Let's talk about Barriers, Beams, CC and Mobility (oh my!)


Our current meta has been dubbed “Barrier-watch” where your team may face up to 3500 HP of mobile barriers at any time. A major complaint has surfaced regarding this meta; shooting shields is pointless. Is it? Let’s find out…

So as it turns out, a lot of the forum lore regarding DPS “shield breakers” is incorrect. Soldier doesn’t really have great “shield crush”, neither do Hanzo, McCree, or Junkrat for that matter. Sym certainly doesn’t. As it turns out, the only two true shield-crush DPS heroes are turret-mode Bastion and Reaper. The only benefit to running Symmetra in barrier-watch is the opportunity to be at high charge levels against squishies for the majority of the game.

Fielding the two best barriers breakers in the game on your team will take 5.65 seconds to burn 3500 HP of enemy barrier health. Everyone else’s shield break time is in the 10s of seconds. The takeaway from this is that unless your entire team is consistently focusing barriers, it is largely pointless for the DPS to attempt to burn them down. There are simply better uses of DPS time.

On to the beam heroes! Zarya and Symmetra are now facing damage nerfs and increased aim requirements in the next patch.

Until the patch drops, we won’t know the reasoning behind these changes. But my question is, why are the beams doing simple, standard damage? One of my favorite Tower Defense games, “Defense Grid” had a laser type tower that would apply direct damage to enemies passing within its range, but would then apply a “burning” effect once they passed out of its range.

Why do I bring this up you ask? It has to do with Crowd-Control and Mobility. That laser tower was poor against large, high HP enemies. However, due to the lingering fire damage it excelled against small, fast targets that went out of range of the slow, hard hitting towers too quickly for them to be effective.

CC effects are largely presumed by this forum to have been implemented by the devs to “counter mobility”, however as many players here have noted; CC is MORE effective against NON-MOBILE heroes due to the effect being easier to land.

But the devs did something amazing that we did not expect when they introduced Ashe to the game; they added a burning status effect to Overwatch! Burning is effective against fast, hyper-mobile targets that depend on avoiding damage, while at the same time not really affecting high HP pool or self-sustain heroes due to its low damage over time.

IF the devs are truly attempting to offer mobility counters to the game, adding DoT fire damage to the BEAM weapons would do this nicely and isn’t any form of CC.


but it’s a team game and with focus fire any shield but SYM’s ULT will crack and break in a couple of seconds at max. Allowing your own tanks to move up and take that space.

there isn’t anything else for DPS to do… If they roam and do poke, it will just be healed up. If they go squishy dive they get frozen/hacked/halted/slept/stunned or whatever else is in play and then killed. So yeah just sort of break some shields.

as for burning effects it’s lame to die a second or two AFTER you kill someone being they got some burn on you that finishes you off 2 feet from a health kit.
It kind of fair with Ashe, being her dynamite is either a slow throw (you can get away) or a fast skill shot that she earned.

That same can’t be said for simple beam weapons.


Yep, focus fire is good. However, MANY games I’ve played have had the team constantly yelling at the DPS to “shoot the shields!”, when it truly is a team effort. If your entire team CAN’T commit to do this consistently, then it is far better to flank or push through unless you are running two specific heroes… Bastion and Reaper.

Yes it can, due to the fact that beam weapons are short-ranged. You won’t be getting beamed from across the entire map. If a Widow headshot is fair, then fire DoT from a short-ranged weapon should be considered so as well. It can be adjusted so that a minimum amount of beam time on target is needed for the DoT to apply at all, with increasing benefits for high accuracy… the more time consistently on target, the more ferocious the DoT.

This is a skill reward, unlike CC (flash and fan, Brig combo, Mei freeze and spike).


to what ends? The current meta is break the shield and then either stuff up close DPS in the tank’s face or have your own tanks gobble up all the space and/or get a kill. The correct play right now is “They should commit to it”.

there really is little to no flank or push through… I mean you can try but most of the time it’s going to fail due to so much CC.

and no, waving a bream around like a pool noodle until one maybe get enough hits to light a player on fire doesn’t count as any sort of skill based mechanic IMO.
It would just be Mei’s freeze all over again but with DOT vs loss of movement. How is the game or game play over better with that stuff in the mix?
I guess that’s a subjective issue…


Hanzo doesn’t have good shield break… yeaaaa…


They do better than Symm… Why? You may ask… RANGE, Symmetra has to be in 12 meters from a barrier to pull out the M1, Junk in other hand doesnt have to see the barrier LMAO.


Yes, which was something I mentioned repeatedly. Your team shouldn’t be yelling at the DPS to “Shoot the shields!” while they’re standing idle at the choke. And if they don’t do so, the options for DPS are then to run Bastion/Reaper or commit to flanking.

It requires precision aim (specifically tracking), which is absolutely a skill mechanic. You get rewarded for better aim with the build up of DoT for high accuracy. It doesn’t take agency away from your target like CC does; they are rewarded for keeping out of range of the limited beam length, or by juking well which is also a skill mechanic. Mei’s freeze is both SOFT then HARD CC, which is hugely different to Zarya and Sym’s beams…

If you have a suggestion for a mechanic that is effective against mobility that isn’t also even more effective versus non-mobility, please contribute. I’d prefer to see CC toned down a lot, without allowing high mobility heroes a free pass. This could accomplish that goal.

The video highlights the shield breaking ability of the usually mentioned shield break heroes. There are better uses for Hanzo’s time and OSKO potential than attempting to barrier bust with a team that won’t help him to do so. It is largely wasted effort for him against dual-barrier unless the entire team is willing and able to commit to that action. The only two DPS that have dual-barrier breaking times under 10’s of seconds without team help are Bastion and Reaper.

Soldier and McCree have damage fall-off at range to contend with. Junk is good for pressuring shield heroes to not walk forward, but not really amazing at breaking the shields themselves without team assistance.


Not going to say that Sym is a monster shield breaker, but that video is extremely biased. Everyone else used their abilities to fully shield break, except Sym.

She didn’t have turrets down to start, didn’t put them down, and didn’t start the clock with a full charged orb.


Skill should always be king. Heroes like symmetra are in the game so that players that aren’t as good at aiming can still get value. However, they should never be powerful enough to out perform skill based characters like Hanzo, Mccree or Widow (yes I know storm arrow isn’t very skillful, I’m talking about people that can actually hit headshots). I hope this nerf gets her out of every comp match I play