The new and improved Symmetra is now on the Overwatch PTR

Update: We've got a breakdown of Symmetra's new abilities and other changes that you can dig into right here

Original story:

The Overwatch hero Symmetra is often viewed as "overly situational," game director Jeff Kaplan says in a new developer update video, meaning that while people enjoy playing her, she is often only used her to handle certain very specific tasks. She also suffers from "quality of life" issues, such as spending too much time waiting for cooldowns, which players often find frustrating. To address those shortcomings, Blizzard has put the character through a "redesign" that will have a big impact on how she's played.

The most exciting change on the way, Kaplan explains, is to her ultimate ability. Symmetra will soon be the first character in Overwatch to have a choice of ultimates: Once her ult meter has filled, she will have the option to deploy either her teleporter—which will continue to function as it does currently—or a shield generator, which "puts a very substantial shield—more than her old shield—on all of her teammates in a very big radius" that ignores line of sight.   

Symmetra's old shield has been replaced with a new ability called a "photon barrier." It functions similar to Reinhardt's shield, but is "projected on a track of movement," which Kaplan expects will encourage player aggression, particularly in situations where players may be hanging back. This also will hopefully supplement tanks such as Zarya and Roadhog, who don't have large, team-protecting barriers, in a way that makes Reinhardt feel less essential.

Symmetra is also now able to carry six turrets at a time instead of just three, which will enable her to place all six turrets during the pre-match setup phase. That will give players the ability to set up a tighter defense at the start of the match, but more importantly is that she will be able to move with the flow of combat more easily. The turrets also have had their cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds. Her weapons will continue to function as they have, although her primary fire will have slightly increased range. 

Kaplan said the changes are coming soon to the PTR, and Blizzard hopes to get feedback on the changes from both experienced Symmetra players and newcomers. "We're really looking at Symmetra overall and holistically," Kaplan said. "We want her to be a less situational character, and a character that sees a lot more use." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.