It’s no secret that Symmetra logs the fewest minutes among Overwatch‘s 20+ heroes. Players and devs alike have noticed that her stats and ability set make her a very situational pick. While all cast members have their strongest and weakest maps/modes, Symmetra takes it way further, to the point you might get a team yelling at you to pick someone else in, say, Route 66 or Nepal. I can make that shit work, however, so I’m not of the mind that she needs a drastic overhaul.
I’m no god-tier Symmetra myself, but I do know the tricks, know where to stick the turrets, best teleporter locations — things that most players don’t seem familiar with. And yet, even I and other players who know What’s Up can struggle to make her useful sometimes.
In Overwatch, I play a lot of Symmetra and while I’m not gonna say I’m perfect or god-tier, I win more than I lose. She’s my main, and I love her in ways that my new counselors are aware of. It’s hard for me to get any more excited about Symmetra than I already am, but here are some ideas that could re-balance her gameplay as well as up her appeal to the average Overwatch player.
1) Teleporter Needs More HP
If you’ve ever played Symmetra, you’ve heard this:
“Teleporter is under atta– my teleporter has been destroyed.”
Once a teleporter is under attack, it’s almost instantly toast. Unless the attacker is already being dealt with before the teleporter warning goes out, you’ve got no chance of getting back to defend it. When I throw out phrases like “double” and “triple” with regards to increasing the teleporter’s HP, that might sound extreme, but when you consider how quickly they die, eh, even those amounts are different without being game breakers (I say without having tested this).
On-screen tips will advise “Place sentry turrets near the teleporter to protect it.” This is sound advice, but those turrets do die quickly, and with a limit of only six, protecting the teleporter now diminishes a key part of Symmetra’s killing power, and not in a way that promotes balance.
We don’t need the teleporter to be OP, of course. A good game is built on checks and balances for all power moves — plays and counter plays, even counter-counter plays. A good back and forth makes gameplay exciting. There are places — good Symmetras will tell you from experience — to put the teleporter that are hard for opponents to find, but that’s often due to those places being far from the action or a pain in the ass to get to. That pain will often manifest just as easily in the asses of all your teammates who jump through the teleporter. Congratulations, Symmetra, now everyone has sore buttocks because of you. Thanks for nothing.
I’ve also batted around the idea of every teleporter also including a bonus sentry turret on or near it, but maybe that’s asking a bit much. Speaking of telporters…
2) Faster Travel After Creating a Teleporter
In order to place a teleporter, you have to remove yourself from the fray, leaving your team temporarily down a hero. Against gabage trash players — where I really excel — this can usually be done without a problem, but in competitive mode or against a team with more than one good player, this sets your team back. Here’s an idea: when you press triangle (or Y on Xbox, or whatever the hell it is on PC) to whip out that teleporter, maybe her movement speed could ramp up in a way similar to Lucio’s speed boost?
Even if Symmetra isn’t a major force on the front line, the absence of any chaarcter can be felt. Leaving your team shorthanded to drop a teleporter is a drag, especially when, as mentioned, that teleporter is obliterated two seconds after being discovered.
Again, I realize that there are checks and balances, play and counter-play, push and pull to be considered. Symmetra leaving the action is sort of the cost for potentially giving six teammates a quicker trip back into the fray. But that aforementioned weak-ass teleporter is already among the easiest-countered Ultimates in the game. Do we really need the user to pay the price of a long journey away from the fight, ahead of time?
3) Obvious: Number Tweaking (Especially Sentry Cooldown)
Any amount of number modification might be tested out. What numbers are best? I’m not sure. Should Symmetra be able to lay down seven turrets instead of six? Should they charge just two seconds faster, each? Should her teleporter allow eight or nine teleports instead of six? That’s hard for us to say without play testing it, but given Symmetra’s general reputation and low usage statistics, it stands to reason that some kind of numerical modification could help her.
If I had to pick one of the above, it would be faster turret regeneration. Did you play the Arcade Mode brawl a month or two ago? It gave everyone double HP, faster charging Ults, and a huge reduction in cooldown time for other abilities. Suddenly, Symmetra was a lot more competitive. In my ability to lay down turrets without waiting so long before another would regenerate, I could actually keep up with the action; I wasn’t immediately useless if a cluster of turrets was wiped out.
4) Her Play of the Game Highlights Should be More Exciting
Okay, this last one isn’t on the gameplay end, but on the fan appreciation end. Even when I get play of the game as Symmetra, I’m usually a little embarrassed about it and don’t feel deserving. The highlight will be, quite often, me running around setting up a turret or shielding people who jump out of the teleporter or grabbing a health pack or… something stupid. I’m only murdering a guy like half of the time. It’ll register as PotG because I technically got a triple kill while three Reapers were busy getting killed by my off-camera turrets.
It’s even more of a drag than Mercy resurrection Play-of-the-Game, because at least in those, you get to see Mercy making a big play actively, rather than passively.
So, lowest on the priority list but still worth considering for improving Symmetra, Blizzard might consider modifying the camera work on Symmetra’s Play of the Game videos. Maybe show the turrets’ perspective, if there’s a multikill involving those? Maybe show a zoomed-out shot of the whole battlefield like we sometimes see during broadcasts of Overwatch tournaments? Something could help there.
Secret 5) Romantic Options
Give her extra cinematics that give her open-ended dialogue with the player, with hundreds or even thousands of conversational possibilities. These conversations could take advantage of PlayStation VR and hopefully some kind of body simulator to add a layer of believability to all the cuddling that would and should absolutely be taking place in my living room right now Symm are you reading this baby I love you they can never take away what is ours it’s a perfect harmony you and me and none of them we’re all we need let’s just escape on a one-way rocket to the sun moon we are free and the space wind is blowing through our long beautiful hair goddess bless you.
Crap no I was not supposed to paste that in there how to delete!?
Also what are your ideas for re-balancing Symmetra?