Justice rains from above, but healing hails from the barrel of a gun.
The team-based shooter for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One has revealed its first new character, Ana. She’s a sniper that can use the same gun to attack enemies or heal allies. Her addition is keeping Overwatch’s players excited, which makes them less likely to abandon the game. It also shakes up Overwatch’s metagame, since players will need to not only learn this new character but must develop new strategies to fight against her.
While Ana is available in the actual game, GamesBeat played this new hero in the Public Test Realm (a separate server that lets players try out new features and give feedback to Blizzard).
She’s not for beginners
Ana is not an easy healer to play. While a Lucio just needs to be around players in order to help them, and Mercy can keep a player healthy just by holding a button down, Ana needs to shoot a friendly player in order to restore health. This can be difficult, since your team is often moving and jumping around.
A lot of her abilities require precision. Her sleep dart can knock players out, but you’ll have to land it first. This can difficult against small, fast characters like Genji and Tracer.
Her Ultimate ability is also complex. It boosts the attack and speed for a single ally. It can have a big impact, but you need to coordinate and have some faith in your teammate. Unlike damage-based Ultimates like Reaper’s or Pharah’s, you can’t win a game simply by activating it.
What she’s good at
While Overwatch’s existing snipers, Hanzo and Widowmaker, work best when playing defense, Ana seems better suited for offense. Her Ultimate ability’s buff works best when you use it on a character that can break through an enemy team that’s protecting a specific point. Trigger it with a Genji that’s also using his Ultimate and he can quickly cut his way through an entire enemy team. It can also make usually slow characters like Reinhardt able to quickly swing his hammer and wipe out multiple targets.
She’s also great at taking down tanks. Her grenade puts a debuff on any enemies that it hits, making them take extra damage. This is a big help against characters with a lot of health, like Roadhog and Zarya.
Ana’s versatility might be her best strength. She can easily switch between healing and attacking just by alternating between friendly and hostile targets. Her grenade can heal herself and allies while also weakening enemies, making it an incredible tool if multiple players are close together in the middle of a fight.
What she struggles with
Since you need to attack teammates in order to heal them, you’ll have a difficult time landing shots on small, friendly targets. Sometimes you’ll see a Tracer short on health that is imply moving too fast and erratically to land a hit on. Because of this, Ana will unlikely be your team’s only healer. She’ll work best when paired with existing support characters like Mercy and Lucio.
Ana also doesn’t have abilities that make it easier to access ideal sniping locations. Hanzo can climb walls. Widowmaker can use a grappling hook. Ana has to walk. You’ll need to be intimately familiar with maps in order to know how to get to the best perches.
Her lack of movement tech also makes her an easy target if she ends up alone. She can’t easily escape a fight, and she’s unlikely to beat characters like Genji or Winston before they kill her. Her only hope is to put enemies asleep with her sleeping dart and then kill them or run away. If you miss that shot, you’re likely dead.
It’s way too early to know exactly how good Ana will be. We’ll need to see weeks of player behavior before we know if she’s a weak, overpowered, or balanced character.
But I definitely know she’s a fun. Her set of healing tools make her of Overwatch’s more creative fighters. She’s going to have a big impact on how teams go about picking heroes.