Announced over the weekend, the dual-wielding Ashe has finally given a playable face to the Deadlock Gang. More important, however, is that Overwatch finally has another core damage dealer, instead of the ability-centric heroes that been so prominent of late.
The genesis of Ashe actually came from the production of the Reunion animated short, which was shown at Blizzcon yesterday. Two of the Overwatch developers later explained that after Reunion was put together, the team was immediately drawn to Ashe as a hero, and pushed forward with her inclusion rather than buffing out Overwatch's roster of tanks or support heroes.
Her moment-to-moment role is pretty straightforward. Her standard shotgun, which has 12 rounds, can be fired hip-fire or through a secondary scope. The hip-fire is reasonably quick - about three shots a second, although it's not fully automatic - while the scoped fire is about half as quick.
The scoped fire is interesting in that it gives you the accuracy of a Widowmaker, but not quite the damage. A scoped headshot won't kill a 200HP hero (it only does 170 damage) but it will put Tracer in the grave. For the rest of the 200 HP roster - which includes Zenyatta, Hanzo, Junkrat, Soldier 76, and so on - three body shots are enough to do the trick.
Ashe's hip-fire is relatively weak, but a headshot will still do anywhere from 50 to 80 damage depending on distance. A body shot at close range will do 40 damage, but there's a significant fall off. Her grenade does around 80 all up, 40 from the initial blast and another 40 over time d
As for Bob, the ultimate, it's best to think of it as a mix of Reinhardt and Hammond. When Bob is activated, he charges in a straight line and knocks enemies into the air. After the charge, Bob will stay in position like a turret - a 1200 HP turret that can be healed like any other hero, no less. It'll be handy should Torbjorn grow in popularity,
Bob's utility is actually pretty limited once he stops moving: he's a turret that can't move, without Bastion's raw damage output. But her consistency with her primary gun, and being able to boop heroes away, offers plenty of utility.
The pro players, interestingly, weren't convinced that Ashe would pose a greater threat to airborne characters than McCree. When asked at the post-match press conference yesterday, Australian coach Jordan "Gunba" Graham said they'd need to see the numbers. On the surface, however, they reasoned that Ashe would probably no different, if not easier for Pharah to face, depending on the damage falloff.
It's also worth noting that McCree fires faster, particularly compared to Ashe's scoped rifle. So Ashe's talents might be better suited towards combating beefier opponents, dive compositions and perhaps even Brigitte to some extent with the utility of the grenade. The grenade itself is mostly an annoyance given how long it takes for the full damage to take effect, but it could be a handy response to GOAT-style compositions (where an enemy team groups up tightly to surge towards or through a chokepoint). Combining with Ana should be fun as well, although I wasn't able to see that on the show floor.
If nothing else, it's nice to have another hero that's based around a weapon rather than a set of disruptive abilities. The only post-launch damage dealers, Sombra and Doomfist, are incredibly ability-centric. Sombra's rework has made her vastly more viable, but it's also a hero that really requires team coordination to function.
The trajectory of Overwatch as well has meant that core damage dealers have either needed a rework to remain relevant. Ashe provides a fresh damage dealing option that's useful in the majority of situations. It's a little like Moira at launch, a hero that can contribute to seemingly every situation while still having a potential escape. How much relevance Ashe brings to the competitive meta is another story altogether.
The author travelled to Blizzcon as a guest of Blizzard.