Are Snipers Unhealthy for Overwatch?

Snipers are a controversial role in many first person shooter games. There are groups of people who love snipers for bringing a unique play style to the game that holds immense power, and there are also people who hate snipers for the exact same reasons. The controversy of sniper characters, like in other games, is also prevalent in Overwatch.

There are two heroes in Overwatch who perfectly fit the bill for a "traditional" sniper in Overwatch: Widowmaker and Hanzo. Widowmaker is a hitscan sniper with a scoped rifle, and Hanzo has a bow and arrow. Still, many players dislike how such characters can exist in a relatively team-based game like Overwatch.

The issues that people have with Hanzo and Widowmaker are numerous. One of the main issues is the concern of killing people in one hit. Hanzo and Widowmaker can kill any damage or support character besides Bastion with a single headshot at any range. That means that they can play so far away that no other hero can really harm them. If your mechanics are solid and your game sense and positioning are somewhat competent, you can easily dictate the pace of the game. Meanwhile, other damage characters like Genji, McCree, Pharah, and Doomfist have to work a lot harder and put themselves at risk to even deal damage.

Furthermore, these heroes have tremendous damage potential, and can break shields, secure picks, and pressure tanks more than any other damage character. In fact, the highly disliked and oppressive GOATS meta came into existence as a response to the double sniper meta. If you can run three tanks and heroes with high sustain, it becomes impossible for a sniper to kill you.

The second most commonly cited gripe with Hanzo and Widowmaker is they have too much mobility. Overwatch is not a traditional FPS game. It is supposed to be fast paced with constant action. Blizzard felt if those heroes lacked mobility skills like a traditional sniper, they would be significantly outclassed by all the other damage characters. Still, players feel these two have too much mobility, as they can easily avoid enemy dives.

Snipers in Overwatch can heavily dictate the pacing of a match, and under the right hands, they are both oppressive and powerful. However, with the meta being relatively new, it might be a bit early to say that they are unhealthy for the game.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard