Blizzard Entertainment promised earlier this year it would rework Torbjörn, Overwatch‘s Swiss mechanic that specializes in building turrets. Torbjörn began to fall off in popularity as his defense-focused playstyle couldn’t keep up with the high amounts of damage and speed of other characters. Now we know what those character changes will look like, and they’ll be available on the game’s PTR (public test realm) client later today.
Overwatch launched in May 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The team-based shooter has reached over 40 million players. Adding new characters and maps is important to keep those players engaged and help grow its esports scene in the Overwatch League, but Blizzard also has to update and retool existing heroes. This change for Torbjörn is one of the shooter’s most significant overhauls yet.
Torbjörn will become less reliant on his turret. His own gun will now fire and reload faster. He also no longer creates armor packs for his team. Instead, a new ability, Overload, increases Torbjörn’s defense, speed, and attack power for a short time. These changes give Torbjörn more strength on offense.
Torbjörn is also getting a new Ultimate ability. It’s still called Molten Core, but it now shoots out pools of lava. The old Molten Core increased his health and damage (similar to the new Overload ability) and also upgraded his turret.
Those turrets will still exist, but you don’t need to whack them with a hammer to upgrade them. They’ll now deploy into what used to be their Level 2 stage. You can also toss now toss them a short distance when deploying them, giving Torbjörn access to turret locations that used to be out of reach.
This is all similar to the rework that another defensive-minded character, Symettra, received in June. Symettra’s changes also gave her new offensive capabilities, turning her from a niche pick into a more consistent character. When Overwatch launched, it had four character groups: Tank, Support, Offense, and Defense. But Blizzard eventually combined Offense and Defense into Damage. The Torbjörn changes should give the character the tools he needs to be relevant again.
You can find the full list of Torbjörn’s changes here.