Symmetra is an interesting hero, to say the least. And not just from a lore perspective. She’s had an especially interesting time in the game. Especially since the ranked mode was added and the professional scene began to rise. Symmetra has, bar none, the absolute lowest pick rate in the game at higher levels. In fact, in the Overwatch League, her pick rate is basically zero. The only character with anywhere near as low a pick rate as her is Torbjorn, who’ll soon be getting a rework of his own. Suffice it to say, the two builders are basically the most useless characters in the game as players climb the ranks. But now Symmetra gets some love from Blizzard in the form of the biggest rework since Mercy 2.0.
This isn’t new to the community, of course. Blizzard revealed the details of this rework some time ago. Though it was all on Blizzard’s forums and only in text. There was no way of knowing how the new Symmetra would look and play. What players knew was that the fundamentals of her kit were changing drastically. Her turrets were perhaps the most significant change. In this new setup, they function as projectiles, which could be shot out of the air. But they’re sturdier and she only has three of them, as opposed to the six she previously had. In essence, Symmetra can still very effectively keep to her role of flank-route denial by setting up a “carwash” at the entrances. Not as effectively as before…
Poor Genji. “Feels bad man” indeed. But the turrets are still a major part of her kit and may actually be more useful in this new iteration. Another change to her kit is the change to her gun. Though still short range and keeping is self-damage-amplification, it no longer locks on. Now her particle projector functions more like a mini Zarya gun. It likely won’t scale up as much as the Russian tank’s, whose gun, when fully charged, may as well be an eraser tool in MS Paint, just deleting people from the game. But the new gun should feel pretty good to deal with. It also means Symmetra is less of an instant death sentence for characters usually incapable of getting away from or killing her in time. The alternate fire also changed. It still passes through barriers, but is now faster and explodes on impact, doing AoE damage.
However, the two abilities that players will likely have the most fun with are her teleporter and projected barrier. The barrier is perhaps the most straightforward. No longer is it an advancing mini-shield. Now it’s her ultimate. The new barrier is a static, 5000 HP wall that spans across the entire map in the direction it’s deployed. In essence, this means whenever her ultimate is up, Symmetra can decide she just doesn’t want the enemy to be able to come from a specific direction. Walking through barriers, in Overwatch, is never especially safe. And considering this is worth two-and-a-half Reinhardt shields, it’s not getting spammed down easily at all.
But everyone in the Overwatch community wants to talk about her last ability the most – teleporter. Based on the previous ability, one would be right to assume that the teleporter is no longer Symmetra’s ultimate. Now it’s a cooldown-based ability. She can set up teleporters a certain distance away from herself, causing a second one to appear at her feet. These can be walked through at any time, rather than just taking players from spawn. And they’re two-directional. Meaning they can be traveled through both ways. But by far the most interesting thing is that certain abilities can be sent through them. Most notably “Self-Destruct.” That’s right. Symmetra allows players to Special Delivery a D.Va-Bomb. And that’s just one of the many applications that have been found.
Overall, this rework is huge. Probably not as massive as the Mercy rework. Probably not as much of a game changer as the Sombra rework. But definitely something that’ll impact the game a lot. Whether or not Symmetra becomes viable again is up for debate. Certainly, it’d make her more useful in the current meta, where barriers (namely Brigitte’s) reign supreme. Having a gun that can pierce barriers (and at a much faster rate than before, no less) is nothing to scoff at. But it’ll be some time before the meta can really determine where the new Symmetra fits. In the meantime, she’s available to play on Overwatch’s PTR for PC, along with the new social features.