My old first post in the old mega-thread(gonna format it better later):
Hello! I’m really glad that we’re discussing this here, I’m still reading through the posts but so far this looks like one of the richest Symmetra’s discussion I’ve seen and it’s been a blast to read the comments of so many people who really love the character as much as I do (even though most of the community here seems to hate her), so before reading any further I’d like to leave my input too, and I want to apologize if I write something that was already mentioned here.
So, some background about myself before going on: I’m mostly a PS4 player that recently bought a PC account for Overwatch, on console I have about 130 hours on Symmetra(total playtime), she is the character I have played the most aside for Lúcio(170ish total playtime) on my 980ish hours in the game, but I would consider myself a support main, I’m also a bit of a tryhard, but the chill type the recognizes her own mistakes, so I hope to give you some pretty level headed inputs.
Symmetra is a character I love playing, but on competitive I feel compelled to play other heroes since she was also the reason I have blocked communication from random players on PSN. You see, I have got flammed from playing her on attack hanamura(on quick play!), and as other player’s toxicity gets me really bad I felt that whole week feeling bad and guilty and sad… It took me a lot of time to recover after that flame, but I also feel like it gave me the determination to play with her like I do today, playing her on defense, king of the hill and attack king’s row on comp(I don’t attack with her on other maps because I don’t really like to see my own team tilting -_-’). Having saying that, I believe I don’t need to express any further how much I want her to feel accepted by the community as a viable character.
Let’s get to business!
Before suggesting buffs and nerfs I’d like to take some time to reflect about what is Symmetra place in the game, how her kit tells me about how she should be played and why she feels so hard to complete her character roles.
What’s Symmetra’s role in the game?
Symmetra is a support hero that does not heal her team, providing utility instead. She assists them by manipulating the battlefield so that their chances of success are increased, she does that by preventing attacks from flankers, reducing the amount of damage received by her team, reinforcing the deffenses of already secured areas and helping with the conquest of new ones, and last but not least, giving her team another chance after a lost teamfight. Her weapon makes her sort of a meelee ranged character that can melt entire teams if given enough time, and that also has a slow projectile that pierces barriers, making her pretty good against infamous “cheese comps”.
By looking at this description, she doensn’t seem like an under powered character at all, still, the community feels like she’s either cheaply overpowered or trash tier, even both things at the same time, but why does that happen?
What feels wrong with Symmetra?
I believe Symmetra’s kit gives us more than enough option to be creative and adapt our playstyles for a myriad of different situations. For instance, I’ve been able to stop even some Pharmercies by simply switching a turret nest from place to place. She has the potential of beating even some of which are considered her hard counters if you’ve been playing her for as much time as I do(at least on console, I mean) but why does she feel so inconsistent? Well, I have some theories I’d like to discuss:
[ul]1- Symmetra is a pretty hard hero to play, especially for newcomers:
I know, I know… someone passing by is just gonna stop here and laugh but I can assure you, that’s the truth.
Even though Symmetra is not a mechanically dependant character, just by picking her you are assuming you’re going to think every second about where the other team is, where your own team is, which rooms are safe to go to, which you can or cannot take, etc. In terms of map awareness you pretty much have to be an expert at the game, and also know every nook and cranny of every single map you play with her. If you don’t, your team is doomed. You can’t even place an ultimate without having that knowledge beforehand because it won’t last, and don’t even get me started on playing her on attack if you don’t know these things, you’re going to get badly rekt, and most people who could be playing her right now already gave up on playing her because of that.
I believe part of the people who say she can’t work on more open maps(such as Route 66, for example) is simply not aware of what she should be doing on these maps, which areas she should try to protects and which ones are already lost for her), this concerns me a lot since my win rate defending that map is about 90%, but in order to know that and be creative with her, you really have to be able to read the map like the palm of your hand.[/ul]
[ul]2- Symmetra has pretty drastic difficulty spikes:
I know this might contradict point 1, but some maps are really really easy to use Symmetra on, especially in first point defense, where the paths and flanks are more straghtforward, this makes her an absolute beast, especially against newcomers and gives most people the false impression she is only good at certain points in certain maps. She is easier at certain points in certain maps that doesn’t mean she is only viable at them.
Which brings me to the point of attacking with Symmetra: Why does she feel unviable on attack? Looking at her kit she seems like the ultimate miracle againt the dreaded Bastion/Orisa comps, the savior of every overtime lost push and yet no one thinks of switching to her in order to use all the good stuff her kit provides, why?
Because attacking with Symmetra requires a mindset and playstyle completely different than defending with her.
In order to attack with Symmetra you need to learn how to flank, how to kill highly mobile DPS that already know how to duel you, how to go unnoticed and even how to convince your team that they can go ahead and distract the anemy while you set up the structure for them. Attacking with a Symmetra requires some time and patience and a lot of knowledge about team fights and timing, those things are not required as much for defensive matches, where you already have control of the rooms, knows the safe zones for yor ults and almost never has to worry about someone killing them.
Defending with her feels much easier, when attacking can feel sometimes like an herculean task, even though her kit can be pretty good it won’t provide you with future predictions, map and game awareness and sick strafing/barrier timing capabilities in order to do what you have to do, and I feel like that opressiveness is what makes her feel bad at attacking: if you are shredding people to tears in defense, but can’t even take a point with a character by playing in a way even remotely similar to your usual, you’re probably just think she wasn’t designed for that role, simply as that.[/ul]
[ul]3- She can’t execute some functions as well as she could before:
Symmetra was supposed to be an anti-flanker protection, but she really can’t do that anymore. By now most Tracers in the game knows how to dodge your microwave, beat your turrets and one-ult kill whatever ult you put in, the moment they’re out, you might be able to beat some Genjis, but they can be smarter than that and just dash away and headshot you, honestly, aside from some supports with low damage there aren’t many duels Symmetra can handle in 1v1. She has a pretty good weapon to deal with supports, but she cannot really reach them because of her lack of mobility and range, the ones that can’t run away from her are also able to two shot or sleep her, she was supposed to be a har counter for some classes but now she can’t counter pretty much anything, yet gets countered by many things and that is one thing that makes she feel unviable while attacking, unless you’re dealing with a pretty unexperienced team.
She was also supposed to help her teams secure places, by placing her sentries, but the sentries right now feel pretty dull, they die so fast you end up using all of them and not being able to replace them, their slowing capability is also bad and will not stop characters from passing through them unless there are 3 of them targeting the same person, I cannot say it is unsatisfying to get turret kills, but they mostly happen when someone gets unfortunate enough to run into them while escaping from your team, and let’s not even talk about using them to protect your ultimates, if you ever do that you can’t use a whole skill from your kit when playing normally. Sometimes it feels like the best of sentries capabilities, alerting Symmetra that someone broke the sentry can be deemed useless if you have no way of speaking to your teammates and as much as I believe that overwatch is a team game, you can not have an utility that might never be used because of external factors, such as muting voice chat.
The ultimates are buildable, but they don’t really last that much either, everytime you place them the red team is gonna yell about them all the time and smart players are going to get them pretty quickly, honestly, since I started treating them as disposable items my gameplay improved quite a bit, and for me that feels pretty wrong.[/ul]
[ul]4-She has no range in a game of highly mobile characters and counting:
Well, that one I’ve realised after playing quite a bit of Moira lately, Moira feels amost like a Symmetra 2.0 in some ways, she has nice mobility, a forgivable soft locking beam, not that much damage and a big damage projectile that pierces through barriers, she feels good to play with for a Symmetra player, sometimes better than Symmetra herself.
This game is full of characters with high mobility and escaping routes, which favours either fast or ranged characters, if those are not capable of healing themselves, Symmetra is the only Meelee ranged character with a slow ranged projectile, no way of self healing and no escape ability at all, the best thing she gets is an one time shield and I believe that happens because her weapon is so strong. I’m not saying she should have a Moira-like fade ability but if she’s going to have that range and that slow movemnt speed, she should at least be able to hard counter mobility abilities somehow.
Simply put: as the game got old and more characters like Sombra, Tracer, Genji,
Lúcio, Doomfist appear, Symmetra is going to keep having hard times, mobile heroes can either bypass her defenses easily or provide ways for their teams to do so, this will also affect other slower characters, like Mei, who has a slowing gun but is missing from the meta because, honestly, there are too many quick characters for someone like them have some space in the game[/ul]
These are some of my biggest concerns about Symmetra’s kit, it is a good thing on paper but it has been failing to complet their fucntion as of late, and as being suboptimal is not a thing aligned with Vishkar’s ideals, I’m going to bring some ways of how and eventual reworked could be done
How do we “fix” Symmetra?
My biggest concern right now would be reducing the difficulty gap between assault and defensive Symmetra gameplay, even though I believe niche characters could be a good thing for the game,etc. I also think all of them should be viable and intuitive to play in every map and game mode for the game to succeed, and that’s also the reason why one of Symmetra’s ultimates is simply one of the most powerful ultimates in the game for assault maps.
She should be able to either set up her buildables quickier of have more reliable way out when discovered behind enemy lines, she may be an architect, but she is also sort of a spy, and making it easier for her to support her team on attack could make Overwatch a most interesting game overall.
I believe that making her playstyles more consistent with each other would make for a better experience, give newcomers an easier time understanding her and, honestly, making her an easier character to balance, if she is too powerful on defense maps she will never be able to get a buff because she would end up being unbearable to play against in lower levels.
I’m going to post some suggestions soon, but for now this post world count is getting a bit big and I’d like to see if i got something wrong about the character since my experience is mostly from console play. If I said something that feels wrong please let me know, If that all felt right I’d like to see how you guys would help lowering that gap since this is a pretty big problem right now, at least for me. I feel like symmetra used to be an easier character to play but the game keeps giving her more and more counters and it pains me to see such an interesting and different character relegated to ‘trash tier’ by most player’s viewpoint.
Now for some suggestions! And this is where things get complicated, I have a lot of ideas of how to improve Symmetra’s experience overall but using all of them together would probably make playing ageinst a defensive Symmetra an unbearable experience.
The goal here would be trying to make her gameplay more consistent across different maps, improving areas she’s still underwhelming on both situations and making more room for mistakes when having to conquer control points.
And remembering again that I couldn’t read all posts yet so i’m sorry if you guys already suggested some of these…
I’m going to run them down ability by ability:
There are a lot of different things I’ve been thinking for the turrets, but I believe some of them would be a bit OP if they all went down, so i’m going to separate them by bits, a tl;dr version of this would be making the turrets a bit more effective against flankers, while also allowing them to protect a bit better Symmetra and her teammates:
If we keep the current turrets:
[ul][li]Reduce placing and activation times:Quality of life change that would help a lot when attacking with Symmetra - As much as I love the fancy animation it doesn’t help at all when I need to place them in a hurry, their cooldown is also one of the things that keeps them from being as useful on attack as they are on defense[/li][li]Making they more durable: I’d say 1HP is too low, and I play against Symmetras in the platform no one can even shoot them. Having any turrets up, even on deffense is getting impossible, and I believe that simply giving them 20-30HP would make them more useful since they wouldn’t be killed by accident, most heroes can provide that damage with 1-2 shots, so I don’t see why not, but I guess I’d have to test it with a Winston to see if he doesn’t get too hard countered.
This way they are still quite fragile, as they already are on defense, but can also be placed during battles on offense without being destroyed by someone that wasn’t even aiming at them[/li][li]Give them some thermoptic camo: Someone suggested that before and really, that’s the best Idea ever, especially if Symmetra has to go unnoticed from place to place![/li][li]Improve their visibility: (I believe this one was also noted) Show your team whenever a turret got broken or show whoever was caught on it. Symmetra’s sentries cannot function like they should unless the team is all on chat, and even when they are, the person playing Symmetra kinda has to tell them which pathway the turrets were, this is not always viable, unfortunately[/li][/ul]
If we change the turrets:
[ul][li]Slowing other heroes’ movement abilities: This was not my idea but I really liked the suggestion of having them giving a slow down, or even cancelling some movement abilities such as Genji’s dash or Tracer’s blink. This game needs some sort of counter to those movement abilities and some soft counter to Lúcio’s speed boost so I think that might work.
The main problem would be that those abilities are the main counter for the sentries’ slow down, so I’m not sure if that would make Symmetra unfun to play against, but considering they only have like, 1 hp, i believe they could work just swell.
If they are going to cancel movement abilities and give people a slow down, I’d consider lowering their damage quite a bit or reducing the number of them that can be used, or even giving them a cooldown before they can be used again, the idea would be, for example, cancelling a genji dash so he gets trapped with your team or slowing a quick hero that could jump on you so you can have a fair fight as long as you’ve protected the area[/li][li]Switching them for stun sentries: According to the comic, Symmetra can place some turrets that do a stun effect in whoever passes by them, Symmetra’s current turrets won’t do that as instantly as the comic’s. If you managed to place a trap like that in a safe place, then get cornered by one of red team’s flankers, you could run to that sentry and stun them so you get a fighting chance, or you could place one behind you and if someone comes you get enough time to hide and get the jump on them. Symmetra sometimes has to build stuff behind enemy lines so their team can progress, but if someone finds her she has no way to escape at all, that would give her the opportinity to get an upper hand, considering her current turret won’t stop flanker’s mobility skills.
Maybe 3 sentries with a heavy stun that gave about 50 damage to one hero on a cooldown, pretty much like a McCree flashbang combined with Junkrat’s trap, that would certainly waste a Tracer’s recall if she wasn’t prepared for that… I don’t really love the idea but I’m kind of brainstroming here and I’m out of attacking options that wouldn’t make the turrets more OP on defense)[/li][li]Make her have two types of turrets: Just like Moira can choose between health and damage orbs, Symmetra could also choose to buld a turret then select which turret to build, maybe even at a higr turret cost. I’m not really a fan of making her playstyle more convoluted, but hey, I play Symmetra, I must like convoluted things after all[/li][/ul]
Honestly, I could go one and on here with some suggestions like the shield providing turret i’ve seen but my point would be they should keep being a part of her kit and are one of the most flexible parts of her kit if we’re thinking about improving it.
I absolutely adore photon barrier even though I feel it’s cooldown is a bit excessive. It is a pretty strong ability that has a kinda high skillcap and I always feel great after making a perfeclty timed barrier. I just wish it was more consistent in preventing earthshatters, the elliptical shape of the barrier makes it a bit hard to know if it is going to block some ults or not and I wish they’d stay on the ground sometimes but I mostly have no problems with them.
Most of the times I use a teleporter it either gets destroyed before using all charges or it becomes a drag where I have to wish for a teammate’s death so I can just charge it again, making it have a downtime or being able to refund it would be a good quality of life change that would both raise her skill cap while making it kinda easier to play since you can just make their flankers go crazy while searching for it(thus making your life easier). I, personally, never place a teleporter hoping it will last, and having her ultimates behave like they should last makes it a bit frustrating when transitioning from defense to attack Symmetra.
The downside would it be that refunding them should not be automatic: it would be pretty frustrating for the red team if you could simply deny a well earned ultimate kill from your enemies so I’d say you should only be able to refund that if you either go there or if it is not being attacked.
We should reduce the callouts though, for the shield gen the enemy can already see the 75+ shield HP your team have, and a teleporter is not really a threat when only 1 or 2 charges are left, at that point the call outs are mostly noise for the enemy team, honestly.
I like the Idea of the shields affecting constructions, if you could have bulkier turrets symmetra would be an absolute beast on creating offensive traps and it would actually force the enemy team to either go search for them or be really annoyed since the 75 shields alone, even though they help win you team fights, won’t guarantee you victory, still, it might make defensive Sym too strong if the shields are 75, so I’d go with half the value as suggested before.
I don’t really know what to do with her weapon… Even though it feels fair for me I know how triggering it can be when you are on the other side of the beam, so I’m not impressed when people say it should behave more like Moira’s, I don’t think they should be similar because it would make the characters feels even more similar than they do for me so it would trigger yet another identity crisis.
You could also make the slow effect of her weapon a bit higher while sacrificing some of the damage, but the really fun part of playing her is the microwave, so I don’t really know how to keep the sensation while giving her better chances at survival, Moira has life steal on top of the longer range and the lingering orb, and Symmetra really shouldn’t be having problems at surviving with that beam(even though in a perfect scenario a Genji should be able to kill a Symmetra in a 1v1 situation and I think that’s a bit odd - someone made the math on Reddit but I can’t find the link anymore)
The ranged shot could be faster, and even follow some suggestions listed before like having a half charged projectile go faster than a full charged one on the top of that, it would make it possible for Symmetra to annoy some enemies a bit more at long ranges.
Overall those are my ideas… I don’t think they really solve much of the problem, but some of them could help lowering the gap between playstyles… Right now the biggest problem I see with Symmetra is that she has to flank to be effective on attack(killing enemy supports) but has no way of getting to the targets she can kill. Having a high mobility does not fit her character at all, so she’ll either need some way to improve her survivability on duels or a way to cripple enemy scouts so she can get her job done.
Symmetra is a tricky character because we can’t think about her as a shooter character, she is more like a tower defense/area control character on a shooter game, when playing her you’ll always have to watch out for covers, walking in the shadows and thinking about gaining space, rather than kills, and I feel that getting the community to understand that when so many people are still struggling with basics like “why we need tanks and supports” if a bit of a grind.
Once again I’m really thankful for this thread and all the support and love for Symmetra. I really hope this can help Blizzard on finding her spot in the game so we can get more utility supports, since they can be some of the most fun characters in the game ^^