Overwatch Players Are Mourning Roadhog

Roadhog was a lot of things to a lot of people. A friend, a brother, perhaps even a lover. Also, a one-man apocalypse. He really doesn't want you to forget that. We can all agree, though, that he was taken before his time.

Toward the end of June, Overwatch's resident master of hook-fu and tattoo(s) got nerfed. Blizzard reduced his bullet damage by 33 per cent, taking away a key element of his kit: The ability to one-shot most heroes after reeling them in with his jagged, hacked-together hook. That tactic was the glue that held Roadhog's other abilities together and, crucially, gave the good pig boy something he was best at. Among the game's tank heroes, he certainly wasn't the sturdiest (that would be Reinhardt) or best at damage mitigation (D.Va and Zarya both do it far better in their own ways), but he could ruin somebody's day in a heartbeat if they overextended or got careless.

The nerf left him hollow and revealed just how deficient other elements of his kit are. He's a large target with lengthy ability cooldowns, after all, and his healing ability, while potent, leaves him helpless for multiple seconds. Taken together, these things turn him into a big ult charge battery for the other team. These days, it's actually to some heroes' advantage to get hooked, because they can out-duel Roadhog up close. Where once it was a terrifying prospect, people are now practically lining up to give the diminished 'hog a big hug.

Players have spent the past month pleading with Blizzard to save Roadhog, whose usage and win rates have dropped since the nerf. Some have suggested further changes and new abilities, but most just want to see Roadhog reverted to the way he was before. As time has passed, however, their bargaining has turned into despair. There's even a #RIPRoadhog hashtag on Twitter.

Video courtesy of the always wonderful Dinoflask.

Blizzard, meanwhile, has argued that Roadhog's one-shot ability simply wasn't fun if you were on the receiving end of it, and despite all the outcry, it doesn't appear to be budging on that. Toward the end of last month, principal designer Geoff Goodman said that the dev team is instead testing a version of Roadhog that will receive a 50 per cent damage reduction while healing and be able to move in the process. So he'll be much tankier than before, basically.

Some players remain concerned. This proposed Nu-Hog might be able to take a beating and keep on duelling, but he still doesn't have a specialty. He'd just be a sturdier version of a guy who can't match up with other tanks in departments that actually matter.

More crucially, though, he's no longer the imposing, high-risk/high-reward hero Roadhog mains found so captivating in the first place. The fun of Roadhog was that if you did things right -- nailed your hook placement, caught a healer or a Tracer, or some other high-value target -- you were the ultimate hunter. Other players had a legitimate reason to be afraid of you. That feeling was incredibly empowering!

On the other hand, if you screwed up, you were prey, albeit not in the typical "flash fried dead meat" sense. You could lumber away and try to heal, give yourself a second lease on life. But if enemies cornered you or pushed you out of position, you could only watch helplessly as they drained your health bar and filled their ult meters. It was an awful feeling, knowing how much you potentially hurt your team. Insult and injury, paired with looming dread about what was coming next.

Blizzard's new vision of Roadhog might be less polarising, but for many, a major part of his appeal was that he operated in extremes. The highest highs and the lowest lows. Those mechanical edges, in turn, gave his look and vibe -- his scrapheap arsenal that looks like it could collapse at any second -- meaning. He was a bit of a mess, but his quirks made people love him.

Some nerfs are simple nip/tuck treatments that people ultimately agree were necessary, and maybe this one will eventually be viewed that way too. But it also raises an important question about the nature of balance in games that operate for years and years: What happens when a developer changes a hero so fundamentally that they lose their identity, especially after they have been a certain way for a long time? That hero might look the same and sound the same, but if players who once adored them won't touch them any more, are they still the same hero? And even if it's for the perceived greater good of the game, is it necessarily a good idea to make those changes? As a player, I'm a bit unsettled by the idea that my favourite hero (Pharah, for the record) could suddenly be transformed into a state that isn't necessarily bad or ineffective, but is mechanically unrecognisable to me.

At the end of the day, it's Blizzard's game, and it's free to do as it pleases with the cast of characters it created. Much as players adore and identify with the game's heroes, we do not own them. Change is increasingly inevitable in modern games, especially ones as big as Overwatch. By all means, love your favourite heroes, but keep in mind that you never know where they will end up before getting too attached.


Comments

    So they nerf the character while they're testing a new version, Seems pretty dumb, I don't play Overwatch but that much a significant damage reduction would make hooking enemies while not being able to adequately fight them pointless, This Blizzard kneejerk reaction in their games designs is why i tend to avoid them.

      Dude. Roadhog has been a fat sack of bullshit for so long that this nerf was a long time coming and a gift to the (would you believe it) OTHER CHARACTERS on the roster.

      No agency into 1shot kill? Yep great cancer there that drives players away..

      If you didn't see this coming miles away, then that's your problem

        If you bothered to read my comment with your eyes, Maybe your foot wouldn't have ended up in your mouth, I DO NOT PLAY OVERWATCH :) idiot .

          Why are you commenting on a topic you have zero knowledge about then? In fact, you don't play blizzard games at all by sounds so you have even less knowledge about their methology in general. You could be the least qualified person to offer an opinion but here you are.

            Because i read the article because it's not a Blizzard fans only article, My original comment wasn't even negative but was responded to in a negative way by the salty overwatch community member, I have played other Blizzard games, Don't kid yourself in thinking that overwatch's mechanics are the dark souls of fps & are thus hard to understand.

    Blizzard be like: "its not fun for people who get hit with it!'

    Blizz has a very flawed argument in that line. What they are saying is its not fun to die in from RH. But then, its not fun to die AT ALL, so why not just remove death from the game? Its a stupid argument.

      They're more-so saying that it's not fun to go from 100% health to 0% health without being able to do anything to prevent it. Such as roadhogs hook. If you got hooked, you were pretty much screwed if you weren't a tank.

      I loved old Roadhog but it was bullcrap how powerful he was on a flank.

        Driving him into the ground just because he was effective at basically ONE thing is plainly stupid. He's been hit with nerf after nerf, with nothing given back to the character as they have with pretty much every other character they've nerfed so far.

        The damage reduction MIGHT have been fine if the original nerfs to the hook weren't also retained. The higher hook cooldown, as well as the hook connection changes.

        The hook disconnects at even remotely partial line of slight blocking now, which is utterly ridiculous if you hook someone then they walk behind a friggin' twig on the breeze.

        Hooking people around corners or through walls was an issue, but the hook breaking when someone walks out of sight AFTER they're hit is just stupid. Roadhog could still drag you around the corner, you're still attached to a chain after all.

        They're more-so saying that it's not fun to go from 100% health to 0% health without being able to do anything to prevent it.So pretty much what happens when you're hit with Doomfist charge move now?

          Except Doomfist is pretty vulnerable after he fists. Same with Rein's charge. Piggy OTOH could hook, pull and kill an enemy without ever leaving the protection of Reinhart's shield. That was some bullshit. There were better ways to nerf the Pigman but he needed to be fixed, one way or another.

        I agree in some sense.
        Yes, it was frustrating to be one shot by a Roadhog, but now he's almost only use is using his hook to pull people off ledges, which you can only do in a very limited amount of places. As he is, it's almost pointless playing him, as all he can do is pull people out of position granted there is no shield in the way.

        They should roll him back to how he was, but give him a slight delay after hooking someone so that people can potentially save themselves. Have priority to moves like Tracers recall, Reapers wraith, and so forth so that getting hooked isn't necessarily a death sentence.

        And a D.Va or a Zarya or even an Ana can easily protect someone who gets hooked by him, so it's not exactly broken when it is full powered regardless.

      And then they added Doomfist who can one hit kill a lot of heroes in similar fashion to Roadhog...

    The only reason all the Hog mains are upset is because they can't go off on solo flanking crusades one shotting everyone left right and centre.

    I personally, to start with, would have just reduced the length of his chain to make the one shot closer to a risk/reward style manoeuvre rather than being able to hook people from 5 continents away.

    Blizzard however one shotted themselves by introducing Doomfist to the game shortly nerfing the Hog who is 'surprise, surprise' a one hit king.

    Now its pretty clear that Hog in his previous form would have made Doomfist a useless hero pick.

      I actually like the idea of a reduced hook distance to balance it.

      Though as I said elsewhere, I think the damage nerf would have been fine if they hadn't also retained all the hook cooldown/connection changes on top of it.

        Aug 4, 2017, 10:21am

        Though as I said elsewhere, I think the damage nerf would have been fine if they hadn't also retained all the hook cooldown/connection changes on top of it.

        I agree, if Hog stays with his current damage nerf his hook cool down should be reduced. This will mean he can drag pics in for a team assist kill.

      Delete please

      Last edited 04/08/17 10:28 am

      The only reason all the Hog mains are upset is because they can't go off on solo flanking crusades one shotting everyone left right and centre.While this was true with Hog1.0, when they made the hook changes with Hog2.0 he could still one shot, but he needed to be a clean up guy rather than a runaway flanker. What we have now in Hog3.0 is a worthless "tank" who is only good for being a ult battery for the opposing team.

      Blizzard however one shotted themselves by introducing Doomfist to the game shortly nerfing the Hog who is 'surprise, surprise' a one hit king.

      Now its pretty clear that Hog in his previous form would have made Doomfist a useless hero pick. Thank god someone else saw the connection. Hog being nerfed into the ground looks more to have been done to accommodate the lore behind Doomfist as an all powerful character. Personally I don't think it's a bad thing to have 2 one hit Kings. Doomfist vs Roadhog could be a great "unstoppable force vs immovable object" type match up that could be fun on some maps.

    It was ridiculous to have a character with a regular usage ability that could one-shot so many heroes so easily. He needs a buff of some kind now for sure though.

    The hook is still a great utility for dragging enemies into positions where they can be killed easily, it's just no longer a 100% guaranteed frag on (a relatively easy) hit anymore, but it's not enough to make hog a good pick by itself. Not sure what the solution is, but "a short cooldown ability that is better than half of the ultimate abilities in the game" is not it.

    Blizzard, meanwhile, has argued that Roadhog's one-shot ability simply wasn't fun if you were on the receiving end of it

    Ok, so then why can Doomfist one-shot people? Or is it only not fun if it's being done by Roadhog?

    Big man, pig man. Ha ha, charade you are.

    Last edited 05/08/17 3:11 pm

    Doomfist has like 250 HP, you cant just stroll around like Roadhog could, you have to be smart on when to use that ability or you dead. RoadHog was BS, nerf is gratefully accepted.
    All they need to do now is stop Hanzo spam 1 shots (also his scatter shot from 1 shotting when its a BS distance away) and reduce the damage that Sym does and maybe cut off genji's arms during his ultimate or increase its cool down.
    I cant believe this unbalanced broken POS is a competitive title.
    FK Blizzard
    probably wouldnt hurt to smack phara\mercy combos too

    Last edited 07/08/17 4:38 pm

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