Sombra is clearly a hero that Blizzard has some trouble with. She’s been in and out of the Overwatch PTR since she was introduced into the game. First, she got a buff to her cooldowns. Then, during the course of the Overwatch League, she received a rework. She no longer gained Ultimate Charge from hacked Health Packs. Her hack down disabled passive movement abilities such as Genji’s double jump and wall climb. She also got a buff to her gun spread and the time to hack was reduced. And yet her role in the game hardly saw any change. She’s currently in the PTR with even more changes. But several players are concerned, including Overwatch League player, Danteh. One of the best Sombra players in the League, Danteh revealed in an interview with YourOverwatch that some of these changes could be bad for the character. And Blizzard isn’t done.
According to a forum post by Geoff Goodman, Blizzard is listening to feedback pertaining to the character. As most people know, the current PTR patch gives Sombra infinite Stealth and an indefinite, destructible Translocator. But the caveat is that the new Stealth came with a reduction to her speed boost from 75% to 50%. It also increased her detection radius from 2 to 4 meters. This, of course, made Sombra easy to spot and slowed the pace of her gameplay. The new change reverts the detection radius, though many Sombra players – Danteh included – were seemingly more concerned with the speed reduction. Sombra already has a slow playstyle. So the speed cut makes that style even slower.
The new changes also made some other changes. It made the sound cue for the translocator quieter. But, really, it’s difficult to say how much of an impact this will have. Furthermore, EMP now disables the ultimate of the new hero, Hammond, for half of its duration. Overall, these are fairly minor changes that probably won’t greatly impact the new Sombra when she goes live. But it still comes with an overall slow down in pace for Sombra when the full package is delivered. Something that might not be what the hero needs.
One of the largest concerns for the character is that it’s actually quite hard to follow up on a hack or EMP. That was likely the idea behind the initial Sombra rework allowing her to disable passives which would otherwise make follow-up difficult. But in many situations, it’s still not that easy. Sombra, herself, doesn’t have much punch. Her overall damage is quite low. So she’s not finishing off a hacked target on her own, most of the time. This means that following up on a hack usually requires a lot of team coordination. That, in and of itself, isn’t an issue. It’s part of the balance of the character. But every rework she’s gotten so far has slowed the pace of the hero quite a lot. The first rework meant EMP took far longer to charge as well. And now she’s physically slower, to boot.
As a result, Sombra’s overall place in the game is up in the air. It’s uncertain how any of this will ultimately affect her position. At the moment she’s just in a sort of okay spot. Not quite as reliable as a hero like Tracer, but certainly usable. The interesting thing is that Sombra hasn’t really been affected by the introduction of new heroes. Her kit previously allowed her to function pretty much the same regardless of what new things are added to the game. Whether or not this remains true after the rework is up in the air.