PSA: How To Deal With Fallacious Arguments About Sym's Rework

[Edits 1 and 2: Note: I’m editing with new bad arguments as I see them]
[Edit 3 : some logical and definitional errors and ambiguities were pointed out, so I’ve corrected the post.]

Hi all,

I’ve been seeing a lot of people discussing the proposed Symmetra changes, which is great – the more open, good-natured discussion about it the more likely it is that it’ll be brought to the devs’ attention and the more likely it is that we’ll get a positive outcome. However, I’ve also been seeing a lot of arguments that, while potentially rhetorically effective, are based on certain beliefs and axioms that don’t necessarily hold true for the people who are arguing, e.g., in favor of a more inclusive Symmetra. Often, these arguments are thrown out as though they are self-evident, and are not buttressed with their own definitions and logic. This is a huge problem, since these viewpoints often privilege a certain type of player but aren’t explicitly based on categorical inference.

I’m calling the specific arguments detailed below, which are of this category, “fallacious” when they fit this definition: they are ineffective or uncompelling due to a lack of logical cohesion, a use a privileged definition that doesn’t apply generally to the situation, a lack of argument or definitions for their premises, etc. Not to spoil anything but one such example is “it’s more important to balance Symmetra around X group of players than around Y group of players!” This statement isn’t justified and it isn’t clear WHY X group of players is more important than Y group. So, I’d call this argument “fallacious.”

So, I wanted to highlight a few of these arguments and address them in hopes that the discussion surrounding Symmetra’s design, particularly her accessibility, will be more fruitful.


Every sound argument defines its terms and assumptions, then builds out logical conclusions from there. Here are five premises I’m starting with. These are based on observation of Symmetra the character as she is currently designed (premises 1, 2, 3) , the kits of other characters (premise 4), and the observed/inferred and explicity-stated beliefs of the developers with respect to accessibility (premise 5).

  1. Symmetra, as she is currently built, is accessible. From the beginning of Overwatch, Symmetra’s auto-lock has been praised as an accessible game design mechanic. You can easily Google “Symmetra accessibility” or search on these forums and see stories of people for whom Symmetra represented an avenue for inclusion into Overwatch, a playing field-leveling mechanic that accommodated disabilities, etc. Having a character who can do a lot of damage at close range without pixel-perfect aim is an accessible design choice.

  2. Symmetra, as she is currently built, is oriented toward control, information, and strategic thinking, rather than direct damage contribution or mitigation, and that kind of contribution is meaningful. Symmetra’s six turrets are useful not only for dealing damage and slowing enemies, but for gaining information (“what avenue are enemies taking toward the objective?”), control (“if I put turrets here they’re more likely to go a different route”), and making strategic choices (“do I want to give my team movement options via teleport or sustain via shield generator?”). While she has the photon barrier, the fact that it (a) is on cooldown and (b) moves forward rather than being stationary implies that its primary purpose is to provide damage mitigation at critical moments rather than a primary barrier like Orisa or Reinhardt’s. I believe that this strategic kind of kit can contribute valuable things in a match that direct fighting can’t, and therefore suppose that strategic kits are meaningful.

  3. Symmetra’s strategically-oriented kit is an element of accessible design in and of itself. The fact that Symmetra’s primary contribution to her team is through utility (“out-of-battle”) rather than damage or damage mitigation (“in-battle”) relieves pressure to react quickly, position perfectly, etc. In my opinion her lock-on is more of a holdout ability than her turrets, acting more as a strong incentive for enemies to leave her alone than an incentive for her player to be aggressive with her. These elements combine to make Symmetra shine outside of direct team fights, making her even more accessible.

  4. While there are other characters in the game who embody accessible design to some degree, no character is as accessibly-designed as Symmetra. The next-closest heroes I can think of in terms of accessibility are Reinhardt and Moira (I’d love it if any disabled gamers would chime in and let me know their assessment). But – both of these characters are primarily designed to facilitate direct fighting, either through direct damage and up-close healing or through direct damage mitigation. They don’t have the out-of-combat utility that Symmetra does.

  5. Accessibility MATTERS in games like Overwatch, and Overwatch was presented from the start as an accessible shooter. I would love the devs to chime in on this and let me know if my perception of this game back in 2014 was correct or not. I saw an inclusive, accessible shooter that took place in an optimistic future setting, built on the idea that anyone could be a hero. This is tremendously important viewpoint, and I was so excited to see this game trying to be more than just another aggression-fueled call-of-duty clone. Accessibility matters in these games not only because we want as many people playing them as possible, and therefore need to enable them to do so, but because it provides a way for games to be about more than just passing time.

Again, these are my premises for these discussions. You might not agree with them, and I’d be happy to discuss anything factually wrong (i.e., something that can be demonstrably proven false), but all of what I’ll say from this point forward will draw on these premises.

With that, I’ll turn my attention to some of the illogical arguments I’ve been seeing about Symmetra:

  • "She’s more impactful with three turrets than with six, because the turrets do more damage." You might have seen this comment on the thread asking if new Symmetra will be support or defense. This argument is based on the idea that the overall damage done by her three new turrets is actually greater than the damage done by her current six This argument is fallacious because it assumes that the only way to contribute to a fight is through direct damage, not via strategic manipulation of the situation. Someone arguing this presumably does not share the viewpoint espoused in Premise 2 above that strategic contributions are meaningful in Overwatch.

  • "You actually have to be more strategic now, not less, because she has fewer turrets." This is true – as long as you define “strategic” in a very specific way that runs counter to that described in Premise 2 above. This argument is fallacious because it redefines “strategy” as merely a question of when to use a one-dimensional ability, rather than how to use a multi-dimensional ability. With this definition, reducing Reinhardt’s shield health to 500 would make him more “strategic” because he now can only block critical shots on reaction or on a read, rather than using his ample barrier to create situations that your team can benefit from. You can see how this doesn’t actually promote strategic play.

  • "There are plenty of other characters disabled players can use." I shouldn’t have to show how this is a bad argument but sadly I’ve seen this comment more times than I care to admit. **This argument is fallacious because it assumes incorrectly (a) that other characters are as accessible as Symmetra (Premise 4) and it also, incredibly, makes normative statements about the experiences of the disabled players of this game. Think about how insane that is, to tell another person what is or isn’t accessible for them.

  • " It’s more important that Symmetra be viable/meta/not niche." This argument privileges certain types of play over others. This argument is fallacious because it assumes that Symmetra’s “viability” (how? at what level of play? to what group of players?) is more important than her accessibility (Premise 5). Acccessibility MATTERS in Overwatch, and arguing that, because OWL pros don’t play her, the removal of her accessible design is justified is hostile to the disabled players that populate Overwatch.

  • "Symmetra is no-skill, these changes just make it so that you have to have skill to play her." This is similar to the previous point. This argument is fallacious because it assumes the only metric for “skill” in Overwatch is direct mechanical skill, measured through direct contribution to team fights. Overwatch was presented as a game where that wasn’t the only way to contribute, and I’d really be interested to see the devs weigh in on this point to see whether their design philosophy has shifted, as it would appear given these changes.

  • "The only reason you like this character is because she doesn’t take aim to be good with." Yup, that is about the size of it. This argument seems to imply that this is somehow a bad philosophy, but (a) Symmetra statistically is not a threat at high-level play despite her low-aim design, so it’s not like she’s ruining the game, and (b) the whole point of Premises 2 and 3 above is to posit a philosophy that aim isn’t the only metric through which skill can be measured. This argument is fallacious because it assumes, again, that only mechanical aiming skill matters in judging a character’s contributions to a match.

  • "Maybe you should try another game if you can’t handle Overwatch." This argument is not only illogical, it’s directly hostile towards disabled gamers. Anyone arguing this seems to think that Overwatch should be designed for their sensibilities, rather than for accessibility, which is clearly illogical (because why should their sensibilities take precedence?). This argument is fallacious because it sets as normative the speaker’s preferences for the game, without considering whether accessibility matters (Premise 5) or whether other players’ experiences matter as well.

  • "Just adapt and move on." This comment is insane. The whole point of Symmetra being accommodating toward players with disabilities is so that they are able to play at their level! If you are a player and you have a disability preventing you from playing other characters besides Symmetra, then to “adapt and move on” would be to LEAVE OVERWATCH, because the devs have removed the character you could play and there are no other characters you can adapt to. This comment is fallacious because it assumes a baseline ability of adaptation (again, assuming that mechanical skill is all that matters) possessed by all players, rather than coming from an accessibility-oriented mindset (Premise 5).

I’m sure there are many other bad arguments about Symmetra. I’d love to open up a discussion and hear from anyone who has also wanted more open, honest, and rational discussion. I’d also love it if any players who play Symmetra primarily for her accessibility would weigh in – I’m hopeful that I’m not misrepresenting your position but would love to learn more.

Finally, I’d like to offer a respectful challenge to the devs to articulate the rationale behind these design choices, here on this thread. I want to know if the game I fell in love with in November 2014 is still the game you’re working on, or if accessibility isn’t a priority any more.

Thanks for sticking with this long post. Please feel free to share your own thoughts below!


Isn’t the point that she just doesn’t work in high ranks


I hear what you’re saying – for myself, her being untenable at high ranks isn’t a valid reason to remove her accessibility. That argument assumes that high-rank play is more intrinsically valuable than whether or not disabled players can play the game at all.


Sorry but yes, high ranks to a certain degree is what all balance decisions should be made around.


Yes, I absolutely do. What justifies “balance at high ranks” as a design decision? What justifies “every hero should be playable by pros” as a design decision? Why is that design philosophy intrinsically better than “the game should be accessible”? What does it harm the pros if there’s ONE character they don’t use? What does it harm disabled players if there’s ZERO characters they CAN use?

WHY should those at the top be the ones the devs privilege in game design? You need to justify your statement or it’s irrelevant.


Current Symmetra disproves premise 2 given how bad she is. The devs tried to make such a character work twice and failed, and most of the playerbase does not want such a character on their team.

As for Symmetra being accessible, her pickrate seems to suggest otherwise.


Okay, I hear you. Regarding premise 2, I’d argue that it’s not that strategic contributes AREN’T meaningful, it’s more a question of HOW they are implemented. I think there are ways the devs could try to rework her (e.g., keeping her six turrets, giving them 15 health instead of 30, etc) that would preserve her strategic nature.

Do you mean that most players don’t want a character on their team who is strategically-oriented? Or that most players don’t want Symmetra specifically on their team? I think the argument is different based on which one of those you mean. For the former, okay then it comes down to what the devs want and whether they are going to stick by the game they launched with or not. For the latter, I’d argue that that’s more due to player perception than due to any inherent flaw with Symmetra.

Finally, regarding Symmetra’s accessibility, we are maybe working with different definitions of that term. the argument that her pickrate is evidence of her accessibility doesn’t work for my definition of the word, that she is designed to accommodate players who couldn’t otherwise play. This is somewhat akin to arguing that, because a wheelchair ramp isn’t used by a majority of people entering buildings, it isn’t accessible.

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This was confirmed by the devs that they were more impactful like this.
They also have a stronger slow effect.

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Again, the argument is fallacious because it assumes the only metric for “impact” is “how much damage is being done directly” or “how much the turrets are slowing directly.” This assumes that the only way to contribute to a match is through a direct fight.

For examples of other metrics, you could say the turrets are LESS impactful because they don’t allow you to have a presence on as many points of ingress. Or you could say they are LESS impactful because they don’t allow you to place them in different directions, distracting enemies.

On pro teams that strategic role is usually delegated to the main tank and main support. Having a character that’s specialized for that at the cost of being relatively afk isn’t working; point presence and engaging the enemy directly is just too important. I also don’t think they can balance a character that circumvents that.

As for accessibility, we have a lot of other characters for that. It’s like having a broken elevator next to ramps that actually work.


You forgetting that they have actual hp now, meaning that enemies will take longer to destroy them and they can be placed farther away.

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(A) I’ll tell you what I told Matsy above: you need to justify why pro players should be the ones around which all aspects of the game – including accessibility – is designed.


I’m actually going to edit my original post because of how bad this argument is. Are you disabled? Why should I listen your opinion on what’s proper accessibility over that of the disabled people I’ve already read who say that (per premise 4 above), Symmetra is the hero that most accommodates them?

Saying they are removing her accessibility sounds like they are doing it on purpose. They are removing her lock on feature so they can properly balance it for a DPS role.

As harsh as it sounds the game should not be balanced in favor of a minority if it will harm the game, and this will. If she was in the support category it would be different but Blizzard has proven to us that they have no idea how to balance a non-healer support.


Nothing in the entire original post makes any claims whatsoever about the devs’ motivations in making the change. How do you know that your reason is why they are making the change? Furthermore, WHY should “balance for a DPS role” be privileged over accessibility? And WHY should the game not be “balanced” in favor of a minority? How do you know it will harm the game? How are you defining “harm”? Symmetra isn’t overpicked at high-level play, so she’s clearly not harming pro gameplay. Why should making the character represented at OWL-level play be more important than allowing a group of people who otherwise couldn’t play the game at all to play?

I could uncharitably argue that your comment frames you as opposed to accessibility. Why is that?


I’m mentioning pros as an example that it is possible for people to fill the strategic needs of a team on other characters. I see non-pros do this all the time as well.

As for accessibility, you bring up other equally accessible characters in your premise, specifically Moira and Rein, and mention that a strategic role is what sets her apart when Moira and Rein can, and often fill that position.

Yes. But this isn’t about accessibility as it is that a dedicated strategic role for team does not seem to work in this game when one can do it on most other characters, while simultaneously contributing to the firefight.

Oh please, this alone makes me so irritated. You honestly believe there’s some chance that an evil mustache twirler at Blizzard starting down his Ivory Tower saying “Yess get rid of the lock on make the disabled suffer, accessibility will be terminated”

Because she’d be garbage as a DPS and be outclassed if she can’t do enough damage.

Because its a minority and this is a competitive game.

I’m defining harm as in ignoring problems within the game.

Symmetra isn’t overpicked at any level of play, she’s barley picked at any level of play QP or Comp it doesn’t matter. I have been a Sym main since Beta and I am not blind and stupid enough to ignore the problems she has and I’m not going to sit here and say she’s perfect and nothing should ever change about her.

It’s not even about making her OWL worthy its about making her kit not be terrible in this kind of game, Overwatch has evolved and Symmetra has not been able to keep up with it.


As a disabled gamer who plays Sym due to her accessibility, your post is excellent.


I think it’s fair to remind/inform you that during the closed beta, Symmetra was at must pick status, with a kit that was 80% of her current kit. This means its perfectly possible to make her strong enough to be viable (under the premise she is not viable right now, which I disagree), by simply adjusting her base kit.


There is a perfect analogy in this reddit post, and I’ll quote here to illustrate why accessibility is important:

I think wheelchair accessible ramps are a good way to explain why I disagree with many people in this thread.
Imagine a building with stairs leading to the door, and next to it, a wheelchair accessible ramp with a few switchbacks. Inside is a free party, with great pizza.

Anyone can use the ramp to get in. Most people can go up stairs and don’t need to use the ramp. Some people (a small number) cannot use the stairs. The ramps take a little bit of time and money to build, but on the whole, they don’t hurt anyone, and for the people they do help, they can make a huge difference.
For some people, it now feels like people have complained that it takes longer to walk up a ramp, because it wraps around, than it does to just go up the stairs. They can still walk up the stairs, but they want to be able to use the ramp in the same exact way. So, it can still be a ramp, but it needs to be a sharp incline that doesn’t have a switchback.
OP, in my understanding, isn’t demanding that all stairs be made into ramps. OP isn’t even demanding that this one ramp be left alone. OP is just sad that he probably won’t be able to get into the building when the ramp gets turned into stairs or a super-steep ramp. And I, for one, agree that we should probably be sad when not everyone can get into the party, especially because we took away the ramp that was already there.


Okay, I’m sorry. That was an uncouth way to ask that question and the last thing I want to do is make your disability some sort of analytical pawn in the discussion. I’m sorry.

I should have asked: Do you play Symmetra for her accessibility? My point was that I am inclined to listen to people who say “I play Symmetra because she is the only character I am able to play well.”

I hear what you’re saying about the strategic role – one of the premises of the original post is that out-of-combat strategic play is (or should be) valuable and meaningful. If we don’t agree on that, I guess there’s no argument to be had. I hear what you’re saying about Rein and Moira contributing to strategic play in a fight (e.g. through Rein’s barrier play). What I’m arguing is that that KIND of strategy is different from Symmetra’s KIND of strategy, and that the latter should be valued as well.

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I’m very curious why Mercy wasn’t addressed in point 4, I find every aspect of her kit much more accessible than Sym. On top of requiring the same level of mechanical ability due to the healing beam lock-on, she is also VERY straightforward in terms of her role and what she should be doing. In fact, I’d sooner point a child or an elderly person in my family to pick up Mercy than Sym, because Sym’s positioning is actually less forgiving than Mercy despite what you argue because of her lack of an escape(via GA). Further, Mercy as a hero is MUCH more accepted as a team mate, which is also something that should factor into accessibility that you did not mention. You do not get yelled at for playing Mercy, so you are not pressured to overperform like you are with Sym.