Overwatch is almost three years old and the number of hero reworks is definitely getting up there.
The most notable and latest rework, of course, is Hanzo, the notorious defense hero with a penchant for scatter one-shotting perfectly, healthy tanks. Hanzo's Scatter-Shot ability has been removed and replaced with Storm Arrows, which allows him to rapidly fire up to six arrows that deal reduced damage but are always fired at full power.
In addition, he's been given a mobility upgrade with Lunge, which gives him the ability to leap horizontally. These abilities are more than just buffs and nerfs, they're complete reworks. A hero rework changes the playstyle of the character and forces someone who was already proficient with the character to re-learn how to play it.
Symmetra is also notable here, as she is reportedly scheduled for a complete overhaul. The Overwatch team is removing her from the Support class entirely and reworking her kit to fit that of a defense hero. This will probably be the most drastic change in Overwatch history (we don't have any more details yet) but in this case, it is sorely needed.
Symmetra has a zero pick rate in the Overwatch League and is often not viable in most compositions. She's the only support hero at the moment who cannot heal, and that's clearly not working. Fortunately, we already have a very robust support roster and Symmetra should fit comfortably in defense.
Is it too soon for Overwatch to be making so many impactful changes? Is that indicative of a problem with hero design?
No, not at all.
Blizzard has historically always made fixing their mistakes a priority. In all Blizzard's franchises, mistakes or unpopular decisions are always reevaluated, especially if the community provides constructive feedback. Public testing realms are a staple with Blizzard games because the company consistently improves upon itself.
These practices on Blizzard's part ensure that the games are always evolving and improving which increases the lifespan of the games (case in point, World of Warcraft which is still going strong after almost 15 years thanks to constant updates) and as Overwatch naturally evolves with the addition of new heroes and new maps, changes to older content must be made.
Sometimes those changes are reworks, and while that can feel frustrating after you get used to a certain heroes kit, ultimately, it's better to embrace these changes when they come because we all know it's better for the game in the long run.
Photos courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment