Overwatch Developer Update – Symmetra Redesign

Just three weeks out from Blizzcon and week after the massive Overwatch version 2.00 patch released, we have a new Developer Update from Overwatch game developer Jeff Kaplan. Similar to the last update, we will break down the video and go over what these changes mean for players. You can check out the complete update below:

This update has a few small social changes and updates on previously released content changes, but the highlight of the video is the massive updates to Symmetra’s play style. As Kaplan noted in the October Developer Update that they were actively working on Symmetra but that her overall role would not be changed (read more on that update here). Today, we learn just what the Symmetra overhaul will look like moving forward. 

In typical Blizzard fashion, Kaplan kicks off by saying that these Symmetra changes will come to the PTR “very soon”, though he does note that the Symmetra changes will be active before the Blizzcon announced control map Oasis hits the PTR.

Kaplan reiterates that the goal in redesigning Symmetra was to make her less of a situational player (namely holding the first point on defense) and giving her better “quality of life” features. He went on to acknowledge the chore that was shielding all your allies while also quickly setting up turrets before the enemy team attacks. 

Symmetra’s Changes 

Ultimate Ability (2:20) – Symmetra will be the first character in Overwatch to be able to choose between two ultimates. You read that correctly. Symmetra can now choose between her traditional Teleporter, or a Shield Generator. 

Symmetra’s ultimate symbol will look the same as before. When she’s earned her ultimate, the teleporter symbol will appear. Players can either choose the teleport and place it as normal, or double click the ultimate button to select a Shield Generator. 

The Shield Generator is an object that will disperse shields to allies automatically within a “large radius”, though Kaplan doesn’t give specifics on how far this radius extends. The Shield Generator is not affected by Line of Sight, making shields available to any ally within range. Specific health stats for the generator have not been given, though it can be destroyed like the teleporter. No specific number is given for how much these shields grant, however Kaplan did note that these will be more substantial than the current shields. This means that so long as the generator is active, it will continually revive shields on allies within range of the generator. 

Teleporter Specific Changes (3:47)

The Teleporter sees slight changes with more base health and more “shield health” More teleporter health both in static health and in shields, meaning the teleporter can sustain itself more easily during attacks. 

Photon Barrier (4:58)

To replace the current shields, the team has added a Photon Barrier. Kaplan likens the barrier to Riendhart or Winston’s shields, but notes that the Photon Barrier exists on a track of movement and has an elliptical shape. He continues that it moves on a trajectory and notes it can be used to signal teammates of oncoming enemies that should be focused among other uses.  

Sentry Turrets (6:05)

Kaplan explains that instead of prior stack of three you could “stock” and then have to wait for three more to regenerate, the maximum amount of turrets at the start of a game is now six. This means she can instantly place six turrets at beginning of match before cool down starts. 

Where the sentry turrets previously took 12 seconds to regenerate charge, now reduced to 10 seconds. This will make for an easier initial setup for defense, and faster alternate turret placement in general. 

Weapon (7:30) 

Symmetra’s weapon is mostly unchanged. However the gun’s primary fire  has seen a slight increase to the distance of the beam, but Kaplan wasn’t specific on numbers. 

Symmetra is tied up with encouragement from Kaplan asking for PTR feedback from both Symmetra and non Symmetra players. 

Other Overwatch News 

overwatch oasis map
Oasis map in progress via YouTube

Oasis Map (9:30)

Kaplan notes that Oasis will hit the PTR shortly after Symmetra. (You can learn more about Oasis in this video from Overwatch Central.) He says the goal is to go live on Oasis by early 2017 and that they’re watching the jump pad on Oasis to see how it’s used on PTR before it goes out to the live servers. (Could this mean a future hero that uses a jump pad like ability?)

Social Feature (10:35)

If you’ve ever queued solo or with a couple of friends and had a great match, but felt annoyed that you’d have to add the other players to your fiends list to continue playing with them, fear no more. The Overwatch team is adding a social button that will display at the end of the match where you see stats, POTG, etc. that will allow you to party up with your current group for the next match. This feature was added as both a convenience and to encourage more social interaction amongst players. 


This update shows that the Overwatch Development team is keeping true to their promise to listen to fans. With these changes, Symmetra will have more viability as an individual and team player. Relieving the burden of constantly reapplying shields to teammates and being able to access sentry turrets more readily will put Symmetra more in line with her fellow heroes. The choice between a Teleporter and a Shield Generator will make for a more diverse Symmetra game play. It will be interesting to see what ways the Photon Barrier can increase Symmetra’s effectiveness in combat. 

With Competitive Season 2 coming to an end, it will be interesting to see if Symmetra hits the PTR between competitive seasons. What do you think of Symmetra’s changes? Do you think the redesign will increase her play time in matches outside of defending points? 

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About the author

Mia Faller

Editor in Chief at Word of the Nerd. Mia geeks out on everything horror, fantasy, and Sci Fi. Follow Mia on Twitter @fall_mia. You can view more of her writing work at

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