A recent teaser unveiled from Overwatch developers Blizzard seems to hint that hero 30 is around the corner. The teaser comes in the form of a document hacked by Sombra and hints towards Baptiste being the latest addition to the popular hero shooter.
The document seems to suggest that Baptiste will be a support of sorts. It reads “I’ve never known a medic to be such a good shot, and his adaptability to new situations is a rare talent.” I believe this line is our biggest clue as to what the gameplay applications of Baptiste will likely be.
Whilst not necessarily guaranteed, the focus on him being a ‘good shot’ seems to hint at him being a hit-scan hero. This wouldn’t be all that surprising considering fans do seem to have a preference for classic hit-scan style FPS heroes. You’re far more likely to see rants about melee heroes like Brigitte or crowd control focused heroes like Doomfist, who many fans can find oppressive.
That brings me nicely onto Overwatch’s biggest problem right now. The amount of crowd control has become ludicrous. Roadhog’s hook, McCree’s flashbang, Ana’s sleep dart, Ashe’s coach gun, Orisa’s halt, Hammond’s piledriver, Brigitte’s shield bash, Reinhardt’s charge, Pharah’s concussion blast, Lucio’s boop, and Mei’s primary fire. Let’s not forget Junkrat and Doomfist’s entire kits. There are some more minor offenders too as well as a variety of ultimates that contribute towards this problem.
To be clear, crowd control has its place. Without effective CC high mobility heroes like Tracer, Genji and Lucio would run riot in the meta. Relying on good aim alone to deal with these heroes can often not be practical, especially when they are played by skilled individuals. CC is a great way of offering counterplay and forcing high mobility heroes to have to play around you.
The CC problem isn’t related to ultimates either. In fact, I’d go as far as to say using ultimates for CC abilities is a great approach. Having Doomfist’s rocket punch on a 4-second cooldown means it’s practically always off cooldown for either mobility or getting picks. There is little resource investment so even if you fail once or twice, there will probably be another opportunity shortly after to make it work.
Ultimates are different. They require significant investment to get and are a huge resource to invest in a team fight. Zarya’s graviton surge, Ashe’s B.O.B or Sombra’s E.M.P all can single-handedly win a fight but at the risk of wasting a huge resource. Graviton surge can get eaten by D.VA or countered by an ult-ing Zenyatta. B.O.B can get slept or have his impact limited by shields or D.VA’ s defense matrix. And, Sombra’s E.M.P struggles against smart support positioning and Brigitte’s rally.
So what am I trying to say with all this? Simple, the presence of CC isn’t why Overwatch has become so frustrating to play. It’s the lack of counter-play available in comparison to how much CC is used. Overwatch doesn’t have a specific hero designed to deal with CC. That’s where Baptiste comes in.
What I really want is a primary healer with moderate damage potential, a high skill ceiling and a ton of utility. The ‘good aim’ line may infer they are a DPS/Support hybrid but the exact same comment could be made about Ana, who is undoubtedly a primary healer, not a hybrid. More interestingly is the line that Baptiste’s “adaptability to new situations is a rare talent.” This could be a generic description of his characteristics but I reckon its a nod at his gameplay applications. What kind of hero would be highly versatile and fit into most team comps? A primary healer with good healing output, respectable damage potential, and tons of utility. What kind of utility would make them unique and different? Anti-CC, of course.
And so that is what I’m predicting Baptiste is going to be. A strong healer with utility focused on countering the vast amount of CC present in the game. How he’d do this is pretty hard to think about. After all, I’m not a game designer and I don’t really know all that much about gameplay balancing. I would suggest that if Baptiste was an anti-CC hero that it would still need some form of counterplay. He would need an established weakness to expose. The safest bet would be a lack of mobility, lack of self-healing or smaller health pool. I’ll leave this up to Blizzard though as it’s far from my specialty.
However, that’s just what I think Baptiste should be. The more popular consensus seems to come from Reddit user Conviter, which reads: “Sounds like a healer with a gun that has some survival or mobility abilities.” Further down in the same subreddit, r/Competitiveoverwatch, achedsphinxx suggests: “Based on their previous statements of making more heroes weapon focused, I’m thinking the new support will be like McCree with some healing stuff thrown in for flavor. maybe a gun version of Zenyatta.” Both of these posts were highly upvoted by the community.
These theories seem closer to what we are actually going to get. If this was the case, then Baptiste would almost certainly be an off-healer. It’s very unlikely they’d go down the route of making him an actual DPS after the addition of Ashe as recent as November. I don’t mind this approach either but I don’t think it helps fix either the CC problems of ranked or the overuse of GOATs in high tier organized competitive play. Hopefully, I’ll be proven wrong on that point.
What do you want from hero 30? Is there anything, in particular, you think Blizzard need to fix with this latest hero addition? Be sure to comment below with your thoughts on Baptiste, what you expect and, what you think he should do for the game.