So over the course of the past few patches and movements it seems clear that Blizzard attempts to move away from Dive as the only possible composition in high tier gameplay and that’s great, looking at league matches and high tier streamers they’re definitely making progress there. However, I can’t help but notice one particular thing about those high tier games - there’s always a D.Va.
Now I won’t hide myself, I despise the character, but that isn’t a reason alone to nerf it - I also despise Orisa with the depths of my dark heart but as she stands she’s perfectly fine, taking everything into account. And if we’re being honest I’d even take a slight buff to her survivability since she’s wider than the broad side of a barn and almost impossible to miss a shot on, but I digress. I’m here to talk about what I feel is the problem with DVa and how I’d see to it being fixed (just as a proposition).
So at the moment the off-tank position is covered by three characters that are clear specialists - You have Zarya, who specializes in hard brawling; Roadhog, who specializes in survivability, and DVa, who specializes in diving. Winning compositions are designed partly around those strengths - Zarya for multiple tank compositions, Roadhog for the bunker comp and no shield compositions such as Dallas’ Mei-Reaper strat, DVa for everything…
Wait, if I said that her strength is diving, why is she used for everything? See, the problem is that, while the other characters are specialists, they aren’t as proficient at the other two “branches” of specialization as DVa is. While DVa is by far the best diver, she’s also a very competent survivalist and stall hero and a strong brawler, given her highly consistent and almost continuous damage output and having the largest health pool in the game. Zarya, on the other hand, can only assist in a dive with long range bubbles and a strong ult, and her survivability against something like a dive or any modicum of focus fire is close to non existant. As for Roadhog, He can brawl pretty nicely but he’s also very dependent on hook for those situations, and his dive capabilities are nigh-inexistent since he makes so much noise while moving. Sure, you can get hooks and kill people, but at the end of the day that’s more effective to counter dive than it is to dive yourself.
The proposed fix
Ideally we’d make D.Va less survivable. The thing about the current state of off-tanks isn’t that Hog or Zarya aren’t strong, as they are on the verge of overpowering. If we buffed Zarya’s mobility to make her a better diver, Zarya would be used everywhere. If we gave her more health, she would be used everywhere. And we would’ve fixed nothing. Same with hog - making him a better flanker off-tank is what brought about the original nerfs, and improving on his brawling would see him become somewhat of an anti-tank tank, which is an odd place to be in and probably overpowered in itself. While I know that this would come with outcries, at her current state D.Va’s weakest point is that you can only block all damage for 2 seconds, while at the same time you can dive someone and deal upwards of 400 damage in those same 2 seconds. Even if you’re not firing because you’re matrixing you can cause enough damage to kill the enemy focusing you down in those two seconds. And nerfing her burst damage would be de-specializing her while not addressing how powerful she is outside of her specialization.
Being more specific, I’d like to see her total health reduced down to that of Zarya’s, maybe with a 100/300 health-to-armor distribution. Maybe less of a reduction, as I guess these numbers should go through testing (hitbox sizes and all that). Maybe also modify slightly how Matrix resource works to make it dependent on your diving, kinda like how Moira’s healing juice replenishes faster when you perform the succ. This would very slightly affect her divability, as she’d keep her mobility and damage burst, while making her less viable outside of a dive scenario.
This change could also come with an increase to her burst damage, since she would be easier to de-mech so you might need to be able to dive the target in less time - faster rate of fire but a magsize penalty, a buff to micromissiles, increased thruster boop damage, you name it. Maybe even a lower thruster cooldown. The whole point is to make her more specialized, as you did in the past with Roadhog by giving him damage reduction and movement capabilities during vape at the cost of essentially all of his burst and a chunk of his sustained damage.
[the audible cries of a million DVa mains]
I mean y’all chose to take a character that should be specialized and isn’t, and that’s a problem. A character shouldn’t be good at everything, and as it stands DVa is literally the only one that still is. She has more health than anyone, more mobility than anyone, a second chance, a game winning ult, damage, range, point presence… Something’s gotta give, and given the character it feels like health is the one that gotta go. The literal only thing she can’t do is snipe, but what would you need sniping for when you can fly wherever. “Range” is just a different form of “mobility”, as pro Widowmakers show us time and time again.
The conclusion (tl;dr)
Specialize DVa more. Make her a dive monster who builds point presence on the fear of her mech alone, and not just because she’s hard to kill. We have Roadhog for that. Make her strong by taking the reaction out of enemies, not by making that reaction useless. That’s what Zarya is for.
Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood off-tank main.