Overwatch 2 will finally do what the original could not and give the tanks a bit of a spruce up.
As Activision-Blizzard enters the final phase of its life before its acquisition by Microsoft, it’s wild to remember that still has a few products it intends to ship this year. With news about World of Warcraft: Dragonflight now in the wild, Blizzard’s attention is once again back on the looming Overwatch 2 beta.
Despite all the awful stories that have come out of Blizzard in the last year, the names that have departed, and a managerial reckoning on a scale the industry has rarely seen, the Overwatch team emerged relatively unscathed. The greatest indignities the game had to publicly suffer were dumping the name of its prominent cowboy character for a new name, Cassidy, and the departure of game director Jeff Kaplan. It’s worth noting that no allegations were ever levelled against Kaplan and that his decision to leave is said to have been a personal one. I’ve actually never seen a single Blizzard employee with a bad word to say about the guy, which is wild considering (gestures broadly) well, you know.
As well you know, it’s all been a lot. Litigation and fallout continue to this day. Despite it all, cautious optimism has sprouted around Overwatch 2 as it heads to beta next week. Will it justify its existence as a sequel and not a glorified expansion? Given the strained conditions around development over the last year, can Blizzard find a way to resolve the many problems that came to plague the original? Will the move to 5v5 help its chances, or does it need more? We’re about to start getting preliminary answers.
Ahead of the beta, Blizzard has announced two of Overwatch 2‘s most well-liked characters are getting major reworks. Tank mains rejoice: after years in the wilderness, Overwatch 2 is finally showing you all some love.
Talk to the fist
If you saw “Overwatch 2 turned Doomfist into a tank” coming, buy a lotto ticket because you’re much better at predicting the future than me.
Doomfist, an agile, melee-based DPS character in the original, is becoming a tank. His health pool has been increased from 200 to 450, making him much harder to bring down. The removal of Doomfist’s uppercut move, an ability that knocked players into the air long enough for him to combo them down, has been removed entirely. Now, Doomfist will have a front-facing shield called Power Block. This works similarly to both D.Va and Zarya’s shields, in that it will eat incoming damage directly in front of Doomfist, and use that blocked damage to feed his Rocket Punch.
The Rocket Punch itself has had its max charge time reduced to 1.0 seconds, and its impact damage dropped to 15-30. Wall slam damage has also been reduced to 20-40. However, if you block enough incoming damage, you can prepare an Empowered Rocket Punch that will deal more damage and allow Doomfist to travel further. Speaking of travelling further, Doomfist’s Seismic Slam ability now yeets him across the arena like Winston’s leap. Unlike Winston, Doomfist will damage anyone he lands on and slows anyone in its radius.
His ultimate, Meteor Strike, also slows enemies caught in its blast, though its outer ring damage has been dropped to 100-15. He can get the move off more quickly though, with the activation time reduced to 0.5s.
All of this adds up to a significant change to how Doomfist is played. Currently a backline harassment hero similar to Genji, these changes will put Doomfist firmly in the thick of every fight. A high mobility, high HP tank sounds like a nightmare for the supports, but we already feel that way about him so really what else is new?
Orisa is throwing a few punches too
Orisa, aka Portable Reinhart, is another tank getting reworked in Overwatch 2.
Orisa, a shield tank with a machine gun arm, is getting more of a melee focus herself. Her augmented fusion driver, aka her machine gun, now fires large projectiles. These projectiles start quite big and shrink down as her mag expends. Her ammo reload has been replaced with a heat bar too. I know that doesn’t sound mechanically different from a normal reload, but it does open the door to other alterations. Read on.
Her Fortify ability, a short burst of heavy shields, now grants 125 temporary HP and the heat generated by her fusion driver is reduced by 50% while it’s active. The trade-off is that Orisa suffers a 25% penalty to movement for the duration. You’ll need to really pick your moment now.
Other moves like her throwable shield, Halt!, and her Supercharger ult have all been removed.
In their place, Orisa now has three new moves. The first is Energy Javelin, which launches an actual javelin at your enemy. Landing the javelin throw stuns enemies and deals knockback. If you can knock them into a wall, that’s extra damage on top. This leads directly into her next move, Javelin Spin, which is exactly what it sounds like. Javelin Spin is used to destroy incoming projectiles like Pharah’s rockets, and push enemies around. Better still, Orisa can use Javelin Spin to give herself a little boost in movement speed.
Orisa’s new ultimate is Terra Surge, which is a bit like Zarya’s ult. It’ll sweep enemies into its range and begin charging up a surge of damage. You can hit your primary fire button at any time during the charge sequence to unleash the surge early if required. During the ult, Orisa will also gain the effects of a free Fortify.
This is a major change for Orisa, who was previously kind of a long-distance Reinhart. She could throw a shield as powerful as Rein’s in front of her and then comfortably sit back from a choke to run crowd control with Halt and Supercharger. No more. Orisa is now akin to a skill-ceiling hero with survivability. You’ll need to be landing those javelins to get significant value out of her, and her basic fire ability now has some rhythm to it with the Fortify combo, encouraging you to make the most of each engagement. Getting rid of her shield makes those heroes like Rein and Sigma that do carry those large barriers that much more valuable.