Sombra is one of my favorite characters. I played her when she first came out (even when she was a basically just a walking health pack) and I was ecstatic with her initial changes (before the introduction to 2s hack after taking damage, then you know, two weeks later, Blizzard nerfed her to the point of being worse than her original state). Even in spite of that, I still greatly enjoyed Sombra. She embodies the very concept of high risk, high reward. However her new changes are both an antithesis to that concept and the very design philosophy Blizzard has taken in the past with regards to other heroes.
First and foremost: I’m not going to bother with the stealth changes, as that has been rehashed on these forums over and over again. However, I would like to then point out, that with these new changes Sombra is literally the only hero in the game that loses access to all of her abilities (except her ult) with a maximum of 5 damage. How is it fun in any sense to have any of your abilities being cancelled after taking a fleck of damage (which ask any Sombra player who’s played her often- it happens A LOT more than you would think). Can you imagine if any other hero (meta or otherwise) had the same restriction? What if Tracer had her Blink put on cooldown if she took any damage, or her body was still able to be targeted during recall and she could potentially die during it?
Secondly, let’s consider past changes and past philosophies that Blizzard have taken with other heroes. As part of the Mercy rework (from Resurrect to Valkyrie), Blizz said the following (paraphrased):
Now to quote the original intention of Blizzard for the new Sombra changes:
Reading between the lines there, it certainly seems like Blizzard wants Sombra to embody the stealth and hide away from important battles, instead of taking part in them. Furthermore, based on what my earlier point, Sombra cannot be in a fight for a combat due to the fact that if she takes between 1-5 points of damage, any of her non-ult abilities can be cancelled, making it extremely dangerous for Sombra to stay consistently.
Finally, I want to examine the concept of “scouting” for Sombra. In a game that contains both Widow and Hanzo, who run absolutely no risk by using their scouting abilities (utilizing both Sonic Arrow and Infra-sight respectively). They can do this from a distance posing 0 risk to themselves. However Sombra is FAR less effective in “scouting” the enemy as if an enemy accidentally or otherwise were to come within 2M of Sombra, she’s revealed, and depending on the hero, dead. Furthermore, the necessity of scouting in Overwatch (beyond locations of characters) are not required in the slightest. You can make arguments for edge cases such as Torb & Symm’s turrets but in all honesty, most teams with even a small amount of coordination would be able to handle that- but if they can’t then knowing the location with a Sombra would certainly NOT make a difference.
In closing, I don’t think Blizzard are actually taking an in-depth look at Sombra’s strengths and weaknesses. It appears they have a very shaky and quite frankly have no idea what niche they want Sombra to fill. On top of that (granted Blizzard does this with every game they have), they listen to the loudest people as opposed to empirical data. When Sombra’s 2 weeks of strong gameplay was put into the game, there was a giant uproar- all based on personal bias and no actual data. If anything- we saw Sombra’s pick/win rate go up by at most 3% across each bracket and Sombra’s winrate when picked by teams in Overwatch Contenders was actually in the negative. However, because Blizzard listened the loudest voices, not the actual data, she was nerfed two weeks later.
Blizzard, I’m asking you, please stop being stubborn with your vision in how a hero should be balanced. I’m not stating that all the changes people have put forth are even remotely viable, but it seems that you are making very small concessions and are making extremely reluctant concessions when the community complains about Sombra’s state & changes. This is not a single player game where everything exists in a small bubble- this is a multiplayer game with evolving trends and balance needs to be considered from all places: the dev team (of course) the community, professional players, and of course, empirical data.
You will never please every single player, please stop trying to do so.