself in a position where her guns aren't effective enough or something. But as the hero of the game's box art, one of the most popular characters for cosplayers and shippers, and a character with a high skill ceiling, she'll always have a strong fan base.

But some heroes are universally unpopular, irrespective of what platform you're playing on. With the game almost a year old and using figures from the Quick Play and competitive modes across all servers and platforms on from Overbuff and Master Overwatch, here's the five most unpopular choices in the game.

Sombra

Whether it's quick play or competitive, PC, PS4 or Xbox One, people do not like playing as Sombra. The hacker whose ARG went on for far, far too long seemingly doesn't last long enough in the heat of a fight, and gamers have responded by leaving the hacker on the sidelines.

According to from Overbuff and Master Overwatch, Sombra is the most unpopular character on any platform, across Quick Play and Competitive. The exact number varies depending on what site and setting you pick - Sombra's a smidge more popular than Bastion on the Korean servers in competitive play, but vastly less so in regular matchmaking - but across the board, Sombra comes out last.

It's not particularly hard to see why. The agile hacker at first appears to be a defensive spin on Tracer, with her capacity for shutting heroes down. But the nature of her abilities lead her to end up in situations without support, without the requisite agility to survive like Tracer does. There's also an ongoing argument that Sombra can't deal damage effectively enough. That might be true, but the latest PTR update showed that Sombra's situation won't change at least for a little while.

Symmetra

Symmetra finds herself in a similar situation as Sombra, but for very different reasons. The recent buff to her auto-aim beam has made her slightly more popular in competitive play, but there's still a host of issues that make the light-bending Indian architect an unpopular pick.

Perhaps the biggest reason for her lack of popularity, especially in quick play, is that most of the other supports are simply better choices. Symmetra doesn't have a heal and doesn't have any buff until her teleport comes online. Her sentry turrets have plenty of utility, but it's more practical on defence than attack. That makes Symmetra less appealing on certain maps too, especially ones like Ilios where her sentries don't have the ability to cover the majority of the point, or maps where they're easily removed.

What really kills Symmetra, though, is the presence of better options. Mercy's a more efficient healer. Lucio's more versatile, and both Zenyatta and Ana can deal damage and heal effectively without the risk of close-range combat. Symmetra can't avoid that if she ever wants to get in the fight; her long-range blob, sadly, moves far too slowly to be a consistent threat.

Winston

The leader of Overwatch left a mark when Blizzard announced their shooter series, but almost a year after release the Beast-like character is the least loved among all the tanks, despite a competitive meta favouring two or three tanks a round.

Winston's abilities get a little more love in competitive play than they do regular matchmaking. Console players aren't big fans of Winston either: he's the second least played hero in Quick Play across PS4 and Xbox One.

Part of the problem could be an issue with surviving. Winston's leap lets him vault beyond encamped positions to harass squishier targets, but too often he's a bullet magnet and dies before getting a chance to leap out again. The long cooldown on the bubble could also partially be a factor: in general, people like heroes whose abilities they can use more often, versus ones they can't.

There is some small hope for Winston, though. He fits in compositions designed to dive right into the enemy, but that's a very specific choice that requires co-ordination from an entire team. You're certainly never going to see that in Quick Play and you'll rarely see it in regular competitive matchmaking, unless you're playing with a group of four or five friends all the time. And in those situations, people will go with a tank that stays alive a lot longer - and that's always going to be Zarya, Reinhardt, Roadhog or D.Va.

Bastion

Image: Blizzard

Once Bastion's planned changes roll out to all players, this situation will probably change pretty rapidly. For now, however, it's easy to see why the bird-friendly robot is one of the least popular picks: a lack of mobility, a self-heal that stops whenever damage is sustained, and a standard rifle that isn't anything special (although it's not awful either).

There are some fun uses for Bastion, like going into turret mode on the payload while Reinhardt covers you with a shield, but it's more of a cheese strategy or a troll pick. That will probably change in the short term after Bastion's buffs go live, although we'll have to see whether the changes are enough to increase its popularity in the longer-term. So far though, things are looking up if Heather's experience is any guide:

Torbjorn

Image: Supplied

Much for the same reasons as before, Torbjorn's lack of mobility gets him into trouble. It's all well and good having a high powered turret, but it's also easy for a couple of teammates to coordinate to blow it out of the sky with no trouble. And while Torbjorn can do plenty of damage without a well-positioned level 2 death machine, he's not particularly fast, his projectiles drop off at range and he doesn't have that extra buffer of health like Mei does.

There's plenty of fun to be had with Torbjorn, but there's also plenty of better options. Other defenders are more versatile, and there's plenty of other options that can match the turret's damage output. Junkrat is an alternative that can wear down shields while helping to lockdown chokepoints with grenade spam, and his trap acts as a useful defensive measure for flanking enemies. Pharah can also hover out of range while adding AOE damage, and the downsides of being exposed in the air is usually preferable to being caught flat-footed.

And there's not much hope on the horizon for Torbjorn either. When Overwatch first came out, Blizzard admitted it was tough trying to find a solution that would make Torbjorn - along with Bastion - viable at the high end of competitive play, without becoming a nightmare at the bottom skill tiers. That's a question that still hasn't been answered, but it's also possible to make an argument that it never should be.


Something worth noting amongst all of this is that not every hero needs to have the versatility to survive in any situation. From a balance perspective, it makes sense to have some characters - Soldier 76 is a perfect example - that are good for all seasons, while having others that only excel in certain scenarios.

But players don't always switch as much as they should, irrespective of the situation. Not wanting to lose the charge on your ultimate is a factor in that, but people also like things that are familiar, that are comfortable. In any case, all of that factors into why the Overwatch community gravitates towards some heroes - and, more specifically, why the above five aren't so popular.

What Overwatch heroes do you love to avoid?


Comments

    I hate Bastion, can't seem to do much of anything with him. Also lost the feel for Genji and Tracer, did alright with each of them when concentrating on using only them for a night each but back to being useless again now that I'm back to letting the character select screen decide who I'm going to play as. Also McCree.

    Winston is a hero for engaging team fights and "making room", so it's no wonder he's not fully utilized outside of comp play. Unfortunately ana's dart shuts him down real hard, otherwise he would be still useful outside of comp just to tickle some support bums.

      For me it's the fact that he does so little damage and takes so much back. He needs a slight damage buff and/or a decent increase in survivability. Whether that's more health or giving his shield a health gen ability I'm not sure

    the more I play lately the more I hate the game. It really saddens me. Its really weird I feel like the more they try and balance the more unsatisfying it feels. Especially with what they are doing with DVA. A lot of the nerfs and buffs they have done along the way have come about because people would rather bitch about something until its changed instead of just learning how to counter it.

    Some changes like Symmetra were badly needed but this constant Soldier, DVA nerf/buff cycle less so.

    Its funny I dont see some characters as unloved. Especially not Bastion or Torb and especially Sombra. Its not like they are bad or unloved. its just that some players get so caught up in meta, they feel like they have to play whats "in".

    More often or not when someone says someone is weak its because they are trying to use them wrong. I avoid playing Genji, Junkrat because I am absolutely hopeless with them. Lucio because he is deathly boring to play. Then again anyone who isnt Tracer, DVA, or Mei are yawnfests to me. hehe

      Totally agree with the Dva/Soldier circlework. I also think Blizz is taking playrates into consideration moreso than feedback, and they noticed Dva and Solly originally not being picked as much due to factors. The problem is, their idea of making everyone viable all the time is very difficult/impossible to achieve. So what you get is a buff that's unnecessary, and then that character dominates for months until they get the picture that they shouldnt have made the changes in the first place.

      Also, what you're telling us, is you love annoying the shit out of people because you play Tracer/Mei? :P

        hah funny enough its gameplay aside, I play Tracer, DVA and Mei because they make me smile. Everything about them. Just like I never play Reaper because that whole emo 'death comes' hate-the-world seriousness makes me roll my eyes. Tracers mocking of it is exactly how it makes me feel, hehe :p

          Thats cool. I actually get super annoyed by Tracer because she's so happy and that voice irritates me no end. But if you have fun with them go for it.

          I have 70+ hours on Dva and 30+ hours on Mei though so I know where you're coming from there haha.

    The problem with Sombra is she is so team/communication reliant. This may sound silly in a team based shooter, but in QP and even in a lot of competitive matches, you'll find 0-2/6 people in team voice chat the majority of the time. This hurts Sombra because her Ult is super strong, but it relies on the rest of the team following up and killing everyone while their abilities are disabled. She cant just Emp and then shred. Also, she can be see to be doing nothing a lot of the time, because to build her ult, she hacks health packs, and then jumps in, harrasses and jumps out. She's not going to be killing a lot other than a random support or something. This is why she fails a lot of the time, but pros feel like she's really good, because she's really team focused.

    Symmetra I feel has a stigma attached from before the rework. She is actually really powerful now, even to the point where I feel like her gun range needs to be tweaked back down. Also, she has the problem of being miscast as a Support, when, especially after the reboot, she's definitely more of a defense character. Her use has grown a lot from what I've seen, and she can be really devastating especially in QP and low ranks where enemy teams dont co-ordinate well and dont take out the shield gen etc.

    Winston I feel suffers from a lot of people not understanding how he should be played. I found out the other day (after some 400 hours of playing) that his bubble shield blocks healing. So if you dump a bubble onto a Lucio for example, the AoE healing doesnt affect people outside the bubble and vice versa. Not to mention that if you're not playing around his cooldowns properly, its very easy to get stuck in a situation where he gets shredded. At the end of the day Winston is really good at what he's supposed to do, just that people need to get better at playing him like that. As an aside, I also think that Roadhog has been a key problem for Winston for a while now, and the current changes in the PTR will only help Winston.

    Bastion will definitely get more usage post patch, but I still feel like he's going to be situational. He's now more fluid in how he can switch between modes, and protect himself better, but he still has an ungodly large hitbox for the role he plays, and he's still super easy to counter. You still also need the team to play around him a bit, so he has many of the same issues as Sombra. He's a bit of a high risk/high reward character if you're playing him.

    Torb is a weird one. He's actually really really good if you can get setup. Especially in QP and low ranks, he can be a nightmare. If you can aim his scrap gun well you can waste most bad players pretty easily. The problem is, if the enemy team starts steamrolling, Torb doesnt have enough in his kit to help stop that, and tends to be a liability. He's also very counterable (Pharah/Genji/Tracer/Junkrat etc), and most of the good turret spots are well known by now.

    Junkrat should be down here because he's super counterable and super situational, but people keep playing him because its so easy to get fat stats with him even though you're not making an impact. Not that I dislike Junkrat, I love playing as him myself, but he's difficult to justify playing as, especially when the enemy picks pharah etc.

    My least played characters are:
    1. Sombra - Mostly for the reasons above. I play mostly QP at the moment, and am stuck in Gold, so teamwork is not really a factor...
    2. Zarya - I simply dont like the design of her character. She's easily one of the best heroes in the game, if not the best, but I just have no motivation to play as her. Personal preference I guess.
    3. Tracer - If there was a character that I wish was removed from the game, it would be Tracer. She's super annoying both in game and as far as character design goes. IMO she's not fun to play as, and she certinaly is not fun to play against since really good players are nigh unkillable.
    4. Ana - I have no doubt that Ana is amazing and really well designed. I never really bothered to pick her when she came out, but I'm starting to play her a bit more now. It just takes a fair bit of practice to get good with her, and there are other characters I enjoy playing more.
    5. Widowmaker - I just generally suck as her. The problem with Widow is that if you're not getting the kills you should be, then she doesnt contribute anything. For this reason I dont really enjoy playing her, because I feel like I should be doing more as her most of the time.

      Some great points there.

      I suck as Widow as well, and Tracer, and Sombra... I don't know what it is, maybe rapidly moving targets or trying to aim while moving rapidly is too hard for me on console.

      It's funny though, occasionally I've had really good games playing as those characters. Just got lucky those times I guess.

      I'm a Winston fan, and yeah, when you struggle to barely kill a solo Symmetra as Winston even after getting the drop on her, there's something wrong. I think the idea of having the bubble heal as well is a good one, or at least halve the cool-down on it. Reducing jump cool-down as well might be a good move. Winston really needs to be mobile, given his enormous hitbox and his role as a backline molester.

      You're right about Bastion too - his hitbox is incredibly large for how durable he is(n't). I have had some success with him by constantly relocating, or getting behind the enemy advance and firing from behind. Hopefully allowing him to heal on the move and not have the healing interrupted will make him more durable when relocating.

      I love Torbjorn, the secret to him is armor production and putting the turret in a flanking position. Having a turret in the open is suicidal (for it). Just treat the turret as a static ambushing support unit and concentrate on getting mid-long range rivet gun kills and collecting scrap. Armoring up your team is invaluable. I'd say it's almost better than Symms ultimate because you can have up to 4 armor packs saved up and if you are supporting a tank you can just pop an armor onto the tank whenever the existing armor is destroyed.

        I play on PC, so my thoughts are probably a bit different to someone on console. For example, Torb and Symm have been complained about heaps on console due to auto aim etc. Also, Widow etc as you say are harder to play naturally compared to PC. I've found anyone can play a good game with any character at times depending on the enemy/map/gamemode. You probably feel you're not as good with them though because you're not consistent with them. Like, I can fluke a great game with Widow sometimes, but it happens once every 10 games or something, so it's not that fun playing her. I also dont have the motivation to slog through that initial practice period at this point when I prefer to play Hanzo/McCree more.

        My point re Winston is I've seen some REALLY good Winstons going around. He doesnt do much damage, but if you time your cooldowns properly and duck in and out of the bubble shield, you can stay alive long enough to do the required damage before you jump out. Maybe he could use a buff, but as we are seeing with newer characters, people need to learn how to play him before we go crazy. Also I think now that Roadhog is getting another change that should nerf him a bit, and Dva is basically out of the picture, Winston should get a lot more action because 2 of his major counters wont be as effective.

        Moving around as Bastion has always been the play, even before the changes. Its just that now with the changes, you're encouraged to move around since you can heal etc now. As in more people will play Bastion more effectively. He's really good when he's unpredictable. If you just sit there and fire into the choke or whatever, its not hard to counter, but the best Bastions move around and even flank occasionally to throw the enemy off.

        After the Dva fiasco, I just prefer that small incremental changes be made (if any) and lets see how it plays out. Obviously if a change needs to be made (Symmetra or Roadhog's Hook) then do it because its obvious, but every change you make affects more than just that character, so making drastic changes all the time just hurts the game from my perspective. This is sorta why I'm hesitant to do too much with Winston right now, because there have been so many other changes recently that can make him more prominent without needing to change him at all.

    I can't use Reaper, Genji, Mcree or Pharah, which rules out all but 3 Offensive characters. I main Supports mostly but my favorite Tank is Winston, you just need the right team setup to fully utilise him, and to keep in mind that he's like poison damage, designed to aid in taking out opponents but rarely can he do it on his own.

      Winston is great at clearing out Symmetra's turrets but you need to be careful because if she is around she'll likely kill you in her new buffed-up form.

      I use Winston as an anti-Genji, anti-Tracer unit, and also to disrupt point capturing by getting on point and distracting the opposing team while my team guns them down from off-point.

        On numbers, Winston should still be able to kill Symmetra even with the changes. He has better damage output and range on the gun. The problem is half the time Symm has help. He's still the best option to take out the shield gen/tele though.

          I prefer Tracer to seek and destroy Symms ult, assuming it is well behind enemy lines and unprotected, which they usually are. Sometimes as Symm though I like putting a teleporter right on the control point so it distracts the enemy ;-)

            Yeah Tracer is pretty good, although on a point like Hanamura B, the Gen is usually pretty close to the team and Tracer is pretty squishy, but I guess it depends. I guess I prefer Winston for it too because I hate Tracer haha.

    When is junkrat gunna have abit of a buff? He's probably the only hero that hasn't had a buff. He's my main n I can tell ya's he suffers alot since all these other sooky hero babies have had nearly all aspects of their abilities tweaked for the better in their roles in the game, & that really suks. I know they have shorten he's range when doing the rip tyre ult when activating it to blast if you activate it near or around you u die kill urself but all the other heroes don't die when they activate their ults. How does that work? Also junkrat ult can be stopped as some others can aswel but not Dva's not mel's not Reinhardt or zara's & the 🐷's.. I understand n I get it on certain situations but please the heroes are not balanced evenly if all heroes are available to choose from at beginning of a game. How can dva have that many chances opportunities in one life? Seriously WTF IS that shit & she can swallow your bullets when ur firing at her! Really? Wats the point in trying to eliminate her by the time she puts her guard down you'll dead from someone else.
    Point is the balance that blizzard make us believe it only works n goes so far for some of the heroes the weaker heroes get left out as u gain experience n know how in playing the game it all comes out in the wash in the end. As some have clearly stated here on this n many other posts.
    To get it back start of all heroes same even in health n strength as u progress in game like reaching to ur ult add towards the characters ability as they are alive in one life gain more strength gain more health then even gain a regen in self healing aswel as for ur teammates instead of having these abilities already applied to only some heroes making the players that choose these amped up heroes gaining no skills learning nothing getting nothing out of it their experiences. For the players that don't choose the amped heroes n play the grinding heroes are more skilful then the ones that choose meta heroes..
    Like I said the first time I played overwatch in the beta this game is for the noobs that can't shoot straight that aren't good at ur other well known shooting games near enough is good enough for overwatch understand that. U can't even aim in overwatch.
    Unless ur a sniper.
    Don't get me wrong blizzard love the game but just make even steven right from the start with all the heroes..
    Otherwise it's not fair game.

      I stopped a D.Va ult the other day. I charged it with Reinhardt and took it far enough from my team to save them :-)

      You can also interrupt Hog's ult by hooking him or sleeping him. Don't know if a flashbang does it as well.

      I think Junkrat is pretty well-balanced at the moment for what he does, which is area denial. Having indirect fire is insanely useful, especially bouncing it off walls and around corners.

      The only buffs I'd give him would be having his ult not kill him, and making the tyre a bit sturdier. I find the tyre more useful as a deterrent than as a weapon sometimes. Like saving it for the last 30 secs or so when you've got the point. I just activate and then let the timer on the ult run out without going looking for enemies sometimes.

        Junkrat could probably use a buff somewhere because most of his damage is junk damage and he's not especially great at killing stuff generally. If anything I would make the tire do the same damage when on the ground as in the air. Example, if the tire is on the ground when it explodes it does 600 damage (I think?) but if it's in the air when it explodes it does something like 400 damage. If it did consistent damage at all times then it might be more useful.

      Dva is actually a bad example because she's really weak to more heroes now than before. Roadhog can 2-3 shot her now. Also Defense matrix only affects stuff in front, so you can flank her even with DM up. Not to mention you should be grouping up and focusing her down. She wont be much use if the whole team is firing at her.

    Forgot to add about the 🐷 since he's last makeover.
    How is this right let alone well balanced if the game is balanced. Since 🐷 last touch up if he hooks you u can forget bout having the 50 50 chance in eliminating him u not even given that chance whatsoever to fight for ur survival no matter what.
    Now let me tell you each n every time he hooks me n I only play junkrat n pulls me in I can assure you n blizzard I've thrown out my mine at him my timing is spot on n I have activated before he's released me n fired he's gun at me but I'm dead so my mine has had nothing zilch zero affect on him did nothing not even some damage to him at all! Come on blizzard stop applying the cheat code for this particular situation please ok stop stooging the real play the real outcome in the combat each n every time favouring n rewarding only the 🐷 hook ability.
    Because previously blizzard before this last touch up was done on the pig 🐷 hook I can honestly assure you when I got in that situation with the pig hooking I either blasted n killed him or blew pushed him away backwards n then eventually killing him ok so that's how I know you have taken that away from the game even that it is happening in real life gameplay but it's glitched out not to have a effect on the pigs hook n shoot play.. Protected species the fat 🐷 can go n get
    It suks blizzard it really does

      You do realise there is a change in the PTR as of a week ago that fixes this. You now get pulled in to 3.5m in front of Roady instead of 2m, which means you're out of Melee range and its harder to headshot you, so you should survive more.

      Also, have you actually played Roadhog? Because his hook is just as annoying for Road players as it is for people getting hooked. Im glad they fixed it and I hope now we can finally stop with the complaints every game due to people not understanding that they were out of position and being an idiot, and thats why they got hooked. You shouldnt get a get out of jail free card if you're out in the open waving your hands around.

    Sombra gets a bad rep because when she first came out people came up with only one specific way to play her, which isn't the best way to play her. I've been enjoying her in competitive lately (I'm at about 2,800), and is my current go to pick.

    The established way to play her is:
    1) hack a health pack
    2) put translocator on health pack
    3) invis into the back lines
    4) kill supports
    5) translocate
    6) repeat

    The problem(s) with this is that:
    - Killing the supports sounds easy, but can be difficult with her large spread and inconsistent damage
    - Not killing the supports will help charge their ults through their healing
    - Not pushing as a team often leaves your team at a disadvantage
    - Translocating out of the fight takes you out of the fight for far too long, and
    - Relying on a health pack to heal denies your healers their ult charges

    How I play her is:
    1) put translocator with your team
    2) invis into the back lines
    3) hack the core defensive tank (almost always Reinhardt, but occasionally D.Va or Zarya)
    4) translocate back to your team
    5) push with your team

    Sombra can be great at disrupting a good defence that relies on tanks with defensive abilities. That whole team hiding behind their Reinhardts shield can be lined up for the slaughter as soon as they're caught with suddenly no shield and their pants down.

    Sombras large spread also makes her ideal for fighting hacked, defenceless tanks at a range outside of their own, and for assisting taking down slippery foes. When you're more in the fight itself in the skirmishes following a push, it's good to continue prioritising hacking the tanks, but also keep an eye on who you think might be going for the ult. A good Mercy ult can cancel an amazing push, but only if she can use her ult.

    I use her less on defence, but she can still do the same tactic to deny enemy pushes, and can absolutely punish over extenders. If a D.Va charges forward looking for an opening, hack her and leave her defenceless with no way to escape. Same for a Winston who jumps into the fray, and for any would be flankers looking to disrupt the team.

    Sombra is far better than people play her.

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