Symmetra mains are gearing up for yet another major overhaul, again. And judging by the comments from Blizzard developers, the changes being tested will end up being the most significant - because some of the changes will impact the Vishkar architect's core identity and her most divisive ability: her auto-aim beam of death.
As much as the few Symmetra mains love her, the turret-placing, shield waving genius has never quite fit within the wider Overwatch roster. But rather than modest tweaks, Blizzard is playing around with changing her core attack and the way her turrets and teleporter deploys, as well as what the latter can do.
"We’re still trying some things but what's working pretty well right now is her primary fire changed to no longer lock on but works as a straight beam that is fairly thick and has increased range," designer Geoff Goodman wrote on the Battle.net forums.
"It still has the potential to gain extra damage by dealing damage like it does now, but instead of going 30/60/120 dps it is currently 65/130/195 dps."
Symmetra's lock-on primary fire made her one of the most accessible heroes, so it'll be interesting to see how Blizzard are balancing the range and width of the beam, should the proposed direction stick.
An intriguing aspect of the new beam is that it'll recharge ammo by hitting shields:
When hitting a barrier it currently generates ammo instead of consuming it. This means not only is she good at taking down barriers themselves, but she is good at just generating charge off barriers and using that charge to take down enemies as well.
Her alternate fire is getting a twist too: rather than passing through shields, which currently serves as its greatest utility, the projectile would explode upon hitting environments and enemy heroes.
None of these changes are locked in stone, but Blizzard developers being so open about it is an indication that the direction will probably stick, even if the particulars change along the way.
But the changes to Symmetra's attack pale in comparison to what Goodman revealed was being done with Symmetra's ultimate:
Her Photon Barrier has moved to her ultimate and is now very different as well. Instead of placing a moving barrier, she places a static barrier wall that effectively is infinite in size and has 5000 health. She places this wall much like Mei places her Ice Wall, which means you can place it at some range and you can also change the orientation.
To compensate for the barrier becoming the ultimate ability, Symmetra's teleporter would become one of her primary skills. At the moment, Blizzard are toying around with letting players place the teleporter up to 25 metres away. The idea is that it would open up the higher ground for attacking teams using compositions that don't have a great deal of aerial movement.
The teleporter now works as follows: You place the exit like you normally do, except that you can place it up to 25 meters away, instead of only right in front of you. When you place the exit, the entrance automatically gets built right in front of you instead of at your spawn.
It lasts only a short time but allies can use it freely as they normally do, but there are some new things that can teleport as well. We’re experimenting with what works and what doesn’t but currently you can teleport things such as Torbjorn turrets, D.Va’s exploding mech, Junkrat tire, etc.
Blizzard has also tested changing Symmetra's turrets so they can be deployed at range, rather than having to be placed at close range. There would be a visible trail so enemies could see that a turret has been deployed somewhere, but at a minimum it would at least give Symmetra more situations in tight spots where her turrets can be deployed and/or useful.
There's no ETA for when the new Symmetra will be released, but Goodman's open discussion of the changes sound exciting. The static barrier wall sounds kind of insane, especially after Goodman added that the wall could be thrown from spawn "because it spans across entire maps", much the way a Hanzo ultimate would continue to pass through solid objects.