Can Overwatch League Symmetra play change Symmetra’s reputation?

Symmetra Finally Sees Overwatch League Play

Symmetra finally sees Overwatch League play!

On the first day of the second season, the Los Angeles Gladiators used Symmetra to moderate success in order to push the first Kings Row point. This was a historical moment for Overwatch League, because it is the first time Symmetra has dealt any hero damage in the league. Yes, you read that correctly, Symmetra has not dealt damage in the Overwatch League before. Symmetra mains everywhere rejoiced as Surefour, the Gladiator flex DPS, finally validated their character selection on the top field of Overwatch competition.

Symmetra’s Reputation Problem

Symmetra suffers from a reputation problem, which stems from her instability as a character, and players confusion about her role as a result. It is possible that the explanation for Symmetra’s low pick rate is that modern Symmetra is not competitively viable. However, the Gladiator’s choice to use her indicates that the professionals disagree, and that Symmetra has a legitimate place in the DPS meta. Further, there are plenty of examples of top 500 and grandmaster players using Symmetra to win games, such as popular Twitch streamer Daniel Fenner. Another explanation for her low pick rate is that she has a bad reputation formed from two and a half years of significant change, her awkward place within the meta of early Overwatch, and past versions of her lacking competitive viability outside of very specific scenarios. Many Overwatch players would classify Symmetra as a meme hero.

Symmetra 1.0: Support Symmetra

When the game first released, Symmetra was classified in the support role, and her primary fire locked onto enemies within a very limited range. Her secondary fire did little damage, but it went through barriers. She could give her teammates extra shields and her ultimate was a teleporter which teleported characters from the spawn room, to wherever she set it up. The first rendition of Symmetra offered players 3 turrets which autolocked onto enemies and did damage, and had a significant cool down. This initial version of Symmetra was difficult to play in many scenarios. Her cooldown on her turrets was long, her shield ability was only useful upon spawning with your team, or if they died, and she had very few options for escaping damage. During this time in Symmetra’s character development, she was used primarily for her teleporter and saw very little serious play.

Symmetra 2.0: Deathgate Symmetra

Seeing the issues with Symmetra, and her low pick rate, the Overwatch development team set to work on Symmetra 2.0 in late 2016. The second rendition of Symmetra offered the player six turrets, a barrier which once deployed would float forward in a straight line, and the choice between a teleporter and a shield generator for their ultimate. The six turrets and shield generator increased the value Symmetra offered to the team, but it didn’t clarify what role she was meant to play on the team. Although Symmetra was still classified as support, at this point her role existed between defense and support. She didn’t do enough support actions to justify her as a support, and she generally didn’t do enough damage to justify her as a DPS role. Put simply, although Symmetra 2.0 was better than the first version of the character, it didn’t solve the problems with Symmetra.

Symmetra 3.0: DPS Symmetra

In June of 2018, there was a serious rework of Symmetra. According to an interview with the Lead developer of Overwatch Jeff Kaplan, in November of 2018, the rework of Symmetra was a necessity because balancing her abilities did not make her a more viable pick the first time they reworked her. Symmetra 3.0 drastically changed the abilities, value, and most importantly the role of Symmetra. This modern Symmetra is more competitively viable because she does more damage, offers her team incredible mobility with the teleporter, and her skyshield ultimate can change the course of a match. This version of Symmetra is not classified as support.

  • Aaron J. Alford
    M.A Communication

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Aaron J. Alford

Media critique and memes. Writing about rhetoric and society. MA in Communication They/He