Overwatch’s September 2018 developer update, brought to you once again through the ever-friendly Jeff Kaplan, shares a number of important details concerning changes and reworks for several characters, the upcoming Halloween update, as well as the overall kind of content and improvements that players can expect to start seeing more of.
But the largest (and the shortest) talking point of the update concerns Torbjorn, a hero who has been expected to get a re-work from Blizzard for some time. And while Kaplan calls the adjustments ‘small’, there’re anything but; The comprehensive list is sure to dramatically change the way the character is played.
Many of these changes are focused around making the character more mobile as a damage dealer. Torbjorn, one of the original Overwatch characters available since the main game’s release, was intended to be spiritually akin to the Engineer class from Team Fortress 2, favoring a stationary playstyle that involved the moving around and building around a number of very powerful deployable structures.
However, as the general playstyle of overwatch evolved to favor movement-heavy systems and characters more and more, Torbjorn’s original design fell further and further out of favor with players, and he was seeing less and less playtime and success according to data gathered by Blizzard. A few initial changes helped the problem a bit: Torb’s scrap mechanic and ultimate were adjusted, and his sentries became less of a focus for his playstyle than they were before. However, the need to hammer away at the sentries was still there, and it was still a problematic issue that forced the character to stand still in times when standing still wasn’t really much of an option.
That’s one of the first big changes to the hero: Turrets no longer have levels. The only level that exists now is the one that was known as level 2. When a turret is thrown (not placed, thrown – he can deploy them out a bit further now) it will instantly move to level 2 after a quick automatic build-up period similar to how they originally deployed.
There’s also no more level 3 turret. While Torbjorn’s ultimate ability is still called “Molten Core” (So he still gets to shout that upon activating it), he no longer gets a level 3 turret out of it. Instead, his robotic hook arm comes into frame, and he’s given a powerful weapon with limited ammo: Molten metal.
This new weapon can spew pools of molten metal onto the ground. Pools stay in place for a while, causing grounded area denial, and will also deal damage to anyone standing on the pool. This damage is amplified versus enemy armor, making it more effective against tanks.
But speaking of armor, it seems this new update has caused Torb to shift from being the supplier of armor to simply being the destroyer of it. His old “armor pack” ability is totally gone now, as is the scrap system along with it. In its place, is a new “overload” ability that gives Torbjorn a buff to his health, his gun’s rate of fire, and movement speed for a short duration. This ability is intended to give him more viability as a solo damage builder, and the ability to give himself a limited amount of temporary HP will give him some ability to function on his own without a healer, or at least something to do in preparation for big team fights.
In addition, Kaplan also mentioned minor changes to his primary fire Rivet Gun. These changes include a decrease in damage, but an increase in projectile speed and accuracy – making his damage more consistent, which many skilled players find to be far more important than raw damage output.
The community has yet to get their hands on these changes and the updated character, and many are curious how (over?)powerful the new version will be. A release date was not announced, but the update should be hitting the PTR servers very soon.