- Movement speed reduction during Turret deployment reduced to 0% (down from 25%).
- Cast time of Turrets reduced to 0.7 seconds (down from 1.4 seconds).**
- Turret Deployment range increased to 15m (up from 10m).
- Turret Cooldown reduced to 8 seconds (down from 10 seconds)
- Enemies hit by Sentry Turrets are revealed through walls to the rest of the Team.
- The size of the Barrier is increased.
- The barrier is made concave.
- The Barrier spawns closer to the player.
- The cooldown of the Barrier is reduced.
- Pressing Z (status of Ultimate), reveals the location of the Ultimate to Teammates through Walls.
- Ultimate health is increased to 500 (up from 400).
More Viable in More Situations
In Developer Update, Jeff stated he wants Symmetra to be viable in a lot of different situations.
Their rework aimed for that.
When making changes to her, the Devs wanted to increase Symmetra’s viability in different situations.
- She was a given a Photon Barrier to help her viability on Attack.
- She was given a Shield Generator because players found the Teleporter less useful after first Point.
A year has passed and we haven’t really seen Symmetra played in more situations.
- For the playerbase, she is still a first point Defense Hero.
- For the Pros, she does not even exist.
In order for Symmetra to become more viable in more situations, she’s going need more improvements like -
- faster cast mechanics
- smaller cooldowns
- other QoL improvements
What Works in Symmetra’s Kit
First let’s talk about who Symmetra is and what works well in her kit. Then we can talk about what needs improvement.
Symmetra is the Melee Support Hero of Overwatch.
She is a Melee Hero because of her 7-9m range, which is just slightly farther than Reinhardt’s 5m range. The fact that she shoots a gun instead of swinging a giant hammer is mainly for aesthetics.
She is a Support Hero in that her Turrets, Photon Barrier and Ultimate are primarily used to protect other vulnerable members on her team.
I have a lot of fun playing her and I disagree with all the posts calling her situational and unviable, useless and easily countered. I don’t think she is any of these. She can get a lot of work done if played right.
I think Overwatch Devs have designed a pretty unique hero here, whose kit I am obsessively in love with.
Symmetra’s Weapon is a mix of strong Melee Beam and long Ranged Disruption Orbs, which create a unique playstyle for her.
Photon Projector latches on to a Single Target at 7m. It starts dealing 30 damage for 1 second, then Levels up to 60 damage for 1 second, then Levels up to 120 damage per second, thereafter, as long as the Beam level is maintained via constant charging.
- Symmetra’s Lv1 Beam is weak but this is offset by her Lv3 Beam which can melt 200 Hp heroes with ease.
Energy Ball is primarily a disruption ability. However when charged it becomes much more useful. You can charge up a Ball and plant it on enemies at Melee Range before you finish them off with either your Beam or Melee.
- Tracer, a 150hp hero, can be killed with the charged Energy Ball + Melee combo for 155 damage.
Both the Photon Projector and Energy Ball are well balanced and require no further changes.
Sentry Turrets are a decent Support ability that Slow and Damage enemies and offer Distraction Targets for the enemy to shoot down. They can attack enemies up to 10m far.
- Sentry Turrets (and Teleporter) make her super fun to play on 2Cp Attack (my fav map being Volskaya). These tools are perfect for countering stall. Once I am set up on 2Cp with a few Turrets, it’s pretty much GG.
However their Cast Mechanics and Deployment Range make them a clunky ability in a fast paced game that Overwatch is.
Photon Barrier can be used to mitigate damage that would otherwise be deadly.
- Ults like DVa bomb, High Noon can be blocked though some Ults require a lot of experience in prediction e.g Earthshatter.
However it’s long cooldown and drawbacks prevents it from being a versatile ability.
Symmetra’s Ultimates are very powerful given how fast they can charge.
Teleporter gives her team the numbers advantage.
- For example, it brings back your Tanks quickly so that your team always has strong presence on the point when you are trying to Capture a point on Attack.
Shield Generator makes her allied Flankers Op while buffering the health for all the squishies on her team.
- Both Ultimates allow Symmetra to play more aggressively with her Primary Fire.
Although her Ultimates are well-balanced, there are certain Heroes to which they are weak, and there are certain Quality of Life changes that they need in order to better fit in a Team-Based shooter.
Now let’s talk about each of these in detail.
1. Movement speed reduction during Turret deployment reduced to 0% (down from 25%).
2. Cast time of Turrets reduced to 0.7 seconds (down from 1.4 seconds).
Overwatch is a fast-paced game but everything about Turret deployment is slow right now. Their cooldown, their flow, everything about them is slow.
- It takes 10 seconds to get 1 Turret.
- It takes 1.4 seconds to deploy.
- It takes 1 additional second for the Turret to ready itself for fire.
- Symmetra is slowed down while putting them up.
- Symmetra is stuck in a hand swirling animation during which she cannot do anything else.
Long Cast Times are Punishing in Fast-Paced Games
Symmetra’s cast mechanics make her feel much more clunky in a fast-paced environment than she otherwise would be in a slower game.
The fact that Dive comps are meta right now, makes this clunkiness very apparent and aggravates it.
The cast mechanics make her vulnerable during Turret placements.
This was clearly intended, however it is too punishing.
The slower cast mechanics work better in slow games. Overwatch being fast-paced, punishes this type of immobility.
Separating the Masters from Gold
Improving Symmetra’s Turret cast mechanics will help skilled Symmetra players get more use out of her. They will be able to place clutch Turrets to save teammates and may even be able to duel more effectively.
- We might see Skill combos develop in order to deal the most burst damage with Symmetra, similar to Ana’s Sleep, Grenade, Punch, Shoot combo.
Sentry Turrets - Quality of Life Changes
3. Turret Deployment range increased to 15m (up from 10m).
Allows Symmetra to deploy Turrets at an Optimal height without having to junp next the wall to place them higher.
Allows Symmetra to deploy Turrets from a more safe position.
4. Turret Cooldown reduced to 8 seconds (down from 10 seconds)
Sentry Turrets have 1HP and be destroyed by some stray bullet. They are meant to be disposable and so lowering the cooldown allows Symmetra to cycle through them more quickly.
5. Enemies hit by Sentry Turrets are revealed through walls to the rest of the Team.
Currently when you place Turrets to detect Flankers, you must call out to your Team to let them know where that Flanker is.
Allowing Teammates to see exactly where the Flanker is through walls will be a huge QoL buff to Turrets.
6. The size of the Barrier is increased.
7. The barrier is made concave.
8. The Barrier spawns closer to the player.
9. The cooldown of the Barrier is reduced.
You are Defending 2nd Point Anubis and Widow goes up on the ledge and starts sniping your team. You pop a Photon Barrier that blocks her line of sight. The Photon Barrier travels towards her and takes up more of her LOS.
You are Attacking on First Point King’s row and you see a McCree pop that noon and you’re like “oh !@#$”, you pop your Barrier and Bam now it’s afternoon.
In these examples, Photon Barrier has done its job well.
This is because Photon Barrier’s Effective Protection is quite good when the enemy is far away from you and the Photon Barrier blocks their LOS for more than 1 second.
However in all other cases, where you want to use Photon Barrier, it kinda fails at its job. It does not Effectively Protect you.
You get less than 1s of Protection from the Barrier, after which you are left completely vulnerable.
The Photon Barrier is either destroyed too easily or it doesn’t block enemy LOS for more than 1s.
Limitations of Photon Barrier
Example of Photon Barrier getting destroyed too easily -
- You are flanked by a Pharah who begins to scream Justice and you as the Goddess of Protection, pops that Protective Shield “Yeh tumhari raksha karega” and bam that Pharah Ult is gone… nope she breaks through it and damages you anyway. Only in rare occasions will your Barrier get so close to her that she dies from the splash damage from her rockets exploding on the Barrier.
Example of Photon Barrier not blocking enemy LOS for more than 1s
Tracer is harassing the backline. Your Barrier is only good enough to stop one clip from her. She’ll change her position and unload another clip in you anyway.
You are up close with the enemy McCree and let’s say you happen to block his Flashbang with the Barrier. He’ll out-DPS you even after, and you merely delayed your death. He would’ve killed you faster if he landed that Flashbang.
The Effective Protection provided by the Barrier can be good but it is quite limited in most cases.
Melee Support Heroes are very Vulnerable
Symmetra is a melee Support hero with no escapes and with little range capabilities with her Orb.
As a melee support hero with no escapes and little range capability in an First Person Shooter, she is inherently the most vulnerable out of all the heroes in the game.
She is vulnerable not just out in the open but also in closed areas.
- Out in the open she is vulnerable to just about everyone in the cast, including Mercy now with Valkyrie.
- Indoors, Symmetra is quite vulnerable to Heroes like Reaper, Tracer, DVa, Winston and Mei.
And despite being vulnerable, she has little to no way to protect herself besides throwing out a Barrier whose Effective Protection is often less than 1 second but whose cooldown is 10 seconds. She has no other protection or escape other than this Barrier.
Getting the Photon Barrier in the Rework has been a boon in many cases, such as the examples described at the start but it falls short in just about every other situation.
Photon Barrier is also quite limited in its range of Protection, it’s coverage.
You pop it just when you push in on Attack. Yes you can push behind the Barrier but the Barrier’s linear path and no protection from different angles, from the sides and above, keep it from being useful aside from the initial second of being popped. If you have a Lucio speed boost you in, then your Barrier is as good as a Torb turret in base.
You get into a close-ranged fight with the above-mentioned heroes, you can pop the barrier to protect yourself from their onslaught and within a second, they will change their position, rendering your barrier useless. Or the barrier will pass through them, as they advance towards you unhindered.
Summary of Pros and Cons
Photon Barrier in its current design is good at blocking some Ults
Photon Barrier is good in that it allows Symmetra to hang out in the back lines and pop her Barrier to Protect the front lines.
Photon Barrier is also good at blocking off Stationary ranged Attackers like Widow.
Photon Barrier is good in that it provides frontal cover when pushing with it.
Photon Barrier only provides frontal cover when your team are pushing with it. So it is bad in that it doesn’t not cover any other angle other than the front.
Photon Barrier is bad at protecting you in close-range.
Photo Barrier is bad at protecting you when the enemy is advancing towards you.
Photo Barrier is bad at protecting you from Flankers who constantly change position like Tracer and Pharah.
Photon Barrier cooldown is too high in most cases.
Once you pop the Barrier, you are most likely are vulnerable right after you pop it
Photon Barrier vs Other Barriers
Let’s compare Photon Barriers to other Barriers which are on a Cooldown.
You got the Orisa Barrier (8s cooldown) and the Winston Barrier (13s cooldown).
- Both of these Barrier protect the Player for more than 1 second. This is because the stationary Barriers hang around after being deployed and continue to provide protection!
- They block LoS from Long-Range attackers and close-ranged Attackers for more than 1 second.
- Orisa Barrier offers less protection than Winston Barrier so naturally it gets the shorter cooldown of 8s vs 13s. Winston also has mobility so he is in much less of a need of a more frequent Barrier.
I like Symmetra’s Moving Barrier
I actually like that it moves forward because I can sit in the back lines and protect someone in front lines.
But in most cases it’s only good for a second or maybe two before it moves out of its Protective range.
And when I, as Symmetra, need the Barrier the most, it most often fails me.
Photon Barrier needs Cooldown Reduction
One would think that Photon Barrier cooldown should at least be 8s. But I would be lying if I said 8s is good enough.
I think this Barrier’s cooldown should be low enough to be spammed!
But that can be problematic for the Widow who in our first example is Sniping from that high ledge on Second Point Anubis and she keeps getting Photo Barriers in her face.
A low cooldown on Photon Barrier can become an issue for when the Barrier is actually travelling towards the enemy who is far away. 10s cooldown is fine in those situations where the Barrier is offering protection from a line of sight for more than 1s.
The 10s cooldown becomes too high in those situations in which the Barrier provides protection for 1s or less.
When the Barrier is destroyed immediately either by enemy DPS or by striking a hard object, in those situations the Barrier does not provide protection for more than 1s.
When the enemy passes through the Barrier or changes position to outside of Barrier’s effective cover.
In those cases, I wish the Barrier cooldown was lower so that I could use it again.
Interesting Ways of Lowering the Cooldown
The Cooldown of the Barrier is reduced by 1s for every 100 damage it takes. The Cooldown of the Barrier is reset when the Barrier is destroyed.
- This way the more damage you block with the Barrier, the more you can spam it. Thus you can block even more damage. But when you spam it at a Sniper far away, the Barrier is less likely to be spammed, thus keeping the Barrier fair-play for the Sniper.
Symmetra has 2 Charges of Photon Barrier at 10s Cooldown.
- This way she has two occasions where she can protect herself.
Barrier After Barrier
Photon Barrier has 2s cooldown BUT only 1 Barrier can be out at any given time. Casting Photo Barrier again destroys the previous Barrier.
- This way you can use Photon Barrier every 2 seconds but you may not spam Barriers at Snipers. I like this suggestion a lot, since I can use the Barrier much more frequently than in any other suggestion!
Photon Barrier Cooldown is reduced by 1s for every 100 damage Symmetra deals.
This is an aggressive Barrier because the cooldown is tied to Symmetra’s damage.
When you have that Beam locked on, the longer you stay in battle the more vulnerable you are. Having this Aggressive Barrier would allow Symmetra to deal damage and be able to defend herself more frequently.
Holding E delays the movement on the Barrier by 2s.
- This is like a 2s personal shield, like a pseuo-Reinshield. You hold E, the barrier stays in position in front of you for 2s, after which you can no longer hold it and it is automatically released, travelling forward in the direction you are facing at the time of release. So Press E to send out Barrier as normal, Hold E to keep it in front of you for 2s.
Symmetra’s Ultimates are in a good place. However a couple of changes can help to improve this ability.
10. Pressing Z (status of Ultimate), pings/reveals the location of the Ultimate to Teammates through Walls.
This allows Symmetra to quickly indicate the location of her Ultimates to her Teammates so that they can help defend it.
11. Ultimate health is increased to 500 (up from 400).
This change is literally to help Symmetra with 1 hero in the game, who has the fastest charging Ult,that charges way faster than Symmetra’s Ult, and deals 400 damage.
Tracer can completely nullify Symmetra’s Ult by constantly bombing it. She’ll always have her Ult before Symmetra and all she has to do is listen in to when Symmetra places her Ult, Blink-Blink-Ult-Recall, without any fear of taking damage from Symmetra.
In other words, Tracer can easily destroy a Symmetra Ult and avoid any counter-play from Symmetra by using her Blinks and Recall.
Tracer’s Ult should either deal less damage, or Symmetra’s Ult should have more HP.
That’s all folks.
Thanks for reading if you made it all the way through.