Overwatch’s Orisa Isn’t Living Up To Expectations

Overwatch’s Orisa Isn’t Living Up To Expectations

When Orisa first launched onto the Overwatch PTR, she felt like a formidable, deadly tank who could lead charges or back up her teammates in the worst of situations. Weeks later, after she’s landed on both console and in Competitive Mode, there’s been a consensus: Orisa isn’t going as planned.

Before her release, the tank lineup was a little thin. The sturdy, shield-carrying tank Reinhardt was — and remains — a near-necessary pick for several maps and modes. Most teams choose at least two tanks, with one really tanking and the other acting as a high-HP DPS who can provide backup if the first tank dies. And Reinhardt is widely considered the only hero suited to the first task. So, when they decided to add another tank, the Overwatch team studied why Reinhardt is so crucial.

In Orisa’s introductory video earlier this month, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan pointed out that while the tanks D.Va and Winston are “disruptive” and “defined by their mobility”, and while Roadhog punishes out-of-position enemies, Reinhardt is a bit more of an “anchor tank”. An anchor tank, Kaplan explained, is a focal point around which teams build and position themselves. Orisa was designed to be another “anchor tank”.

“We felt like players needed more options in that anchor tank role,” Kaplan said. “We hope that in Orisa, there’s now another option to a low-mobility tank but one that brings a high amount of protection in her protective barrier.” A team would “get behind” Orisa, whose 900 HP barrier shield defends them, “along the lines of Reinhardt’s barrier shield or Winston’s barrier bubble”. It has a short cool-down and a long range, so she can keep it up for a little and run off to attack. On top of that, her “Fortify” ability would strengthen her defence, thickening her skin so other heroes’ enfeebling abilities would bounce off her.

Imagine players’ disappointment when they learned that Orisa was not, in fact, the next Reinhardt. I originally judged her early PTR incarnation as a “dynamic, deadly” tank who’s “not strong enough to solo-tank” and “will depend heavily on her team’s strategy”. It’s clear now that forming a team around Orisa is a very bad idea. None of her abilities stand out as high-impact or team-driving. If you just read her ability list, she seems like a tank, but when you’re playing her, she sure doesn’t feel like one.

Right now, Orisa is not satisfying how players understood Kaplan’s “anchor tank” spiel. Orisa is squishy, has poor agility and cannot tank alone, or, really, tank much at all. With 200 health and 200 armour, she is certainly not a central anchor of her team, because anchors are sturdy and don’t die every few minutes when unattached to Mercy. Her “Halt” move, which gathers together enemies, and ultimate attack, which increases nearby teammates’ damage by 50 per cent, can make allies super deadly, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of defence.

Truthfully, she’s a sort of support DPS. You can find her a few feet behind her team, pulling enemies together, shooting from behind her shield, and, in most circumstances, from behind Reinhardt’s, too.

“She doesn’t really feel like the traditional tank in most games,” Overwatch YouTuber JoeKing Overwatch said in a video earlier this week that addressed players’ widespread complaints about Orisa. On Reddit and Battle.net, people say that her basic architecture limits her as more of a side dish than a main course. By design, she can’t be the next crucial tank. “I was expecting her to be similar to Reinhardt or maybe somebody like Winston, with a shield you can put on the ground. But she really isn’t quite like that,” JoeKing Overwatch said. Orisa doesn’t have burst or big damage, either. Orisa players have to be quite protective of themselves, while balancing team defence and gunning down enemies, a strategy he calls “poke game”.

Similarly, in a video titled “Everything Counters Orisa“, YouTube channel YourOverwatch points out that everybody picks Orisa, but everything counters her, too. Without movement abilities or more than 400 HP, she’s pretty damn vulnerable if someone gets behind her shield. “This is a finger,” the video explains. “What really counters Orisa is when people press left click against her.” YourOverwatch includes a handy visualisation comparing Orisa’s headshot hitbox to several planetary bodies:

Overwatch’s Orisa Isn’t Living Up To Expectations

“Everything Counters Orisa”

What does that mean for Orisa’s future? It’s easy to forget that when Sombra and Ana were released, lots of Overwatch players smeared them. Players considered their kits interesting, but disjointed and situational. Now, after some clutch patches, Ana is a near-necessary pick for competitive teams, and after Sombra’s recent buff, players don’t quit games when she’s chosen any more — low praise, but an improvement. More importantly, both are really fun to play.

A large part of the Overwatch community is built on agreeing and disagreeing about necessary or unnecessary balance patches. Several players believe that Orisa is quite good, but others are upset that she simply does not do what she was allegedly designed for. Whenever Blizzard releases the next new hero, players will undoubtedly complain that they are unplayable or overpowered, too. Satisfaction is not much of a possibility here. And, yes, players need to learn how to make the most of a hero before completely dismissing them.

It’s worth pointing out that stale gameplay — I’m looking at you, Reinhardt — should be the biggest impetus for change. Overwatch‘s balancing is kinetic. Orisa sucks now, but will she suck later? Probably. But between now and then, Blizzard might get her right.


  • I’ve been playing her a lot in competitve. I think she is quite good. I can have better shield up time in more useful locations than reinhardt. With only half the HP of rein’s shield it does go down faster, but it’s usually off cooldown by the time it goes down anyway resulting in practically no downtime. The ability to shoot it somewhere a bit ahead of the team and the fact that it’s reliably there (how many times have I died because rein dropped his shield at the wrong moment) are both super useful.

    I’ll also do considerably more total damage, although rein’s burst damage is definitely higher. Damage-wise Orisia is more chippy and just makes things a bit easier for the team’s core DPS characters rather than getting many solo kills.

    Her low HP for a tank is rough. If you get flanked or caught out of position you die extremely fast. But you’re generally positioned in the centre of your team, so overall haven’t had too many problems staying alive. Also the extra damage resistance she gets from her shift ability is actually quite enormous and can save you in this situations pretty often.

    I think her right-click is extremely useful for dragging enemies out of position, but I’ve noticed that other people playing her seem to barely use it, or not use it in ways that make sense. I think as people figure out just how handy this can be, she’ll start to be regarded a bit better by the community.

    My only really big problem so far has been that because she’s the new character people constantly whine at me to change even when the game is going well or its going poorly for reasons that have nothing to do with my character choice. Which is annoying, but hey IF YOU DO NOT BOW DOWN BEFORE THE GODS OF THE META YOU WILL BE CAST OUT INTO THE WASTES AND LEFT TO DIE, and I knew that going in.

    Overall I think she’s pretty good already. She does feel a little less game-changing than many other characters but her abilities are all pretty useful and contribute to the team. If they buff her I won’t complain since I plan to keep playing her and it’s always fun when a character you like playing as is made stronger.

  • I’ve played her a few times. My main issue with her is just how squishy she is. As mentioned in the article, she either needs a movement ability (honestly, she’s pretty much a centaur.. give her a gallop or something, like a cross between Rein/Winston movement ability) or she needs more health in some form.

    I’d love to see her get a slight jump ability, like give her 40% of Reins charge distance with a low angle jump. I feel that could make her quite interesting then. Just imagine having that jump in from nowhere and scare the enemy team. Shield up and and the rest of the team moves in….bit too similar to Winston though then.

  • They should’ve never classified her as an ‘anchor tank’ in comparison to Reinhardt. That just set everyone’s expectations for her to function just like he does and, of course, disappoint when she’s different.

  • I love playing as Orisa. In fact, she’s pretty much my new main, so much so that after 5 games with her in comp I bought her gold gun 🙂

    Being able to place her shield where you want and still be able to attack is quite handy. That and I’ve lost count the amount of times her shield has saved my team from a D.Va ult!

    Her Halt ability is fantastic for pulling enemies down off high ledges or pulling them into the well on Ilios 😉

    Her Fortify is amazing. No longer need to fear being knocked off the edge by Pharahs or Lucios. Can escape Zarya ults and Junkrat traps with it. Can totally shrug off Roadhog & Tracer ults or shut down a Reinhardt charge. And that’s not even taking into consideration its damage reduction.

    And her ult. Oh my god Supercharger is amazing. So many times it’s helped my team win that last big push or shrug off an enemy teams last big push.

    All that and having a gun with 150 rounds, virtually no spread and no damage drop off is beyond awesome. It’s especially helpful in assisting with taking down enemy Pharahs as well as the annoying Pharmercy combo (on Xbox).

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